We All Form One Body (RTT)

For week two of Random Text Tuesday (RTT), my random-text selector gave me Romans 12:5.

So we who are united with Christ, though many, form one body, and belong to one another as its limbs and organs. (Romans 12:5, REB)

Earth

As I think on this verse, I’m struck by the many different areas this body metaphor applies to. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes with nearly identical wording, using the metaphor there to show how different people manifest different gifts, and urging them to allow everyone’s participation without elevating certain gifts above others.

Here in his letter to the Romans, Paul uses the metaphor in the context of growing tension between Jewish and Gentile believers, reminding them that both groups are ultimately one body in Christ, and that Jew and Gentile alike ought to come together to use their gifts for the good of all.

Moving from the New Testament context to contemporary application, I have often heard these passages applied to the many different traditions and denominations within Christianity. In fact, this is probably the way I’ve most frequently applied the metaphor myself.

The Christian church is beautifully diverse with so many differing ways of understanding God. Unfortunately, this often leads to fighting among ourselves. How much better would it be to recognize that these different traditions are members of the same body, and to look for how each can learn from the others?

But let’s take it one step further. In this passage, when Paul speaks of those who are in Christ or united with Christ, he is referring specifically to believers—to those who have recognized the reality of their union with Christ. However, there is an even truer sense in which all people are in Christ, whether or not they have yet recognized this reality. “Indeed he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move, in him we exist” (Acts 17:27–28, REB).

So if we were to take Paul’s body metaphor to its logical end, we could conclude that all of humanity together forms a single body. We all belong to one another. When we fight against anyone, we are fighting against another member of the same body.

No wonder Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. And no wonder he even told us to love our enemies. For when we show love to anyone else, we are indeed showing love to ourselves.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • https://donewithreligion.com Done with Religion

    This is so true. Love others and accept them even in our differences. That’s the way of God because God is love. Good article.

  • blogcom

    No, ALL people are NOT IN Christ in a truer sense, period.

    In the true sense its orthodox not fanciful humanist or utopian.

    • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

      No, ALL people are NOT IN Christ in a truer sense, period.

      If I have understood your dictate, it is meaningless.

      As God is the All-in-All. That is Christ. Our True nature.

      We live in that realization, or drift blindly in the dream of selfish autonomy. “period“.

      The Truth remains untouched. There is only God.

  • http://daveyorksgodtalk.blogspot.com/ daveyork7

    I appreciate your post. I agree wholeheartedly as far as it relates to all those who trust in Him being part of the body of Christ. And we can and should all learn from each other, despite our differences, as we love and follow Him.

  • Rex

    Hi Hippie Heretic. I am a true heretic, a theistic ‘honestarian’. The reason there’s so much division in the ‘Body of Christ’, is because Christ said the body can be broken down into its constituent bits if it suits. Jesus said (Matt 18:8) ‘If thine eye (hand & foot also) offend thee, cast it out’. Paul describes love in terms of violence in his love chapter (1Cor 13:3) ‘–even if I give my body to be burned and have not love–‘. Regardless of any relevant metaphorical meanings about long-sufferingness, look at the mixed message these words send. Both contexts insinuate ‘violence is okay’. Add Jesus’ famous command to ‘Resist not evil, if a man strike thee on one cheek, offer the other’ (Matt 5:39), and suddenly a holy punch-up is all on. Nowhere do evil attackers get even a little telling off, and all sins must be forgiven. ‘Count it all blessing when men persecute you’ (Matt 5:10) attempts damage control of the results of violence, but is certainly not a teaching that will discourage earthly bullies. Although Christianity does a wonderful job of cleaning up the mess, it doesn’t address the causes of violence, such as malice and dishonesty, that’s why there’s so much argy-bargy in the body of Christ. When the bathroom’s overflowing, the first thing to do is turn the taps off. .

  • Jason Evans

    The Christian Church is not beautifully diverse. It is composed to two groups.

    The first and smallest are those who read their Bibles and accept Jesus and the actual gospel He preached. They believe that God has called them out of religion that designated other groups and most of humanity as pariahs. They believe He has called them to give themselves away. These are the True Christians. But, because they don’t maintain a cohesive group by singling out the exclusion of others, they fight against the inborn nature of humans to be tribal. And thus, they are dying.

    The second group are the apostates. They comprise nearly all of conservative Christianity, which is most of the religion. Their religion consists of the creation and maintenance of the social cohesion of their communities through the brutal and sometimes murderous enforcement of narrow and selfish social norms. That is the entirety of their religion and their gospel. These are the groups that scream and pine to enforce their religion upon others. They are the endless screaming wail you hear from the Right. They live and breathe criminal immorality and violence. These are the groups that create social identity through the identification and mistreatment of pariahs. In this instance, they differ little from most of Islam. In fact, most conservative religion on the planet functions this way.

    The first group is True Christianity. The second group are criminals. The first group thinks they need to accept the validity of the second group as a matter of love. In fact, they need to properly identify evil in their midst.

    The criminality and pure evil of conservative Christianity grows with each passing moment.