Weekly Reading: Galatians 5:16–26 | Romans 8:18–39 | 1 Corinthians 6:1–11 | Ephesians 4:1–16 | Ephesians 5:17–6:21 | Colossians 3:1–17 | James 3:13–4:17
“Christ makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16
This week Elizabeth Augustine, who participates in WCC’s Hispanic, school outreach and growth group ministries, shares her reflections on Ephesians 4:1–16. Check out the insights and encouragements she has drawn from this wonderful passage in God’s Word.
Did you know that there are over 900 ligaments in your body and roughly 206 bones that those ligaments support? (Don’t get me started on just how intricately designed this body of ours is!) A ligament is a tough, less-than-flexible piece of tissue that connects two bones together. Ligaments help give joints support and allow safe, functional movement. As I read Ephesians 4:1–16, I couldn’t help but notice that love connects the body of Christ just as ligaments connect our bodies. Love is as vital as each of the parts it connects, and that love includes both God’s love for us (by giving us Christ) and our love for one another (see verse 2).
A lot of these verses, for me, paint a lovely vision of a fully functioning, anatomical body. It’s visually stunning, this depiction of what unity can be, with Christ as our head. Each part comes together to make up the body. As it says in verse 4, the unity of each part is important to the whole: one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father. Ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, muscles, organs, etc. Paul is saying that each piece is tied strongly to the hope we find in Jesus through our united body!
What I also love about these passages is that unity and oneness appear to be goals we are working toward. They are not already attained for the body of Christ. We get to enjoy the progress and growth as we move toward the goals. We don’t simply ask “Why aren’t we there yet?” The passage says the body of Christ “may be built up until we reach unity” and when “we become mature,” “then we will no longer be infants.” Unity is a process, and that is refreshing for me. It is comforting to know that this is a journey. As we walk along with Christ and engage in a relationship with Him, we are walking toward unity with Him and other believers. I often get stuck with the idea that I have to create this space now. We must be unified immediately. But verse 15 tells me that “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ.” That’s amazing! We are working toward being more Christ-like. I am still growing. There is maturity to yet attain. How encouraging!
I cannot forget the most unifying part of the Gospel, that God created this unity for us by giving us Christ to be the payment for our sins. I think that Paul is also reminding us that the parts of this whole body function with Christ as the beginning and the head. No leg, nor arm, nor ligament nor heart can physically function without the head present on a body. None of it can be without Him at the top.
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