13 Jun Beautifying the Body of Christ
What is church?
The word “church” is a translation of the Greek word ‘ekklesia’, which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of church is not that of a building, but of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) until Christ’s return.
The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22, 23 says, “God put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
The body of Christ is made up of The Church is clearly equated with “the body” of Christ by Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:24
What is the ultimate purpose of Christ Jesus for the Church?
We read in Ephesians 5:25-27, that the purpose of Jesus Christ regarding His body-the Church is to beautify her. He expresses His plan through the language of beauty—a glowing church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish.
Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, in order to present the church to himself in all its beauty—pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection. (GNT)
Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. (MSG)
How does Christ beautify His Body-the Church?
1.By decorating with the following dresses:
*Garments of Salvation and robe of Righteousness
When we repent and believe on Lord Jesus Christ, all our sins are forgiven and we are declared as righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our hearts are filled with joy as God dresses us with the garments of salvation and robe of righteousness just like a bridegroom and bride are decorated with costly jewels and ornaments. We have to often refill our hearts with the joy of salvation, just like drawing out water from the wells. We should also grow in holiness by regularly meditating and obeying God’s word. (Isaiah 61:10; 12:3; John 17:17)
*Garment of Praise
Father God has anointed His son Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit so as to cloth us with the garment of praise as an antidote to the spirit of heaviness. So let us sing, praise and worship our Lord, whenever we are heavy-hearted, discouraged, sad or depressed. Our Lord Jesus has also set an example for us, by singing hymns with his disciples, on His way to the cross.
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. (Isaiah 61:1-3/Mk. 14:26/Hebrews 13:14, 15).
2. By making us to go through the furnace of suffering.
Amy Carmichael, who had saved hundreds of girls and boys from the dreadful devadasi system, had an accident which made her invalid. For the last 20 years of her life she was confined to bed, but her inner character developed. Many books and poems that she wrote during that period are still a blessing to many people around the world. Job rightly confessed, “But God knows the way that I take: when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10)”
3. By using us to share the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ
Whenever we go out and share the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ with the precious souls our feet are beautified. We can orally share the gospel, distribute the gospel booklets or Tracts or the New Testaments. The Bible says, “How beautiful and delightful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace, who brings good news of good [things], who announces salvation.” (Isaiah 52:7)
4. By rewarding us with crowns.
When our Lord saves people from sin and hell, through our prayers and labour, those redeemed ones will be our joy and Crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming. (1 Thes. 2:19, 20). So, let us aggressively involve in evangelization so as to speed up the second coming of Christ (Matt. 24:14)
Christian’s responsibility to beautify him/her self
*Let us grow in gentleness and humility by learning from the life of Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:29)
The Bible says that the precious inner character of one’s gentle and quiet spirit outweighs the outward decoration of his/her body with very costly ornaments and dresses. So let us strive to grow in Christian virtues more than decorating our bodies. (1 Peter 3: 4)
While we are living in a world of rat race and cut-throat competition, let us be clothed with humility which is the hallmark of a Christian (1 Peter 5:5)
*Do good works which is compared to finest of pure white linen to be worn by His bride-the church. (Rev. 19:7.8 NLT)
The truth that one is saved not by works but only by the grace of God, does not absolve the Christian believer from doing good works. The Bible clearly says that we are saved by God’s grace for doing good works. Jesus also commanded His disciples to do good works so that Father God is glorified. (Eph. 2:8-10; Matt. 5:16)
As jars of clay having the priceless treasure the Lord Jesus Christ, let us manifest the life of Jesus in our mortal flesh by yielding ourselves to Him so as to beautify us. (2 Cor. 4:7-11)
Abraham Jebaveeran ,the author lives with his wife Baby and youngest son in a North Indian city. They are ministering to young people including university students.