Short Meditations on the Body of Christ: 13. A Dead & Alive Body
Rom 8:10,11 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
There is a point where individual and corporate concepts of the body come today in an unusual and mostly un-thought of way. We, with our individual bodies make up the corporate body that is the body of Christ, the Church, and there is something about our individual bodies that should surely impact the whole of the bigger body.
In Romans 6 to 8 the apostle Paul tackles the subject of the power of sin in the believer and we find a number of references to the life we live in our individual bodies, for example, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Rom 6:12,13).
It IS humanly possible for a believer to go on sinning but everything about our encounter with the Lord works to help us counter that, so when Paul twice in these verses says, “Do not” he is instructing us to make a purposeful effort. But as he develops this in chapter 7 he shows that humanly speaking he cannot master Sin and so it is only when we come to chapter 8 that he talks about the work and life and power of the Holy Spirit who is the practical means to enable us to do what our transformed minds now want to do.
So if this is true of our individual bodies how much more must it be true of the corporate body made up of all us individuals? What are the practical outworkings of this suggestion? First the whole picture of ‘Church’ should convey to the world a people who have been transformed and who are utterly different, not allowing any of the works of the old self-centred and godless life to be seen. So, for example, to take Paul’s prohibitions in Colossians 3, there should never ever be any sign of sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language or lying (Col 3:5-9) but instead the body should be characterized by “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” (Col 3:12) and “love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Col 3:14) Is that what we see in our local church(es) and in the Church at large? Is that the image ‘church’ conveys? If not, we have some work to do!