Paul says in Romans 12:5 that we are “members one of another” in the Body. We are certainly familiar with this phrase, and with the principle that Paul sets also forth in his letter of love to the church in Corinth. However the situation was in Corinth, with many distractions, difficulties and even damaging aspects to the church life there, they were nonetheless God’s chosen ones, God’s saints in Corinth, members of the church and members of the Body.
A simple reading of the text there shows us that Paul set forth to not only give them a healthy speaking concerning all the problems in the church, but also assure them of where they were “in Christ.” As has been noted many times, the actual “solution” to the problems in the church is Christ Himself, but how would we turn to Christ as the divine solution, if we do not see ourselves as being in Christ?
Once saved, we are born of God, and become God’s children. Many Christians are quite aware of this fact, and enjoy the sense that God will always care for them, that they can enjoy an assurance of this salvation through believing in Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and so forth. But many Christians do not realize that they have also been “born” into the Body. A believer has not only received a divine life, a “divine re-birth,” where the Lord has entered into them, but they also are now a member of the Body of Christ.
Perhaps some think that this Body is a principle, or merely a “picture” that Paul utilized to illustrate his own concept of the “family” into which we were born. Instead, we should see that the Body should be the reality of our daily living. Without the reality of the Body, we would likely live a daily living that is lacking in depth and in richness. As Ephesians 3:18 points out, it is in the Body that we can know what the breadth, length, height and depth; if we try to live a Christian life without the real sense of understanding of the Body life, we would be anemic, lacking vitality and growth.
The practical way to grow and live as a Christian is to start by seeing yourself as a member of the Body. We surely have to learn, contrary to our understanding or upbringing, that we were not put on earth or chosen by God to be “independent.” As a member of the Body, we need to see how our spiritual development in Christ has so much to do with our relationship to the other Christians, that we are fed and nourished by the many members, and that our “rough edges” are perfected through the continual interactions with the other believers.
Our being “members one of another” indicates that we cannot be independent, but need to be related and interrelated to the members. In our physical body, the members all relate and work together for a full expression of our human person. In the Body of Christ, we learn, through our being knit together locally in our church, how this Christ may be expressed through the members. As we labor together in the gospel, as we function in the meetings and service, we begin to see this reality of the Body. The reality of the Body is simply Christ as the Head ministering through the members, that He would Himself be expressed.