LD 28: United to the Sacred Body of Christ
by Rev Arie den Hartog
Read: Acts 2:41 – 47
The church is the living spiritual body of Christ. The members of the church are the members of His body. The true church of Jesus Christ is united together by the Spirit of Christ through faith, as one body, having one Lord and Savior, one God and Father. See the first three verses of Eph 4. This is also celebrated in the Lord’s Supper. The Heidelberg Catechism speaks of this in Lord’s Day 28 when discussing the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.
Our spiritual union with Christ’s body is often called a mystical union. It is called by this name because the reality of this is a great mystery. It cannot be understood by those who have no faith and are not partakers of the body of Christ. The reality of this truth is known only by the child of God through the work of the Spirit of Christ in his heart and by His indwelling Spirit in His church, uniting the members of the body to one another.
The apostle John speaks of this spiritual mystery in I John 3:24a. “And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.”
The blessed spiritual reality of this is strengthened through the proper understanding of, and observance of the Lord’s Supper in the church. The Lord’s Supper is a supper of fellowship with Christ and with one another. In New Testament times, a love feast was often celebrated in connection with the Lord’s Supper. At this feast, the members of the church expressed their love for one another when those who had an abundance of earthly things brought food for the poor and hungry, especially during times of famine. Widows were also taken care of through this practice. Out of this practice arose the office of deacons in the church.
So close is our spiritual union with Christ that in Eph 5, it is said that we are “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” Christian marriage is a picture of this blessed mystical union. The love of Christ for His church is the bond of this fellowship. This love was demonstrated in the highest imaginable way in the cross of Jesus Christ. There, Christ gave Himself for the church, that He might sanctify and cleanse her by His Word and Spirit. This reality is signified and sealed in the Lord’s Supper.
Christ is spiritually present in the church when His Spirit dwells among her members. They are built up ‘into Christ’ through the hearing of the preaching of the Word and through the celebration of the sacraments.
We have a beautiful picture of the church as the body of Christ, living in communion with Christ, and the members with each other, in the description of the church in Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The “breaking of bread together” spoken of in these passages was most likely the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
This description is continued in verse 46 of Acts 2. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”
These blessed spiritual realities are seen in the true church of Jesus Christ even today, when with proper understanding and unity of faith, she celebrates the Lord’s Supper together.
Originally posted here.