1 THE BODY OF CHRIST PART 5
When looking at the body of Christ or Christ’s body, we are looking at the church which is the body of Christ. In this report I will be comparing the relationship of the church in the following ways: the church’s mission and its purpose, the church’s relationship to Jesus Christ, church leadership and the authority in the body, the church’s relationship to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the relationship between the church’s members.
1.1 The Church’s Relationship to Jesus Christ
Christ said that He would build His Church upon the fact that He is the Christ and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The church will never be destroyed by evil forces (Mt.16:18). The Church is the assembly of believers in Jesus Christ our Saviour. This is a relationship that bonds believers to their Creator. The Church or the assembly of believers in Jesus Christ our Saviour to Jesus Christ can been seen in many ways; some are the temple, the body, and the bride.
1.1.1 The Bride
The church can also be seen as the Bride of Christ. John the Baptist, when speaking of Jesus, called Him the Bridegroom in John 3:29, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (KJV). Jesus has His church and is considered the head of His wife, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). God has established authority. Even as God the Father is the Head of Christ, Christ Jesus is the Head of His bride, the church. Paul gives us the example of Jesus as the husband and the church as His bride in Ephesians 5:22-33. God places the husband as the head of his bride even as Jesus is the head of the church. The wife is to ultimately submit to her husband’s authority and the husband is to love his wife even unto death. It is also the husband who is responsible to help his bride grow in the word to present her spotless before Jesus. Jesus cleanses His church that He might present it in all glory to Himself. Jesus said that He sanctifies Himself that His followers maybe sanctified by the truth of God’s word in John 17:19. We are the bride of Christ and Jesus wants us to be without spot or blemish when we all get to heaven. Jesus is our exemplifier for He died for His bride and we are to respect Him.
We can see many examples of the wedding feast, but I will jump right into Revelation 19 and 21. We can see in Revelation 19:6-8 that there is a marriage supper of the Lamb, the groom Jesus Christ, and the bride or the church of Jesus Christ is granted to be “clothed in fine linen, bright and pure” (ESV). The bride is sanctified and presented to her groom. When we get to heaven, we will be in the New Jerusalem, the holy city. It will be an assembly of saints as the church in heaven, and it will also be considered the bride of Christ as Revelation 21:9 points out, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” (Revelation 21:9-10 NKJV). A wedding begins a new future, and the wedding of the Lamb begins a new eternal future in an everlasting city of peace where the bride and groom are one now and forever.
Jesus Christ and His body of assembled believers is His bride. The church is married to her groom with marriage vows. When we take marriage vows, we do not say “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, and I’ll see you for one hour on Sunday and maybe Wednesday if I can make it. That is not a relationship. All the Biblical examples represent an intimate relationship of respect and love. We are to trust and obey God’s word, His ordinances and act as His bride. We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ here on earth which will draw others to the groom of eternal life and righteousness. The church’s relationship starts here on earth and continues into eternity. We are to function as a bride and a holy priesthood who acts as the body of Christ. In short, physically, the bride and groom are made one flesh and spiritually; we are to be one with Jesus as He is one with the Father. The relationship of the Church and Jesus Christ should be oneness.