Daily Devotional for Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
One of the great benefits and blessings of true Christianity is unity. The Lord expressed His fervent desire for unity in His prayer to the Father shortly before His crucifixion (John 17:20-23). This has always been the will of God and will remain so. Unity has become a popular subject in religious circles for the past several decades.
I Corinthians was written to develop true unity based on respect for the authority of God's Word, which is the only way people can be united in anything. There indeed is to be "unity in diversity" in the church, but not about doctrine. The desired “unity in diversity” relates instead to differences in talent and personality. The apostle Paul uses the human body to illustrate the unity and the relationships that are to exist among members. He wrote, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. (I Cor. 12:12-14).
The church at Corinth was sorely divided over spiritual gifts. Many of the members were unhappy with their gifts and talents. They didn't feel important because they couldn't do some of the things others could do. There was envy and jealousy and a great deal of immaturity which led to division. The apostle Paul wanted them to know that each member was important and each member was different for a reason. They could operate more effectively that way. He wrote, “If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body” (I Cor. 12:15-20).
The apostle Paul wanted the members at Corinth to see the absurdity of having a body with only one member. It couldn't function. God has given each member specific talents and abilities to provide a certain function in the body of Christ. Each member is important and needed for the growth and health of the congregation. (See I Peter 4:11). No member should feel INFERIOR to any other member. But on the other hand, no member should feel SUPERIOR to any other member. Paul went on to say, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (I Cor. 12:21-26).