July 12, 2016

When “You” equals “We”

Pronouns make a difference in understanding what someone is saying. Mistakes are obvious to a grammar student in sentences like, “George and me like her” or “Ask a working woman who does more of the housework: her or her husband?"

But the pronouns used in the Bible need greater discernment. Most Christians do not realize that the singular form of “you” is not in most of the New Testament. When Paul says, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!” (Ephesians 4:20) he is using the plural form and means the entire body of believers in the church he is writing to. This gives emphasis to what the church is and how we are to be unified.

This comes out when Paul says “we” — as he does in these verses . . .

“And (Jesus) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:11–14)

I can take this personally and say that God gave certain gifted people His church to bring me into the knowledge of Christ and to maturity. However, if I think plural and about the entire Body of Christ as I read it, I cannot allow myself to be a loner; I’m in the Body and all of us are in this process together.

Chambers says redemption was God’s plan to put the entire human race back into the relationship God designed it to be in. The Church is a spiritual society that must not focus on for the development of its own organization, or its own denomination, and perhaps even its own local body. Maturity is about corporate life as well as in individual life.

Jesus Christ sent apostles and teachers for corporate life. While I must work out my own salvation, it is not for me, but for the glory of God and the building up of the Body of Christ. My relationship to Him is essential for I am of no use to His church if I am living for myself, just as a local church is of no use in the larger secular community if it is only concerned about itself.

It would be amazing if all humanity thought of this kind of unity. The songs sing it, but the news shows that it is not happening anywhere near one-hundred percent. We say we are one big family, but we don’t act like it. We say love makes the world go around, but the love part is often missing also.

I’m thinking ‘loving family’ in the sense that none of its members whine or hurt each other, but each one cares for, sacrifices for, and shares with each other. This family is not constantly criticizing, but encouraging. It fails at times but keeps trying. It looks for good and encourages righteousness.

The Body of Christ is a family, and because it is His Body, any division is dividing Christ, a horrifying thought. As a small member of a larger and living organism, I’m increasingly concerned that I (the individual) am working with you ( the Body) to keep ourselves fit for the task that God has given us.

The Lord says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6) How can we make that truth more evident?

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