Posted by: SandreS | July 20, 2009

Why the Body of Christ Suffers

… In Christ’s stead … (II Corinthians 5:20).

Jesus Christ was a minister Who identified with those whom He served; but He is no longer here in the flesh. Rather, He is seated at the right hand of God the Father. We no longer know Him “after the flesh” (II Corinthians 5:16). Although He is still ministering to the world today, He does it through the instrumentality of the believers, the ecclesia, who are His Body – the Body of Christ.

Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular (I Corinthians 12:27).

For we are members of His Body … (Ephesians 5:30).

Even though we have a position in Christ, seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3), and are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), we are here as His ambassadors of grace.

For the love Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:14-21).

Paul had spoken in the previous chapter of his sufferings (II Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-17). He spoke of “the light of the glorious gospel” which was a “treasure in earthen vessels” (i.e., that Christ dwells in us!). This reference to the earthen vessels reminds us of Gideon (Judges 7) and the pitchers that were broken so that the light was released. So it is with the Body of Christ: we are broken so that “Jesus Christ may be made manifest” in our bodies:

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’s sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh (II Corinthians 4:10-11).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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