Scripture provides four word pictures to describe the Christ-church relationship. The first three are true by analogy, while the fourth is true by corresponding to reality.
1) The Architectural (Christ:church::Cornerstone:a building)
“you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation…Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2:19-21; cf. 1 Pet. 2:4-5)
2) The Anatomical (Christ:church::Head:body)
“And [Christ] is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18; cf. 1 Cor. 12)
3) The Agricultural (Christ:church::Vine:branches)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
4. The Familial (Christ:church::Eldest Son:younger brothers and sisters)
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17, 29; Col. 1:15, 18; Heb. 2:11; or for the Groom-bride analogy: cf. Eph. 5:31-32; Rev 19:6-9)
The Family is the reality
While divinely revealed as key teaching tools of the Christ-church relationship, the other metaphors do not literally correspond to reality. Christ does not eternally exist as a stone, a head, or a vine. He does, however, eternally exist as a Son. This has to shape our churches.
It is not Christ is like my brother; rather, Christ is my brother.
More than that, through Christ, the Father is my Father.
Even more, through Christ, everyone else who has Jesus as a brother is my brother or sister.
My hope is that such news would alter the dynamic of church. May we love each other in the bond of a perfect Spirit, praise our perfect Brother, and rest in our perfect Father. I love this family.