THE BODY OF CHRIST, AS THE CHURCH OF GOD,
BEING AN ORGANISM LIKE THE HUMAN BODY
The Body of Christ, as the church of God, is an organism like the human body (Eph. 1:22-23). The difference between an organism and an organization is life. A table is an organization with pieces of wood joined to other pieces. At first all the material for a table may be piled in one place without any organization. But when the craftsman puts the pieces together, he organizes them into a table. A table is an organization, but a man is an organism. As an organism, every man was conceived as a child in his mother’s womb and remained there for nine months before being born out of that womb. The various parts of a child’s body are not added to him along the way; they are already present and develop by the organic growth of his body. Thus, a man is altogether an organism, not an organization.
The Body of Christ is an organism. Thus, when believers, the constituents of the Body, do not live Christ, the church cannot be built up. Today there are many different kinds of Christian groups, but among these groups we cannot see one organism. Strictly speaking, even among us it is difficult to see a proper organism. What I have seen is mostly organization. Today among Christians, organizations are mushrooming. It seems that to begin a so-called church is easier than setting up a restaurant. There are street churches, home churches, state churches—all kinds of organizations. This is not the Body, because the Body is organic. As believers, we all have Christ in us, but we must live Christ. As we all live Christ, an organism is produced. The aggregate, the totality, of this kind of living of Christ is an organism, the Body of Christ.
Constituted with All the Living Members of Christ
The Body of Christ is not only built but is constituted with all the living members of Christ (Rom. 12:5).
Needing to Grow for Its Building Up
If we do not grow, there can be no building up of the Body of Christ. The building of the Body of Christ depends absolutely on our growth. We grow in the growth of God within us (Col. 2:19). When He grows in us, we grow in His growth, and this growth is the building up of the Body. Today Christians easily come together, and they are also easily scattered. At first they are happy to come together, but after a while they begin to be unhappy with each other. Eventually, they separate from one another, and in some cases they become enemies.
Our eyes need to be opened and enlightened to the revelation in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, concerning the church as the Body of Christ. According to this revelation, the church as the Body of Christ is altogether a matter of life. First, it must be born of God. Then it must grow, and by growing it builds itself up. The growth is organic, and the building is even more organic. It is not organic in us, because we are not organic, but it is organic in God. Plants themselves are organic, but the soil in which they grow is not organic. Even the nutrients of the soil are not organic. Being organic is a matter on the side of life. The church as the Body of Christ is organic on the life side, that is, on the side of God. Before we were regenerated, we did not have God. Today, however, we have God. Through regeneration God has been born into our being. Hence, we not only have God added into us; we also have God born into us organically. From the time of regeneration we have an organic union with Him.
(The Organic Union in God's Relationship with Man, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)