“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–13, ESV)
As a young boy, I was very interested in various forms of crafts. Nearly every Christmas, mom and dad would get me some sort of project kit to make something. Once it was a chemistry set, another time a painting set. On one Christmas they got me a kit to make paper weights with polyester resin. The idea of the set was that you could put different things in a mold with clear resin, and when the resin set you had a block of components bound together for display. I put a couple of shooting medals in a display like this and still have them in my possession.
Yet, you could also put multiple items in the resin, like colored beads, and end up with a colorful composite. It was fun to play around with this. However, there was one important thing to note. The process was permanent. Whatever items you put into the resin were there for good once the resin hardened. The resin bound all the items together in one component.
Paul wrote to a body of believers who were experiencing the evidences of division. Earlier in the letter, he mentioned factions within the church. Here, he wrote about an essential factor in unity, that all believers, while diverse in giftings were one in the church.
To explain this, he used the metaphor of the human body. This makes good sense since the church is considered the body of Christ. He stated that the body has various members or parts. Each part is an integral part of the whole and required for its function. In the same way the body of Christ is joined for function. Then he goes on to explain the unique way this happened.
He wrote that the Holy Spirit baptized every believer into one body, referring to the body of Christ. The word baptized, baptizo, means to submerge or immerse (Strong G907). It is a positional word, which in this context indicates that believers have been completely placed into the body of Christ. Many do not consider the deep implication of this work. We tend to look at things from a human material perspective. Yet, this work of baptism is a powerful divine work of the Holy Spirit.
The work of baptizing into the body is not like one done by an outside craftsman. The Holy Spirit has not united the church in the body and then departed. No, the Holy Spirit has united every believer and holds them in this state by His permanent presence in the church. He is the invisible resin that holds us all together. He is both in every believer and uniting every believer in a real and tangible way.
Therefore, the problem in the church is not that we are not divinely made into one body. The problem is that we often do not count this truth as a fact and act accordingly. This was the church at Corinth’s problem and it unfortunately affects many churches today. This should never be the case. For division in the body is contrary to the divine work accomplished by the Spirit of God.
Believers and churches today need to act like the united body of Christ that they are. They need to put away petty differences, bickering, grudges, and etcetera, and live as the loving assembly of believers that God has joined together. Only in this way will we be able to function and accomplish much.