The author argues that the church is a prolongation of the Incarnation. He begins by explaining the issues involved in this position. Then he turns to Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, where we read: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24). Then he turns to Caesarius of Arles, who speaks of the church as persons grafted into one body that enables them to be Christ to others. Christ acts through the members, using the material to bring about the spiritual. Next, the author examines John of Damascus’s view that our unity with Christ as believers allows us to speak of experiences of the church as being experiences of Christ and actions of the church as being actions of Christ. Finally, the author finds in the Letter to the Hebrews passages that indicate that it is “through Christ” in unity that the members of the church may participate in the unique priestly sacrificial activity of Christ. Therefore, the church— mystical body of Christ—is a type of Christ’s earthly ministry and of his heavenly ministry of building the Kingdom that is yet to come.
Baima, Thomas A.
"The Prolongation of the Incarnation: Toward a Biblical Understanding of the Church,"
Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture: Vol. 6
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/claritas/vol6/iss2/9