Yesterday we said that as an active member of the body of Christ we can build up the body for the unifying purpose of expanding God’s kingdom for His glory. Members are able to help each other to stay focused on right teaching and to grow in all aspects of Christ for the building up of the body in love.
This results in saints who are no longer like children moved by external factors, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Eph 4:14-16)
As God’s children, we are sanctified (set apart for the purpose He has for us). People who are sanctified are born again and therefore part of God’s family (Heb 2:11). They are reserved for God’s use. They know “the sanctifying work of the Spirit” in their lives (1 Pet 1:2).
To be sanctified means that God has been at work in our lives. Just as the temple of old was sanctified for God’s use, our bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit, are set apart for God’s holy purposes (1 Cor 6:19). To be sanctified means that God’s Word has had an effect on us. It is “through the Word” that God cleanses us and makes us holy (Eph 5:26; John 17:17).
God invites us sinners to come to Him “just as we are” and receive His mercy and forgiveness. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit begins His amazing work of transforming us into the image and likeness of Christ. To be sanctified means that God loves us too much to let us stay the same. While we are individually sanctified, we are to work together with the body of Christ, as the Lord designed in His intended way, so that the body functions properly. Because when one person is weak, the rest of the body of Christ suffers.
A healthy body, functioning in harmony, also “makes the body grow”. Spiritually speaking, when the members of the body of Christ work together in unity, as we should, the church “builds itself up in love.” It attracts others to the gospel of Christ, and those people are added to the family of God (Acts 2:47). A church known for speaking the truth in love will be known as a healthy church, a healthy body. Those in the body all function and function together to accomplish the tasks of the church (Acts 2:42–47).
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:19-21).
Church health, rather than church size, is what defines success within a congregation. Vibrant and lived-out Christianity was the critical factor in the rapid numerical growth and spread of the early church, and that should still be the standard. And we must be an active part of the local body; if we are not, then we are pridefully sinning against God’s Word. And God will limit His relationship with us individually if we have limited our relationship to His community.