The Body-Part 1: Skin (Covering)
Before we get started I want to preface this by saying “skin” here will mean skin, flesh, and covering. All three forms are seen within the Bible and we will go through all three forms and glean what it is the Lord wants us to know as it relates to The Body of Christ on an individual as well as a corporate level.
First, did you know that the skin and all parts affiliated are considered an organ? Actually, it is considered the largest organ of the body. Also known as the integumentary system, our skin has a very important function. The skin functions as a protector, manages temperature control, and as a sensory organ.
In the role of protector, skin keeps harmful substances out of our body but also keeps useful substances in our body (like water). There are multiple layers of our skin and each layer has its own function. Within each layer are other facets that have their own roles to play. One facet in the layers of our skin are sweat glands. Our sweat glands are one of the ways our bodies maintain our temperature by not allowing us to overheat.
Another facet within the layers of our skin are hair follicles. Ever wonder why we have eyelashes, eyebrows, or nose hairs? Those seemingly pointless parts of our bodies keep dust and debris from entering our bodies. As far as our hair and our nails, the part we actually see is technically dead. It grows from deep within the layers of the skin. By the time it reaches beyond the skin it is dead keratin tissue. Makes you wonder why we fuss so much about our hair and nails. Of course, if we don’t fuss with them other problems can occur. However, some of us fuss with our hair and nails more than necessary.
Skin is also a sensory organ as I mentioned. Our skin is our first defense when we are too cold, too hot, or even emotionally compromised as in being scared. Have you ever had a truly eerie feeling that you were in danger of some kind and your skin filled up with goosebumps or you could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? I have. I don’t have the time to research all that right now but I’m sure I’m not the only one that has had that feeling multiple times in my life.
As I was doing my biblical research on this subject, I was directed to Leviticus 13. The entire chapter is solely focused on directions from God to the Levitical priests on how to handle someone with abnormal skin issues (like leprosy or boils). I admonish us all to read and study this chapter with the mindset of Jesus Christ as our Forever Priest. My personal belief when it comes to the Bible (Word of God) is that none of it is null or void but all still relevant. What I believe is that Jesus Christ has fulfilled a large majority of it because Jesus Himself is THE LAW made flesh as well as the keeper of The Law (just a thought-take it or leave it).
Now that we have some basic understanding of what the skin does, how can we translate that to The Body of Christ?
When the Bible uses the words flesh or carnal it is usually speaking of sinful nature. Skin is not a sinful thing but how we act in any given situation is our sinful nature. This is the meaning of flesh in the Bible; our carnal nature without us allowing Jesus Christ to work and live through us. A few times in the New Testament Jesus says that none of us are good. This is the foundation of Christian doctrine. That Jesus lived, died, and lives again to not abolish our sinful nature but to cover it because it is impossible for us to be a Holy people without His sacrifice and life. He is the covering for us.
God’s plan for this covering was set in motion far before Jesus came to us as a man.
Genesis 3:21 – Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
God covered Adam and Eve before He let them go from the Garden. He covered them in animal skins. This is an important theme we see throughout the Bible which points to the eventuality of Jesus Christ being our covering through the shedding of His blood through His sacrifice. This is also seen in the construction of the Tabernacle of Moses.
Exodus 26:14 – “You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that…
Before we enter into anything we should be sure we are covered. Even before we began our relationship with our Lord (no matter where you are in your walk) we all first accepted Him into our hearts by accepting and believing in His sacrifice for our sins.
The goal for our walk is to become more like Jesus. We cannot hope to become more like Him without Him becoming a part of us; His DNA intertwining with ours; His flesh becoming our flesh; His blood that was sacrificed becoming our blood.
John 6:53-58 – Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
Our walk is more about letting Jesus be Himself through us. This is a hard thing because we have yet to scratch the surface of the absolute Truth of God’s Word made flesh.
How many times have any of us tried to do something in our own strength and did not even have a conversation with our Lord about it? Remember, earlier in this writing when I pointed out how God covered Adam and Eve? Before God’s covering, Adam and Eve made their own covering to protect their nakedness.
Genesis 3:7 – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
It was later in this chapter that God provided them with coverings. I understand that some will not agree with this but here is my take on this. God is a merciful and gracious God. He sees our hearts and not our outside appearance (which includes our reactions to life situations). Although Adam and Eve disobeyed Him, He was still merciful and gracious to them and took what they thought was protecting them and gave them better protection against the elements.
This may be a stretch but I don’t think so because I have experienced this myself many times in my 11+ year walk. God knows so much what is in our heart that He allows us (notice I said allows us but not causes) to go through things and situations we create ourselves but He is always ready and prepared to provide us with what we need when we come out of whatever situation it is (no matter how harmful or devastating it may be); all we have to do is call on Him. It’s even better when we call on Him beforehand but that doesn’t always happen.
The God-Head (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are to be our covering, our skin, our defense against the ways of the enemies. Sometimes we are not even strong enough to cry out. This is how the organ of skin relates to The Body of Christ. We should be each other’s coverings as much as we are able to. Remember the three verses from the introduction of this series? This is where one of them comes into play.
Romans 12:4-5 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Here is the rest of that passage:
Romans 12:6-8 – Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
There are those who have a greater proportion or calling towards covering others (even though we are all called to do so). It is not always the leader of any given church that has or operates in this gift. An example of this would be the prayer intercessors. We are all called to pray but there are some that have been designed specifically with this gift and to operate in this way. Again, we are called to cover one another just in different capacities.
To summarize and bring this to a close the skin is considered an organ and is the largest organ of the human body. Our hair, nails, sweat glands, and other properties are included and each have their own personal functions just each of us individually have different calling and functions. God covered and covers us just as He did Adam and Eve. His covering for us is through the ministry, sacrifice, and life (He is alive today) of Jesus Christ. We are covered in the Lamb’s blood and flesh. We must partake of eating His flesh and drinking His blood by communing (or communicating) with Him daily in His presence. We are called to cover one another in whatever capabilities we function in or are able to like through prayer.
Psalm 91:1-6 – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Try to picture yourself fully clothed in the presence of our Lord and see how that changes your day-to-day outlook.
Peace, mercy, grace, and love.
Alicia R. Shipe
[For more information on the integumentary (skin) system: click the following link.