So, given what we’ve seen from Volf, how does he ultimately describe the church as the body of Christ? In a rather trinitarian way:
Christ cannot be identical with the church. An element of juxtaposition obtains between Christ and the church that precisely as such is constitutive for their unity. Only as the bride can the church be the body of Christ, and not vice versa. To be sure, one should not understand the genitive Christos (“of Christ”) exclusively in the possessive since (“the body that belongs to Christ”), but rather must also interpret it in and explicative sense (“the body that is Christ”). Otherwise the church and Christ would be merely juxtaposed and their specific oneness suppressed (see 1 Cor. 6:15; 12:1-13). The identification of Christ and the church however — “your bodies [are] members of Christ” — derives from the union between Christ and Christians, a union that cannot be conceived in physical categories, however articulated, but rather in personal categories, and a union for which the enduring distinction between the two is of decisive importance. Thus the identification of Christ and the church stands for the particular kind of personal communion between Christ and Christians, a communion perhaps best described as “personal interiority”; Christ dwells in every Christian and is internal to that person as a person. Rather than being thereby suspended, the specifically Christian juxtaposition of Christ and Christians is actually first constituted through the Holy Spirit. If this is correct, then Paul’s statement that “all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28) does not mean that this “one” is “Christ himself”; they are “one” insofar as they are “in Christ” or insofar as “Christ” dwells “within” them.
Thus, for Volf, to call the church the body of Christ is to speak of the personal indwelling of Christ, by the Spirit in all Christians, thus binding them together relationally as a communion of persons. The language of the body is thus one of divine indwelling and relational giving. We are the body of Christ in that Christ, in the Spirit dwells in us and gives us to one another in the same mode of descending, self-giving love that Christ himself embodys as the ikon of the Trinity in the world.