by Varghese Mathai, Sharjah
We are the body of Christ. Let us sanctify ourselves.
The first biblical reference to this body was made by Jesus at the time of institution of the Holy Eucharist Mark 14:22 says, "While they were eating Jesus took a piece of bread gave a prayer of thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples. Take it this is my body”. This symbolic act is the establishment of the Holy Eucharist which we continue in our fellowship.
The Body of Christ, like all bodies, is comprised of many parts. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 describe it like this: "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. This is evidence that we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many." This means each Christian is an equal part of the body of Christ and there can’t be any fraction, politics, isolating any one, then it can’t be a living body.
There is organization to the body of Christ, as described in Ephesians 1:22-23, "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 also says, "All of you are Christ’s body and each one is a part of it. In church God has put all in place. In the first place Apostles, in the second place prophets and in the third place teachers, then those who perform miracles, followed by those who are given the power to heal or to help others or to direct them (administration) or to speak other tongues (translation)".
Hence, every member of the Church possesses a gift and is called to use it in service within the body to build up the body of Christ, to strengthen the body and to carry out its purpose within the world. Each member of the body of Christ is also called to serve the church through his or her natural gifts and abilities. This service is offered out of devotion to Christ for the sacrifice He made on the cross, providing them with eternal life in heaven.
The diversity of gifts, each supporting the other, makes the body strong. Further, no one have the right to deprive any part of that body (member) in serving the Body of Christ for what is he called for.
As a part of the church, what can we do to enhance the body of Christ?
The body is a holy entity and is to be respected and treated with complete honor and care. The Bible provides several action principles for building up the body of Christ:
We are called to worship - "How good it is good to give thanks to you, O lord, to sing in your honor, O Most High God, to proclaim your constant love every morning and your faithfulness every night" (Psalm 92:1-2). The worship should be at an Holy place and it should be in unity and oneness.
Further we should remember what St. James warns about telling evil about our fellow men. James 3-6 “And tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies as spreading evil through our whole being”. James 3.9-10. “We use it to give thanks to Our Lord and Father and also to curse our fellow me who is created in the likeness of God. Words of thanks giving and cursing pour out from the same mouth
We are called to promote truth and fellowship in unity - Ephesians 4:25 says, "No more lying, then! Everyone must tell the truth to his fellow believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ".
We are called to render service - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 outlines the importance of using your God-given spiritual gift. Your gift is unique and equally important. It is the requirement of the body that we use our special gift in service to God..
We are called to share Jesus - Romans 1:16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…" As part of the body of Christ, we are bound to share our life-changing events and blessings with others!
We are called to love each other - "1 John 4:11 says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
During this period of sanctification let us take a moment to evaluate our life in following principles. Are you a contributing member of the body of Christ? Are you actively serving God and sharing Him with others? Are you contributing to peace and unity within the body? Do you worship regularly?
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