By Carl Kline

What is the Body of Christ? When did the Body of Christ Start? What  the Body of Christ is NOT! What Applies to the Body of Christ?

 What is the Body of Christ?  Where in Scripture do we find God’s description of the Body of Christ? Ephesians 2:11-19 gives us the Biblical description of the Body of Christ.

 Verses 11-12: In PAST time, Uncircumcised Gentiles had no hope, and were without God. The only way a Gentile could be right with God was to become a proselyte, i.e., be circumcised and keep the covenants (Ex. 12:48; Isa. 56:6).

 Verses 13-16: But NOW through His blood and the destruction of the Law; He made BOTH ONE. He created a NEW man of TWO (circumcised Jew and  Uncircumcised Gentile) that He might reconcile BOTH believing circumcised Jews and believing Uncircumcised Gentiles in ONE BODY by the Cross.

 The ONE BODY then is Jews and Gentiles without distinction. The Body of Christ began when God accepted Uncircumcised Gentiles in their uncircumcision. Let us search the Scriptures to see when the distinction between Jew and Gentile was erased and they became ONE BODY.

      Matthew 10:5-6: “Go not into the way of the Gentile….”

      John 10:16: “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.”

      It is evident that the One Body does not yet exist as there is a distinction between Jew and Gentile.

      Acts 2:5 & 10: “Jews, devout men from every nation under Heaven” …  “Jews and proselytes.”

      Any Gentiles that were present here are proselytes, having been circumcised and putting themselves under the Law. They are no longer uncircumcised. No One Body yet; Gentiles are not addressed in the early part of the Book of Acts.

 24:14: “Ye men of Judea.”

24:22: “Ye men of Israel.”

24:36: “Let all the house of Israel know.”

3:12: “Ye men of Israel”

3:25: “Ye are the children of the prophets.”

      It is not until Chapter 10 of Acts that there is a change. First of all, Peter sees a vision which he does not yet understand (10:11-17), but he was led step by step to the house of Cornelius.

      Acts 10:28: “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation.”

      It was unlawful because the Lord had commanded them NOT to go to the Gentiles. The “Great Commission” said nothing about Gentiles though many have interpreted it to mean that.

      Acts 10:28b: “BUT God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

      Peter NOW knew that he was to go to the Gentiles, but as yet nobody else knew. When word got back to Jerusalem, the Apostles were upset, and contended with Peter saying: “Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them” (Acts 11:3).

      Peter told them the whole story about the vision, and that the Gentiles were ALSO receiving the Holy Spirit as the Jews had at Pentecost (Acts 11:18).

      Acts 11:18: “When they heard these things they held their peace and glorified God, saying, then hath God also the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Now the Apostles also knew, but as yet nobody else knew.

Acts 11:19: “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to none but unto the Jews only.”

 But then, in verse 20, some of them start going to the Gentiles. Peter recalls his experience of Acts 10 in Acts 15:7-9.

      Acts 15:7-9: “A good while ago, God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the gospel, and believe. So God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

 Now, let me ask you a few questions regarding this text.

 1. Out of the 12 Apostles, WHO did God choose to be the FIRST to go to the Gentiles? (vs. 7)

  Answer: Peter was the FIRST. Any other teaching is man’s tradition and is contrary to the inspired Word of  God and the historical record contained therein.

 2. When did the Gentiles FIRST receive the Holy Spirit? (Vs. 8)

Answer: In Acts 10, at the house of Cornelius (10:44, 45 and 11:15). Any other teaching, either expressed or implied is tradition which is contrary to Scripture.

 3. When did God put NO DIFFERENCE between us (Jews) and them (Uncircumcised Gentiles)? (Vss. 8 & 9)

Answer: Acts 10, when the Gentiles ALSO received the Holy Spirit. As long as the Gentiles did not have the Holy Spirit there was a difference, not the One Body.

 OBSERVATION: The “no difference” or the “One Body” came about when God gave the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles as He formerly had to Jews. Anything before this point (Acts 10, A.D. 41—Unger) is BEFORE the Body of Christ was formed. There have always been believers but only those after Acts 10 can properly be called members of the Body of Christ. The Church that existed at Pentecost was the Church of the Kingdom, NOT the “Church which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22-23).

 It should be carefully noted that while Acts 10 was the beginning of the Body of Christ, it was ONLY the beginning. NO TRUTH for the Body of Christ had yet been revealed. Body Truth was first revealed  to the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 3:10).

     1 Corinthians  3:10a: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation.”

      The Greek word for masterbuilder is “architekton.” In English that would be “architect.” An architect does not start his  job after the others  have worked on a building for years. No Sir, the architect translates the mind of the owner onto a blueprint BEFORE anyone starts to build.

      Ir was also given to the Apostle Paul to FULFIL (complete) the Word of God for His Body which is the Church (Col. 1:24-26).

      The writings of Paul started A.D. 52 with 1 Thessalonians. In A.D. 55, he told in Corinthians that we know only “in part,” but some day he would know fully (1 Cor. 13:10-12). In A.D. 61, as Colossians was being written, he could encourage the brethren to be FILLED with the knowledge of His will (Col. 1:9-10). That was something not possible in A.D. 55 when it was only “in part.”