Unity in the One Body

Galatians 3--28

The emphasis of Verse of the Day for August 29, 2016 is on the Body of Christ, which is described in Galatians 3:28 in the Message Bible:

[In Christ’s Family] In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

The verse is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

God is one, and all that He has created expresses oneness or unity, as Acts 17:26 reveals regarding all of humanity:

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

The Church is the ultimate expression of oneness or unity of purpose, of unity within diversity and diversity within unity

Ephesians Chapters 2 and 3 make known God’s intention regarding His Church, the Body of Christ. Ephesians 2:10 in the New Living Translation (NLT) indicates

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 3:10 in the New Living Translation also reveals what God had in mind:

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

A previous blog post introduced an original poem that related my personal understanding of my role in the Body of Christ. The two verses from Ephesians also reminded me an experience that occurred when my wife and I visited family and friends in San Francisco and Los Angeles a few years ago. During our stay in the City by the Bay, we enjoyed a most enlightening experience at the Asian Museum where we saw a special exhibit from the Ming Dynasty. One of the pieces on display was a stationery box which is similar to the one shown below. Although the final product reveals what the designer had in mind, we do not see how the object looked at the various stages of development. So it is with the Church, the Body of Christ, which is made reference to in the Book of Ephesians, especially in Chapters 2 and 3. The Church, as such, is still a work in progress, but I believe that God is putting “the finishing touches on His crowning achievement.”  The poem “Exquisite Exhibit” conveys in part my thoughts regarding the Church and my role in this amazing masterpiece of God’s creation.

Exquisite Exhibit

Viewing a Ryoshi-bako (stationery box)

Power and Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty

Asian Museum–San Francisco, California

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew

in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things

 he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

 

God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety

to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

They will see this when Jews and Gentiles

are joined together in his church.  

Ephesians 3:10

Sublime thoughts never diminish, only increase,

As I marvel at this ancient masterpiece.

The designer sees the end long before he starts

And envisions intricate details of the parts

And fashions a wood box inlaid with jade and gold,

Lacquered vessel for deepest thoughts the mind can hold.

Beyond all that I see, God formed and fashioned me

With precise measure of each scroll and filigree.

Displayed by the skillful hands of the Master craftsman,

Beyond the finest design of any artisan,

The Church, exquisite exhibit now on display,

Treasures from the hand of God take one’s breath away.

With the eyes of our heart now opened, we find

We are the masterpiece Jehovah had in mind.

 

ryoshi-bako

This ryoshi-bako or stationery box is similar to the one that inspired the poem that draws a parallel with God’s masterpiece, the Church.

A number of years ago I hosted a radio show “Poetry and Praise,” and I would close each show with this reference to Ephesians 2:10:

Every day of our lives we recognize and celebrate the truth that as born-again believers we are all new creations in Christ, and we praise God that He has given us all things richly to enjoy. Indeed, “. . . we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The word “workmanship” is translated from the Greek word poiema, which means “masterpiece, a glorious creation, a centerpiece of attention, as the French would say, le piece de resistance, or showpiece.” Of course, the Greek word poiema is transliterated into our English word poem, which in the minds of many people, certainly present company included, is always a “masterpiece” or glorious creation. So that the people of God represent the real poetry of life, for which we praise God. Yes, each of us is a poem, or God’s handiwork or workmanship, a special work created by God that we should be to the praise of His glory….

To conclude our discussion on unity within the One Body, Tommy Walker offers this heartfelt request in song: “Make Us One”:

 

 

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