Ephesians 1:22-23 And He (God) put all things under His (Jesus Christ)
feet, and gave Him to be head over all
things to the Church,
23 Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The Apostle Paul tells us in these verses that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ is the Church. Because the Body of Christ is called the Church in the Scriptures and because Christian organizations of today are called churches, it is assumed that all churches, and thus all Christians, are members of the Body of Christ. But when the Church of today is compared to the Church in the Scriptures it is clearly seen that there are many differences. For example, the Church in the Bible was not divided into various organizations. There were many members, but one Spirit. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13.
Notice what Paul said about the Church in the passages of Scripture we read. (1) The Lord Jesus is the head over all things to the Church. (2) The Church is His body. (3) His body (the Church) is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Generally speaking, the Lord Jesus is not the head of today’s Church; man is. Neither can we say that today’s Church is the fullness of Him. The Church in the Scriptures and the Church in today’s world are not the same. We need to realize that. The Church is supposed to be the functioning Christ. It is supposed to be the medium or the channel through which the Lord Jesus Christ ministers. To think the Church of today is the final product of what God is wanting and that it is the functioning Body of Christ would be a great mistake. God has something much more in mind than what we have seen, and we want Christianity to become what the Bible says it is supposed to be.
The Body of Christ is not born by church creeds and doctrines. It is not a man-made product. It is a creation of God. Jesus Christ was the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Hebrews 1:3), and now that is what the Church must become. It is not yet the fullness of Him who fills all in all but it must become so.
We are going to look at a few passages of Scripture concerning the Church as the creation of God. The first one is a prophecy in the 139th Psalm.
Psalm 139:13-15 For You formed
my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
The creation of the Body of Christ is a secret work. The last part of verse 15, “skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth” connects with Ephesians 4:9.
Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there was none of them.
When there was no Body of Christ, even before the foundations of the earth, He loved you and called you. He had the Body of Christ in mind before the world ever existed. It was a plan He had from the beginning, and He hasn’t tossed that plan. The earth and the heavens with its galaxies is usually thought of as the creation of God, but God is creating something far more important than that. He is creating the many-membered Body of Christ, the true Church.
Psalm 102:16-17 For the Lord
shall build up Zion;
He shall appear in His glory.
17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer.
“Zion” is a word used to denote several things. It could refer to the hill Ophel or it may refer to Jerusalem itself. It could refer to Israel as a whole or to a remnant. It could refer to the Lord Jesus Christ or to the many-membered Body of Christ. The correct usage is determined by how it is used in the particular passage of Scripture. It is obvious from the following verse that it speaks of the Body of Christ here.
Psalm 102:18 This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
This is not referring to the creation of man. It is speaking of the creation of a people who will praise the Lord, the many-membered Body of Christ. These people were not in existence at the time of this Psalm, for it was written for a generation to come. It is the same generation Jesus spoke of when He said, “This generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are being created in Christ Jesus. Do you remember what Peter said? You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God. I Peter 2:9-10.
We were not a people before we came into Christ. We are now becoming the people of God. He is creating the Body of Christ. He is creating them unto good works, which were prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Unless you understand how the Lord speaks, you will not understand what He is saying here. When you read this verse it sounds like He is saying that you will do greater works than He has done – that He will be in heaven and you will do the greater works. That isn’t it. He is saying, “When I become Spirit, then I will work through the many-membered Body of Christ (the Church) and do greater works than I did as an individual.” Although He allows us to be co-workers with Him, He is the one doing the works. Our responsibility is to become those He can work through.
The Church in the Scriptures is His body and is the fullness of Him. We haven’t become that kind of Church yet, but there are those in the process of becoming. On one occasion Moses said, “Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29). And we would say, “Oh, that all churches were pressing in to become what God wants them to be, that all Christians were becoming the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Copyright © 2004 by Henry DuBose