The phrase “the Body of Christ” is a common New Testament metaphor for the Church (all those who are truly saved). The Church is called “one body in Christ” in Romans 12:5, “one body” in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “the body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:12, and “the body” in Hebrews 13:3. The Church is clearly equated with “the body” of Christ in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:24.
When Christ entered our world, He took on a physical body “prepared” for Him (Hebrews 10:5; Philippians 2:7). Through His physical body, Jesus demonstrated the love of God clearly, tangibly, and boldly—especially through His sacrificial death on the cross (Romans 5:8). After His bodily ascension, Christ continues His work in the world through those He has redeemed—the Church now demonstrates the love of God clearly, tangibly, and boldly. In this way, the Church functions as “the Body of Christ.”
The Church may be called the Body of Christ because of these facts:
1) Members of the Body of Christ are joined to Christ in salvation (Ephesians 4:15-16).
2) Members of the Body of Christ follow Christ as their Head (Ephesians 1:22-23).
3) Members of the Body of Christ are the physical representation of Christ in this world. The Church is the organism through which Christ manifests His life to the world today.
4) Members of the Body of Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9).
5) Members of the Body of Christ possess a diversity of gifts suited to particular functions (1 Corinthians 12:4-31). “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (verse 12).
6) Members of the Body of Christ share a common bond with all other Christians, regardless of background, race, or ministry. “There should be no division in the body, but . . . its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).
7) Members of the Body of Christ are secure in their salvation (John 10:28-30). For a Christian to lose his salvation, God would have to perform an “amputation” on the Body of Christ!
8) Members of the Body of Christ partake of Christ’s death and resurrection (Colossians 2:12).
9) Members of the Body of Christ share Christ’s inheritance (Romans 8:17).
10) Members of the Body of Christ receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness (Romans 5:17).