Colossians 1:15-18 “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.“
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: SO ALSO [IS] CHRIST. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.”
It never ceases to amaze me that God’s own people often fail to acknowledge Christ (practically-speaking) as a unified being per the very clear passages of Scripture. They will readily admit that He is both fully God and fully man. They will readily admit that He is the “fulness of the Godhead bodily.” However, in the interpretation and application of God’s word, they seem to forget that He is also the Head of the eternal church, which is His body (with all of its members eternally, and vitally, yoked to Him).
Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.“
So though Scripture is, as a whole, utterly Christocentric, and though He has the great preeminence therein, it is madness to say that the passages related to Him cannot (to a very real degree) also apply — in a secondary/tertiary sense — to (a) His (eternally-yoked-to-Him/one-with-Him) Bride (seeing she is like unto Him in nature, but never anywhere experimentally close to Him in degree, as it pertains to this life), and to (b) the individual saints therein (being eternally found in Him, and made partakers of the divine nature inherent to Him).
Take for example the Psalms. Though they are indeed heavily Messianic, pointing us to the nature, Person, and work of Christ, to deny that the Psalms also shed experiential light on David (and the other Psalmists), a man after God’s own heart, is folly. To deny that many of the passages likewise apply to all who are in Christ is also grave error, a grave mishandling of Scripture, as it relates to its overall purpose and practical application.
In an unreasoned (often over-zealous, ignorance-based) rush to supposedly ‘give all honour to Jesus,’ many dishonour Him, limiting His word, perhaps even corrupting His word, denying therefore, the obvious. They deny what holy men and women of old have understood for millennia. And what is it that they understood? They understood that Christ is our God, Saviour, Lord, Master, and King if we are in Him — but He is also our Blessed Pattern, our Blessed Example, and the more we are enabled to walk as He would have us walk (by the Spirit of God, in light of sovereign grace and mercy), the more we can see the right applicability of passages (when holistically/experimentally considered) to the body of Christ at large, and to its individual members (the saints of Christ), even when they are speaking first and foremost about the Lord.
The error lies in the willingness, the false zeal, of many to make mutually exclusive that which God never intended to be mutually exclusive. What’s worse is that they commend themselves for it, further reinforcing their error. They must understand that hierarchy of interpretation, where they only see exclusivity of application, is far more common than they think. We should be able to look at many passages and see the historic context, the cultural context, the moral/ethical context, the application to individuals, the application to the congregate, and (again, often first and foremost) the application to the Lord Jesus Christ — knowing that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10) and the Scriptures “…are they which testify of Him (John 5:39).”
God help us; is it any wonder the church (and thus our society) is in the state that it is in, when men so often want to separate life application from Christocentric, Gospel truth? Do they not realise that for the Christian, both should go hand in hand? Such need to read again, and consider again, what the Lord means when we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “ALL SCRIPTURE [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.“
We should be able to look at a passage and see how it may apply to us, to the local brethren, to the congregational leadership, to the eternal church at large, and still readily acknowledge that (1) it applies to the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost and (2) where it does apply to us, though we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, whatever successes we have, whatever good we may do, it is all due to the effectual working of the Holy Spirit, through Christ Jesus, according to the sovereign will of the Father.
We know that whatever we do that is pleasing in God’s sight is a result of Him working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The fact that we can appropriate no degree of glory for it, doesn’t mean that there is no life application concerning it. We must use discernment when considering such things.
To God be the glory, forever and ever.