Spiritual Body of Christ
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14. Spiritual Body of Christ

Christ Lives in You

Over a Christian's lifespan, a new way emerges. The Fall impinges human beings. In Genesis 3.23, we read, "So the Lord God banished him (Adam) from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which God had taken him. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." The phrase "on the east side" may also be translated "placed in front." Humankind is born tinged by Adam's sin but can move forward to a spiritual decision point when that person welcomes Jesus! A Christian's supernatural nature unfolds, beginning with their commitment.

Inward Renewal

Saint Paul wrote of the Mystical Body of Christ within himself in Galatians 2.20, "I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." As the physical body deteriorates, so the inner spiritual nature matures. In 2 Corinthians 4.16, Saint Paul further explains, "Though we are wasting away outwardly, yet inwardly we are renewed day by day. Jesus' indwelling automatically transplants a Christian into the Mystical Body of Christ. Transplantation is one piece of the definition of "Christian." "Christian" is an essential part of the meaning of the "Body of Christ." Paul interprets this for us in 2 Corinthians 5.17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!"

Spiritual Body Likeness

Technician and Purified WaterThe spiritual body likeness of the committed Christian in the Household of Faith is similar to that of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. In the Christian era, men and women are equal in their spiritual bodies, like the Lord's. Joel, a prophet of ancient Israel and the second of the twelve minor prophets whose name translates as "one to whom Yahweh is God," prophesied many centuries ago in Joel 2.28-29. He wrote, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days." In the new spiritual body, explained in Acts 15.9, there is no difference between men and women. Like Gentile and Jewish Christians, "he made no distinction between them and us, for he purified their hearts by faith."

True Equality

Like Father Like SonBoth males and females became a part of the Body of Christ and transfigured into Jesus' spiritual likeness. In the biological family, father and son, mother and daughter, often bear physical similarities. In the spiritual Body of Christ, disciples also develop a spiritual resemblance to their Lord as they mature in his image. Saint Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3.18, "And we, who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." Henri Nouwen (1932-1996 AD), a Dutch pastor and theologian, writes, "In the resurrection, we will have spiritual bodies. Our natural bodies came from Adam; our spiritual bodies come from Christ. Christ is the second Adam, offering us new bodies not subject to destruction."

Heavenly Likeness

As Saint Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15.49, "as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [Adam], so we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly one [Christ]." Jesus comes to dress our perishable nature with imperishability and our mortal life with immortality. Christian spiritual maturity develops in the human being like a newborn baby growing in a family. God produces this glorious image in us according to Romans 8.29, "for those God foreknew he also predestined to develop into the likeness of his Son." Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (269-373 AD) of the Coptic Orthodox Church wrote, "God became a man so that man might become God."

Injection of the Divine Element

Though human sin results in death, being conformed to God's son's image propels Christians into spiritual maturity. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit injects that person with the divine element to complement the human one. Saint Paul writes in Colossians 1.27 that God's glorious mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." God reformulates a person by changing them into something more than a biological child. God is not just a super-human but a divine being. The Jesus element transforms the human into super humanity. Maturity and spirituality flower from the sacred component within the mortal frame.

Newly Born to Death

Newly Born BabyOn this basis, the life pattern of the average human being now appears. The physical begins at conception through birth and matures in the early twenties. From that point on, beauty begins to fade, muscles weaken, skin starts to wrinkle and sag, hair falls out, and brain cells diminish into old age, death, then dust. The spiritual line drops to the base and tumbles through the end into agonizing eternity for those who have not received Christ. It is merely a seamless extension of the Christian life, a doorway into a new and beautiful life with God.

"Spiritual Body of Christ"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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