The ‘body of Christ’ is usually an allegory for ‘the church’, but then the question arises, “which church” or “what is the church”? The church is often defined as the believers, but is not necessarily those within a particular congregation (ekklesia). The church can also be the “kuriakos” (i.e., “church”) meaning “belonging to the lord”, and who is that, “for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”.
Peter in 1 Peter 2:5 (NKJV), “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Or in the Mirror Bible, “Likewise, you yourselves are living stones and are co-constructed, and seamlessly joined into a spiritual house; you are a priestly people separated to offer spiritual sacrifices, reflecting God’s total approval of Jesus Christ. Everything that was prophetically mirrored in the shadow tabernacle of Israel, has`finally found its relevance in Jesus Christ; he fully unveils the real deal; the temple, the priestly-order and the people are all one in him.”
Living Stones are the building blocks of the ‘body of Christ’, and bearing in mind that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we often consider the ‘living stones’ as the masonry used to construct one of the great cathedrals. And although this concept can be beneficial, we find that in a living body the ‘building blocks’ are cells. They may be muscle cells, blood cells, nerve cells, or bone cells, but they are all needed to have a healthy, fully functioning body. Or as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, especially verse 12, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ”.
So if each and every one of us is living stone, a building block, a cell within the body of Christ, then it is important for us to have an understanding of cells and of how they can be an allegory of ourselves and our relationship to God and each other.
Cells are the smallest structural units of living matter and compose all living things. They are bound externally by a membrane known as the cell wall, have a ‘brain’ called the nucleus, and have other sub-structures called organelles which carry out specific tasks to ensure the health and functionality of the cell. It is estimated that there are 37,200,000,000,000 (37.2 trillion) cells in your body (+/- 1 or 2). This is much like our own body which has an outer boundary of skin and hair, a brain, and other organs such as our liver, kidneys and spleen to perform specialised functions.
Our body’s cells do not live forever, nor even as long as we do. It is estimated that our body is completely renewed every 7 years, some cells more often. This naturally means that the cells die and are replaced with newly grown cells (otherwise we would just get bigger and bigger – some of us do). The materials of the dead cells are recycled or removed. In theory all of the new cells will be identical to the originals, but may deviate from their original blueprint. These non-standard cells can weaken the body, and can even ‘run amuck’, get out of control, and take over – these are cancer cells.
There are times when foreign substances or cells encroach into our body. These aliens to our body can cause sickness and disease. And of course, our body can be damaged by violence.
If we upscale this allegory to represent the ‘body of Christ’, we can see that at this time the ‘body’ is sick. Instead of each cell (person) knowing their rightful position in the body and fulfilling their true duty, it seems that many are floundering, totally lost, or are following deviant paths; some even seeking to destroy other people within the body. There are groups of cells aligning themselves against others, and against the body as a whole. We have allowed foreign bodies and viruses to take over.
But there is good news! For the Son of Righteousness has risen with healing in His wings, and in Christ Jesus all things are made new!