One Body, Many Members

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #144

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:12-14).

Paul then comes to introduce his central illustration for the use of spiritual gifts, which is the illustration of one body with many different organs. He says, first, the body is one, but the one body has many members. He then comes from the opposite direction, and says that there are many members, but they are all part of one body. This is the way Christ is, because this is the way the body of Christ is. Christ has one body—His church—and this one body has many different members.

We are members of this body by virtue of the baptism of the Spirit, which is described as the baptism of one Spirit. Whether you are Jew or Gentile, slave or free, tall or short, you were baptized into one body by the same Spirit who baptized all the other members into that same body. Not only were we all baptized by one Spirit, he adds that we all drank from that same one Spirit.

The body therefore has different organs, different members, and as Paul puts it here, there are many different members. This is contrasted to the negative, where Paul says that while we are all one body, we are not all one member.

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