Part 2 - The Sanctifying Work of Christ
Separated in the Body of Christ
Day three starts again with division: "And God said, Let the waters under
the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear:
and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together
of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:9-10).
The separation here is between the waters under the heaven and the land. The
waters are "gathered together." This creates a separation. The division
results in two separate entities, the "Seas" and the "Earth."
The land is called the "dry" land, emphasizing the separation from the
waters. Job records God as saying concerning the sea, "This far you may
come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!" (Job 38:11).
As a model of sanctification, with the seas representing the unsaved
nations, the dry land represents the body of Christ on earth in the midst
of, but separated from, the unsaved. A believer's spiritual position is in
the "heavenlies," as modeled in day two. A believer's physical position on
earth is in the church, the body of Christ.
The true church, comprised of all true believers worldwide, is not
necessarily visible. Nevertheless it is a distinct entity in the world.
There is a boundary, known only to God, of this body. It is separated from
but surrounded by the unbelieving of the world. God protects the separation:
"This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must
stop!" Jesus said concerning the church: "and the gates of Hades shall not
prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
The fruit of the Spirit
In separating believers into the body of Christ, Jesus made it to be a
fruitful place. Thus day three continues: "Then God said, 'Let the earth
bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields
fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth'; and it
was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed
according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in
itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening
and the morning were the third day" (Gen. 1:11-13). The church is the temple
of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy
Spirit makes it a place of fruitfulness. Paul says, "But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
After the fall of mankind, a curse came upon the earth. Barrenness,
desert conditions, and thorns come to represent the absence of the living
God. The writer to the Hebrews uses these types to represent the saved and
unsaved. Hebrews 6:7-8 states, "For the earth which drinks in the rain that
often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is
cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars,
it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned." He then
reassures them by saying, "But, beloved, we are confident of better things
concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in
this manner" (verse 9). When he says "though we speak in this manner," he is
referring to the use of the previous metaphor. "Things that accompany
salvation" is that state of bearing "herbs useful for those by whom it is
cultivated." The "rain that often comes upon it" represents the presence of
the Holy Spirit.
After its kind
It is only though the Spirit that the church is bountiful. Thus Genesis
records that the seed and fruit are "according to its kind." The
fruitfulness and good works of the church can only come from God, not man.
Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from
thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good
fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will
know them" (Matt. 7:16-20).
Day three of Genesis is prior to the fall of mankind, so the barrenness
of the fall does not enter the picture here. All the dry land is a lush and
fruitful place. Likewise is the true church fruitful in the Holy Spirit.
The work of Christ
As Christ has brought about a spiritual separation for His people, so too
has He brought about a physical separation on earth. This is in the body of
Christ, a corporate entity. Each believer is a part, each contributing to
the whole, with Christ as the head. Christ calls this His church, His
"assembly" of "called out ones." This body is not defined by geographical
lines, nor by denominational lines; it is defined by the seal of the Holy
Spirit upon each member, "who is the guarantee of our inheritance" (Eph.
1:14). The body of Christ is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and each true
member has the Holy Spirit in him.
Ephesians 2:21-22 speaks of the church built upon Christ: "in whom the
whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the
Spirit." Being a part of the body of Christ separates one from the world.
In the world but not of it
Of those apart from Him, Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil,
and the desires of your father you want to do" (John 8:44). But of those
that are His Jesus prays to the Father: "I have given them Your word; and
the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not
of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but
that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just
as I am not of the world" (John 17:14-16).
The body of Christ is a creation that came about because Jesus ascended
to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the church. The
establishment of the church is part of the completed and sanctifying work of
Christ, who adds "to the church daily such as should be saved."