Monday, February 15, 2016

A Body Member

Christianity isn't one person believing. It is many people believing in One person.

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 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. For the body does not consist of one member but of many." - 1 Corinthians 12:4-14 ESV

Church life is mystical. It isn't always easy.

"For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body." - 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 ESV

These questions do arise because each person is self aware and as fallen people we have had exposure to the effects of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As fallen individuals we amplify differences and make distinctions but God is saying that the group is His body. He thinks about 'us' the way we think about our physical frame. That is his frame of reference.

"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:21-27 ESV

God tells us this and then we know it. The group is His body. A Church is seen by God this way. It is so easy to be cut off from this reality. We wouldn't even know about it if He hadn't told us.

Now that we do know what do we do with that information?

This reality is challenging for me this morning. If this is true (and it is because the Bible reveals it) then the decisions I make matter on a larger scale. It isn't just me. It isn't just me and my family. It isn't just me and my political party. It isn't just me and my ethnicity.

The King James Version puts it this way.

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." - 1 Corinthians 12:27 KJV

If we believe we are part of something larger. What will we be in that arena? What is our function today?

"But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way." - 1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV

Chapter thirteen is about love for a reason. It is linked to this reality. We love knowing this. The more excellent way is love that recognizes and unity that transcends right and wrong.

If I feel small and I often do. I remember this. There is much more at stake here then me and my needs. God will meet my needs. I want to stay connected in the way that glorifies God. There is life there and provision there. I am a member in particular.

If you have believed then you are also.


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