To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Col 1:2 ESV)The organic metaphor for the church used by Paul absolutely negates this conception by asserting that grace is conveyed through the body of Christ along horizontal channels as well as through the vertical relationship of each believer to God. No individual, congregation or denomination of Christians is spiritually independent of the others. . . . Therefore, ‘the normal Christian life’ is not simply a function of an individual believer’s relationship to God. If he is isolated from Christians around him who are designed to be part of the system through which he receives grace, or if those Christians are themselves spiritually weak, he cannot be as strong and as filled with the Spirit as he otherwise would be.