Summary: The body of Christ is one unit. Regardless of our race, our nationality or our social status, we are all one in the body of Christ.
I had friends in Scotland. They were Mr. and Mrs. Willie and Mary McNeill; they served in China when the Japanese invaded China they were interned in China. They were interned with Eric Liddell. Eric became famous because of the movie made of him, Chariots of Fire. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 1920’s and he made an impact because he refused to compete on Sundays.
I would visit the McNeills and Willie would tell me stories of Eric Liddell. One of their children came to faith in Jesus through the ministry of Eric Liddell. There was something very unique about the McNeills. Willie McNeill was almost blind. Legally he was blind and he had to walk with a blind man’s cane. And Mary McNeill had gone deaf. Each one was handicapped but together they were complete. They would go out together and Willie was the ears and Mary was the eyes.
The McNeills are a good picture of the body of Christ. Only working together we are complete. We must work together as the body of Christ to be effective for Christ. That is the message that Paul brings. It was important at the time Paul wrote these words and it is important today.
The body of Christ is one unit. Regardless of our race, our nationality or our social status, we are all one in the body of Christ. We are all one in the body of Christ. In the previous verses Paul was talking about the diversity of spiritual gifts. Now he is saying with all these diversities of spiritual gifts we are one in the body of Christ.
I took a Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Jerusalem. I began talking to one lady on the tour who was not a Christian. I talked to her about Christ. Her response was she did not want to become a Christian because she did not want to be forced in any one mold.
When she said that I began to think of the people that made up our small tour group. There were people from Scotland, England, New Zealand and from America. There were teenagers there were senior citizens, there were Methodist, Presbyterians Baptists and Pentecostals and she looked at the group as one mold. I had to wonder how that could possibly be. There were so many differences. It is not that we are to be forced in one mold. Christians are diverse, but we are all one.
What Christians have in common is not that we look alike and think alike. Paul tells us what we have in common in verse 13 1Co 12:13 In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.
It is not that we are alike. We find diversities, but we are one because we have all been baptized into the body of Christ. When we go through water baptism that is an outward symbol of an inward spiritual baptism into the body of Christ. We have that in common.
Of course in Corinth there were divisions. So Paul reminds them they are one in the body of Christ.
My wife and I were camping at Lake Corpus Christi State Park, near the town of Mathis. So we went to a Pizza Hut there. There were a few people in there not many. There were two Hispanic men in there. One had been a Christian for nine years and one had just become a Christian.
The one who had been a Christian for nine years saw I was wearing a Seminary t-shirt. So he knew if I went to the seminary I would be a Christian. He told the new believer he was with, I am going to speak to this couple over here and we are going to have something in common and they will be very friendly to us. The new believer asked, how do you know they will be friendly to us? He said I see he has been to seminary and I know he is a Christian. We began to talk and we had different backgrounds and very different experiences in our lives, we were excited to talk together and but we had much to talk about and much in common because we are one in the body of Christ.
Paul said whether Jews or Greek, whether slaves or free, that is a tremendous diversity yet, he said, all have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you become a Christian, you have entered the body of Christ and you have a common bond with all believers in Jesus Christ. Even if you meet a believer from another country you have a common bond in Jesus Christ.