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Body or Bodies? (“Our Body” Pt. 1)

12 Jun

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Paul, writing after Christ had ascended and the Holy Spirit had been given at Pentecost, made it clear in the scriptures below that he was still looking and waiting for something.  Jesus’ work was incomparable, immense and powerful, but more-so in the sense of preparation and potential rather than immediate fulfillment, like an acorn compared with a towering, mature oak tree.  We need to be patient and careful, waiting for divine illumination to relate to spiritual things, because Truth is only accessed by revelation, and if the foundation is faulty, so is everything built on it.

  • For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  (Gal 5:5 KJV)

  • So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…  (1Cor 1:7 KJV)

  • For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look (wait) for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  (Php 3:20-21 KJV)

  • So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look (wait) for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  (Heb 9:28 KJV)

  • And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23 KJV)

In getting to the (super awesome) point, I want to highlight something extremely important which seems so trivial it’s easy to miss: not once in all these verses does Paul mention personally awaiting or looking for somethingInstead, he includes himself in a group which is looking and waiting, using terms like “we,” “our,” “you (all),” “them,” and  “ourselves…”  Paul writes of himself individually in many other places1, but not in reference to waiting for Christ or the transformation of the body.

Ok, so why does that matter?  Well, look at Phillippians 3:20-21 and Romans 8:23 (MLV) again, and see if you notice anything unusual:  

  • “For our citizenship exists in the heavens; out of which we are also waiting for a Savior, the Lord Jesus the Christ.  He will fashion the body of our humbleness, *thatit may become transformed to the body of his glory according to the working of which he is able to even subject all things to himself.”

  • “And not only they, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves are groaning in ourselves, waiting for our sonship, that is, the redemption of our body.”

Do you see it?  Until very recently, I didn’t.  In both verses (and others I didn’t list), Paul is discussing awaiting the transformation and redemption of “our body.”  Our body?  Think about this; wouldn’t it be strange if a patient told their doctor: “you know doc, something’s wrong in our body“?  We’d think that person was mentally ill or possessed, but that’s precisely what Paul wrote!  He didn’t say our bodies, but our body.  Is it becoming clearer?  Our (plural) body (singular)!    One body, consisting of many individuals. What Paul was awaiting wasn’t the transformation and/or redemption of his individual body, but for the entire church, the spiritual body of Christ, of which he was just one member, to be transformed and redeemed as a whole.  Paul wrote very very plainly that each and every believer (plural) makes up the body of Christ (singular), and that each individual is just a part of Christ’s corporate body.  This is Paul’s understanding of “our body.”2  What Paul was actually awaiting was the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that he himself would raise his body up after 3 days.  Jesus didn’t mean his physical body, but his spiritual body, the Church.  If you want to see this proven from scripture in a really cool way, check out this article.  

(Edit: someone read this and said that emphasizing Paul’s use of “our body” instead of “our bodies” is semantics, but it’s not!  Paul did use the plural phrases “your bodies” and “our bodies”  plenty of times in other places, and in those cases, he was in fact referring to individual, physical bodies. Here are a few examples:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:15: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?”

  • Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…

  • 2 Corinthians 7:5: “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest…”

Like Paul, we have to come to see our individual bodies and our personal “ministries” as important only as they contribute to the much larger and more important whole.  An eye or hand are only useful as part of a body.  This takes our individual importance down a few notches, which is a very good thing for most of us.  As I’ve said before, God’s purposes and plans are much, much bigger than your or I personally, and we need to change our way of thinking to match up with God’s heart.  In Christ, the seed of transformation has been planted and the full potential of the matured body is there.  I believe the right season is finally arriving for this growth to take place, and the result is going to be a new body, one that has never been seen before, save perhaps for a brief period shortly after Pentecost.

Thank you for reading.  I hope this pointed you to the Father and His Kingdom.  

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:10, Phillippians 1:16, many more.

  2. 1 Corinthians 12:4-31

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5 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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5 responses to “Body or Bodies? (“Our Body” Pt. 1)

  1. cmardern

    June 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Reblogged this on soundoctrine.

     

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