For as the body is one - Though the human body have many members, and though it be composed of a great variety of parts, yet it is but one entire system; every part and member being necessary to the integrity or completeness of the whole.
So also is Christ - That is, So is the Church the body of Christ, being composed of the different officers already mentioned, and especially those enumerated, 1 Corinthians 12:28, apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. It cannot be supposed that Christ is composed of many members, etc., and therefore the term Church must be understood, unless we suppose, which is not improbable, that the term Ὁ Χριστος, Christ, is used to express the Church, or whole body of Christian believers.
For as the body is one - The general sentiment which the apostle had been illustrating and enforcing was, that all the endowments which were possessed in the church were the work of the same Holy Spirit, and that they ought to be appropriately cherished and prized, as being all useful and valuable in their places. This sentiment he now illustrates 1 Corinthians 12:27, meaning that it is one, and that he sustains to it the relation of Head; compare Ephesians 1:22-23. As the “head” is the most important part of the body, it may be put for the whole body; and the name “Christ” here, the head of the church, is put for the whole body of which he is the head; and means here the Christian society, or the church. This figure, of a part for the whole, is one that is common in all languages; see the note at Romans 12:4-5.
“For their sakes I sanctify Myself,” Christ said, “that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” The Lord Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; and those who unite with Him, putting Him on, will work as colaborers with Him, by conforming to the principles of truth. By beholding, they become imbued with truth, and unite with Christ to transform the living temple given to idols, that human beings may become cleansed, refined, sanctified, temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. FE 466.1
“I have declared unto them Thy name,” Christ said, “and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” The Lord has made abundant provision that His love may be given to us as His free, abundant grace, as our inheritance in this life, to enable us to diffuse the same by being yoked up with Christ. Jesus conveys the circulating vitality of a pure and sanctified Christlike love through every part of our human nature. When this love is expressed in the character, it reveals to all those with whom we associate that it is possible for God to be formed within, the hope of glory. It shows that God loved the obedient ones as He loves Jesus Christ; and nothing less than this satisfies His desires in our behalf. As soon as the human agent becomes united with Christ in heart, soul, and spirit, the Father loves that soul as a part of Christ, as a member of the body of Christ, He himself being the glorious head.—MSS., June 21, 1897. FE 466.2Read in context »
And while teaching that the glory of salvation belongs solely to God, he also declared that the duty of obedience belongs to man. “If thou art a member of Christ's church,” he said, “thou art a member of His body; if thou art of His body, then thou art full of the divine nature.... Oh, if men could but enter into the understanding of this privilege, how purely, chastely, and holily would they live, and how contemptible, when compared with the glory within them,—that glory which the eye of flesh cannot see,—would they deem all the glory of this world.”—Ibid., b. 12, ch. 2. GC 213.1
There were some among Lefevre's students who listened eagerly to his words, and who, long after the teacher's voice should be silenced, were to continue to declare the truth. Such was William Farel. The son of pious parents, and educated to accept with implicit faith the teachings of the church, he might, with the apostle Paul, have declared concerning himself: “After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Acts 26:5. A devoted Romanist, he burned with zeal to destroy all who should dare to oppose the church. “I would gnash my teeth like a furious wolf,” he afterward said, referring to this period of his life, “when I heard anyone speaking against the pope.”—Wylie, b. 13, ch. 2. He had been untiring in his adoration of the saints, in company with Lefevre making the round of the churches of Paris, worshipping at the altars, and adorning with gifts the holy shrines. But these observances could not bring peace of soul. Conviction of sin fastened upon him, which all the acts of penance that he practiced failed to banish. As to a voice from heaven he listened to the Reformer's words: “Salvation is of grace.” “The Innocent One is condemned, and the criminal is acquitted.” “It is the cross of Christ alone that openeth the gates of heaven, and shutteth the gates of hell.”—Ibid., b. 13, ch. 2. GC 213.2
Farel joyfully accepted the truth. By a conversion like that of Paul he turned from the bondage of tradition to the liberty of the sons of God. “Instead of the murderous heart of a ravening wolf,” he came back, he says, “quietly like a meek and harmless lamb, having his heart entirely withdrawn from the pope, and given to Jesus Christ.”—D'Aubigne, b. 12, ch. 3. GC 214.1Read in context »
Christ's influence is to be felt in our world through his believing children. He who is converted is to exert the same kind of an influence which through God's instrumentality was made effectual in his conversion. All our work in this world is to be done in harmony and love and unity. We are to keep the example of Christ ever before us, walking in his footsteps. 3SM 15.1Read in context »