By Brooke Holt
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
In just these two sentences, Paul used the word “one” five different times. Anytime there is repetition, there is emphasis. Clearly, Paul wanted his readers to understand that in Christ, God’s people are united. Before Christ’s redemptive work, there were many designations that separated people—religious descent, ethnicity, slaves or free. Now, in Christ, there is one body and one designation: the children of God.
To further illustrate this point, Paul used the example of human bodies. Each individual person has many different parts of his or her body. Every part of the body is important and valuable as each part plays a unique role in that person’s life. So, it is with the body of Christ. There are many members and each is incredibly unique, but God has called each of them to come together through the gift of baptism.
In baptism, we renounce our old ways of living and embrace the new way of Christ. We are covered by the waters of baptism as a symbol of the old being washed away. As we come out of the water (or have it wiped from our forehead), there is the understanding that the new person has emerged. New life in Christ. Every one of us needs to be washed in the grace of Jesus Christ, and there are no exceptions to that rule. We are sinners saved by grace! God’s people are united by that grace, humbled, and then reconciled to God and to each other. We are one and the same.
Not only that, but to each one who undergoes that baptism, there is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through the empowerment of that Holy Spirit, we see each other for who we truly are—brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called together to celebrate this great reality. We bring our differences and our similarities to the body of Christ not resisting one another but delighting in one another.
In a human body, the members work together to accomplish the tasks of life. While we walk on our feet, we need the cooperation of every body part to make the move. In Christ’s body, the church, some have great vision for what God is calling the church to do; some have the gift of administration to make that vision happen; some preach and teach; some pray and discern; some serve food and water. Every person is equally important and valuable!
One body and one Spirit. Through that Holy Spirit, let us embrace the unity and equality that comes through Christ!
Where do you see disunity and inequality in your church today? How might God be calling you to use your gifts to bridge those gaps or to encourage his people today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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