1 Corinthians 12:15-20

In 1 Corinthians 12:15-20 Paul now gets into the details of how the body of Christ is to function. “If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.” Diversity does not disqualify one from the body. Paul puts the question in the mouth of the one who feels excluded from the body. It is as if some of the Corinthian Christians said, “I don’t have this certain spiritual gift. I guess I’m not part of the body of Jesus Christ.” After all, hands and eyes seem more important and more “glamorous” than feet and ears. So Paul wants these Christians who felt excluded to know they are indeed members of the body, and their sense that they are not is just as foolish as the foot or the ear that feels excluded.

Why is the foot a foot and the hand a hand? Because it pleased the Designer to make it so. The same is true of the ear and the eye. “And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.” Paul writes to those tempted to pride and a sense of superiority because of their gifts or place in the body. They cannot say to such parts, “I have no need of you.” In God’s design, all are critical and necessary. Often, we consider a part of our body unnecessary or of low importance, until it is hurt – then we realize how important it is!

Diversity is obviously part of God’s plan for the Body of Christ, just as it is for our human body. If we are missing different pieces of the Body, it won’t be able to function completely to God’s design. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?” There would be all sorts of missing things if we lost part of the body. God has put together the parts and pieces and created each person uniquely so in the combination of those people – we have a perfect church. “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”

It is God’s design and His gifting and creation that makes the church body what it is. When we treat it poorly, or choose to be divisive or exclusive we have the likelihood of pushing aside or even out pieces of the body necessary for it to work as God intends. And it certainly doeesn’t happen if it is an individual. “If all were a single member, where would the body be?” That’s not God’s design He put us into a body with many other equally unique and gifted people so we could function and walk with Him. “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” There are many parts, but that is by His design!

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