What is a Christian? Part 3: A Member of the Body!
It is important for each Christian to realize his or her role as a member of the body of Christ, the church. Acts 2:47 is clear on the point that those who are saved by faith and obedience to the gospel are added by God to the church, and Ephesians 1:22-23 makes it plain that the church of Christ IS the body of Christ. As the Head, Jesus is sovereign and supreme, but He has joined Himself to the body so that His purposes might be accomplished in this world through us.
As a member of the church of Christ, a Christian is one who is connected to the body; therefore, his life is sustained only as long as he remains connected to the body (and by extension, to the Head). Think of this in the natural world: your finger will have no life in it once it is separated from your body and remains so for an extended period of time. Your foot will not live on its own once amputated from the leg and the rest of your body. Once severed, your body parts have no life in them apart from the body! The same is true in the spiritual sense: the individual Christian is not going to remain spiritually alive separate and apart from the body of Christ over which Jesus is Head.
THE LIFE IS IN CHRIST, AND CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY. THEREFORE, A CHRISTIAN, WHO IS A MEMBER OF THAT BODY, MUST REMAIN CONNECTED TO THE BODY FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE! In the body, the church, God sustains each Christian’s spiritual life through the guidance of Spirit-appointed leadership (Ephesians 4:11-16), through the teaching and instruction of the word of Christ (John 6:63), and through the encouragement and edification of fellow members (Hebrews 10:23-25). The Hebrew writer emphatically urges the believers not to give up on assembling together, for in forsaking the fellowship of the saints, a Christian also forsakes fellowship with the Savior and neglects the very nourishment he or she needs for spiritual survival!
As a member of the body of Christ, a Christian must not only maintain a connection, but also make a contribution! Read I Corinthians 12:12-31. Paul wrote to believers that the body is made up of many parts, or members, each with its own unique function to perform. The foot cannot do the work of the hand, and the hand cannot do the work of the foot. An ear cannot see, and an eye cannot hear. Therefore, if any one member of the spiritual body is moved by jealousy or anger or apathy to withhold his or her abilities and contributions, then the body will not function at optimum capacity. If even one part is not working right, the whole body suffers as a result. It is imperative that Christians awake to their calling as members of the body, because as long as there is even one member sleeping on the job, the work of the church is hindered and the will of the Head goes unfulfilled!
Each of us who has obeyed the gospel and been added to the church has been made a member of Christ’s spiritual body. And each member is absolutely vital to the work of lifting Him up so that all men might be drawn to His goodness and grace. Every Christian needs the church and the church needs every Christian!!