So in our previous devotion we read that Jesus Christ is Head over all for the distinct benefit of the Church, His Body! Today we discover that there is a sense in which the Church actually completes Christ, because His Body is the fullness of Him. How is this possible, how can God be made any more complete than He already is?
Well, before we look at that question let me ask another. Is it possible for God to learn obedience? Well, according to Scripture yes it is! In Hebrews 5v8-9 speaking of Jesus Christ we read “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” So this verse states that God, Jesus Christ, learned obedience and was perfected by the things He experienced through His suffering. But how can God be perfected? Well it is not a question of whether God is already perfect because He plainly is. It is simply that there were some things that God had not experienced, namely physical suffering and death. Jesus, Who is God the Son incarnate of the virgin Mary, learned as a Man how to overcome sin and temptation and also how to endure suffering. He was made perfect through these trials because as the perfect Man Who is God He is now able to empathise with us, because He had endured the same and even greater sufferings than us. Perfection doesn’t mean an inability to learn, it simply means a complete absence of a flaw, in the Biblical sense of sin. Therefore the God Who is Omniscient and Who knows all things learnt obedience through suffering.
So now let us return to our original question. How can the Church make God any more complete than He already is? Well, there is a Biblical picture that helps us to comprehend this truth; it is the picture of the Bride. In Isaiah 62v5 we read, “For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” God has unashamedly and continually throughout Scripture declared His love for His Bride, His chosen people, and shown His intention to marry- to reign with and to dwell with His elect people. John the Baptist recognised this theme in Scripture when he refuted any claim to be the Christ, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3v28-30). How can Jesus Christ increase? Well, in one sense John was referring to the fact that Jesus should become more visible and he less, but also that Christ should increase in influence. Every time a person responds to the Gospel and accepts Jesus as LORD Christ’s influence is increased, and His intended Bride becomes fuller and more fruitful. Which in turn, because of the Biblical principle of marriage that the two shall become one, the increase of the Church, His Body, His Bride, causes a fullness in Christ. That fullness is simply fulfilment. So now we can understand that God’s love for His Bride, the Church, actually brings HIM fulfilment just as falling in love and the consummation of marriage brings a fulfilment between a husband and a wife. So deep is this truth that Ephesians chapter 5 verse 32 calls this truth not just a mystery but a “profound mystery,” something that we cannot fully comprehend this side of heaven, but is well worth studying and as such is well worth coming back to later in our studies.
For now let us be content with this truth, that God’s love for us is so great that He literally moved heaven and earth to save us from ourselves, to adopt us into His family, to redeem us from the curse of sin and to ransom us from hell. Our response to His great love actually brings glory and honour to God and even more it actually brings a perfect God fulfilment. As a colloquial saying goes, “If you feel small and insignificant remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you!” Or in other words, in the eyes of the world we may seem to be a speck on a dot somewhere in the middle of a seemingly infinite universe, but in God’s eyes we are the apple of His eye, the absolute focus of His attention, the very Body through which Christ will fill all in all.
Heavenly Father, thank you for this incredible truth and mystery that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. LORD thank you that you have chosen us to be a part of Your Body. May our lives bring You glory and honour, and may You work in us and through us so that You may be magnified to the world around us.Amen