About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
When Paul used the word
"body" in the above context and in other similar contexts he was
not thinking of a group of people like the Canadian parliament or the
In 1 Corinthians 12:27
Paul said, "You are the Body of Christ".
I know that many people view this body language metaphorically. It's
imagery, picture language describing the nature of church.
On the other hand, there are some, like me, who see this a bit
Paul said, "You are
the Body of Christ". He
didn't say "You are the symbolic Body of Christ."
Think of it this way. When
Jesus was on earth all of who God is lived in Jesus' human body
(Colossians 1:19). Once Jesus
returned to Heaven (Acts 1:10 - 11) God was no longer on earth in human
form. He, therefore, returned
to earth by His Spirit to live in the believers (Acts 2:1 - 5), otherwise
known as the Body of Christ, the church.
In one real sense of the word church is God's present day earthly
human body in which He lives.
Paul said that we were
baptized into the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Our
English word "baptized" is transliterated from the Greek word
"baptizo", which means "to submerge or immerse".
Baptizo wasn't a religious Greek word.
If you lived in first century Judea and you washed your tunic in
When Paul said you
"were baptized into one body", the phrase "were
baptized" is a Greek aorist passive indicative verb. Aorist
means that at one specific moment in time you were immersed into the Body
of Christ. Passive in this
context means that the Holy Spirit was the one who submerged you into the
Body of Christ. Indicative
means that your baptism into the Body of Christ was a literal, undeniable,
"baptized" in this verse might lead to some confusion since we
relate baptism with water or Spirit baptism.
English translators could have translated "baptizo" as
"immersed" or "submerged" in this verse. The text
could correctly read, "You were submerged into the Body of
Christ," thus eliminating any possible confusion with water or Spirit
I'm not convinced that
Paul was speaking symbolically when he said that the Corinthian believers
were baptized into the Body of Christ.
I certainly don't believe he was talking about joining an
organization we call church. Neither
do I believe he was talking about going to church or having casual
Christian acquaintances. He
was talking about being immersed into the lives of those to whom the Holy
Spirit has joined us by immersion into the Body of Christ.
Once submerged into Christ's body we become vital parts of the
body, performing our bodily functions and responsibilities with those to
whom we have been placed alongside. This
is Paul's point throughout 1 Corinthians 12.
Our western world
individualistic approach to life and church makes it difficult for western
Christians to view and experience church as being immersed into the lives
of people. We think in terms of being joined organizationally, not joined
relationally. This impersonal,
non-relational, approach to church distances us from those to whom we are
immersed into. It defeats the
purpose for the existence of church. If
we could grasp and implement Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 it would
transform the western church into the Body of Christ it was meant to be.
I believe our western
world's individualistic approach to church will change.
Many people believe another revival will produce this change but I
don't believe it will. Western
world Christendom has experienced many revivals over the last few
centuries, none of which have brought lasting change to church structure.
I was very much involved in the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's,
70's, and 80's where "body ministry", as it was called, was an
important aspect of the movement. It
didn't take long for body ministry expressed through personal
relationships in the Body of Christ to evolve into denominational style
I do believe change will
come. As each year passes our
western world anti-Christ culture is demanding with more intensity that we
conform to its unbiblical lifestyle or else pay the penalty.
This, along with God's judgment on our western nations will force
us to live as those who have been immersed into the lives of each other.
This will be the means of the church's survival and purification.
It may be a painful process, as it has been for believers in places