1 Corinthians 12:13-20
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free…
I. WHAT IS THIS BODY OF CHRIST, which the Spirit of God doth ingraft His people into? First, it is the Church of God; as the apostle saith (Colossians 1:18), "He is the head of the body, the Church." So that the Church is the body of Christ, that same peculiar company of men and women, as St. Peter calls them, "You are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). The author to the Hebrews calls them, "the assembly of the firstborn" (Hebrews 12:23). Now I call this invisible, for though their persons, and courses, and manner of life be seen and known, and they may be known who they are, yet all of them were never known, nor ever will be (2 Timothy 2:39). Secondly, it is such a company as is gathered out of all nations under heaven; as St. John speaks (Revelation 7:9). Thirdly, this same godly company are a company of predestinated men unto eternal life. Fourthly, it is such a godly company as is gathered by the Word of God. The Word of God gathers them together. Fifthly, they are such a company as are made one, knit and combined together in Christ, though themselves are never so many, and never so remote and distant from one another. It is true, you are different among yourselves: one is a master, another a servant, one is a rich man, another a poor man — so there is a difference; but they are all one in Christ Jesus, they have all one and the selfsame faith, they have all one and the selfsame Father, there is but one Lord, and one Spirit to quicken and unite them all. Thus we see what this body of Christ is.
II. Now in the second place, WHAT IS IT TO BE PUT INTO THIS BODY; to be implanted into it? I answer — First, it is a part of a man's ingrafting into Christ; for the ingrafting of a man into Christ, and into the body of Christ, are not two things, but God doth them by one and the selfsame act, as you may see (Romans 12:5). It must needs be the same work, for the putting a man into Christ in whom are the other members, that very act makes a man to have fellowship with Christ, together with all the other members. Secondly, this likewise is done by faith. Then in the third place, it makes a man have a common life with all the rest of the members of Jesus Christ. As you may see (Colossians 3:4), "When Christ which is our life shall appear, ye also shall appear with Him in glory." Christ who is our life. In the fourth place, it makes a man to be of one consent with all the people of God everywhere (Zephaniah 3:9). Fifthly, all this is for mutual profit, and help, and care, and sympathy.
III. In the third place we must show, THAT THE SPIRIT DOTH THIS, AND WHY HE DOTH IT. First, that it is the Spirit that unites and tieth all these members together. This makes them hang together, therefore it is called the "unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:3). Now the reason why the Spirit of God doth do this, is — first, because none else besides the Spirit is able to do it. For by nature we are woefully different from the body of Christ, we are of another nature, of another kind, of another life; nay, we are contrary to it. Secondly, there is none so fit as the Spirit of God to do it. Thirdly, how the Spirit of God doth this; and that is two ways, as the Scripture reveals to us. The one is, by being one and the same Spirit in all the members of Christ. He comes into them, and dwells in them as one and the selfsame Spirit, and so makes up this union. The same Spirit that was in Paul was in Peter; and so all the rest of the members of Christ one and the selfsame Spirit is in them (1 Corinthians 3:16). Secondly, the Spirit doth this by uniting and tying a knot between these members. He doth unite them, and make them hang together in one; He makes them to be of one heart.
IV. Now I come to the USES. First, is it so that the Spirit of God doth unite all the saints of God together in one body? Then here we may see the reason of the difference of men in the world. Some companies have a different spirit; but all the saints of God have the Spirit of God which makes them hang together. Secondly, doth the Spirit of God join all the saints of God together in one body? Then that which God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Thirdly, here we may see how to try our acquaintance, and whether the company we join ourselves unto be good or no. If our company be right, the Spirit of God tieth the knot. The last use is this: is it so that the Spirit of God joins all the saints of God together in one body? Then we should have a fellow-feeling with all the members of Christ. But how shall we have a fellow-feeling with the members of Christ? First, we must inform ourselves as much as we can concerning one another. Secondly, we should visit our fellow-members. As it is said of Moses, though he were a great courtier in Pharaoh's court, yet he went out to look upon his brethren's burdens (Exodus 2:11). Thirdly, we should lay to heart their afflictions.
Parallel VersesKJV: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.