“…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
Set in one of his most dynamic passages about unity in the church, Paul has just emphasized the necessity of speaking the truth in love and of maturing in Christ. And it is to Christ that the word “whom” points here.
The meaning of this metaphor is that Jesus Christ is the spiritual lubrication that causes all of the spiritual body to function properly. Just as physical body parts perform the function for which they were created, so it must be in the spiritual body, the church.
The result is that, when all members of the church do their part, the church grows and even sustains itself by “edifying … itself in love.” Without appropriate activity and continued learning of the word of God, the church will die of spiritual malnutrition.