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truth that Christ is the Head_" the Head over all things to the Church which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” In chapter ii. the body is seen to be quickened when the Head was raised or quickened from the dead, and is now seated where He is, forming together with Him, in the heavenly places,
one new man" Christ the Head, the Church His body. It was thus they were seen in the Eternal purpose, and that independently of our own knowledge or experience of it. When we are morally quickened it is our privilege to be led by the Spirit, through the truth, into all the blessedness and joy of it, as well practically into the walk and life to which it naturally tends.
In chapter iv. the growth and development of the body are indicated. For the body is not yet perfect, nor will it be until the Head and the body are both joined, which they will be on His return, when they will form “a perfect man."
In chapter v. the great truth is made to form our daily life. We are held responsible to the Head. As the husband is head of the wife, so Christ is Head of His Church. As the husband claims obedience of the wife, so Christ the obedience, the submission, of His Church. In verses 26-33, the apostle is most explicit. There, as a man loves his wife, Christ loves His Church. There He is Saviour of the body. There he says Christ delivered Himself up (died), that He might sanctify it, having purified it by the washing of water, by the Word, that He might present it to Himself glorious, having no spot or wrinkle—that it might be holy, blameless. There, too, he tells us that no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, even as the Lord the Church; for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. “This is a great mystery,” Paul adds, “but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”
Surely, statements such as these (of the Church) had never been before. They were not known to Abraham
or Daniel, nor are they of future accomplishment, seeing they were specially revealed to Paul for us, to whom neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth anything, but a new creation. Yet, as we have said, the mystery was hid in Eve, who was not merely a wife to Adam, but was first in him, and after his deep sleep” was raised up together with him : also, as we have seen in Psalm, cxxxix., where in the Book all the members were written. The “body'' plainly is not Jewish, nor is it millennial. It is of present interest, and belongs specially to us who, in this intermediate time, believe in and make confession of a despised and rejected Jesus, as did Peter, when he uttered the confession, that although the world and Israel had rejected Him, He, Jesus, was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God; concerning which confession the Lord said, “ Upon this rock I will build my Church.”
” And now, will you go with me a little in detail into a few things respecting the Church as Christ's body?
And first notice the place of eminence given to it. There is nothing so closely related to a man as his own body; no, not his child, or bride even, however tenderly allied.
You could not conceive of anything nearer to Christ than the body. Nothing could go beyond it. The thing next beyond it would be to be head itself, which is simply impossible. It was blessed for saints in Old Testament times that their names were on the breastplate and on the shoulders of the high priest. It is a great thing for Zion to be engraven on the palms of His hands, there never to be erased; but we, says Paul, speaking of the body, are, as it were, the hands themselves,
-are His breast. It is much, truly, to be a bride. But a bride is not one's own body, and Paul implies that a man might hate his wife; but
ever yet hated his own flesh. Blessed, precious position of eminence, this of the body! nearer than names on the palms of the hands or on the breast; nearer than that of friends, or sons, or bride;
66 No man
though we are friends and sons, and the Lord, in the latter day, will have His bride, and will find a portion of His reward in resting in her love. Beloved saints, have you ever seen your position thus ? It goes beyond all other glory, the essential excepted; beyond all merely human position; it goes beyond all other orders
; of beings—beyond the height or rank of the highest angel. It is not said of the highest created nature as it is of us, “ Ye are the body of Christ.”
How pre-eminent our position is! God's thought in the salvation of the members was, that we might be sharers of all that belongs to the Head. And our association with Him accordingly is complete. Was the Head laid on the cross ? Did He die there? We are dead with Him. Was He raised from the dead ? We are raised together with Him. Is He a son? We, too, are sons.
All the blessedness that He can communicate, as Head, He communicates to us. What was the life with God ? John tells us what it was ; how it was manifested in the Son. Life, light, and
, holiness were in Him. Eternal life was 6 with the Father;" in Him we see love, grace, righteousness, holiness, power; this was the eternal life which was with the Father, and which was manifested in the Son. Having eternal life, we have fellowship with the Father, with His Son, Jesus Christ. We get this fellowship as to love in John xvii., where the Lord says, “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Was it the love of Creator or the love of God simply? No; it was the love of the Father. Not, as we constantly tell you, His love to man or to an angel ; but His love to “the Son of His love." And this love is that to which He says we are now entitled
_“ that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them”--that timeless, ineffable, infinite love, which from all eternity it was the Father's joy to pour out upon His own Šon.
It is the same with peace. That primal peace, which
. by emphasis he calls 6 my peace,” which He had with the Father, He has given to us; as he says, “ My peace I give unto you.” He speaks distinctly of “ peace,” and of “my peace.” He says, “Peace I leave with you;” that is one peace-peace with God, which, as sinners, we need, and which was made for us by Christ on the cross, and which in the Gospel is offered to us. But, over and above that, He says, “ My peace (my own peace—the peace I have as Son with the Father) I give unto you”—a peace which is above all circumstances of sorrow or trial, as seen in Him who, though a man of sorrows, retained a mind at rest before God. Ah! beloved, we have not yet, believe me, taken hold of all our privileges in Christ Jesus. His peace is ours-oh, wondrous thought !the peace
of the Son of God. Some do not understand either this peace of the Son which He hath given us, or
- the love of the Father.” Then we are also heirs. He is heir of all things, and we take heirship with Him. Neither He nor we are yet in possession. He died to reconcile all things. He has reconciled us. We are made nigh. But the whole earth, and the heavens, will yet be subject to Him, when He is enthroned above them all. Angels are distanced by
. the thought that sinners are to sit down with Him on His throne, even as He is now on His Father's throne. Moreover, the Head cannot show out its fulness but through the members. It is ours, beloved, we who are with Him in His rejection—who own Him as Lord and Christ—who are His body,- to be associated with His highest exaltation. This it was which gave Him infinite satisfaction during the time of His rejection. As, when David came to the throne, those who had shared his rejection were raised to positions of honour in the kingdom, even so, there are those, He tells us, who will sit with Him on His throne, reigning over the kingdom, ruling the world.
This is a glory which differs—the body with the Head. Is there not a difference between the glory of Israel and that of His redeemed body ? Surely, there is a marvellous distinction between those who reign with Christ, and those who are reigned over. He had long since gathered Israel as a people ere He said, « On this rock will I build my Church.” He is now building His Church. Every believing sinner from the time of the Lord's rejection to the time of His coming again, is, as I believe, included in the body. But neither the Head nor the body have as yet been manifested. Can the Head manifest His life, and the body not be in the manifestation ? 66 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”
It is the same with His fulness. The body, says Paul, " is the fulness of Him, that filleth all in all.” What was in Him never could have been seen or known but for His redeemed body. Even as no one could have known a Creator but for creation, which showed what was in him, so none would have known God, in Christ, His infinite resources of grace, holiness, righteousness, and love, but for the Church; hence He hath, says Paul, “ raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.”
But the exceeding riches will not be fully seen until Christ and His Church, the Head and the members, are “ glorified together.”
glorified together.” The Head the first fruits, afterwards them that are His. This is a time for the patience of Jesus. He is waiting to take up His Church for which He died, that we may be glorified together. In order to that, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven for us, and we shall be caught up to meet Him. The body will then be with the Head, and will be with Him wherever He is. If the Head, as in 1 Thess. iv., be in the air, the body will