We are members of his body - He has partaken of our nature, as we have partaken of the nature of Adam. And as he is the head of the Church and the Savior of this body; so we, being members of the Church, are members of his mystical body. That is, we are united to him by one Spirit in the closest intimacy, even similar to that which the members have with the body.
For we are members of his body - Of the body of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 11:3, note; 1 Corinthians 12:27, note; John 15:1-6, notes, and Ephesians 1:23, note. The idea here is, that there is a close and intimate union between the Christian and the Saviour - a union so intimate that they may be spoken of as “one”.
Of his flesh, and of his bones - There is an allusion here evidently to the language which Adam used respecting Eve. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;” Genesis 2:23. It is language which is employed to denote the closeness of the marriage relation, and which Paul applies to the connection between Christ and his people. Of course, it cannot be understood “literally.” It is not true literally that our bones are a part of the bones of Christ, or our flesh of his flesh; nor should language ever be used that would imply a miraculous union. It is not a physical union, but a union of attachment; of feeling; of love. If we avoid the notion of a “physical” union, however, it is scarcely possible to use too strong language in describing the union of believers with the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures make use of language which is stronger than that employed to describe any other connection; and there is no union of affection so powerful as that which binds the Christian to the Saviour. So strong is it, that he is willing for it to forsake father, mother, and home; to leave his country, and to abandon his possessions; to go to distant lands and dwell among barbarians to make the Redeemer known; or to go to the cross or the stake from simple love to the Saviour. Account for it as people may, there has been manifested on earth nowhere else so strong an attachment as that which binds the Christian to the cross. It is stronger love that that which a man has for his own flesh and bones; for it makes him willing that his flesh should be consumed by fire, or his bones broken on the wheel rather than deny him. Can the infidel account for this strength of attachment on any other principle than that it has a divine origin?
(See the supplementary note, Romans 8:10, on the union between Christ and his people, in which it is shown that a mere union of feeling and love is far beneath the truth.)
We are living amidst the perils of the last days. We are wisely to cultivate every mental and physical power; for all are needed to make the church a building that will represent the wisdom of the great Designer. The talents given us by God are His gifts, and they are to be used in their right relation to one another so as to make a perfect whole. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; man forms the character. 8T 174.1
The Lord has wrought with you, enabling you to act your part as His workman; but there are other workmen also who are to act their part as His instrumentalities. These help to compose the whole body. All are to be united as parts of one great organism. The Lord's church is composed of living, working agencies, who derive their power to act from the Author and Finisher of their faith. They are to carry forward in harmony the great work resting on them. God has given you your work. But He has other instrumentalities, and to them He has given their work, that all may become, through sanctification of the truth, members of Christ's body, of His flesh and of His bones. Representing Christ, we act for time and for eternity; and men, even worldly men, take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. 8T 174.2Read in context »