“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) How many times have you heard this scripture in sermons that justify the sinful nature of a person? Typically it goes like this: “Well even Paul called himself a wretched man, that he’s a sinner. And if Paul was like this, then what can we say about ourselves?” But what is Paul really writing about here? Is this the condition (the condition of a wretched man) of a person who is born again, born from above? Paul is writing about the condition of war, a condition where you are in constant battle between the law (which is good) and sin (which is bad). This is the condition of a person who is under the law. Christ came to free us from the law and from the wretched state, from sin!
And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:17-23) And He is before all things, and by Him all things exist. And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have preeminence. (Colossians 1:17-18) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)
The New Testament says that Christ is one, that He has one body, and that it is undivided (1 Corinthians 1:13). There is no second or third Christ. And with His body God prepared a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, ‘sacrifice and offering though wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me… I come to do thy will, O God’ … taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:4-10)
The body of Jesus Christ represents the Church, which can only be ONE. There cannot be two, three, or four churches each having a unique teaching. But how many divisions do we see today? Not three or five, but hundreds. Each “body” has its own understanding, resulting in hundreds of interpretations. And every “body” claims in its own way that it is the body of Christ. So how can this be understood? Did Jesus divide Himself into hundreds of pieces? Can this be so with the Body of Christ? It is written:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body … and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (the teaching of Jesus Christ). For the body is not one member, but many… Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
Let us take the body of a man. It consists of a multitude of organs and members, and all together are united and function collectively and harmoniously.
Each cell receives nourishment through the blood, which supplies all the organs everything that is needed for life. If we take and divide this human body into parts and separate them, what will happen? Will the members function separately? The answer to all is very clear: THERE IS NO LONGER A BODY, for all the members of the body will perish, they cannot live and function on their own! Our physical body is the prototype of the Body of Christ, whose life is Christ Himself – His Word. The body of Christ cannot be torn or divided into many parts! Every part of the body cannot act by itself; outside the body it will die! From this arises the question: which Church, with its teaching and faith, is the True Body of Christ? It is written:
One body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope… One Lord, one faith… But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth… the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (Ephesians 4:4-5, 15-16, Colossians 2:18-19)
If there is a division from the body, the divided part cannot grow! Therefore Apostle Paul wrote: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment… Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans 15: 5-6)
There is no untruth in the House of God. The House of God is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15, Romans 14:17). There are many churches out their, with many different trends and beliefs, and many claim to be the true Church of the Living God. But the true Church of God has no untruth; it is where the Word of God is not distorted, where there are no human creations that take the form of traditions. The Church is the true House of God, whose artist and builder is God (Matthew 16:18, Hebrews 3:4-6, 11:10). This Church is outside of this world. It is in the realm of God’s being, His Holy Spirit. The members of this Church became partakers of the divine nature and came out of this world (2 Peter 1:3-4). Anyone who wants to become a member of this Church must be baptized into the death of Jesus Christ. This means to die on Calvary with Christ for all unrighteousness and untruth and to resurrect with Him in the Kingdom of God, where only the Truth is affirmed. In other words: to transition from life to death (John 5:24).
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be jews or gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
How is it that we are baptized by one Spirit, how do we understand this one Spirit? By faith one immerses himself in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Word of Truth, and the Word of Truth is the Spirit of Truth.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but you know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
From the scriptures the message is clear: the Spirit by which we were baptized is the Spirit of Christ, He is the Word of Truth, the Word made flesh! This is the doctrine of Christ, and if a man transgresses this doctrine, he does not have God. In conclusion: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9).
Therefore: “… many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death” – “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” (Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 12:13)
By faith we accept the death of our old man with Christ on the cross; with Him we were buried by baptism unto death; with Him we were resurrected by His Spirit and: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory.” (Romans 6:6-7, 4-5, Colossians 3:1-4)
The Church is the Body of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is eternal life, and therefore He must live in every member of the Church, as it is written: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12) If any believer does not let Jesus Christ become his conscience – he misses the goal! A man’s conscience is always the basis of his life, what he believes in, what he worships. Therefore, it is necessary for those who wish to inherit His blessed eternal Kingdom to make Jesus Christ their conscience and to live according their conscience.
Having this precious faith by the Truth of our God, having the Lord Jesus Christ as our conscience, mind, and life, we are that One Body of our Lord – the Church, which is: “But if I tarry long, that though mayest know how though oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” – “But Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 3:6) “So, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another … Let love be without dissimulation, abhor what is evil; cleave to that which is good … Not slothful in business; fervent in Spirit; serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:5, 9, 11) In the unbelievably great mercy of God to us, we are given to create the Body of Christ, to serve each other, until we all come to the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we are no longer hesitant babes, so that no one is late to enter into the eternal peace of God (Ephesians 4:12-14, Hebrews 4:1-3).
Concerning the unity of the Body of Christ between all the members it is written: “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” – “That there should be no schism in the body…” (Ephesians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 12:25) The Lord Himself very clearly states: “As thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word (today this is us, those who believe according to the words of the Apostles); That they may be one … I in them, and Thou in Me, and they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:18-24)
Today there are numerous divisions in Christianity. Let us understand that the Body of Christ is one whole, it is indivisible. The members of this Body live in peace and love among themselves, preserving the complete unity according to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and await the second coming of the Lord, so that they may be where He is!