Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Christians are the Body of Christ

Many have attempted to understand what the Church is. How do we define the Body of Christ? Is it the Church building? Is it the people? Scripture and the exegesis of the Fathers give a good explanation. Fr John Behr, in his book The Mystery of Christ, Life in Death, clarifies:

‘Born again through the gospel in Christ Jesus, Christians are the body of Christ. This is no loose analogy or metaphor; the apostle Paul makes the identification without qualification: “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” all, that is, who “by the one Spirit were baptized into the one body” (1 Cor 12.27, 13). Christians are called to be “the one body” by living in subjection to the head, Christ, allowing his peace to rile in their hearts (Col 3.15). As members of his body, they depend for their life and being upon their head. As “firstborn of the dead,” in whom “the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily,” Christ is “the head of the body, the Church” (Col 1.18-19, 2.9). It is by holding fast to the head that “the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Col 2.19). Christians also depend upon one another: “We, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom 12.5) The grace given to each is for the benefit of the one body, so that everything is to be done in love for the building up of the one body (1 Cor 12-13).’ (p.117).

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