In the first part of this article (Corpus Christi, Part 1), we learned that Jesus is the Head of the church. So, if we understand Jesus’ role, what should we do as members (contributors, components) of this body?
When becoming a Christian, God sends us help in the form of the Holy Spirit (one of the three persons of God Himself). With that gift comes a special blessing: a particular way to share a quality (given by the Holy Spirit) with others, meant for fulfilling our role in the Body of Christ.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB
This gift – or outpouring of the Holy Spirit – is not meant just for our own personal gain (although we often find joy in our role). In addition, it is meant to help us do our part for the larger body. This body should be made up of complementary people (and probably complimentary people, too, but that’s different), whose respective gifts work together.
Other differences among us may provide the body with opportunities and diversity of ideas. However, these differences pale in comparison to the power of the common goals of the church, realized when following the common Head of the church, Jesus Christ.
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NASB
(See also Romans 12:4-5) Even with the diversity that makes up the church, we all stand in the same relationship to God: sinners, yet forgiven. We are unique, yet part of the same body. Our gifts are different, but come from the same Spirit.
For all that has been acknowledged about the benefits of diversity, the church – when functioning as it was intended – spans a wider range of people than perhaps any other group that is aligned on the same purpose. The church spans countries, centuries, and cultures. It covers the entire scope of human conditions with respect to age, economic status, ethnicity, personality, and history.
Having said this, most Christians still worship with those who are a lot like themselves. There is definitely room for improvement, here. I believe that one of the first steps is to look outside of our sanctuaries, at the rest of the church who is worshiping the same God and trying to follow Him just as we are.
In a single chapter (John 17), Jesus is recorded three times as praying that his disciples would be one (see verses 11, 21, and 22). While sometimes the people in our community with whom we worship (that is, our local church congregation) are going to share a lot in common with us, let us never forget that we’re just a part of a larger body.
So, whatever we may have been provided, the question is not whether or not we should contribute to the body of Christ, but rather how we should contribute to the body of Christ.
In the third part of this series, let us look at who makes up the body of Christ.