Unity in Christ the Secret of Man's Life
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…

There is a joy familiar to you, from the experience of daily life, which may assist you in understanding the nature of the blessing to be derived from the Lord's Supper. All of you have felt refreshed by meeting a friend. The very sight of him may have done you good, like a medicine. If you have ever tasted the blessedness of communion with a Christian friend, you will understand still better the nature of this spiritual food. The Ethiopian eunuch tasted it when he went on his way rejoicing, after Philip had come up into his chariot, and conversed with him about the One of whom he was reading. Still more did the two disciples learn the lesson on the way to Emmaus, where they met with Jesus, although in the guise of another-man, a fellow-traveller on the road. They had "meat to eat" of which others knew nothing, while He was thus manifesting Himself to them in another way than He does to the world. They and He were becoming one in spirit. They were growing up into Him, drinking into His spirit. Before they parted they had become one.

I. ELSEWHERE, AS WELL AS AT THE COMMUNION TABLE, COMMUNION WITH CHRIST MAKES CHRISTIANS ONE, AND SO FEEDS THEIR SPIRITS. This oneness is food to man's spirit, and is to be found in Christ alone, so that it is the secret of true Christians. All men in their spirits are seeking this oneness, more or less conscious that it is the food of their spirits, the secret of happiness; in fact, eternal life. Without faith in Christ this oneness is not attained at all, and therefore man's spirit, starved, stinted of its appropriate nourishment, remains unsatisfied, and is tormented. with unquenchable longings, and disappointment in all the broken cisterns to which he resorts. Faith it is that gives friendship its substance, its strength, its eternal life; that alone keeps man from hungering and thirsting after some better nourishment suited to his spirit's immortal nature and eternal longings. Faith alone binds the bond of perfectness between master and servant, between buyer and seller, between ruler and subject, between the citizens of one community or the members of one Christian Church. In all these, and the other channels of intercourse between man and man, without faith love is awanting, or is impure and imperfect. The parties, therefore, do not become one. For love is unity. Man's delusion is to expect unity without love, and love without faith. Men know that they cannot be happy till they become one; but they believe that they can become one without drinking into Christ's one spirit, without being rooted and grounded in the love of God, without becoming one as the Father and the Son are one, through faith beholding in the Son the revelation of the Father, claiming sonship in Christ, and, therefore, brotherhood in the Lord, and thus coming to reconciliation in the Redeemer. Communion with Christ alone feeds man's spirit; and it is food in proportion to his faith, and love, or charity. It is food by bringing him in spirit and in truth into God's presence, into the secret of the Lord, into the revelation of God's grace and glory in the covenant, and in the kingdom, into conscious fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, in all his fellowship with his fellow-Christians and fellow-men.


1. They feast by coming, through Christ's body and blood discerned by faith, all to one Father. Saw you ever the child that was long away from home in the moment of his glad return, rushing into his mother's arms, pressed to his father's bursting heart, welcomed back into the bosom of the family that have been counting the years of his absence, and watching for the blessed hour when they shall see him again, one of their circle in everything? Did not the soldier thus returning, from this or that battle-field and long campaign, find it food to his drooping heart to feel himself one again, and still one as ever, or more than ever, with those whom he loved and left behind sorrowing? Still more did not the prodigal, received back to forgiveness, live again, breathe freely, return to life and renew his strength, as he heard his father's lips once more pronounce, "My son," and knew that there was a father's heart still welcoming him upon earth, however unworthy he had proved himself by his misconduct? So it is to the communicant in the bread and wine of the communion. They point to the body broken for him, to the blood of the new covenant shed for the remission of his sins, and thus to the bond of perfectness between him and the living God his Father in heaven. They bring him near consciously, and ill spirit, to that Father.

2. They feast by coming, through Christ's body and blood discerned by faith, to one another, and nearer all to one another. It is a family feast, one Father's board spread for all the members of His one family, without respect of persons. All are brethren, who are to sit side by side at one table, eat one common bread, and drink one cup of communion, the cup of brotherhood. Without the spirit of brotherhood we have nothing better than the shadow. Our feast is a counterfeit, a work of the flesh. Nay, it is worse, a substitution of the lust of the flesh for the love of the Spirit. "Little children, love one another." This is the feast. It is a feast of love; and those only who love one another in the Lord are communicants here; those only have communion in the body and blood. The "new commandment" is the law of the communion table, the bond of perfectness in the new covenant.

3. They feast by coming near, or nearer, through the body and blood discerned by faith, to that kingdom of God in which all are one. In that body and blood we are to discern written the new covenant in Christ, the kingdom of God and of heaven brought near, so near that we can claim the place of citizens, and enter into a blessed fellowship with all, whether on earth or in heaven, who bow the knee to Jesus, and call Him Lord, taking on them His yoke. In the name of Jesus we are to receive and use all, calling nothing "common or unclean," which He hath sanctified. This is the liberty of the children of God, a liberty which we are to guard with the utmost jealous, but which we are also to beware of abusing. Our life in this kingdom is to be a life of God — heavenly, holy, Christ-like — "not of the world, as He was not of the world."

(R. Paisley.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.

The True Unity of the Church
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