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od’s statement that man should   the singular body of Christ (cf. 1Co 12:12-
               not be alone (Gen 2:18) is not only   13). This evidently doesn’t mean that ev-
        Gapplicable to marriage. A desire     ery Christian in a given locality is part of
        for community was implanted within    the same local church – they may not even
        us by the Creator and is also part of His   know each other. But the distinctiveness
        design for the new creation in Christ – we   between the two entities shouldn’t make
        have come into a “fellowship” (1Co 1:9).   us think there is no connection between
        You may often have heard that there are   them; 1 Corinthians 12 makes this crys-
        privileges and responsibilities associated   tal clear. In an epistle focused upon the
        with local assembly fellowship. But what   Lordship of Christ in a local assembly,
        if there were a way to obtain those privi-  Paul applies the truth of the one body of
        leges without taking on the responsibili-  Christ to local assembly life and its variety
        ties? Wouldn’t that be great? Not so much,   of ministries. After teaching about the one
        no. Experiencing community requires   body of Christ (vv12-13) and the analogy
        commitment. There is a growing segment   of the human body (vv14-26), he says,
        of the Christian Church that is contenting   “Now you are Christ's body” (v27 NET,
        itself with being unattached to a local   cf. JND). In other words, the local church
        church, but these beloved believers are   is to live out this truth of body unity.  God
        selling themselves short, not only of their   has “called [us] into the fellowship of his
        biblical responsibilities but also of their   Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Co 1:9),  so
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        biblical privileges. As with everything that   that we may worship and serve together
        God has designed, local church fellowship   in a corporate expression of that fellow-
        is for our blessing. If I am not an active   ship. God never intended that we would
        participant in the fellowship of a local as-  make our Christian pilgrimage alone. The
        sembly of believers, I am missing out on   local church is explicitly designed to be
        the goodness of Christian discipleship that   an experience of Christian community.
        God has provided for me as a member of   Ephesians and Colossians are expositions
        Christ’s body.                        of the glorious truth of the one body in
        Expressing the Truth of One           Christ, but those letters were originally
        Body in Christ                        written to local churches because that is
                                              ¹ All Scripture quotations in this article are from
          All Christians everywhere are part of   the ESV unless otherwise noted.
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