Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.1 Corinthians 12:27(NASB)
As one reads through this epistle to the Corinthian Christians, it is evident.. that although these saints were enriched in all the gifts of the Spirit, they were demonstrably deficient in the fruit of the Spirit. They were not growing in grace and in a knowledge of their Lord and Saviour as God desires, but were regressing in their spiritual growth and maturity back to infancy, to their great shame.
Although this early church community functioned extensively in the gifts of the Spirit, they lacked spiritual fruit. Although they were gifted with the tongues of men and of angels.. prophetic utterances, knowledge and many benevolent actions, they lacked godly love and did not exhibit spiritual fruit. This caused these Christians to be labelled 'spiritually immature' and Paul even described them as immature, 'carnal' believers. There was dissension amongst them and arguments. There was sexual immorality and spiritual pride among their ranks.. and there was a lack of spiritual discernment and true Christian grace.
And so Paul exhorts the spiritually bankrupt members of the Corinthian Church to put away childish things, and to remember.. that as members of the body of Christ, they had the holy Spirit of God indwelling their mortal bodies! Therefore, they should NOT act like the natural man, who is dead in his sin and unbelief.. nor should they exhibit the fleshly attitude of a carnal man, which is so displeasing to the Lord. Paul exhorts these believers to live and behave as a spiritual man, who are abiding in Christ and walking in spirit and truth.
He reiterated their need to grow in the faith, They were not to abuse the spiritual gifts, in unseemly self-aggrandisement.. or in order to stroke their own, personal egos. Gifts of the Spirit are given for the benefit of the Body of Christ and for the glory of God and not for the self-indulgent, carnal believer. Indeed, Paul considered the godly use of their gifts and graces is especially significant, when commemorating Christ's sacrificial death, with the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup. And so Paul reiterated the importance and responsibility on all believers.. of maintaining unity within the Church - for collectively we are Christ's body and we are individually members of it.
The Christian Church is composed of all individuals who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Each church fellowship is a microcosm of the world-wide Body of Christ. Each have their own, unique role to play and all members are of equal value and import to our heavenly Father.
The Lord Jesus is the head over the Body, and His supreme command is that love should prevail in the hearts of all. He desires that we consider the needs of others before our own.. and that we eschew evil, envy, independence, self-importance or personal worthlessness.
How important that the genuine, unity of the Body is maintained, while at the same time recognising that we are a diverse group of redeemed individuals, that comprise of Jews and Gentiles, male and female, young and old, black and white, slave and free. Praise God that we are all ONE in Christ Jesus our Lord.. and that by grace through faith, we are now Christ's body - and individually members of it.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege of being united to Christ by faith and being part of Your body - the Church. Thank You for my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I pray that we would be united together in love. I pray that in all things we would learn to love You with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and put the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ before our own, for Your greater praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.