One Body

by A.E. Knoch

A STRONG REACTION against the transcendent grace of God, which is ours in this economy, seems to have set in, even among those who proclaim "body truth." Membership in the body is made an attainment, depending upon knowledge and walk. The saints are divided into several bodies instead of being all one in Christ Jesus. The unities of Ephesians four are denied. Paul prayed that God might give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to realize the faith which is ours, to perceive the prospect of its call, and what is its glorious riches among the saints (Eph.1:15-18). Now this is reversed. We are told that we have nothing which we do not realize. We must perceive our position, or we will not get it. We will be reduced to a lower "body" if we do not see the "mystery." We must earn what is ours in Christ!

How different was it with the Corinthians! They were fleshly. They were minors. Paul could not make the "mysteries" known to them because of their immaturity. We have no record of less worthy objects of God's grace in Paul's epistles, for even their morals were low. Yet to these he writes, "Now you are the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:27). He makes no exceptions. Rather, the figure of the body in Corinthians demands dishonorable members (1 Cor. 12:23).

It is the same spirit of sectarianism which casts out of the church those who are defective in doctrine, though the deniers of the resurrection were not cut off from the Corinthians. It is true indeed that, in Corinthians, the members of the one body differ in rank. Some are honorable and strong, others weak and deficient. Yet even there they were blended together, so that there was no schism in the body, so that all were mutually solicitous over one another, and sympathized with each other. Now we are told that they belong to different bodies, with different faiths and other expectations. But in Ephesians the body is a joint-body. All members are of equal rank. God's grace superabounds to all. There is only one body.

Abraham did not believe the doctrine of justification in order to be justified. He believed God. He believed that God would do as He had said about his seed. Everyone who believes God today concerning Christ, receives infinite treasures in Him, no matter how feeble his faith, or how little he perceives of his riches in the Beloved. God is not bartering so many gifts for so much faith.

By their fruits you shall know them. This teaching is the fruit of a partitioning which is unwarranted and unscriptural. It comes from the human tendency to exalt self, so that even God's grace is used to divide Christ, and Paul, and the saints, placing some in an exclusive and superior caste. All recovery of truth is almost sure to become corrupted. It has always been so, and it is so today. Let us avoid all teaching which separates the saints of today into bodies according to their knowledge or experience, or gives to them different destinies or expectations depending on their attainments.

As a result of the teaching contained in the first three chapters of Ephesians, the apostle lists the unities of the spirit--one faith, one expectation, one body. Strange to say, many who stress Pauline teaching, and almost narrow down the truth for today to the Ephesian letter, arrive at exactly the opposite conclusion--two or more faiths, as many destinies and bodies. Of course, in each case "we"--in contrast to ordinary believers who do not understand "body" truth--are superior! We have a body of our own, and a unique destiny! Does not this show clearly that Ephesians has not been understood? That the "mystery" has not been grasped? Let me implore those whom God has enlightened on these themes to avoid all teaching which leads to such a sectarian and divisive attitude toward others who may not have much light. If they believe God they are in Christ just as much as we are, and in Him they are complete, whether they know it or not.

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