You’ve seen it on TV! “Buy Product X and you’ll be beautiful forever! After all, it’s your only body and you are worth it!” In our culture physical beauty constitutes the highest form of personhood.
While cultural norms may be vainly twisted, our physical bodies are obviously important—something we find to be painfully true when they don’t work as designed. For example, there are literally dozens of autoimmune disorders (most of which I can’t pronounce and all of which sound horribly painful) in which the human body actually attacks itself .
Unfortunately, this relates too well to our discussion of church unity. In Romans 12:5, the Apostle Paul writes: “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (NASB)
Do we see the connection? Any body that attacks itself is sick! As Christians we are covenant members of the Body of Christ with all other true believers. When we judge and attack one another, we are judging and attacking Christ and even our own selves! As awesome as the blessings of covenant relationships can be, the curses for violating covenant are horribly painful, far reaching and inescapable. Such issues of unhealth don’t simply go away by ignoring them. And how can we look to God for healing, if it is His Body that we are attacking?
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord . . . For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 (NASB)
What does it mean to “drink the cup in an unworthy manner”? I’m sure that several answers could be given, but first and foremost we need to realize that a judgmental attitude towards our brothers and sisters in Christ is anti-love. Don’t be deceived! The Holy Spirit is terribly grieved (Ephesians 4:30) when we do or say anything detrimental to our fellow members of His Body.
More and more I am coming to realize that God takes this love one another stuff terribly seriously. We like to think that He understands of our malice toward others and that He winks at our judgmental attitudes, but the hard truth is that He does not. Jesus was unbending in commanding us to love each other—something emphasized quite strongly in 1 John. If we want to be in harmony with God, harmony with one another is non-negotiable.
So much of our hard work continues in vain because of our spiritual autoimmune disorder. Just as life is released through covenant-based, love-inspired unity, so death finds it form when we violate the unity of the Spirit. The western Church abounds in valuable resources, but we will be constantly plagued by spiritual decay until we learn how to properly judge our own Christian Body. If, however, we can learn to truly love and honor one another, there is no limit to what God will do in and through us!
What will you do for His Body?