The human body is one of the many creations that God has given to us as a gift. If you look at the human body it is comprised of various organs that have specific purposes. Whether internally or externally, the human body is a creation that no one else can claim as its creator other than God Almighty. With the creation of the human body, there are body parts.
Each body part is designed to function in a specific role in the body as a whole. For example, the legs allow the body to move from one place to another. The arms of the body create the capability to reach objects in conjunction with each hand being used to grasp. Body parts such our ears and our eyes allow us to hear and to see what is within our surroundings. Each body part is unique but when they are working in unison they accomplish the purpose of the body which is to function fully.
The very example of the human body is the imagery that the Apostle Paul uses in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 in verses 12-21. However, before Paul uses the analogy of the human body in reference to those in Christ, he talks about the spiritual gifts that reside within the body of Christ and the diversity of the various gifts. In verses 4-7 Paul mentions the diversity or differences between the spiritual gifts that God has made available.
(NKJV) “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:”
In verses 8-11 Paul gives examples of the various spiritual gifts such as teaching, prophecy, the interpretation of tongues, discerning of spirits, and the gift of healing. Paul’s point is that within the body there are different spiritual gifts that exist. As the Apostle Paul continues in this chapter he then uses the analogy of the human body, however, before he begins he says the following in verses 12-14:
(NKJV) “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being 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 have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”
Paul’s point in these verses is that we who are in Christ are to be ‘one’ or unified regardless of what background we may come from. The key is that we are all baptized into one body which means that we are partakers of the Holy Spirit in oneness or unity. The point of this chapter in 1 Corinthians is to encourage unity within the body of Christ despite the various differences. Paul then uses the example of the human body in verses 15-17:
(NKJV) “If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?”
(NKJV) “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
In a summary, Paul is basically making the point that the body of Christ should function in unity. He uses the analogy of human body parts to state that there are different parts, but there is one purpose or goal which is to function together. Even if there are different functions or different members within the body of Christ they cannot say that they do not need each other. Rather, each part must function in harmony in order to achieve the purposes of God.
This then leads to the question, ‘What is the purpose of the body of Christ?’ There are at least three purposes that the body of Christ serves:
1. To enhance and nourish the lives of those in the body of Christ –
Ephesians 4: 11-12 says the following:
(NLT) “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
Here the Apostle Paul makes reference to what is called the ‘Five-Fold Ministry.’ The Five -Fold Ministry is a collection of offices held within the body of Christ. These are offices that God has called some within the body of Christ to serve in their particular capacity. However, notice that Paul uses the word ‘gifts.’ Even with these five offices they are also considered to be gifts that God has given to some. Also, as it relates to the earlier passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul names other gifts which God has made available to those who He has given them to.
The point is that one of the purposes of the body of Christ is to edify one another or to build up the church or the body of Christ. Edification is to institute a process of building a structure. In this case, the structure is that of the church or the body of Christ. Our goal as Christians is to serve one another in love and with our deeds. This creates a process of spiritual edification and unity among brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. The body of Christ must reach out to those who are lost and living in sin – In Mark chapter 16 verse 15 Jesus tells His Disciples to spread the Gospel unto all nations. The Gospel is ‘The Good News’ which is the news of redemption through Jesus Christ. The same command that Jesus gave to the Disciples is the same that applies to each person in Christ. We are not saved by grace to live within our own Christian sphere. We are saved so that we can be witnesses unto those who are in their sin.
The purpose of the body of Christ is to evangelize by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The love of Christ spreads through you and I which means that if we are open and obedient to what God is calling us to do, we will be representatives of Christ in every area of our lives. Reaching out to those who are in darkness in addition to discipling others is what the Great Commission involves.
3. Model God’s love and His truth to a broken world – Those of us who are in Christ must be the example of God’s love and what His truth stands for. Not only must we love our neighbor as our self but we must take a stand against sinfulness by rejecting the lies of the world. Standing for God’s truth means loving everything He loves and hating everything He hates. We must be the ‘Salt of the Earth’ as Matthew 5:13 declares. We can only do that by showing forth the power of the Holy Spirit in how we live. If God is love and if God represents a righteous truth which is His truth, then we should declare His words and walk in the same manner.
Overall the body of Christ must come together in order to show forth the true power of God within this Earth. Walking in a relationship with Christ is indeed a personal endeavor. However, the body must function together if we are going to serve these three purposes. So many within the body of Christ have become divided based on race, culture, denomination, and doctrine. For too long the body of Christ has been split for various reasons but God is calling us to come together to accomplish His will.
If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior then you won’t be able to fulfill the purposes of the body of Christ. Join the body in reaching the lost by giving your heart to Jesus Christ. Accepting His sacrifice will change your life and you will become a part of The Great Commission and the body of Christ’s overall mission which is to glorify God in everything that we do.