One Head, One Body
When Jesus died upon the cross, His New Covenant, upon which His church is established, came into effect. The Hebrew write wrote, “And for this reason He [Jesus] is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, . . . For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.” (Hebrews 9:15-16) According to the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, every person who believes in Jesus Christ and is baptized into Jesus Christ the Lord adds to the church. (See John 3:16; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41, 47, Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-4) This is the same church which Jesus promised to build. (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus is the only head of His church. The scriptures make clear this ownership. No man, group of men, or organization oversees the body of Christ. Jesus is the only head of His church. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.” (Ephesians 1:22) Paul again wrote, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) The one true church follows the direction and guidance of Jesus Christ, not man.
The Bible refers to the one church built by Jesus as the body of Jesus Christ. As we noticed earlier, in Ephesians 1:22, Jesus is “head over all things to the church.” However, verse 23 continues by saying, “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Together, the verses read, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23) The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colosse saying, “And He [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)
Every person whom God adds to the church is a member of the body of Jesus Christ. The body of Jesus Christ is made up of many members. In Romans 12, we read, “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.” (Romans 12:4-5; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 17) The single body of Christ, the church, is made up of the saved, the children of God. If a person is not a Christian, if he is not added to the body of Christ, if he is not baptized into Jesus Christ, then he is not a part of, a member of, the body of Christ. The Lord will add to the church only those who gladly receive the teachings of Christ and obey those very teachings. (cf. Acts 2:41)
There is only one body to the one head, Jesus Christ. While this may seem to be an obvious point, in our day and age where there is a high volume of religious organizations and belief systems, some may conclude that Christ is head over a multitude of bodies who profess a belief in Jesus Christ. However such conclusions go against the word of God. Consider the following written through inspiration:
“. . . endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:3b-6)
Take notice that there is only one body (one church). There is also only Lord, one faith, and one baptism. The fact that there is only one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism teaches us that Jesus is not the head over a multitude of bodies with differing faiths, beliefs, and baptisms. Such chaos and division goes against the very example set by Jesus and God, who were one in all things. Regarding all who would believe through the words of the apostles, Jesus prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) All who truly believe in Jesus through the words of the apostles (found within the Bible) will be one as God and Jesus are one. All whom the Lord adds to the one body of Christ will all believe and follow the one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism. Any religious organization or group which deviates from the teachings of the one faith does not have as its head Jesus Christ.
As Jesus promised, He built His church, His great body of believers. Jesus Christ reigns over His kingdom (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24-26), directing His body, His church, as the only head of this great body. This direction comes through the words contained within the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, recorded by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. (cf. John 14:26) Each member of Christ’s body is to study his Bible and follow the teachings and commands contained within the New Testament of Jesus Christ. (cf. 1 Peter 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 2:15)