‘You are the body of Christ,’ declares Paul. We expected him to say that. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, he has carefully described the relationship between the parts of the human body. He has shown how each part depends on the other parts. However, we already knew these things. Paul’s real purpose was to show the kind of relationship that Christians should have with each other.
So, the whole passage about the body was a word-picture. But it was not just a word-picture. That fact becomes clear when we read Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:23-32. There, Paul shows where this description of the church as Christ’s body came from. It was not just a clever idea to teach Christians about love for each other. It was something that Paul had learned from the Book of Genesis.
Genesis 2:24 says that God unites a man with his wife on their marriage. Jesus emphasises the importance of that in Mark 10:7-8. In God’s opinion, they have become as one person. In Ephesians 5:32, Paul says that this means Christ and his church.
Ephesians 5:28 shows what Genesis 2:24 means for husbands and wives. A husband should love his wife as his own body. God has joined them together; they must not still consider themselves as separate people.
That is how Christ too behaves towards his people. The Bible calls them his ‘bride’ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:6-9). In the same way that God unites a husband and his wife, so God unites Christ and his people. So, Christ considers them to belong to his own body. That is clear from his love for them (Ephesians 5:29-30)
Next part: People that God uses (1 Corinthians 12:28)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.