Now ye are the body of Christ - The apostle, having finished his apologue, comes to his application.
As the members in the human body, so the different members of the mystical body of Christ. All are intended by him to have the same relation to each other; to be mutually subservient to each other; to mourn for and rejoice with each other. He has also made each necessary to the beauty, proportion, strength, and perfection of the whole. Not one is useless; not one unnecessary. Paul, Apollos, Kephas, etc., with all their variety of gifts and graces, are for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:12. Hence no teacher should be exalted above or opposed to an other. As the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee, so luminous Apollos cannot say to laborious Paul, I can build up and preserve the Church without thee. The foot planted on the ground to support the whole fabric, and the hands that swing at liberty, and the eye that is continually taking in near and distant prospects, are all equally serviceable to the whole, and mutually helpful to and dependent on each other. So also are the different ministers and members of the Church of Christ.
From a general acquaintance with various ministers of Christ, and a knowledge of their different talents and endowments manifested either by their preaching or writings, and with the aid of a little fancy, we could here make out a sort of correspondency between their services and the uses of the different members of the human body. We could call one eye, because of his acute observation of men and things, and penetration into cases of conscience and Divine mysteries. Another hand, from his laborious exertions in the Church. Another foot, from his industrious travels to spread abroad the knowledge of Christ crucified: and so of others. But this does not appear to be any part of the apostle's plan.
Now ye - Ye Christians of Corinth, as a part of the whole church that has been redeemed.
Are the body of Christ - The allusion to the human body is here kept up. As all the members of the human body compose one body, having a common head, so it is with all the members and parts of the Christian church. The specific idea is, that Christ is the Head of the whole church; that he presides over all; and that all its members sustain to each other the relation of fellow-members in the same body, and are subject to the same head; compare the note at 1 Corinthians 11:3. The church is often called the body of Christ; Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18, Colossians 1:24.
And members in particular - You are, as individuals, members of the body of Christ; or each individual is a member of that body.
The apostle's words of warning to the Corinthian church are applicable to all time and are especially adapted to our day. By idolatry he meant not only the worship of idols, but self-serving, love of ease, the gratification of appetite and passion. A mere profession of faith in Christ, a boastful knowledge of the truth, does not make a man a Christian. A religion that seeks only to gratify the eye, the ear, and the taste, or that sanctions self-indulgence, is not the religion of Christ. AA 317.1
By a comparison of the church with the human body, the apostle aptly illustrated the close and harmonious relationship that should exist among all members of the church of Christ. “By one Spirit,” he wrote, “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. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.... God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” AA 317.2
And then, in words which from that day to this have been to men and women a source of inspiration and encouragement, Paul set forth the importance of that love which should be cherished by the followers of Christ: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” AA 318.1Read in context »
It is a delusion of the enemy for anyone to feel that he can disconnect from agencies which God has appointed and work on an independent line of his own, in his own supposed wisdom, and yet be successful. Although he may flatter himself that he is doing God's work, he will not prosper in the end. We are one body, and every member is to be united to the body, each person working in his respective capacity.—Letter 104, 1894. 3SM 25.4Read in context »
We cannot all have the same minds nor cherish the same ideas; but one is to be a benefit and blessing to the other, that where one lacks, another may supply what is requisite. You have certain deficiencies of character and natural biases that render it profitable for you to be brought in contact with a mind differently organized, in order to properly balance your own. Instead of superintending so exclusively, you should consult with your wife and arrive at joint decisions. You do not encourage independent effort on the part of your family; but if your specific directions are not scrupulously carried out, you too frequently find fault with the delinquents. 4T 128.1
Were your wife and other members of your family without tact or skill, you would be more excusable in taking the reins so entirely into your own hands; but this not being the case, your course is altogether unwarrantable. After you have kindly informed them concerning your views of cooking and the management of household matters, and intimated what your desires are in this respect, go no further, but let them use your suggestions as they choose. They will be much more likely to be pleasantly influenced to please you than if you resorted to peremptory measures. And even if they do not adapt themselves to your opinions, do not persist in ruling, in having everything done in your own way. You must remember that the natural independence of others should be respected. If your wife does her work in a way convenient to herself, you have no right to interfere with her affairs and fret and burden her with your many suggestions and reflections upon her management. 4T 128.2
You have many good and generous traits of character. You are a courteous, affable man, in general, to those outside your own family. Perhaps this is attributable, in some measure, to the fact that you dare not exhibit your natural disposition to any except those whom you consider greatly your inferiors. If your superiority is not sufficiently recognized in society, you are determined that it shall be at home, where you think that none will presume to dispute its claims. 4T 129.1Read in context »