What Does 1 Corinthians 12:13 Mean?

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13(NASB)

Verse of the Day

This verse is in a passage concerning the use and abuse of spiritual gifts, where Paul moves into an examination of the Christian Church and an explanation of our membership in the Body of Christ. He wants to show that each member of Christ's Body is unique in the sight of God and that this complete company of believers is God's chosen vehicle on earth, through which He makes Himself known to man.

We are God's representatives on earth during the Church dispensation, and Paul begins his teaching by explaining that every believer is given their own distinctive gifts and unique ministry. Each manifestation of the Spirit is to be used for the common good of all Christians. Not everyone receives the same spiritual gifts, and each ministry is unique, yet varied and complementary.

Spiritual gifts, designated vocations, and all the good work that God has prepared us to do are bestowed by the same Spirit, to the glory of God and for the benefit of the entire Church. Paul is trying to convey an eternal principle; that the same Holy Spirit works in the lives of all believers, but that various gifts and spiritual manifestations are distributed to each one individually, as He chooses. God is no respecter of persons, and He alone apportions to each one their particular gifts and spiritual graces, by His own will. 

It is in this context that Paul moves on to explain that although we are individual members, we are ONE in Christ. Though we all have unique gifts, graces, and ministries, we are all members of the same Body with one single purpose: "For by ONE Spirit we were all baptised into ONE body," the Church.

The spiritual Body of Christ is an exact representation of a physical, human body. It contains many different parts; bones and ligaments, organs and muscles, secret parts and exposed areas. Every member of the Body is vital to the whole, and each one is equipped to carry out a different function. Each has unique responsibilities, and yet ALL unite to ensure the efficient, elegant, and smooth functioning of the whole.

Paul continues to explain that we became a member of the Body of Christ when we were born again. The moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ we were baptised into the Body of Christ. At salvation, we were placed into the Body of Christ "by ONE Spirit." We were removed from our position in Adam and positioned in the Body of Christ: "For by ONE Spirit we were all baptised into ONE body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."  

It was on the day of Pentecost that the Church was born. It was on that unique day that by one Spirit, all the believers in the upper room were baptised into the Body of Christ. All were placed into Christ's Body "by ONE Spirit," and throughout the Church dispensation, the moment a sinner is saved by grace through faith he is removed from his position in Adam and baptised into the Body of Christ, by one Spirit. 

Although we all have different gifts, graces, ministries, and functions, there is no hierarchy of believers. God is no respecter of persons and in His eyes we all are equally important to the smooth functioning of the Body and we are all to work in obedience to Christ, the Head. There is no difference in status between believers. God does not differentiate between race or colour, gender or age, nationality or education: "Jews or Greeks, slave or free for by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

What a privilege it is to be a member of Christ's Body, for we all equally partake of the same Spirit of God. We all have the same indwelling Holy Spirit, we all partake of the same spiritual benefits, we all have the same heavenly inheritance, and we are all equally loved by the same Lord Jesus Christ. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that all believers are full and equal members of the Church and that by Your grace, I was baptised into the Body of Christ at salvation. Thank You that I can partake of the same spiritual benefits that have been promised to all Your children. And thank You for the gifts, graces, benefits, and ministry You have seen fit to give me individually, by Your grace. I pray that I may be a willing and obedient member of Christ's Body, and fulfil all the work You have prepared for me to do, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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