By Clinton D. Hamilton
Question: Is the English word body ever used in any other sense than the universal or aggregate, saints of all ages, living and dead, per Hebrews 12:23? (literally the firstborn ones).
Reply: Yes, the English word body is used in sense other than the aggregate of all the saved of all ages. Soma, the Greek term translated body, is used approximately 86 times in the English New Testament to mean the human body. At least two times it is used to mean the body of beasts or lower animals (Heb. 13:11; Jas. 3:3). It is used also to refer to terrestrial and celestial entities (1 Cor. 15:40).
Sometimes body is used in connection with the Lord’s supper, in which the bread refers to the body with which one communes when he partakes (1 Cor. 10:16). By the very nature of the term itself, body refers to an aggregate of members. The context lets one know what body is under consideration. If the body of Christ is under consideration and the context refers to the saved, the aggregate is the sense. One could have in view a local group of Christians as constituting the body of Christ in that particular locale. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about their relation in that local body of Christ (1 Cor. 1:2; 12:14-31).
Certainly, sometimes all the saved are in view as in Ephesians 5:23 where it is stated that Jesus is the savior of the body. Christ is the head of the body, the church (Col. 1:18; see also Eph. 1:23; 2:16; 3:15).
Question: What is the teaching of Hebrews 8:12? Is that teaching that God is no longer cognizant of sin, or does it simply means that one is not held accountable of sin, after it is pardoned?
Reply: The term remember is from mimnesko which means to be recalled or to return to one’s mind. God says that sins (in this context) will be remembered no more. The sense is that he will forgive and they will not be called to mind as being still on the person. They will have been remitted and having been loosed or sent away will not be brought back to mind. God’s ability to remember or whether he can call to mind is not the issue. Whether man’s sins once loosed are loosed or sent away forever never again to be an issue between the ones forgiven and God is the issue. God will not still remember their sins as if they had not been forgiven (Heb. 10:17).
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 20, p. 613
October 18, 1990