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What Does The Bible Say About The Body Of Christ?

In the Bible, there are a few different meanings to the phrase “body of Christ.” It could mean the incarnation of Christ, when God was made flesh for man’s salvation (John 1:14). Jesus is fully God (Colossians 2:9), making Him the perfect and entirely sufficient atonement sacrifice for all mankind. However, He is also fully man, so He can sympathize with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15), live the perfect life for us, and pay the death penalty for the sin of all mankind (Hebrews 2:14-15) by willingly dying upon the cross. To learn more about this, please read our article, “What does the Bible say about the divinity and humanity of Christ?”

Another meaning for the “body of Christ” is the communion element, bread. On the night Jesus was betrayed, He demonstrated the communion to His disciples by breaking bread and drinking a cup of wine with them (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26). The bread being broken in communion is a symbol used as a remembrance of the “body of Christ” that was “broken” on the cross as a sacrifice for man’s salvation. It is not the actual body or flesh of Christ. You may also read our article, “What does the Bible say about Communion?” to learn more about this concept.

The most popular reference to the “body of Christ” is the church. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And the head of this “body” is Christ” (Colossians 1:18). This means that Christ is the one who sets the direction that each body is meant to follow, the only one whom the church should please, and the only one who should truly receive all the glory. The church should remember its rightful place and never try to elevate its own reasoning, traditions, relationships, agenda, or core beliefs above Christ, but should instead always submit to Him (Ephesians 1:22).

Not only is Christ the head of the body, but He is also the savior (Ephesians 5:23). Like a husband, Christ willingly cares for and does everything for the good of His church. His greatest expression of love is His selfless sacrifice for our salvation. Christians are called to be members or parts of His body. Jesus treats every member of the body as important, and that is exactly how we should regard our brothers and sisters, regardless of status, race, opinion, position, or denomination. In Christ’s body, there is no such thing as a spare part. Every part is equally valuable and each part plays an essential role in the body (1 Corinthians 12:15-26). As Paul also says in 

1 Corinthians 12:12-14:

“[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bound or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [14] For the body is not one member, but many.”

As God’s children, we must imitate Christ’s humility by valuing others above ourselves and not looking to our own interest, but to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). We are called to be united as the body of Christ by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind (Philippians 2:2). The church must thrive with each other, not strive against each other, and we must rid ourselves of all forms of disunity that break the body apart: discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, quarrelling and disorder. Like a cancer cell that used to be part of the body, but later goes rogue and gradually destroys the whole body, so too is a Christian that causes disunity in the body of Christ. We must be mindful that if one part suffers, every part suffers with it, but if one part is honored, then every part also rejoices with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). It is not really the external struggles that tear down the solidarity of the church, but rather the destructive strife from within the body of Christ.

One can choose to be a cancer to the body of Christ or to be a healthy, productive, peace-making, and unity-building part. We must learn to think of ways to encourage one another by acting and responding in love and good works. We must not neglect opportunities to come together and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). In love and in honor of our head and savior, Jesus Christ, may the body of Christ exemplify the unity and fellowship of the triumvirate God.

Ephesians 4:15-16 KJV

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

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