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The Relational Body of Christ

In our daily meditation yesterday, we discussed how Christ had brought His people into an organic union with Himself. Paul wrote that "we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). So how does that work in reality? What difference does it make for true believers to know this truth of God? Is this deep relationship with other faithful Christians borne out in other Scripture passages? I believe so. When the Lord Jesus confronted Saul on the Damascus road during his persecution of the church, He said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). The Lord didn't ask him why he was persecuting Christ's people, but instead, why was Saul persecuting Him? Those belonging to Christ are brought into such unity in the Body of Christ that when one is hurting, Christ is hurting along with us. The Lord feels our pain, and as the Body of Christ, we should also be so close in our relationships that each of us feels what our brother or sister is going through and hurts alongside them. Here's how Paul the apostle described it:

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:24b-27, Emphasis mine).

Christ feels what we feel because we are one with Him. In another place, Paul the apostle again talked about this organic unity with Christ, saying, "So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5).

What do you think Paul means when he says we belong to one another? To be a disciple of Christ is to be aware that we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ, and we must learn to live in a relationship with others in the Body of Christ. When Jesus prayed for His disciples at the last supper, He said:

20I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20-21).

True biblical Christianity grows relationally with others in the Body of Christ by sharing our lives. When Jesus said that He is the True Vine, He was saying He is not just the rootstock but the whole vine. He is the sum of all the parts that the Father has planted. It is as if He is saying, "You have a part in me and a portion of the expression of My life. I have called you to be a fruit-bearing expression of My life." Faith in Christ is the root. Discipleship is the fruit. Discipleship is the outward manifestation of our union and communion with Christ. He has made us organically one with Himself. Here's how Paul the apostle expressed this organic unity: "But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him" (1 Corinthians 6:17). You are never alone! Keith Thomas

Taken from the series: the Gospel of John series. The study is 30. Jesus, the True Vine


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