Body of Christ
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church. (Ephesians 1:22)
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:18)
Jesus Christ is alive in heaven. No Christian will argue that point. But we must go a step beyond that and say because He is in heaven, He is no longer earthly, He is a heavenly Man, serving as head of the church, which is identified as His body.
Since He is a heavenly Man, His body must also be heavenly, a new, Spirit-oriented humanity. He is not head of the divided, conflicting, barely alive entity, which we identify as the church. If the Head is altogether different, the body must be also. His body can't be both carnal and divine. It must rise above the ground of this humanity and live on the level of Jesus Christ.
That is accomplished only through the cross. The cross stands between heaven and earth, and flesh and spirit. We can have perfect New Testament order and total devotion to the Word, yet have no life. Truth without life is just as fatal as sin and ignorance. The cross clears the way for the Spirit to give life.
We can know Jesus as our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, our High Priest and our Advocate without knowing Him as our head. The church, as we know it, attempts to function as a two-headed body. It declares Jesus Christ as its head and at the same time insists upon operating under its own headship. The result has been a pitiful representation of Jesus to the world. It establishes a myriad of rules so it can function comfortably and control its members. That is not the true body of Christ.
The disciple refuses to settle for hypocrisy. He applies the cross to his life so the Holy Spirit can lead him out of the world and into the wonderful spiritual system which is the embodiment of Jesus Christ. The disciple is not content and he never will be, because the universe of Jesus Christ is so vast that new revelations flow continuously, propelling him to new heights.
The cross is the altar upon which everything carnal must be laid. Without death, there is no new life, no opportunity for the born-again experience. Every facet of a disciple's life must experience spiritual rebirth. The process begins with his original commitment to discipleship and continues throughout the remainder of his time on earth.
Crucifixion of the flesh isn't self-imposed. The disciple doesn't decapitate his soulish head to allow the true Head to function. He understands that "work" is a waste of time and energy. Crucifixion is an operation of "grace" by the Holy Spirit.
The first eight chapters of Romans give insight to the spiritual operation. The disciple whose mind is continually occupied with crucifying his flesh, needs to elevate his focus. Crucifixion of the flesh is a spiritual event. All spiritual work is done by the Holy Spirit; therefore, He must be given authority to "operate." Spiritual work always precedes manifestation in the flesh.
Jesus Christ never spoke of His forthcoming death on the cross without including His resurrection. Resurrection is permanently attached to the cross. The cross carries resurrection with it. Everything a disciple takes to the cross is purged to make room for new impartation of life by the Holy Spirit. The cross is not negative, it is the gateway to a Spirit-led life.
The disciple runs to the cross with anything that stands between himself and Jesus. Until it is taken to the cross the Spirit is not free to work life into that aspect of the disciple's walk, and the disciple remains a part of the two-headed system which refuses to relinquish control.
The disciple returns constantly to the cross as the Holy Spirit reveals new areas that need to be put to death. The true disciple understands this principle and approaches it with joy rather than dread, because he knows that every trip to the cross results in greater freedom. It is the most positive activity he can make, because it brings him under the headship of Jesus, and enables him to be identified as part of the true body of Christ, His true church!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: How quickly do I run to the cross to experience resurrection in another part of my life?