Body of Christ

By Mary Kroeger

Today we want to look at the believer's relationship to Christ. He is life and truth, so a believer's relationship with Him also has to be one of life and truth!

A living relationship cannot take place as an organization, just as a good marriage relationship cannot be an organization. All an organization needs is a hierarchy, doctrines, rules and regulations to activate its members to achieve its objectives. It does not have life.

A body, on the other hand, cannot function without life. It has to have a head that sends out messages to all the various parts of the body so they can function together in unity. Every part is needful for the proper functioning of the body! Even though some parts are more needful than others, these parts do not function as a hierarchy. All has to function under Christ's direction and in His love! He has given us a new heart that is one with His being. Without His life flowing through His body, His body will be non-existent!

The body of Christ needs to be on the alert for religious counterfeits! They give an outward appearance of being the reality, when actually they are against the rule of the Christ within us. Some of the counterfeits that substitute for the reality are: hierarchy instead of brotherhood, obedience to laws, rules and regulations instead of the freedom to hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, organization instead of life, judging works according to good and evil instead of life and death, choice instead of obedience, self- righteousness instead of the righteousness of Christ, and natural reasoning instead of spiritual revelation.

In Romans we read that the loving kindness of God draws us to God. Therefore the body of Christ should function in love. Using guilt and fear to gain power and control over people is a worldly stronghold. Christ, our good Shepherd, leads and guides His sheep to green pastures and clean waters. The counterfeit drives them and fleeces them (takes what rightfully belongs to them)!

The works that the body of Christ is engaged in, must have their source in Christ. Works that have their source in the wisdom (or lack of it) of the carnal mind are not works of God. They are works of the flesh and consist of legalisms and programs that are nurtured by honour or threats. The carnal mind is one with the devil's rule, so it is always against God. It flourishes by the use of earthly measures to gain favour with people. It is so much easier to listen to our carnal mind than to listen to the voice of God! Our cultural inclinations and preconceived ideas are strong forces that need to be overcome!

Jesus was not influenced by favour from people. He recognized the selfishness that prompted the Jews to want to crown Him king after He fed the 5,000. He was not led by praise and honour, for He only did what the Father showed Him to do! (John 5:19 & 41) He did not accept praise from men. As members of His body, we too should walk in oneness with the Holy Spirit and be led by Him!

I believe that the biggest problem the body of Christ faces, is ignorance of its true identity! It fails to see that Christ's body is a spiritual body. Instead of believing and understanding that it has been born of an incorruptible seed, and therefore cannot sin, it looks at the flesh and evaluates everything according to what it sees and reasons with its carnal mind. We cannot see the invisible, so we have to believe that the body of Christ is who and what God says it is!

In Romans 14:23 we read that everything that is not of faith is sin! Believing that we are who God says we are, takes faith! We see our failures, wrong doings, etc., and we don't believe that we are a new creation. We think that will evolve after we die, so we keep on calling ourselves sinners. God says that we should not view anyone according to the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16), but we keep on doing that.

What would happen if we would begin to live by faith? We would realize that we are a new creation in Christ! We would believe that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but that they are mighty, and that the carnal realm has no power over us! We would believe that the body has to be fashioned of the same essence as the head. Even as a drop of water from the ocean is not the ocean, but that it contains the same elements as the ocean, so we, the body of Christ, have to have the same sinlessness as Christ has. To the natural mind that sounds blasphemous! However God says, "That which is born of God cannot sin." (1 John 3:9 "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning.")

What would happen if we would begin to believe God and live out of the faith that has been authored by Christ? We would not be under guilt and condemnation, for there is no condemnation in Christ! (Romans 8:1) We would love our enemies and pray for those who abuse us, and only do what the Father shows us to do! Then Christ would truly be manifested in us!!

A healthy body will respond in obedience to the directives that come from the head! This requires an individual response of obedience, as well as a collective response. Responses of obedience reveal a healthy body. This is essential in establishing God's rule on earth! It has to be established within us first - that is within our earth (our physical bodies). His rule has to begin in us. When we realize that God is our Father and we only have to obey Him, we won't listen to our natural mind. We have the same Father that Jesus Christ has, so we can pray, "Our Father!" Wow! What a realization! We are united with Him and we are actively working with Him in the spiritual, invisible kingdom of God! This kingdom is within us, so we do not wait for it to come in the visible realm.

Paul wrote, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) Christ, the King, is within us and His kingdom is also within us! So His rule or government must also be within us!

The body of Christ acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It realizes that forgiveness alone is not enough to establish His rule on earth even as it is in heaven, and that going to heaven is not the objective of His rule. The objective is to get all things in heaven and on earth, to be subject to Christ. (Eph. 1:10) To accomplish this, we need more than forgiveness, wonderful as that is! We need to be birthed from above so we can become a new creation - born of an incorruptible seed! No sin can enter that life! The body of Christ is formed of new creation spiritual beings from all generations!

Jesus prayed that God's will may be done in us! Going to heaven is not an answer to that prayer. Only His rule in us will accomplish this! Jesus Christ is the King, the Rule and the Authority of God! He is the living Word made flesh! The Father's name is hallowed or glorified by our obedience - by doing His will! This is God's will for the body of Christ!

Paul wrote that the hope of glory is Christ IN you and me! It is not in our physical being but in the spiritual man who has been born of the Spirit. Though this hope of glory is in man, it does not originate in man, for man cannot produce the glory of God! His glory in us is Christ, for we are members of His body!

Christ is not complete without His body. Therefore we must not think of ourselves in isolation but in unity with the body. We are built together to form the habitation of God! Individually and corporately we form the temple of God - the temple that is not made with hands!

Jesus Christ was the Father's house, for the Father dwelt in Him. He is the cornerstone of a new spiritual temple made without hands! A building is begun by laying down the foundation. Christ's spiritual house has Christ as its cornerstone. Just as many stones are needed to build a house or temple, so God's spiritual temple is made of many stones (believers) built into a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:5) The life of the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) binds us together, and we become the dwelling place of God! The house of God and the temple of God are one and the same. Christ is the cornerstone and the head of this dwelling of God, and we are His body! In all things He has the pre-eminence! This body consists of the elect, the called and chosen of God!

"Do you not know, that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Cor. 6:19) God does not dwell in doctrines, creeds, or in Bible verses. God said, "I will dwell in them." (1 Cor. 6:19; John 14:23) We are built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:22) We are not a hotel where we meet once a week. "God has chosen Zion for His dwelling place, His rest forever." (Psalm 132:13-14) This tells us that no physical temple will be built for Him some time in the future! The scriptures plainly teach and testify of one dwelling place in the Spirit, one house, one temple - the Father's resting place forever.

In John 14:2-4 we read, "In My Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Here Jesus is saying that He is going to prepare a place in the Father's household for His disciples (believers) so they can be where He is! Where was He at that time? He was in the Father's household and in an intimate relationship with Him! This is where He wants us to be as well - in the same household and in the same relationship that He had with the Father! This is only possible for us in Christ! He is the vine and we are the branches! The branches are dependent on the vine for their life and nourishment! In like manner the many-membered body of Christ gets its life and nourishment from Christ, the head!

It may be hard for us to internalize the fact that Christ dwells in us and we in Him. This is a spiritual concept, but a physical example helps us to understand it. Let's look at two clouds in the sky. As we watch them, they merge. After they have merged, one cloud is in the other and the other is in the one. To merge, both have to consist of water droplets! So for Christ to be in us and we in Him, we need to have the same Spirit Christ has! What an exciting realization!

The greatness of God's purpose for us, and the depth of our salvation and union with Christ, are beyond natural understanding. "Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those that love Him. But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:9-10) Unless we receive revelation knowledge we will always view ourselves as being united with Adam instead of with Christ.

The presence of God now dwells in the body of Christ and in the individual members of His body! His presence establishes His rule. God works in us from the inside out! The Old Testament law could only produce an outward change of behaviour, but in Christ we are made a new creation - a spiritual creation that has no sin! We are born of an incorruptible seed, a seed that cannot be corrupted! When did this seed come into us, for we came into this world, dead in our trespasses and sins. For this answer we have to go back to the beginning. When God blew His breath into Adam, Adam became a living soul. His disobedience caused him to die, but the incorruptible seed of God's life remained in him in dormant form. When the Spirit of God activates that seed, it produces a repentance in us, and that seed sprouts into life. We call this our new birth, for it takes us out of our death in Adam and puts us into the life of Christ!

We cannot create life; life is passed on! Men have tried to create a grain of wheat. They have taken all the ingredients that a grain of wheat has, put them together in the form of a grain, planted it and watered it, but it would not sprout. There was no life in it. Life has to come from Him who has life! It is exciting to know that an incorruptible seed has been passed on into each of us! This helps us to understand that the new creation that we are in Christ is completely without sin! We now have to identify with who we truly are! We are no longer in Adam but in Christ!

Look at the butterfly that used to be a caterpillar. Do you think that the butterfly will identify with the caterpillar it used to be after it is transformed into a butterfly? It now soars in the air and has no interest in its former life of crawling in the dust! Even so, our new identification is Christ, our hope of glory! Our new life in Christ changes us, and gives us new desires and interests! We are no longer sinners! In Paul's letters, believers are always addressed as saints! Why would we need to be born anew if we remained the same sinners we were by our first birth?

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law with its required sacrifices and of the witness of prophets! He is our nourishment, our bread and drink! He is our life, our redemption, our wisdom and our sanctification! He is our everything for we are united with Him! We are one spirit with Him, and His life is our life!

So how does the body of Christ, the dwelling place of God, function? Although we are one body, we are members of it individually. "Now you are Christ's body, individually members of it." (1 Cor. 12:27) A body does not function well if one area or one part is not functioning in unity with the rest of the body. This is also true of the body of Christ! Every member has to function in obedience to the directives of the Head! When this occurs, it becomes a witness of God's love, grace, wisdom and power. When the members are united in love and purpose, the various talents and abilities will work together to produce a beautiful whole. Even as a variety of colours are needed to provide beauty and depth to a painting, so God needs many members to produce a replica of Himself! God is the Master Painter and He puts each colour or member of the body where it pleases Him! This means that we take our hands off His arrangement! We do not try to change members to our liking, or to use them to benefit us! If all members were alike, where would the body be? (1 Cor. 12:19) We need variety and a central head to direct the activities for the proper functioning of the body! Each member has a special identity, and we all need one another.

Jesus said, "Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves." (John 6:53-58) This takes place spiritually. It is important that we understand what Christ meant when He said this.

During the celebration of the last supper, Jesus said that He would not eat it with them again until He ate it NEW with them in the kingdom of God. In God's kingdom everything is in the invisible realm. It cannot be new if it is eaten in the same physical way. The newness relates to the spiritual realm. Eating bread and drinking wine together with others does not edify us and change us on the inside. Since we are one body, we are one loaf, and it is broken for us into many parts when members share their spiritual insights and wisdom they have received. As we eat this spiritual bread we are edified and strengthened in our spirit. This sharing and eating the bread of life takes place among the elect of God. This communion does not take place by simply sharing a physical piece of bread and drinking some wine.

Wine symbolizes revelation and joy. The cup represents the blood, and the blood symbolizes the soul (our sense of being - our mind, emotions and will), for the soul is in the blood. (Soul is the correct translation of Lev. 17:11) Spiritual fellowship takes place when we receive new revelation and understanding of the greatness of our God and of who we are in Christ! This revitalizes us! Sharing experiences of God's wonderful love and grace unites us. In this way we are participating in the Lord's supper!

In 1 Corinthians 11:27-31 Paul wrote some interesting things. "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." (v. 27) In other words, he who eats and drinks unworthily, is someone who is carnally minded and is trying to receive spiritual food for his carnal mind. This does not work! That which is born of the flesh remains flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit remains spirit! The two do not mix!

"But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup." (v. 28) He does not examine who he was in Adam, but who he is in Christ! In 2 Cor. 13:5 it says that we are to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith. (That is if Christ is in us). We are not to look at our self-righteous acts but to recognize that Christ has become our righteousness! Against that righteousness there is no Law!

"For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly." Those who do not recognize that they are members of the body of Christ, are judging themselves incorrectly. They need to be corrected and learn the truth.

"For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged." (30-31) Here we see that it is important to judge the body correctly. How do we do that? If the members do not understand their relationship to Christ, the head, and to one another, they will fight each other instead of supporting one another. This is very unhealthy, and results in weakness, sickness and even death. On the other hand, if we discern the body correctly, there will be healing, life and communion. Since the world cannot understand spiritual realities, it cannot participate in this.

Our love for Christ brings with it a desire to express our love for Him and a desire to obey Him. The individual members or His body have different ways of expressing their love. For example, Martha expressed her love by serving Him, and Mary expressed hers by listening and learning from Him.

Most of us identify with Martha, and we desire to serve Him in a tangible way. Often we do not realize that we need both. In order to serve Him in a way that honours Him, we need to hear His voice, and learn obedience and humility from Christ! Jesus never received honour from people, and He only did what the Father showed Him to do! Our natural tendency is to desire honour and to serve in ways that bring honour to self. Those are worldly desires and do not belong to the body of Christ!

Even as in a physical body where there are various organs with different functions, so it is in the body of Christ! All must work together for its health, growth and ministry! The hidden and the seen ministries are of equal importance. Giving honour to the seen and neglecting the hidden, does not promote the maturing and health of the body. The various organs of the body need to be healthy and work together in unity!

Pastors and teachers need to lead their flock into a relationship with Christ. This relationship will produce an acceptable contribution to the body, and God will place each one into an acceptable place in the body. God has to reveal this place to us and to the leaders. We cannot know what the acceptable place for each one is unless the Spirit of Christ is given the liberty to show us. The ministry that attempts to pattern each believer into one form is out of order and lacks discernment.

The 'Mary ministry' of listening to Christ, is intertwined with every ministry and extends into every day of the week! It means being led by the Spirit in all we do - whether it's visiting the sick, taking care of the orphans, speaking encouraging words to the downhearted, helping the needy or doing our best at work. Everything we do is unto the Lord! As each member functions in love, the body will be healthy and protected from the cancerous growth of pride, jealousy, and self-seeking. The saints will be well nourished, built up in love, and the members will be transformed into the image of Christ, the head.

This is God's purpose for each member of His body. In Eph. 4:9-16 Paul explains this in greater detail. "Now this expression, 'ascended', what does it mean except that He had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things! And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ, till we all attain to the unity of faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ, with the result that we are no longer to be children tossed by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men by craftiness and deceitful feelings. But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, even Christ from whom the whole body is fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love, as each does its part."

What a beautiful teaching on how the body of Christ is to be built up! What a contrast to what we so often see. Instead of healthy food, people are given legalisms and self-effort on their 'banquet table.' This gives leaders control over the people, so they can mould them into the form they desire. Though they do not have any inherent power over the people, they put pressure on them by introducing guilt and fear of punishment if they disobey. These churches do not function as a body but as an organization.

To avoid substituting laws for the obedience of faith, we need to see that "the gospel is the power of God unto salvation." (Romans 1:16) It is the preaching of Christ that gives us the power to be witnesses of Him, and to do His will. Christ has to be the source of all we think and do! Therefore it is useless to preach the self-effort the law demands. What good are rules and regulations that do not work the work of Christ in and through us? It is the life and the revelation knowledge of the Son of God that constitutes eternal life. "And this is eternal (aeonian) life that they many know Thee, the only true God, Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent." (John 17:3) It is the spiritual revelation of the Christ that brings life and also causes life to grow in us. This eliminates those who try to activate and spur the hearers into action with messages of condemnation or by shaming those who supposedly have not done enough. This will not produce useful Christians. God does not need reluctant servers. He has already shown us the futility of legal demands in the history of natural Israel.

There is only one body of Christ, and it dates back to Pentecost. Those who are Christ's are enrolled in the general assembly of the first-born in heaven. "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, and to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly of the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the maker of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, that speaks better than the blood of Able." (Heb. 12:22-24)

God does not live in a geographic location, for heaven and earth cannot contain Him. Since God is spirit, He has to live in a spiritual location. Jesus prepared a place of abode for us in the Father's house. (John 14:2) This is our spiritual dwelling place; the same spiritual abode where He dwells, and where He spoke the words, "Where I AM, there shall you be also." This is the place of son-ship, of knowing the Father, of being righteous, and understanding the ways of God! In effect, He was saying, "I am abiding in a right relationship with My Father, and this is the place I want you to be also."

The coming of the Holy Spirit opened the way to this prepared place. The elect of God are growing into the realization of being in the right relationship with Him in one body! When we understand that we are members of the body of Christ, we no longer think of ourselves as individuals. Everyone is important, and each member has a task to perform! No one is of no consequence, for we are members of His body with His life flowing through us! This shows us the importance of being in union with Him. He is the vine, the life, and the branches die when they are separated from the vine. So the body of Christ is filled with life. As it functions in life it brings life to others.

The true church is a body of truth, for Christ is the truth. The house of God is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Without truth the lie cannot be judged. Truth has to judge our belief system, our traditions, and the teachings we have received. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth! So when we hear a teaching, we have to listen to the Holy Spirit before accepting or rejecting it. Sometimes we have to put it on the shelf, so to speak, until we are ready to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Those who do not hear the Spirit, will seek to propagate after their own doctrines, etc., and carnal ideas will multiply.

True shepherds will love the sheep, care for them, and give them good food and clear water. We need to eat and drink of Christ. Those who have fellowship with the Lord and the brethren, will by this communion hear from the Lord and minister life to the body and to others.

The body of Christ does not function in the law of Moses, for that law ministers condemnation instead of life. What a shame to disrupt and damage a fellowship by introducing laws that bring condemnation. In Christ there is no condemnation! (Rom. 8:1) Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope, for if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My word?" (John 5:45) The ministry of godliness is not introduced with laws, nor is it maintained by the keeping of laws. God's ways are as far above man's ways, as the heavens are above the earth. His way is reconciliation, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins to them- not charging them with their sins! (2 Cor. 5:19) This truth is a glorious invitation to have an intimate and no-fault relationship with Him!

Instead of falling back into the law for godliness, we are to die to the law. "You were also made to die to the law by the body of Christ." (Rom. 7:4) The law binds the married woman to her husband while he is living. (v.2) Marriage speaks of union in the spiritual realm, while the letter of the scriptures speaks to our natural understanding. When it rules us we will only see Christ in an earthy image - as the man who walked the streets of Nazareth. This separates Him from us and we will fail to see our union with Him. We need to differentiate between our carnal understanding of God through the law and our spiritual union with God in the Holy Spirit. To enter into a spiritual understanding we have to die to the law! "For while we were in the flesh, the simple passions which were aroused by the law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death." (Rom. 7:5) Since the law stimulates sin, we have to die to the law. "Having become dead to the law through the body of Christ, we bring forth fruit unto God." Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ! The truth is that we cannot keep the law, and that the grace of God frees us from trying to do what we are unable to achieve.

"Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, that you could be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God." (Rms. 7:4) Now that we have become members of the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, we should bear fruit for God. The fruit of the Spirit consists of the very essence of the Spirit. An apple tree bears apples - not strawberries or some other fruit. So also the Holy Spirit bears the fruit of His own essence!

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, and whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, we were all made to drink of one Spirit." (1 Cor. 12:13) Drinking of one Spirit, gives us the life of the Spirit. This life replaces the thinking that exists in the carnal realm! It does away the creeds, laws, organizations, doctrines, and cultural differences that bring division, for there is no life in them. There is no life outside of Christ! Life must have its source in Christ, for He is the life! Anything that does not have its source in the life of Christ is in the death realm!

Care must be taken that the scriptures do not take the place of Christ. Jesus said, "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of Me, and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life." (John 5:39-40) Life is only in Christ!

When we come to Christ, we have to leave all our preconceived ideas, traditions and laws for our sanctification! Laws stimulate self-effort, but they do not, and cannot, change the heart! They can change behaviour patterns and stimulate giving, but they do not have spiritual value! It is often very difficult to wait until the Spirit has taught us how to live a godly life, even when we are receiving spiritual instruction. This is because the natural mind is unable to comprehend spiritual realities. It takes time to learn how to think with the mind of Christ. But what a difference it makes once we have learned! The truth frees us from our bondage to sin, and we become free to do the will of God!

When we are led by the Spirit, our life will become a letter of life from God to the world! Paul wrote, "You are our letter written in our hearts, written and known by all men, being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. And such confidence we have through Christ toward God, not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor. 3:2-6)

When Christ is being formed in us, we will be free to do the will of God, and we will only do what He shows us to do. We will love and forgive even as Christ loves us and forgives us because His life has become our life, and His love has been poured into our hearts. This enables us to love the seemingly unlovely!

Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and you will bear much fruit. Without Me (outside of Me) you can do nothing." (John 15:5) If we do not abide in Christ, we won't have life. All carnality has to be judged and destroyed by the consuming fire that God is.

When we see that we can do nothing without Christ, we must also see that we can do all things Christ asks us to do. Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13. God's word to us empowers us to do whatever He tells us to do!

The great PASSOVER is our deliverance from the body of sin and death and our placement into the body of life. Paul said, "Wretched man that I am. Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24) Our body of sin and death is our carnal man. Without this deliverance we cannot be joined to the life of Christ! Our new birth takes us out of Adam, the man of death, and births us into Christ, the Man of life! This is passing from death to life. "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love, abides in death." (1 John 3:14) Even though we are not yet completed in resurrection, we do have Christ, the resurrection, working in us! This new man is created in the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness. It is He who raised us up together with Him! (Eph. 4:24)

Seeing that we are a new creation, holy and righteous in Christ, we do not have to try to make the new creation man better; he only has to be fed so he can grow to be who he truly is! If we do not know who the new creation man is, we will try to improve the carnal man and change him from sinner to saint. We'll try to dress him up in righteous clothing by our own good works. It is useless to try to make him look, for he remains carnal. It's like teaching a dog to do many human-like tricks, but in the end, he remains a dog! Our new birth has taken us out of the Adam man and put us in to the Christ Man! That man was created perfect. If our new nature needed to improve, God would have left us in our God identity.

Those who are in the new covenant have been given a new heart, as God promised. (Eze. 36:26) Is the new heart full of the same evil and deceit as the old one? Of course not! We need to believe that the new heart is the fulfillment of redemption and therefore not in need of it!

The carnal mind cannot understand this! This truth has to come to us in revelation! As we grow in this revelation and understanding, we marvel at the greatness of God's awesome salvation!! We see that there can be no mixture of the natural with the spiritual. The witness of the body of Christ does not come out of what we are attempting to accomplish, but out of Christ's accomplishment in His death and resurrection! It is not in our works towards perfection, but in His perfect creation in Christ! It is wrong for those who have been baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit, to deny this truth. For those who have not experienced the new birth, it is wrong to confess a participation in the body. Those who do not discern the body, bring judgment to themselves.

Christ loves the church, and gave Himself up for it, for the church is His own body! Marriage illustrates this truth. "Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water by the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her beauty, having no spot or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own body. He who loves His own wife, loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body." (Eph. 5:25-30) Man nourishes and cherishes his own body. Christ is head of His body, and feeds his body with the same food He Himself partakes of. Jesus said, "As the living Father has sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so as with Me, also with you. He who eats Me, shall also live because of Me." (John 6:57) He is the living Word, the bread from heaven. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. "But I say to you, that I shall not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." (Matt. 26: 29)

Even as Jesus and His disciples ate together at the last supper, so we eat with Him now. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him and he with Me." (Rev. 3:20) The door that needs to be opened is the door to spiritual understanding, and the door that needs to be closed is the door to carnal thinking. Precious, isn't it!

In the body of Christ, all members are equal. "For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves and measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding." (2 Cor. 10:12) God has placed each member where He wants him to be, and each one gets his instructions from Christ, the head.

Christ orchestrates His rule, and when each one does his part, there will be harmony and unity. Each one is responsible for the part that is given him. When this occurs there is unity and thanksgiving!

"Not boasting beyond our measure, that is in other men's labours, but with the hope that your faith grows, we shall be, within our spirit, enlarged even more by you." (2 Cor. 10:15) Those who proclaim the ministry of many as one man's ministry, do not discern the body. For one man cannot be everything to everybody. One man cannot have all knowledge and function in all the gifts.

We need the working together of the body to supply the needs of the body and to do what God has called us to do. If we think the pastor or evangelist has to meet everyone's need, we fail in our discernment of the body! Each member is important and needs to do his part. One man cannot be the eye, the hand and the foot. One cannot function without the others.

A careful reading of Eph. 4 shows that the ministry is to be bring the body into maturity. The body is to edify itself in love. This is the more excellent way! It is not to form a hierarchy. Ministry is vital! Its purpose is to obey the Head, to encourage and help other members, to live in the unity of the Spirit, and to bring others into a vital union with Christ!

In so doing, the body of Christ will be a witness of God's love to the world!

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