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The Mystery Nature of the Church Life
by Dr Surya Kumar Daimari
9/23/2019 / Bible Studies
The Mystery Nature of the Church Life. By Dr Surya Kumar Daimari The Church itself is a mystery . Many theologians use the phrase “The mystery nature of the Church” because of the mystery character of the Church as the body of Christ. In the N.T. the word “mystery” means a divine truth, formerly hidden but now supernaturally revealed to the men of God which can only be known through divine revelation . In the Bible, there are many metaphors which describe the mystery nature of the Church . We will discuss here four kinds of mysteries of the Church. These mysteries manifest the mystical relationship of the Church with Christ.
1. The Mystery of One Body.
This is one of the most mystical nature of the Church. “Christ is the Head of the Church.” Eph.5:23 “---head over all things to the Church.” Eph.1:22 “—he is the head of the body, the Church. Col.1:18 “Which is His body-----“ Eph. Eph 1:23; 4:12 “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ ?” ICor. 6:15 “For as the body is one and hath many members and all the members of that one body, Being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” ICor. 12:12
The Whole Christ.
We are members of one body (Eph4:25). Paul is here emphasizing what the theologians call as “Totus Christus”, which means, “The Whole Christ”, embracing Jesus as the Head and His redeemed people as the members of His own body. This seems to be quite a mystical idea. What was it that led Paul to formulate this theme ? Certainly, it was his encounter with the Lord on the Damascus Road. True, he had been playing havoc with the Christians. Jesus asked him, “Why do you persecute me ?” Paul (Saul) did not persecute Jesus physically since Jesus was already risen from the dead and taken up to heaven . But why did Jesus question him like that? This was a new revelation for Paul. He came to realize something of the mystical union that bound the Christians and their Lord which is inseparable. This wonderful truth (Acts 22:7; 9:4,5) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit produced his marvelous theme of oneness in the Body of Christ, i.e.,the Church. It is therefore, the Church represents one body, one mind, one soul, one baptism, one Spirit, one blood circulation , one nervous system and one heart. It means that when I am hurt Jesus is hurt, when I am suffered Jesus is suffered. When I commit a sin Jesus has to pay for it. And He has already paid for it on the cross. He suffered the pangs of separation from God only because of our sin. But still today He suffers the pain whenever you and I commit a sin or displeases God. Paul’s analysis of the function of the Church under the illustration of a living human body is remarkable one. There is only one body but many members with different functions such as the foot, the hand, the ear, the eye etc. Every member of the body, however small it may be, is very unique and vital . Missing of one part or damage of one part means the body is incomplete. Their functions are never equal but they work for the edification of the whole body. This wonderful analogy of the living human body describes the reality of the Church life as the body of Christ. Each member of the Church is a living organ without which the Church cannot function as a living Church. All the members of the Church have some of the gifts. Paul’s analysis of the gifts of the Spirit in ICor.12 is remarkable. We can see here the distribution and diversity of the gifts of the Spirit. But God has not granted any gift to anybody solely for his own personal gain and edification. It is important to understand that the gift of each person has uniquely significant place in the Body and complete dependence upon one another. In Paul’s illustration, we see, when one of the limbs, for example, the leg, is imputed, it cannot function well as it could before. Thus we say that the body is handicapped. We need to understand that the Church will be handicapped when a person’s gifts are not properly utilized for the well being of the whole Body. It is also important that every believer in the Church should be able to discover the gifts that he has and utilize them for the edification of the whole body, i.e., the Church.
2. The Mystery of the Christ Indwelling.
The indwelling of Christ in the believers is a mystery. “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generation now is made manifest to his saints;-----which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col.1:26-27 In His letter to the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev.3:20 The Church is a dwelling place of God Himself where He resides in the person of Jesus Christ in Spirit. “He (Christ) is the head of the body, the Church…….in Him should all fullness dwell.” Col. 1:18-19 “For in Him dwelleth all fullness dwell” Col 18-19 “For in Him dwelleth all fullness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in Him.” Col 2:9-10 The Church is the Temple of God and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This is indeed a mystery. “A Holy temple in the Lord…..a habitation of God in the Spirit.” Eph.2:21 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?” ICor. 6:19 “….the temple of the Holy Ghost…”ICor. 6:19 “…..the temple of the living God as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” ICor 6:16 The Greek word is NAOS (sanctuary) consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies. The Lord Jesus uses the same word NAOS of His body, His life; and what a perfect of life that manifested the glory of God. The Church is the NAOS which is His body. Eph 1:23
3.The Mystery of the Church as the Bride of Christ.
The Church is the bride of Christ. In Rev. 19:7-8, there is the description of the marriage of the Lamb (Christ) and how His wife (the Church) has made herself ready arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. In Eph 5:22-23, the exhortation given to husbands and wives to have a proper relationship has been illustrated by the relationship of Christ to the Church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it.” V25 ”For we are members of his (Christ’s) body, of his flesh and of his bones.”V30 This is a marvelous truth. The relationship of the Church with Christ as husband and wife is indeed a great mystery. Paul says in V32,”This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Christ has loved the Church, so should the Church submit herself to him.
4. The Mystery of the Rapture of the Church.
Rapture means resurrection of the believers and the translation of the living (Church) and meeting with the Lord in the air at His second advent. The Lord Jesus Himself bodily (i)”shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. (ii) the dead in Christ shall rise first (iii) then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; (iv) and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” IThess 4:16-17 The Church at Thessalonica at the time of Paul believed in the imminence of the Lord’s “Parousia”(Appearance). Some of the believers had even quit their jobs to prepare for the Lord’s coming. The believers were caught in a frenzied speculation on the exact time of the second coming of Christ. Many baffling questions had troubled their hearts such as , ..What will happen to those beloved who have died before Jesus returns ? ..Will they miss out the life after death ? Will they forfeit a share in the glory of the Lord Jesus at His second advent ? Paul shrugs off such speculations and presents the right way to prepare for the Lord’s return. Every believer whether dead or alive will have a share in the wonderful glory of the Lord. With the sound of the trumpet of God , the dead in Christ will rise first at His advent. Believers do not actually die, they merely “fall asleep”(4:13). The loving will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord Jesus and be with Him forever. The Gr .word is “Harpagesometha”, Latin “Rapiemur” which has been translated as “rapture” in English. This is the greatest hope that a believer can hope for in the near future which is well founded in Jesus. It is a matter of real joy and comfort for all the believers in Christ. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to get prepared for their most blessed and spectacular an event to take place in the real history of mankind- “the climax of blessedness” as has been called by many. The rapture is therefore, the greatest and the most blessed hope we can hope for. This is precisely a mystery, a great mystery because never before in O.T. believers were promised translation.
The mystery nature of the Church is found only in the N.T. According to the dispensationalists, the Church was hidden in the O.T. but it began on the day of Pentecost only. The O.T. believers were totally ignorant of these mysteries nor were they promised these mysteries. There is a great distinction between Israel and the Church. The Israelites were only a type to the Church. The Church is a new entity because of the mystery nature of the Church. All the born again believers belong to this wonderful Church. The Church belongs to God. And God lives within. “The Church is God’s because He has established it by the supernatural acts of coming to earth in the person of the Son via the virgin birth, purchasing a people by the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son, raising Him from the dead to provide eternal life, and sending forth the Holy Spirit to fill and equip His saints.” # Rea John God has a wonderful plan and purposes for His Church. We are His people “the laos of God”, a royal priesthood and a special people to declare His glories. “that ye should shew forth the praises of Him.” IPet. 2:9 God has called us to be a blessing to the whole earth and “the Light of the world.” Math 5:14 The children of God are the most privileged people to proclaim such a wonderful gospel in all the world. This is indeed our priority. And this what Christ had commanded us to do. Jesus’ commission to His disciples in Matthew 28:19 is known as the GREAT COMMISSION where He says, “Go ye therefore, make disciples of all nations and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Holy Ghost..” The Great Commission refers to the need of evangelization among every sect or group of people in all the world irrespective of black and white, small and great, civilized or uncivilized. The emphasis is exceedingly great in reaching every individual. For the Bible says, “….non should perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 The need of evangelization is therefore essentially very great because the Gospel has the power to save men and give eternal life. It has the power to change or transform the life of a man. It is the Christ, the ELIXER who gives us life more abundantly . Jesus said, “….I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The Church is the people of God called unto being by the gospel of Christ and nourished by the word. And this people , the laos of God is a priesthood , sent to the world by God to be a blessing to the world, I Pet2:9-10. Newbegin says, “The Church is the pilgrim people of God. It is on the move hastening to the end of the earth to beseech all men to be reconciled to God, and hastening to the end of time to meet the Lord who will gather all unto one”. It is the Church that 1.Declares the Manifold Wisdom of God unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places. Eph 3:10 2.Preaches the unreachable riches of Christ. Eph 3:8; Col 1:27 She is a missionary people of God proclaiming the good news of Salvation. That is the reason why Christ hath commissioned His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, teaching them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matth28:19 Today it is also Christ’s commission to his Church. The Lausanne Convent states, “World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.” The Church is nothing less than the missionary people of the Kingdom of God. Says, Glasser Arther. “The Church is not to conduct missions as one of her many activities………She is a missionary people……..If she is not that, she is not the Church.” John Bright. The Kingdom of God, pp 217.
# Rea John, “Nature of the Church” In “Wycliff Bible Encyclopedia” page-35, Moody Press ,Chicago.
Name of the Author of this article: Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari, MA,M.Ed, PGDTE,D.Min.(Doctor of Ministry)
The author is a freelance writer.
Book published: The Names of the Believers in the Bible in Types and Symbols .
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