The “One Spirit” Bible Advocate was published a month ago. The “One Body” issue is coming in another month. I can’t wait for you to see it! But here in the middle, while we wait, I’m pondering how the first issue informs the second. Spirit is essential for body. Where would the body of Christ be without the Spirit?
James, speaking of ordinary human life, puts it simply: “the body without the spirit is dead . . .” (2:26). This observation reminds me of the first human. Rewind all the way back to the beginning. God formed Adam’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. He lived! As human beings, our body and breath are bound together in God’s creative act (Genesis 2:7). From start to finish, inside and out, visible and invisible, our existence is a miraculous, gracious gift.
In this fallen world, the spirit is ridiculed as a fiction, and the body is either manipulated like so much plastic through technology or idolized as an end in itself. It is only when our minds are renewed, our spirits rightly ordered with God’s Spirit, that bodies and persons are given the dignity due them.
But what is true of our individual physical self is even truer of our spiritual lives together. Paul speaks of this greater reality we have in Christ when writing his first letter to the Corinthians: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . .” (12:13).
The Second Adam, our Lord Jesus, not only redeemed individuals from the sting of original sin, and death, of the first Adam but also brings to life a new body: His own people, the church, quickened in Him through the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that animates and inspires and holds us all together — like so much Adamic dust of the earth — into the living and loving body of Christ.
This reminds me of another story. Three days after His crucifixion, the then-resurrected Lord found His disciples where? On the streets, proclaiming the ransoming work of their Savior? No! In a room, frightened and hiding out, on the verge of breaking apart and scattering to the four winds. Jesus stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He breathed on this disjointed band of once-believers, and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:19, 20).
Here is a new creation and a new beginning. New life for the people of God!
The body without the spirit is dead. And the body of Christ without the Spirit of God is dead. The July-August BA flows naturally into the September-October issue. I am praying for a fresh breath from the mouth of God for His people. Our time is characterized by suspicion, fragmentation, and mortality. Those qualities are seeping into the church too. Let us pray with David, who in no less than nine occasions in Psalms 119 called on God’s quickening life: “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word” (v. 25, KJV).
What is true of us individually is true of us corporately: Quicken us, Lord!