Today, I read the following from T. Austin Sparks in the book The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“We must see that the Body of Christ represents a tremendous victory. That Body comes out of His resurrection, or with His resurrection, and the pre-eminent example of the exercise of Divine power in this universe is in the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead, or from among the dead. That raising of Christ from among the dead, representing the supreme exercise of Divine power, represents the mighty victory of God in Christ, and if the Body of Christ comes out with and in His resurrection, that Body is a part of an expression of that mighty victory of God. Now Ephesians makes that perfectly clear and says that actually: *’… the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenlies.’* The Body of Christ is the mighty victory of God in Christ in its realization.”
I love this picture! We, as the Body of Christ, are displaying the victory of God in Christ.
It brought to mind how the Lord commanded Joshua (in Joshua 4) to have the people of Israel take up stones from the Jordan river as they cross to set up as a memorial for what the Lord did for the people that day.
You can find stone memorials throughout history of the people of God. Now, think about how God gathers his saints together as living stones, the building materials with which he desires to build his dwelling place:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
…You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5
We, the saints, aren’t just supposed to be the dwelling place for the Lord–although that would be enough in and of itself! No, he’s gathering his people together as his Body and stacking these living stones together to form a structure that is not only his house, but also a memorial of what the Lord has done. The simple existence of the Body of Christ is a witness and testimony of the victory and power of God, especially wherever it exists in the form of saints being built together. We are a tangible monument of the fact that God has won, that our King Jesus has beaten death!
And we wonder sometimes at the opposition we face in the building of his church?
Not only is the church literally Jesus in the flesh on the earth; not only are the local churches colonies of the Kingdom in a hostile land, but they are also solid monuments of living stones erected in enemy territory that scream out “The Creator has already won this battle! The victory is His!”