In the Bible, people are spoken of as souls, living beings, in which case one could also think of soul and body as individuals. Those believing souls, as churchgoers, could form the ‘soul’ of the church community. Yet it had to be realised that when a soul or a person died, the Church did not die but could remain alive. Even if people died, the Church remained alive and continued to be ‘animated’.
Body, Soul and Spirit
“I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 1 Thess. 5:23.
That the Apostle was not praying thus on behalf of individual believers, consecrated to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, is evident, from several considerations.
(2) It would not be consistent with the consecration of the believer’s body as a living sacrifice, to have it preserved.
If the Apostle’s prayer be regarded as for the Church as a whole, it is readily understood, for the True Church has been preserved through the age, notwithstanding many attacks against it. The Holy Spirit has been preserved to it; its soul or life has not died; it has also been preserved as a body.
The membership has never been recognisable by the world, for the world has not known them, even as it knew not the Head of that body, Jesus our Lord; but God has known them, and therefore His foundation has stood sure. (2 Tim. 2:10).
“ Therefore I suffer all things, for the elects sake, that they might also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2Ti 2:10 GenevaBible)
The Apostle’s prayer has been answered on behalf of the Church collectively, as it could not have been, and was not intended to be, answered on behalf of any member individually.
– The New Covenant Advocate June 1909 p. 42
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