We frequently hear people talk about being church members. Just what does that mean?

There's a bank card that reminds us that "membership has its privileges." They call us members.

Many of us have been named to honor societies. We become members of those societies, but that's usually as far as the relationship goes.

We can be members of a team or members of a club. A mathematical set has members. We have family members. We can come up with many definitions of the word "member."

So what are we saying when we talk about being a member of a church? Is it like being members of a society or club? No. Writing to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul said, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:4-5). He told a group of Ephesian Christians: "We are members of his body" (Ephesians 5:30).

Church members are members of a body, the body of Christ. Just as a hand withers and dies when disconnected from the body, so believers face spiritual death if not connected with Christ's body.

The church isn't an organization; it's an organism. Membership isn't optional. If we are in Christ, in a saving relationship with him, then we are necessarily members of his body. Christians don't choose to belong to the church; if they belong to Christ, they also belong to his body.

The apostle Paul wrote something similar to the Corinthian church, saying, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Christians have been born again, and their new life is lived out in relationship with the body of Christ.

We can't be in a vital relationship with the head without being connected to the rest of the body
Christ is the head of the church, his body. We can't be in a vital relationship with the head without being connected to the rest of the body.

Are you living as a member of Christ's body? If you don't feel like part of the church, maybe I can help you find a group of Christians to connect with. Write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or fill out the contact form on our www.hopeforlife.org website.

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