The Body of Christ

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Hi D____,
You ask
“Who is a part of the body of Christ/ the Christ?”
You have done a good job of listing scriptures which demonstrate that we are all, converted and unconverted, Christian and non Christian, “in Christ.” As Paul told the Pagan Athenians “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Adam is called the “son of God,” and God told Noah that He was establishing His covenant with Noah and Noah’s seed after him.

Act 17:28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Luk 3:38  Which was [ the son] of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Gen 9:8  And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Gen 9:9  And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

So we are all in Christ, in the sense that Christ is God’s tool by which we all consist:

Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [ they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

But there is a Biblical principle which I have repeated over and over and over again in our Bible studies. That principle comes into play here in your question about who is ‘in’ Christ. That principle is the fact that in God’s Word every word and every phrase have both positive and negative applications. I think I have hammered that point home as it concerns individual words, but I do not think that I have yet demonstrated that this is also true of Biblical phrases.
Nevertheless it is easily demonstrated. For example, physical manna was called “bread from heaven.”

Exo 16:4  Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

In reality Christ tells us:

Joh 6:32  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the t rue bread from heaven.
Joh 6:33  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Joh 6:34  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
Joh 6:35  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Exo 16:4  says “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;” and yet Christ says “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven”
Now this same scenario can be demonstrated to be true for many Biblical phrases. Phrases like “the son of God,” “the seed of Abraham,” “children of promise,” “the son of the bondwoman,” “the son of the freewoman,” “the sabbath of the Lord” and even “the law of God.”

Luk 3:38  Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Mat 27:54  Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this [ Christ] was the Son of God.
Joh 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Gal 4:30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Gal 4:31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Gal 4:28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Gen 21:12  And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Heb 4:9  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Heb 4:10  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Heb 4:11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

In the New Testament all of these Biblical phrases have a completely different meaning than they had in the Old Testament.
So it is with New Testament phrases. To those in Babylon the phrase ‘the church’ is anyone who proclaims Christ as his savior. But Paul tells us that there are those out there who subscribe to “another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel.”

2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Now look at how Paul opens the letter to the Galatians.

Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any [ man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

There is ‘the gospel’ and there is the gospel which is “another gospel, which is not another,” but it is a perverted gospel.
If this is true of Christ and the gospel, it is certainly true of “the body of Christ.” There is not one professing Christian who is going to say to you, ‘I am part of that “other Jesus… that other spirit, and that other gospel,” that “accursed” gospel. They will one and all claim to believe in “that [ gospel] which we have preached unto you.”
But the true “body of Christ,” is the true church of God.

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Christ’s body “is the church.” But which church and which body?  How can we know who is the true church and who is the true body? The only way to know the true church and the true body is to know the Truth. That Truth, of course, is Christ, and He tells us that He is His Father’s Words. No one can come to God unless and until the spirit of God drags that person to God. That process begins with Abraham’s seed which is not really Abraham’s seed. We are all sons of the bondwoman before we become the sons of the freewoman:

Gal 4:1  Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2  But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We grow from being a servant to becoming a son, and we grow from being part of another Jesus, spirit and gospel, and yes, even another ‘body of Christ’ into the true Jesus, spirit, gospel and the true body of Christ which is the true church of Christ:

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Col 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

It really is a “mystery” which to this very day is ‘hid from the generations, but is now made manifest to His saints.’
It is only the true body which will “fill him who fills all in all:”

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [ even] in him:
Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us- ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [ him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [ places],
Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

I hope this is of some help with your study. I know this is something with which we all struggle.
Your brother in the christ.
Mike

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