Inward Invisible Grace
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Inward Invisible Grace
Page 65

Body of Christ

St Augustine of HippoWhen we look closely enough, we find the Body of Christ beneath the surface of many seemingly mundane objects, such as water, bread, wine and even a wooden cross. The term "Body of Christ" is used in two different senses in the New Testament. It may refer to Jesus' statement in Luke 22.19-20 at The Last Supper that "And he (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.' We may note here that some manuscripts do not have "given for you" or "poured out for you" though it makes little difference to the meaning. The words "the Body of Christ" may also refer to the Christian Church as as referenced by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12.27 where he writes, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." Here Saint Paul is explaining to Christians that they are "outward and visible signs of an inward invisible grace" and hence they are also sacraments. There may be different interpretations by various denominations and churches of the meaning of "bread and wine" but these are minor in the overall scheme of things. St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) who was a prominent early Christian theologian and philosopher, wrote in Sermon 262, "Christians are to see in the many grains, ground by the prayers of exorcism, moistened by the waters of baptism, and now united in the one Eucharistic loaf, the image of themselves as the Body of Christ, the Church." This was Augustine's very novel way of combining the various sacraments into one statement of belief.✞

New Testament Importance

Infant baptismThe sacramental Body of Christ in all its forms has immense importance for the New Testament church. At the beginning of the Twenty First Century, it is a porthole into God's being, and a bringer of divine grace which is the undeserved gift of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. These sacramental models, when rediscovered, will provide what we now call "The Church" with a rich and inspirational understanding of the Mystical Body without leading us into superstitions and heresies.✞

"Inward Invisible Grace"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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