The New Testament makes it clear that belonging to the Body of Christ and growing in Christlikeness are integrally related. There will be no growth without the connection, and the connection isn’t what God wants it to be without spiritual growth. One of the more important verses in the New Testament that put these two together is found in Colossians, Chapter 2, verse 19. The Good News Bible translates it this way: “Christ…is the head of the body. Under Christ’s control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.”

Notice that the nourishment is dependent upon its connection to the body. Just as any vital organ in the human body is dependent upon all the others. We need each other for fellowship and growth. It doesn’t surprise me that since we are created in God’s image that we were designed for community. The Bible insists that God, Himself, exists in community. There are three persons in the Godhead. There are not three Gods, but one God in three Persons. The text uses the Hebrew word Elohim, the plural form of Eloah (“God”), for this communal, supreme Creator-God. Later we discover the three Persons included in “Us”: the Father (James 1:17–18), the Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:3; Col. 1:16), and the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30).

Thus, God Himself exists in community. God didn’t need to create us. He didn’t need fellowship with man, He was and He is complete in Himself. He was not a lonely God who needed someone to talk to. He was and is completely self-sufficient. But He chose to create the world and its people as a gift given out of His abundant love. In Genesis 1:26, God is saying, in effect, “Let us create Adam and Eve and their descendants as creatures who can share the love and community we already have among Ourselves.” It’s unnatural for us to think of God as a community in and of Himself, but its implications are quite profound. It’s the basis for marriage and gives us the overall guidelines for understanding the family unit. It’s God’s way of telling us the our relationships with each other are not only important but necessary. We need each other in community, connected, and growing as God wants us to grow. As God’s revelation of Himself makes clear, we are all encouraged to build community not to room from it. It’s in this way only, that we take nourishment and grow up!

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” Ephesians 4:15