Sunday, November 20, 2011 pm
STUDIES IN 1 CORINTHIANS
Baptized into the body of Christ
1 Cor. 12:12-13
a. The body – a collective noun. Paul begins this section by noting that when you examine a body it is a single body (a collective noun) which consists of many assorted but associated members (a plurality).
So also is Christ – what
a fitting description of the church of Christ.
The term church is a collective noun. The actual word is e)kklhsi/a (ekklesia) which means a calling out. It is descriptive of an assembly and was used in the secular world (cf. Acts 19:32, 39, 41).
When you define the church with this term, it is descriptive of a group of the redeemed, called out of the world and into fellowship with one another. In the NT, the term is used in two senses:
i. Universal – descriptive of the body of ALL who are saved (Ac. 2:47 – KJV; Matt. 16:18, Eph. 1:22-23, 3:10, etc.). In this sense the term is not reference to an organized body but a relationship the saved have with God.
descriptive of the body of the saved who have joined together at a given
location(s) to do the work God has given such a body.
1 Thess. 1:1 speaks of the church of the Thessalonians, 1 Cor. 1:2 – the church of God at Corinth.
Of more than one such local congregation we read of the word being used in this sense – Gal. 1:2, 1 Cor. 7:17, 1 Cor. 4:17.
While our text here does not use the word “church”
the context clearly points to that as its intent. Paul’s point is to
describe the church at Corinth as a body.
The Bible does use the term body with reference to the Lord’s church as the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23, Col. 1:18, 24, etc.).
At the conclusion of our text we read, “And God has appointed these in the church…” (1 Cor. 12:28)
c. Paul’s point in this section is to emphasize how as the church at Corinth they OUGHT TO be functioning as a body with every part doing its share. Instead of competing with one another individually they needed to realize their need to work together to accomplish their intended function of the Lord’s church. The overall function consisted of more than one task and everyone together would accomplish what the church was intended to be. No one person is capable of doing everything and every person, as part of the body is capable of doing something. Paul will illustrate this with a simple analogy (of the body). This will be further developed in our next lesson as we see the church at Corinth (and everywhere) functioning as a body.
II. By one Spirit we were all baptized into the one body
a. What is the baptism Paul is here discussing? Is it water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Note that Paul says that we are baptized by one Spirit AND in the later part of vs. 13 he says, “And have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” With this in mind we need to clarify what Paul has in mind.
b. The baptism here is water baptism leading to salvation. I conclude that for a number of reasons.
i. It is that which puts us into Christ (Rom.6:3-4, Gal. 3:27, etc.)
ii. It is related to our salvation – Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:20-21 (water), Acts 22:16, 8:36-39.
While a different
subject, I find his appeal similar to that which Paul made to the Romans
in Rom. 6. He was clearing
up misconceptions about sin and grace (see Rom. 6:1-2).
He reminded them that in baptism they came in contact with the
death and blood of Christ.
They also put to death the man of sin.
Therefore they could no longer live in sin.
Baptism CHANGED their relationship and their conduct.
Compare that to our text. These brethren were divided over so many things. Paul REMINDS them that in baptism they were united not only with Christ but with one another as a part of the body of Christ. Becoming Christians they CHANGED their relationship and conduct toward one another. His point – act like a untied body!
When one obeys the
gospel by being baptized in water, in some sense we receive “the gift of
the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
While there are differences of thought as to what the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is, the best interpretation is that it is associated with whatever way the Holy Spirit influences every Christian (then and today). Since the days of miraculous spiritual gifts as a result of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit are done, that influence cannot be miraculous and thus involves His influence, through His word and the same way God (Eph. 2:22, 1 John 3:24) and Jesus (Eph. 3:17) and the word (Col. 3:16) dwell within us.
v. Consider the following texts that relate baptism and the Holy Spirit.:
1. John 3:3-5 – Jesus told Nicodemus one must be born of water and the Spirit
2. Acts 2:38 – Be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
3. Titus 3:5 – speaks of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
c. What about Holy Spirit baptism?
i. Why is this not the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
ii. This baptism was not available to all and served a special purpose. We only find this baptism recorded twice in scripture on very specific occasions:
1. Pentecost – Acts 2:1-4 where the apostles received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. As Jesus was about to ascend to heaven He gave them instructions telling them that “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5). Instructing them to wait in Jerusalem Jesus said, “But you shall receive power then the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8)
The household of
Cornelius – Acts 10:44-48 – the first Gentile converts.
Note in that text that Peter describes it as having “received the
Holy Spirit just as we have?”
Also 11:14, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.”
iii. That it was not available to all is seen in the accounts of the giving of spiritual gifts as recorded in Acts. For example in Acts 8:4-17 we read of the Samaritans who had obeyed the gospel but had yet to receive the Holy Spirit (the ability to perform various spiritual gifts). Vs. 14-15 when the apostles in Jerusalem heard about Samaria they sent Peter and John to lay hands on some so that they could receive the Holy Spirit. This shows that whatever one receives associated with obeying the gospel is NOT some miraculous ability of guidance by the Holy Spirit. So in our text, what Paul appeals to is what we have already discussed (i.e. “the gift of the Holy Spirit”).
Thus in our context in
vs. 12 the ONE Spirit was the same Spirit for all of them.
Drinking of “the One Spirit” would be reference to how they ALL benefitted equally from His being a part of their lives.
This correlates with Paul’s point calling for unity.
d. NOTE: As we examine this context let us notice that the various parts of the body are individual members at Corinth. He is not describing the body of Christ as a bunch of congregations. IT is important that we see this because there are some who teach that what the individual can do the church can do. NOT true! Others will use this analogy to justify collective cooperation (pooling resources under a common treasury to do a particular work) which is also not found in scripture. EVERY local congregation in scripture was both autonomous (self-governing) and independent and answered directly to Jesus (not some larger congregation or corporate body).