5. Functional Union
Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:15,16 Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:15, 16; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians v. 23
We continue with our consideration of this great and many-sided revelation of union with Christ. We come now to the fifth aspect of union with Christ, which we are calling Fundamental Union: that is, as a body, with head and members.
Inclusive Function: Expressing the Personality - Christ
I am going to begin with the inclusive function of the Body of Christ. That function is the expressing of the personality of the Body, which is Christ. The Body of Christ, the Church as the Body of Christ, does not exist for self-expression. It does not exist for any other purpose at all than that of expressing the inward personality, the personality dwelling within the Body, that is, Christ. We never rightly speak of a corpse as a man. We can speak of it as the body of a man, but never as a man. The man is not there. His body may be there. We may, on the other hand, speak of a living body as a man, but we know quite well that the body, even though it is animated, is not the man, or is at most only a small part of him. The body is only the vehicle or vessel for the expression and activity of the man. The real man is what is inside the body.
So it is with the Body of Christ. We discriminate between Himself and His Body, and in a sense we identify His Body with Him, and yet there remains that difference. It is important to keep this in mind. Christ is not merged into something called His Body and His own personality lost. He remains the personality of His Body. There may be the framework without the personality, just as there can be the personality without the Body; but - and this is the teaching concerning the Church as His Body - for all practical purposes the two are one. That is, Christ demands His Body, and the Body demands Him. The Body is dominated by Him in order that, according to one passage we have just read, it may be His completeness, "the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
So, then, the Body has as its function two main things. One is to locate the person or the personality, to bring Christ where the Body is, so that, where the Body is, there Christ should be. He has decided and chosen so to bind Himself up with His Body, that that Body, the Church, should be the place where He is found; that, in the minimum of representation - two members - it should bring Him into any place, that by it He should be able to come into any location or situation. One purpose of the Body, then, is to locate Christ.
Secondly, its function is to express the personality, to be the means, the vessel, wherein and whereby He can express Himself, make Himself known - bring people to see the Lord, to know the Lord, to understand the Lord. That is quite simple, but it is quite challenging.
(continued with # 35)