For by one Spirit are we all baptized, etc. - As the body of man, though composed of many members, is informed and influenced by one soul; so the Church of Christ, which is his body, though composed of many members, is informed and influenced by one Spirit, the Holy Ghost; actuating and working by his spiritual body, as the human soul does in the body of man.
To drink into one Spirit - We are to understand being made partakers of the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost agreeably to the words of our Lord, John 7:37, etc.: If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink: this he spake of the Spirit which they that believed on him should receive.
On this verse there is a great profusion of various readings, which may be found in Griesbach, but cannot be conveniently noticed here.
For by one Spirit - That is, by the agency or operation of the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit, we have been united into one body. The idea here is the same as that presented above 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:11, by which all the endowments of Christians are traced to the same Spirit. Paul here says, that that Spirit had so endowed them as to fit them to constitute one body, or to be united in one, and to perform the various duties which resulted from their union in the same Christian church. The idea of its having been done by one and the same Spirit is kept up and often presented, in order that the endowments conferred on them might be duly appreciated.
Are we all - Every member of the church, whatever may be his rank or talents, has received his endowments from the same Spirit.
Baptized into one body - Many suppose that there is reference here to the ordinance of baptism by water. But the connection seems rather to require us to understand it of the baptism of the Holy Spirit Matthew 3:11; and if so, it means, that by the agency of the Holy Spirit, they had all been suited, each to his appropriate place, to constitute the body of Christ - the church. If, however, it refers to the ordinance of baptism, as Bloomfield, Calvin, Doddridge, etc. suppose, then it means, that by the very profession of religion as made at baptism, by there being but one baptism Ephesians 4:5, they had all professedly become members of one and the same body. The former interpretation, however, seems to me best to suit the connection.
Whether we be Jews or Gentiles - There is no difference. All are on a level. In regard to the grand point, no distinction is made, whatever may have been our former condition of life.
Bond or free - It is evident that many who were slaves were converted to the Christian faith. Religion, however, regarded all as on a level; and conferred no favors on the free which it did not on the slave. It was one of the happy lessons of Christianity, that it taught people that in the great matters pertaining to their eternal interests they were on the same level. This doctrine would tend to secure, more than anything else could, the proper treatment of those who were in bondage, and of those who were in humble ranks of life. At the same time it would not diminish, but would increase their real respect for their masters, and for those who were above them, if they regarded them as fellow Christians, and destined to the same heaven; see the note at 1 Corinthians 7:22.
And have been all made to drink - This probably refers to their partaking together of the cup in the Lord‘s Supper. The sense is, that by their drinking of the same cup commemorating the death of Christ, they had partaken of the same influences of the Holy Spirit, which descend alike on all who observe that ordinance in a proper manner. They had shown also, that they belonged to the same body, and were all united together; and that however various might be their graces and endowments, yet they all belonged to the same great family.
Christ came to this world to show that by receiving power from on high, man can live an unsullied life. With unwearying patience and sympathetic helpfulness He met men in their necessities. By the gentle touch of grace He banished from the soul unrest and doubt, changing enmity to love, and unbelief to confidence. MH 25.1
He could say to whom He pleased, “Follow Me,” and the one addressed arose and followed Him. The spell of the world's enchantment was broken. At the sound of His voice the spirit of greed and ambition fled from the heart, and men arose, emancipated, to follow the Saviour. MH 25.2Read in context »
The life of Christ established a religion in which there is no caste, a religion by which Jew and Gentile, free and bond, are linked in a common brotherhood, equal before God. No question of policy influenced His movements. He made no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. That which appealed to His heart was a soul thirsting for the waters of life. 9T 191.1
He passed no human being by as worthless, but sought to apply the healing remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson appropriate to the time and the circumstances. Every neglect or insult shown by men to their fellow men only made Him more conscious of their need of His divine-human sympathy. He sought to inspire with hope the roughest and most unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them the children of God. 9T 191.2Read in context »