The apostle Paul wrote, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:3-8).
The church is compared to a body. Each member of the church is a part of the body of Christ. We differ in function and in what we can do, but we must function in harmony with each other.
Members One Of Another
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom. 12:4-5).
Amidst all of the practical exhortation in Romans 12, Paul outlines that each Christ who is a member of the body of Christ which is his church has responsibilities. John Witmer, in his piece on Romans in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, writes: “As Paul explained, a parallelism exists between a believer’s physical body which has parts with differing functions and the community of believers in Christ as a spiritual body (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:11-12, 15-16). The point is that each member functions to serve the body, not the body to serve the members. The diversity of the many accompanies the unity of the body. Therefore it is important to think soundly about oneself and to evaluate properly God’s gifts and their use.”
It is imperative that we remember that our membership in the body is not a passive one. “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Cor. 12:18). God has not placed us in his body to just coast or be apathetic. As a Christian, you should be involved in the work of the local congregation: supporting, serving, and using your God-given abilities to honor him and serve others. Stop being a consumer only, and start producing good works (James 2:14-26).
As Christians, we receive many blessings by being an active member of the congregation. We are encouraged to do right. Friendship and companionship are found in the family of God. We benefit from knowledge gained from others. The availability of benevolent help when we have physical needs is present. We are to lift one another up in prayer and we assist each other when we offer comfort in sorrow and help in difficult times.
We are not to live independently from another as children of God, but we are to fulfill the injunction that we are “members of one another.” As Luke wrote of the first century church, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
As a member in the body, no individual can function effectively by himself. All members are built together and joined together in Christ. As Paul stated, “In whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22).
As a member of the body, no member should feel he is more important than another. “For the body does not consist of one member but of many…Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:14, 27).
All members must work diligently at creating unity in the body. Paul wrote, “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).
How do we help the church manifest these “one another’s”?
Teach them. Some know, some need to be reminded and some may not have a clue…and some refuse to adjust their life to apply these scriptures.
Promote them. We need to promote this atmosphere in our meetings, ministries, works, and activities.
Uphold them. Staying true to our Lord involves our being accountable to him and to one another. We help one another in living right and fulfilling the mission of Christ and the church.
Take a short test. Do a self-examination. What are your strengths? Accentuate them! What are your weaknesses? Eliminate them!
Steve serves on the board of directors for the Carolina Messenger and is the associate minister of the Gold Hill Road congregation in Fort Mill, SC.