Romans 12:4

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Friday, 8 November 2013

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, Romans 12:4

Using the human body as representative of the different offices of the church, Paul will draw out a comparison for us to more readily accept our station within the body. He begins with “for” and so shows that this verse is tied to, not separate from, the preceding verse. In that verse, he spoke of the grace he received and the grace each member of the church has also received “as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Based on this, he notes now that just “as we have many members in one body…” so does the church. Paul will use this same thought several times in his writings, such as in Ephesians 4 and 5, but he will use it in the most expressive and telling way in 1 Corinthians 12. To get a fuller picture of Paul’s thoughts here in Romans, take time to read that passage and see how he speaks about the body there. He has surprising insights for those who might “think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”

Within the church, like within the human body, no two parts are the same, although some may have the same function. For example, the left hand functions with basically the same role as the right hand, but each is used to perform that function individually in order to meet the needs of the body. Eyes, feet, and elbows likewise mirror each other, but we’re given more than one in order to meet the body’s needs. Then there are the greater distinctions. There are external organs and internal organs. There is the skeletal system and the epidermis. The list goes on and on. Each part of the body, selected by God to meet a particular need and to perform a particular function. As Paul say, “not all have the same function.”

If you are a foot and not a hand, do you feel less important than the hand? Again, take time to read 1 Corinthians 12 today and you may find that being a foot isn’t so bad after all.

Life application: The pastor of a church will only be as effective as the other members of the church. If the person who cleans the bathroom does a crummy job, it will reflect on the pastor. If the pastor does a crummy job in his preaching, there won’t be any members coming around to use the bathroom. The church is structured like the body and each part needs to properly perform its task, not with boasting, but with humility. With Christ as our Head, let us exalt the Head.

Lord, I know the church with the cleanest, shiniest bathrooms in town. They’re kept that way by one person. Thank You for those who honor You without boasting or showmanship, but by performing a needed job that others might think is below them. But You don’t feel that way – You washed the dirty feet of the apostles. The water You washed them with had hardly dried as they were nailing You to the cross. Thank You for those with Your servant’s heart. Amen.

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