Part 2 - The Sanctifying Work of Christ
Consecrated to Edifying the Body of Christ
Day six begins: "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living
creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the
earth, each according to its kind'; and it was so. And God made the beast of
the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and
everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that
it was good" (Gen. 1:24-25).
Previously in day three the dry land, the earth, was separated from the
seas. This models the separation of the believer into the
body of Christ. Now purpose is given to this area of separation. Various
kinds of life, each after its kind, are created in the earth. "And God saw
that it was good." "Living," "after its kind," and it being "good" are all
keywords pointing to life in the Spirit. In Peter's vision these
various life forms were presented by God to teach him about a people that
God has called into a life in the Spirit. Just as God created multitudes of
life forms in the earth, the Holy Spirit is manifested in countless ways in
His gifts and ministries through the various members of the body of Christ.
Members of one body
Within the body of Christ are millions of believers, each with a gift and
ministry of the Spirit given for the edification of the whole. Each
believer's place in the body is unique, not duplicated anywhere else, and
large or small is necessary for the body to function properly.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians about their being placed into the body of
Christ: "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of
that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one
Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether
slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact
the body is not one member but many" (1 Cor. 12:12-14).
Christ has separated all believers on earth into a corporate body called
the body of Christ, the church. Accompanying this is a consecration in which
each member is called to edify, or build up, the whole. Paul says to the
Corinthians, "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And
God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets,
third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps,
administrations, varieties of tongues" (1 Cor. 12:27-28). That part that
each member has is appointed by God with the purpose of building up the
Again, Paul tells the Romans, "For as we have many members in one body,
but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are
one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then
gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:
if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us
use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in
exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he
who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Rom. 12:4-8). As in a human body, each
member does "not have the same function." The ability to perform any
particular function is enabled by gifts that God gives by grace.
With consecration comes provision, and so we learn of these gifts: "But
to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Therefore He says: 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And
gave gifts to men' " (Eph. 4:7-8). The ascension of Christ to the Father is
the means by which one is separated into the body of Christ, and it is His
ascension by which provision is made for edifying the body. "When He
ascended on high" is when He "gave gifts to men." Christ's
ascension enabled the Holy Spirit to be given, and with Him, the gifts of the Spirit. This is the work of
Christ however and so the gifts are also called "Christ's gift."
To a perfect man
Paul continues, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets,
some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the
saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son
of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13). The church is built up by the work of God working
through each member. The ministry of one builds up others so that they too
can minister the gifts they were given.
The purpose is for all to come into
"the unity of the faith," to come into a more complete knowledge of Christ,
and to reach a state in which Christ, the head, is manifested and glorified
in the body. To this end, Paul continues about the body, that it "may grow
up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ" (Eph. 4:15).
work of Christ
Although members individually, God's will is for the church to be one in
love and one in Christ, and so He calls each one to minister to this end.
The consecration to this is part of the sanctifying work of Christ. A third
aspect of separation that Christ wrought is the separation of His people
into the church, the body of Christ. A corresponding consecration to this
separation is the consecration of the believer to build up the other members
of the body. The first part of day six models this ministry of the believer.
This is a calling to life in the Spirit and is modeled by the living
creatures inhabiting the land.