Unified in the Body of Christ
The Bible is intriguing in that it often explains the most mysterious heavenly truths in such simple ways they can be easy to miss. From the way Jesus told of the workings of the Kingdom of God through parables, to the way Paul draws us a mental picture of the Church as a human body, the Lord allows us glimpses into His eternal, perfect mind through things we can easily observe and relate to in creation. We must always approach Scripture slowly, carefully, and with a willingness to learn what the Lord is saying.
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph 4:15-16
As we’ve seen throughout Ephesians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul is driving the point that true believers must be united in one faith and truth. Coming out of his warning to the Church to be on the lookout for the dangers of false teachers and bad doctrine (v14), he then expounds on why unity is so important.
Each true believer in Christ is part of the body of Christ. By the enigmatic and unsearchable will of God, each of us was given a specific role and purpose on earth. Just as a body has thousands, even millions of unique parts (if you get to the cellular level) that have a predefined role, every disciple of Christ was put here for the building up of the entire body of Christ. Each one of us fills a need for the body as a whole.
Paul touched on this in his letter to the Corinthian church when he wrote, “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” (1 Cor 12:12). And a bit down in this same chapter, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Cor 12:18-20). He also discussed this in Romans 12 where he said, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (v4-5)
As we’ve seen many times in Ephesians (and basically in all of Scripture), God’s will is unquestionably central to the Christian’s life. We exist by His will, for His will, and to accomplish His will, just as He desired. Seeking His will should be the focus of our prayers and thoughts, as the temptation to seek after our own will is the root of all temptations. It goes back to the garden of Eden, and it spans right to this very moment and the selfish thoughts that are present in our fallible minds. Satan tempts us to make everything about ourselves and our will because then we are no longer unified with the body of Christ in serving God’s will.
The divine call of the Christian is to live a life that selflessly honors and serves God in all we do. We can think of this like having a healthy body part that is working perfectly and doing exactly what it was designed for. It probably goes unnoticed and unappreciated because it requires no attention yet accomplishes its purpose in serving the body without complaint. However, a part of the body that is not healthy causes the entire body to suffer and requires significantly more attention than all the parts that are working well. This simple illustration should help us remember to live as a member of the body of Christ so as to never be a distraction, disgrace, or cause pain to the rest of the body. Paul will expand on this in the coming verses here in chapter 4.
As we consider our role as believers unified in the body of Christ, we must do our best to take “us” out of the equation. Our goal should be to serve God humbly, tirelessly, and seek His will. We ought to strive to serve others in love, with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and patience. Let our aim be to live in a manner worthy of our calling as those saved by the blood of our magnificent Savior and created to live in unity with Him.