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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 5

Verse 5. So we, being many. We who are Christians, and who are numerous as individuals.

Are one body. Are united together, constituting one society or one people, mutually dependent, and having the same great interests at heart, though to be prompted by us according to our peculiar talents and opportunities. As the welfare of the same body is to be promoted in one manner by the feet, in another by the eye, etc., so the welfare of the body of Christ is to be promoted by discharging our duties in our appropriate sphere, as God has appointed us.

In Christ. One body, joined to Christ, or connected with him as the head. Eph 1:22,23, "And gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body." Comp. Joh 15:1-7. This does not mean that there is any physical or literal union, or any destruction of personal identity, or anything particularly mysterious or unintelligible. Christians acknowledge him as their head, i. e. their Lawgiver; their Counsellor, Guide, and Redeemer. They are bound to him by peculiarly tender ties of affection, gratitude, and friendship; they are united in him, i.e. in acknowledging him as their common Lord and Saviour. Any other union than this is impossible; and the sacred writers never intended that expressions like these should be explained literally. The union of Christians to Christ is the most tender and interesting of any in this world, but no more mysterious than that which binds friend to friend, children to parents, or husbands to their wives. Comp. Eph 5:23-33.

And every one members one of another. Comp. 1 Co 12:25,26. That is, we are so fitted as to be mutually dependent; each one is of service to the other; and the existence and office of the one is necessary to the usefulness of the other. Thus the members of the body may be said to be members one of another; as the feet could not, for example, perform their functions, or be of use, if it were not for the eye; the ear, the hand, the teeth, etc., would be useless if it were not for the other members, which go to make up the entire person. Thus in the church, every individual is not only necessary in his place as an individual, but is needful to the proper symmetry and action of the whole. And we may learn here,

(1.) that no member of the church of Christ should esteem himself to be of no importance. In his own place he may be of as much consequence as the man of learning, wealth, and talent may be in his.

(2.) God designed that there should be differences of endowments of nature and of grace in the church; just as it was needful that there should be differences in the members of the human body.

(3.) No one should despise or lightly esteem another. All are necessary. We can no more spare the foot or the hand than we can the eye; though the latter may be much more curious and striking as a proof of Divine skill. We do not despise the hand or the foot any more than we do the eye; and in all we should acknowledge the goodness and wisdom of God. See these thoughts carried out in 1 Co 12:21-25.

{r} "one body in Christ" Eph 1:23.

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