Corporate Conformity in Christ

There seems to be 4 primary ways that the Holy Spirit draws an assembly into corporate conformity with Christ:

  1. By the very manner in which the body is formed and structured:  we have been set into the body as members in particular, each saint particularly gifted to fulfill a specific function.  Notice, no saint is complete in him or herself.  Rather, Christ has formed us so that each is weak, in and of him herself, but strong when we work together with other saints and function as one body.

  2. By an assembly first focusing upon ministering to others [for we are bound together by a purpose greater than ourselves]

  3. By an assembly giving themselves to the ministry of prayer [which keeps us focused upon practical matters in our outreaches and in one another’s lives].  Prayer is the primary way we share in one another’s sufferings and joys.

  4. Helping one another in common life tasks, as opportunities arise.

Of course, despite our agreements, we can be certain that differences in interpretation and discernment will arise among the brethren.

How then can we walk in the Spirit at such times?

Principally, we must trust that the finished work of Christ is great enough to mediate [reconcile or bring about agreement].  If we trust Christ for our salvation, can we not trust the work of the Holy Spirit among us in all things?

The nature of the Holy Spirit’s mediation never differs, but the way in which God leads us to respond to our differences in discernment and interpretation does at times:

  • We must have the freedom not to respond:  for we must acknowledge, that the Holy Spirit sometimes leads us not to speak or respond to a matter immediately; this requires us to trust God, and as such, is evidence of faith.

  • We must have the freedom to speak as the oracles of God [which is to say only what the Spirit authors us to say–no more–and no less (1 Peter 4:11)].  The nature and substance of our responses must always be authored by God:  and therefore, it is imperative that we speak in the language of the Holy Spirit, using the words given to us by God.  “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

  • We must understand the significance of seasons in all things:  some issues can be resolved immediately through discussion; other discussions must take place in bits and pieces, here and there; and some issues are resolved without discussion, over time, solely through the agency and intercession of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Consequently, we all have a responsibility before God to move in conformity to the Spirit’s leading–to act as He acts–even as the scriptures declare that in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).

However, one final thing remains:  the importance of disclosure in the process–of fully sharing our hearts with one another–and this is always initially an imperfect process that matures over time.  Only with Christ does life spring forth from death:  and part of the process of dying to ego-centric mindsets and viewpoints is developing the trust to share the truth about our hearts with one another.

A commitment to sharing our lives with one another as God desires is expressed in at least 5 specific ways:

  1. A willingness to share our struggles.  This is not to suggest that every private matter be divulged to all, but that all of us must have some brothers or sisters whom we can rely upon to help us walk out every thing.  [It is also important for women to have the support of other women and men to have the support of other men–for there are issues in life that are specific to gender–and we need this type of encouragement to remain faithful to our responsibilities.]

  2. A willingness to participate fully in the corporate process–to take our place among the assembled–according to the measure of faith and type of gift that we have received.

  3. A willingness to acknowledge that we must fully consider what other believers are saying.  Sometimes, we miss it, err, lose sight of what God is doing in our midst.  Because of how the Lord has fitly framed us together, we cannot continue together indefinitely as an assembly walking in truth, if we are unwilling to consider our brother or sister’s heart in all things.  We must realize that, even if they are communicating imperfectly, there may be some great truth they are attempting to convey–that they may be operating under the unction of the Holy Spirit–and that we may need to meditate more fully upon what they are saying.

  4. A willingness to rely upon each other’s strengths, rather than to compare each other against one another on the basis of our weaknesses.

  5. A willingness to forgive–for when we forgive, we forget the past–as forgiveness makes all things new.

 

2 thoughts on “Corporate Conformity in Christ

  1. It really doesn’t come as much of a surprise, though even though we all likely knew many of these things to be necessary amongst us all, the recent accusatory conversations among us have resulted in us seeing these things more clearly. There just doesn’t seem to be anything like some personal pain and suffering to make us look outside of ourselves for a solution. Everyone was pained through this process, as whatever hurt I inflict upon my brother I ultimately place upon Jesus as well as myself. That’s more evidence of the one body is it not?

    Although sorrow will always remain in some degree due to our brother’s absence; nonetheless, our Father has taken what was recently a chaotic mess of disagreement into a brotherhood of peace and harmony. I think that is partially due to our willingness to fully obey Him as well as our willingness as individuals to place the need for the corporate expression of Christ before our own personal needs and desires. If their is to be anything to win the heart of a brother or the hearts of a misguided ekklesia or this dying world, that will be found through the love of those who place the interests of Jesus and His Ekklesia above their own.

    This is what every Christian has been called and commanded by God to exhibit, not merely love for individuals in our daily path, but a corporate expression of that love, one which can be seen by others eyes, one in which they can look and touch with their hands, one which concerns the Word of Life among us. It is this life to which we testify, this life eternal which we proclaim, this life which must be manifested before all men, that they too might share in the inheritance among the saints.

    A corporate conformity in Christ- not a mere acceptance of some rote doctrines or practices to which all must agree, but a conformity from God, by God and unto God, one which necessitates the practices Mark outlined above.

    In Jesus Christ raised we have become perfectly united one with another. As blessed as this is, we are still called to co-labor with Jesus in making that unity a practical reality.

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