Beginning also with the Brethren, the saints began to see that the church is God’s household, God’s family. This is clearly revealed in Ephesians 2:19 which says, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God.” The very God is our Father and we all are His children. Being His children, we are the folks of God’s family. The Greek word for household refers both to the house, the dwelling place, and to the household, the family. You can translate the same word with these two meanings. The end of Ephesians 2 reveals the household as the habitation of God. Verse 19 mentions the household, while verse 22 says that we are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit. The household is the dwelling place, the habitation.
Today, physically speaking, the household can never be the dwelling place of a father. However, spiritually speaking, all of God’s children at the same time are both God’s family and also God’s dwelling place. God’s habitation is built with His children. Therefore, His children are both His family and His dwelling place. The family is the dwelling place. We can declare to the whole universe that we are both God’s family and God’s house. We are His children, and at the same time we are His dwelling place. The Brethren, in their teachings, have made this very clear. From the assembly, the gathering of God’s called ones, they went on to the family of God, the household, and to the habitation of God.
THE BODY OF CHRIST
The Brethren also saw that the church, which is the family, the household of God, is the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:23; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:27). Some Christian teachers say that the Body of Christ is merely a parable illustrating how close we are to Christ. According to this teaching, we are close to Christ just like the members of the body are close to the head. We must correct this wrong teaching. The Body of Christ is not a parable but a fact. It would be terrible to say that my body is a parable. My body is not an illustration; it is a fact. Likewise, the church as the Body of Christ is a fact, not a parable. You may consider the vine tree in John 15 as a parable, but you cannot say that the church being the Body of Christ is a parable.
THE NEW MAN
The church is first the assembly, second the household, third the Body, and finally the new man. In the one book of Ephesians all these points are there. The ekklesia is in chapter one (v. 22), the household is in chapter two (v. 19), the Body is in chapters one, two, three, four, and five (1:23; 2:16; 3:6; 4:4, 12, 16; 5:23, 30), and the new man is in chapters two and four (2:15; 4:24). The new man is the highest aspect of the church.
Those who translated the Revised Standard Version of the Bible made a great mistake when they translated the new man in Ephesians 4:24 into “the new nature.” In the Greek text, the new man here is the same phrase that is used in 2:15—“that He might create the two in Himself into one new man.” To translate the same phrase in 4:24 as the new nature is a mistake. The word for man in 4:24 is also used in 4:13, which says, “Until we all arrive...at a full-grown man.” This verse cannot be translated, “until we all arrive at a full-grown nature.” In the same chapter, chapter four of Ephesians, this word is used at least twice—a full-grown man and a new man. From the Body we must go on to see that the church is the new man.
(The One New Man, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)