1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
I. THE UNION OF CHRIST WITH HIS CHURCH. This is sometimes illustrated by images borrowed from the relations of domestic life: those of master and servants, parent and children, husband and wife; sometimes by images derived from works of art, or from natural history: He Himself represents it by the union of the vine with its branches. The Scripture idea of Christ represents Him as identified with the Church, which is called the fulness or complement of Christ: so that Christ would want something essential to Him, without the Church. In the text believers are styled His body, which implies —
1. The participation of a common nature. In the former part of this chapter the apostle had spoken of the union of Christians, and those who participate of one Spirit. Christ makes them all His own, by the communication of His own Spirit; just as the natural members are united with the head. They receive, out of His fulness, grace for grace. Notwithstanding the difference of nature and of office between Him and them, yet the graces of Christians are of the same origin, and nature, with His. Every real Christian is animated by the same views, desires, tempers, principles of conduct, with his Divine Master. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." The difference between Christians and men of the world is not a difference in degree; it is a difference in nature.
2. The direction which Christ has over His Church. He is the supreme authority who prescribes all our duties. All religion emanates from Him as Lord of all. It is the work of the Spirit to establish His authority in the heart: a sceptre by which He gently, yet effectually, subdues His people.
3. The affectionate union which subsists between both. The Church is loved by Christ as His body, endeared to Him by the most tender ties. In love to it He descended from His throne to the Cross. Such love as the Father has to Him He has to the Church. And, by analogy, we ought to have the same love to Him, manifested by walking in His steps, consecrating ourselves to Him who so loved us. Like loves like; and if Christ is the pattern and friend of His people, how entire, intense, and constant, ought to be our devotedness to Him!
II. THE UNION OF CHRISTIANS WITH EACH OTHER. "We are members in particular."
1. Every member of the natural body, however mean, feeble, and obscure, is a member; so should no Christian be overlooked, however humble, since he stands in a sacred relation to Jesus Christ. To despise the image of God in the natural man implies a profane disregard of that God who made man in His own image; but to despise this image in the spiritual man is a higher species of impiety.
2. There exists an affection and sympathy between all the members. In the system of animal life, which is probably a modification of the spirit that animates the whole, the functions of all the rest are affected by one. Thus Christians are to feel for each other, "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ"; they are not to say, as Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
3. There is no schism in the body, so long as it is in a natural and healthful state; otherwise it tends to decay. Thus, for one member of Christ to envy others, is as unnatural and destructive as a division in the animal system.
4. There are different offices in the body; some parts are organic, as the eye, the ear; these are instruments of sense, and peculiarly important. Thus, in the Church, some are apostles, some evangelists; but all are not such, yet each has his own place and use; each may contribute his portion to the general good.
(R. Hall, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.