And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Biblical submission is a hard concept for many to understand. I remember at my wedding a non-Christian friend negatively pointed out the verses about submission in the service. I’m sure to her it brought up thoughts of a domineering husband bossing me around while I stood sweating, barefoot, and pregnant in the kitchen. She had no concept of mutual submission in Christ, with two believers truly concerned more for the welfare of the other than themselves. What could make for a better marriage or relationship of any kind? We are all in submission and subjection to someone, and having Jesus as Lord is beyond anything I could ever merit!
All mankind is under his subjection whether aware or unaware. But we who are his body have a privilege to be his hands and feet on earth, especially in caring for one another. But we often know his will and do not do it, or we fail to see his will through the busyness and clutter of our daily lives. Do we feed the poor, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned or do we toss our unwanted clothing into a bin and take the occasional mission trip to soothe our conscience (Mt 25). The body of Christ has the unfettered power of God at its disposal. Why are we not radically changing the world? We are more shocked by vulgarities than pictures of worldwide need.
Another component of being his body is that when we sin, we bring him with us. If we are his body then he is right with us as we gossip, lose our tempers, speak ill of one another, and so on. As Paul wrote about the sin of fornication, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” (1 Cor 6:15).
When the people of God suffer, Christ suffers as well. John Piper said, “The suffering which Christ began to experience in his earthly body he continues to experience in some sense in his body called the church… This is the link between suffering and the body of Christ. When Christ was on the earth Christ had one kind of body, a physical body like ours. And with it he suffered and died that we might live. Now he is raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God; but on the earth he has another kind of body, namely, the church. Christ was united to his body then, and felt the blows of his enemies. And he is united to his body now, the church, and he feels the blows of his enemies still.”
May God make us worthy members of Christ's body and bring glory to Christ through our lives!