Monday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 1:22-23

The Head of the Church

I wanted to deal with these last two verses separately because of the subject they touch upon, which is the Church of Jesus Christ.  We learned yesterday that the power whereby the Father raised the Son is the same power whereby He sat him at His right hand above all rule, authority, power, and dominion—which is to say, above everything.  Our Lord Jesus Christ reigns supreme with God the Father, and all things visible and invisible, the godly and the ungodly answering to the Son’s sovereign rule as the Father has “put all things under his feet.”  Colossians 2:10 speaks to this same matter of Christ’s rule over heaven and earth.  But here in 1:22-23, after speaking to this universal dominion of our Lord and Savior, Paul refers to a special dominion which Christ has over that which is most precious to him—which is his Church for which he shed his own blood. 

There is a particular shortcoming among evangelicals and it has to do with an extremely reductionistic view of the Church, understood both as universal and local.  Among many, the Church is seen merely as an organization made up of voluntary likeminded believers whose primary purpose is to spread the gospel.  They may see the local church as providing other good things like fellowship, Christian education, mission projects, and the like.  But their view of the Church is, in a word, functional, and so is reduced to its purpose and what it does.  Some even go so far as to speak of the Church as a “movement,” eschewing any association of the Church as an “institution,” clearly disregarding not only the Scriptures but Church history and even common sense.  It’s hardly different from the view the IRS takes of churches when judging of 501c3 status.

But the New Testament takes a more substantial view of the Church.  Here, she (I like using that personal pronoun in regards to the Church) is called Christ’s “body,” clearly indicating that there is a REAL spiritual bond between the Lord and His Church.  Indeed, she is both filled with him (Colossians 2:9) and in some mysterious way fills him as is indicated here in 1:23.  In Revelation 19:7, the Church is called our Lord’s “bride.”  Thus, the church is no mere organization for spreading the gospel, as important as that is, but is a real spiritual body that the New Testament speaks of in organic terms when relating that body to Christ; that is, that it is His body.  The Church (both universal and local) is united to her Lord in such a way that her existence is far more significant than any other institution in society, excepting the family.  She’s not “just” anything; she is his body and fullness.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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