What we live out of will determine if we are the body of Christ or something less. Should we be the product of the law, belief system, and institution – we will live in a lesser mode, separated in our minds from God. Theoretically we will be the Body of Christ. But not in spirit and in truth. Should Christ be our life – which Paul advocated and which is not only a possibility, but the new and living way – we will collectively be the expression of His person. We will be the body of Christ in spirit and in truth. Being the Body of Christ is the effect of our possessing our inheritance of union with God.
PART OF HIS BEING
The Body of Christ is Jesus incarnated as we who believe. We are not one with Him because we have done something. We are one because God has done something. We have union with the trinity – they indwell us and manifest in our flesh because they have done something. They have guaranteed our belonging in God.
All belonging stems from Christ and our agreement with His achievement for us. Our agreeing is that we declare and live that He has received us into His life. Our oneness with His person is found in the reality that is Jesus come in our flesh. Together, because Jesus is manifest in us we are the body of Christ and the church Jesus builds without human hands. These Believers are literally the expression of Christ in the world. One with Jesus they are the manifestation of those who live in the reality of their sonship. As such they are agents not of ecclesiastical structures but of the new creation. Verna Dozier writes of a conversation about her book that is implicitly about the difference between union with God and .. well.. union with ourselves.
PEOPLE OF GOD
“It’s is going to be about how I think the institutional church has missed the mark of what it ought to be about,” I replied. ‘The institutional church?” he puzzled. “What other church is there?” ‘The people of God,” I replied. ‘The baptized community.” “But how would they function without an institution?” he smiled. Aye, there’s the rub, as Hamlet would say. The little band, the church of St. Paul’s day, needed an organization, a structure, an institution to maintain itself but the institution took over the little band.” (1)
All can be defined as the people of God. The sons of God are those joined in spirit and in truth to our Father in Jesus. We live in fullness as sons when Christ is our life. In partiality and weakness when intervening things dilute this life. The institutional church that took over the simplicity of Christ in us is the mirror image of those who have not relinquished the law but live in the letter. They ignore the new covenant and cling to the imaginary solid ground of words on stone, of religion and structures.
The institutional church is the manifestation of the letter, just as the religious person is a manifestation of the letter. But in this age your privilege is to be a manifestation of Christ. Christ is your life. He lives in you by the Spirit and manifests through your being. You alive in His life in spirit and in truth. In this union, you manifest as a son/daughter and the church manifests as the Kingdom of God.
‘Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’
John 6.68 NIV.
TO WHOM DO YOU GO?
The institutional church is a burocratic expression of the letter. As Paul says, the letter that robs us of life. We can persist in this un-life through stubbornness and self-interest. Others will inevitable perceive our lack of spirit and life even though we are unaware of it ourselves.
The Body of Christ is the community of those whose being is rooted in the trinity – because Jesus has made them one with God. The body of death is the existence once had in the regime of Adam, known as the law of sin and death, the knowledge of good and evil and the old covenant. The church Jesus builds is the manifestation of Himself in people without the intervening, synthetic mediation of the law, and the Christian Industry. The Body of Christ, Kingdom of God is no less than those who eat His flesh and drink His blood. They are one with Him and one with God.
(1) Dozier, Verna J.. The Dream of God: A Call to Return (Seabury Classics) (Kindle Locations 47-53). Church Publishing. Kindle Edition.