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Bible verses about Church as Body of Christ
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Isaiah 66:7-8

The New Testament shows that God has not broken His pattern. A new Israel is being formed—a people from all ethnic backgrounds. The Kingdom of God is expanding through the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16)! This ties directly into Revelation 19 and the Marriage of the Lamb, because it is this Israel—the Israel of God—the spiritual organism consisting of people of all nations, that will marry Christ, the Lamb.

We can see a progression. First, there is one man—Jacob—whose name was changed to Israel. He was chosen by God, even though his brother was firstborn. Next, the descendants of Israel were chosen from the nations of the world, even though other nations were larger, greater, and stronger. Then, as God's plan takes off with the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the giving of the Holy Spirit, God first chooses from among the Israelites and then from all ethnic groups, choosing and putting them into the Body of Christ, though He says the members of His church are foolish, weak, and base.

So the Israel of God is formed to marry Jesus Christ. This is why Gentiles have to become Israelites. In fact, all of us have to become real Israelitesspiritual Israelites—even though we may be genetically "of Israel."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)


 

John 6:44

One does not find the true church on his own any more than one can find Christ and the Father on His own. A person is led to God and to the church, and he is added to it upon repentance, baptism, giving himself wholly to God, and receiving the Holy Spirit. We see not only that God's true church cannot be found without revelation, but also that it cannot be joined. What this reality begins to reveal to us is God's sovereignty over His creation and His purpose. Therefore, as Jesus clearly states, He built and continues to build His church.

Seekers badly misunderstand, thinking salvation is open to anybody at any time. However, Paul puts a damper on this notion, writing in Romans 9:16, "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."

Is it possible that people cannot find it partly because they do not know what to look for? Yes! This is true partly because of what God's church is. The Bible variously describes it as part of a Kingdom that issues citizenships (Colossians 1:13; Philippians 3:20); a building of which its members are materials (Ephesians 2:20-22); as the body of Jesus Christ of which its members are vital, living parts (Ephesians 1:22-23); and as a Family into which God's children are summoned (Ephesians 3:15). There is no more important and exclusive institution on earth. No volunteers are accepted. Each person becomes a part of it by God's design and His design only. He is sovereign!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is There a True Church?


 

1 Corinthians 3:6-17

This passage begins by seeming to say that God sends only the ministry to labor in His behalf. However, as Paul proceeds, the context reaches out to embrace all the called of God by admonishing us to take heed how we build the Temple, the church of God. I Corinthians 12 leaves no doubt that we are all members of the Body of Christ, and it is the Body of Christ that is sent forth to witness for God in the world. The Body of Jesus Christ is the Israel of God in this New Testament period (Galatians 6:16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Five): Who We Are


 

1 Corinthians 12:18

We can surely understand that, in the human body, every part was placed exactly where God wanted it to be. God put every single one of us in Christ's body with wisdom, with at least as much wisdom as He used to construct our own human body. We understand how wonderfully we are made. The church is put together just as wonderfully! Probably more so, because the stakes are so much greater.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 5)


 

1 Corinthians 12:18

The members of the church of God are Christ's body, and God has placed each of us just where He wants us in the body. It is not that He has just placed us in the body, but that He has placed us in a particular place in the body. He wants us to do the job He has assigned us and not try to do something that He did not give us the position or the authority to do. We need to be content with the wisdom of His placement of us in the church, letting Him exalt us in due time.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Countering Presumptuousness


 

Ephesians 1:10

We say that we are "in Christ." We say that there is "one church." We say that there is "one Body," "one Family," "one Kingdom." What is said here in Ephesians 1 is where God is headed with all this. He will unite everybody who has ever been born and makes it into His Kingdom into one—one family, the God Family—one kingdom, the Kingdom of God. The church is simply the beginning of an awesome process—a tremendous project—that will eventually cover the 50 or 60 billion people who have ever lived on the face of this earth.

We who are now begotten children of God are at the prow of the ship, as it were, cutting the water as we forge ahead. It is our calling to have gotten in on the ground floor, the very beginning of the process. We have entered the process even before all of the great men and women we have read about in the histories of the nations. They will get their opportunity, but we are way ahead of them.

Why has God had to do this? The basic cause is what happened in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve sinned. Sin is disruptive; it divides, and it divided our first parents away from the one Family. As Paul says in Romans 5:12, "All have sinned." We have all sinned—maybe not exactly as Adam and Eve did, but everybody has sinned. We have followed our parents in becoming separated from God. Sin divides away from God, and man from man. The world has been shattered by sin. One could say, then, that the central object of salvation is to reunite all mankind into one Family.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 6): Ephesians 4 (C)


 

Ephesians 1:21-23

Despite its smallness and visible weaknesses, as the complement of Christ, the church is also in an exalted position. We members do not literally add a thing to Christ's divinity, but in His view, He is not complete and will not be complete until united with His bride. Thus, as He sanctifies and shapes us in holiness, He gradually fills His bride's every part with every gift needed to enable her to function effectively so that she, as a whole, can glorify God in her overall responsibility to our Father and to our Lord and Savior. Since everything in Christ's spiritual body comes from Him, He is everything to every member within it.

No religion but Christianity offers such an exalted and loving, spiritual Being sent to labor on behalf of its adherents. He is our Creator, our Lawgiver, the Forgiver of our sins, the Dispenser of His Spirit, the Giver of eternal life, our Guide through life who blazes the trail before us, and the Enabler of true spiritual growth and overcoming.

This body of believers is not contained within one corporate entity, and an individual cannot just go out and join it. The Father must lead a person to it (John 6:44). When He does, the newly called person will find people who are keeping God's commandments—all ten of them—in both letter and spirit. They will worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24) without dodging spiritual realities, and they will sacrifice themselves despite personal costs. They will be honest to a fault, trustworthy, and uncomplaining. They are not driven by envy and covetousness, nor are they fixed on immediate or self-gratification.

The Kingdom of God is the vision that drives them. They strive to transform into the image of Jesus Christ and to glorify the Father and Son in everything. They live solidly in the present, aware of many of its harsh realities, but they make every move with their gaze on their eternal future. They truly are pilgrims, people who humbly see themselves as mere tiny specks in a vast and awesome purpose yet privileged beyond all bounds. They believe that purpose, and in gratitude, give themselves by faith to see it accomplished in their lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is God's True Church Today?


 

 




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