So we, being many - We who are members of the Church of Christ, which is considered the body of which he is the head, have various offices assigned to us, according to the measure of grace, faith and religious knowledge which we possess; and although each has a different office, and qualifications suitable to that office, yet all belong to the same body; and each has as much need of the help of another as that other has of his; therefore, let there be neither pride on the one hand, nor envy on the other. The same metaphor, in nearly the same words, is used in Synopsis Sohar, page 13. "As man is divided into various members and joints, united among themselves, and raised by gradations above each other, and collectively compose one body; so all created things are members orderly disposed, and altogether constitute one body. In like manner the law, distributed into various articulations, constitutes but one body." See Schoettgen.
So we, being many - We who are Christians, and who are numerous as individuals.
Are one body - Are united together, constituting one society, or one people, mutually dependent, and having the same great interests at heart, though to be promoted by us according to our special talents and opportunities. As the welfare of the same body is to be promoted in one manner by the feet, in another by the eye, etc.; so the welfare of the body of Christ is to be promoted by discharging our duties in our appropriate sphere, as God has appointed us.
In Christ - One body, joined to Christ, or connected with him as the head; Ephesians 1:22-23, “And gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body;” compare John 15:1-7. This does not mean that there is any physical or literal union, or any destruction of personal identity, or any thing particularly mysterious or unintelligible. Christians acknowledge him as their head. that is, their Lawgiver; their Counsellor, Guide, and Redeemer. They are bound to him by especially tender ties of affection, gratitude, and friendship; they are united in him, that is, in acknowledging him as their common Lord and Saviour. Any other unions than this is impossible; and the sacred writers never intended that expressions like these should be explained literally. The union of Christians to Christ is the most tender and interesting of any in this world, but no more mysterious than what binds friend to friend, children to parents, or husbands to their wives; compare Ephesians 5:23-33. (See the supplementary note at Romans 8:17.)
And every one members one of another - Compare 1 Corinthians 12:25-26. That is, we are so united as to be mutually dependent; each one is of service to the other; and the existence and function of the one is necessary to the usefulness of the other. Thus, the members of the body may be said to be members one of another; as the feet could not, for example, perform their functions or be of use if it were not for the eye; the ear, the hand, the teeth, etc., would be useless if it were not for the other members, which go to make up the entire person. Thus, in the church, every individual is not only necessary in his place as an individual, but is needful to the proper symmetry and action of the whole. And we may learn here:
(1) That no member of the church of Christ should esteem himself to be of no importance. In his own place he may be of as much consequence as the man of learning, wealth, and talent may be in his.
(2) God designed that there should be differences of endowments of nature and of grace in the church; just as it was needful that there should be differences in the members of the human body.
(3) no one should despise or lightly esteem another. All are necessary. We can no more spare the foot or the hand than we can the eye; though the latter may be much more curious and striking as a proof of divine skill. We do not despise the hand or the foot any more than we do the eye; and in all we should acknowledge the goodness and wisdom of God. See these thoughts carried out in 1 Corinthians 12:21-25.
As all the different members of the human system unite to form the entire body, and each performs its office in obedience to the intelligence that governs the whole, so the members of the church of Christ should be united in one symmetrical body, subject to the sanctified intelligence of the whole. 4T 16.1Read in context »
It is true there are tares among the wheat; in the body of Sabbathkeepers evils are seen; but because of this shall we disparage the church? Shall not the managers of every institution, the leaders of every church, take up the work of purification in such a way that the transformation in the church shall make it a bright light in a dark place? 6T 239.1
What may not even one believer do in the exercise of pure, heavenly principles if he refuses to be contaminated, if he will stand as firm as a rock to a “Thus saith the Lord”? Angels of God will come to his help, preparing the way before him. 6T 239.2
Paul wrote to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. This entire chapter is a lesson which I entreat all who claim to be members of the body of Christ to study. Again Paul wrote: “If the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Romans 11:16-22. Very plainly these words show that there is to be no disparaging of the agencies which God has placed in the church. 6T 239.3Read in context »