Meditations on Christian Devotedness

Romans 12:4‑5  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Verses 4, 5. "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." The apostle having laid down the great principles of individual Christian devotedness, now descends to all the forms which the ministry of love assumes in the Christian, " according to the various positions in which he stands, and to the spirit in which lie ought to walk in every relationship." The theme before thee now, O my soul, is christian service.
Thou wilt do well to pause here for a little, and meditate on the foundation of this service and its peculiar character. It is by no means generally or well understood. Still it is always well to ascertain, when revealed, the divine reason of things, the spring from whence they flow. " So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." The Christian's relation to the body of Christ, and to all other Christians as members of that one body, forms the true basis, and the wide sphere, of Christian duties as detailed in this twelfth chapter. This was an entirely new thing in the ways of God with men. We have nothing corresponding to it in the Old Testament, nor even during the life of the blessed Lord on the earth. There were saints of God from the beginning, souls born of God, but they were never formed into one body till after the cross and ascension of Christ. When He was glorified at God's right hand in heaven, the Holy Ghost came down on the day of Pentecost, and united Jew and Gentile into one body on the earth.
The body was then formed in union with the exalted Head. This is the church. It is something more than merely believing, they are members of Christ's body and of one another on the earth. See especially, 1 Cor. 12:12-2712For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: 25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:12‑27); Eph. 2:13-1613But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:13‑16).
The doctrine of the unity of the church as the body of Christ is most fully unfolded in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians. Here it is only referred to in a practical point of view, and that, in connection with the duties of the members individually—duties that flow from their position in the one body, being severally members one of another. This is the new platform laid down by the apostle for the new order of christian ministry, which has its immediate sphere of exercise within the limits of the church as the one body. In illustration of this union and responsibility, he refers to the wonderful structure of the human body. " For we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office." Every member has its proper place, and its proper function to perform in the human body; and every member is valuable according to its healthful activity and usefulness. Though all the members are not of equal importance, yet none are useless. The smallest and least honorable is necessary to the others, and should be treated with even more consideration, as the apostle elsewhere teaches. " And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor." The foot may be less comely than the eye, but the eye could not perform the peculiar function of the foot, therefore the eye must honor the foot for the valuable services it renders to the body, though it may be covered with dust by the way.
But enough as to the figure, its completeness will more fully appear as we proceed with our chapter.
In the meantime, let me invite dice, O my soul, to a closer acquaintance with thy Lord, as Head of the church, before looking at the various gifts in the members. They all flow from Him who provides for the spiritual supply of His people's wants. He is the source of their blessing in virtue of their union with Him. Oh, wondrous truth! Oh, blessed! Oh, happiness complete! Christ as tie exalted Man in the glory, the measure and fullness of thy blessing! Thou art one with Him! Having glorified God on the earth, having blotted out sin, abolished death, vanquished Satan, risen again from the dead, He ascended up on high as the Head of His body the church. He entered heaven, not on the ground of His own essential righteousness, not as God, nor simply as man, but " by His own blood." This was His title to the throne; His own shed blood. " When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high." And this is thy title; He goes in on the ground of His people's title. We are " made nigh by the blood of Christ." This is the great truth that goes to the very depths of the heart of faith. Only think, and still think; meditate, and still meditate; until thou art far beyond thy depth in that ocean of love which flows around that cross and around that throne. What seest thou? The Man Christ Jesus on the throne. What is His title to he there? The putting away of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. What, then, is He to thy heart as the Man in the glory? He is the witness that my sins were all put away on the cross; that God's righteous judgment against my sins has been borne and vindicated; that I am before God in Christ, in the righteousness of God Himself; that Christ, in His person, and in His present position, is the expression of my place and portion there! To know Him, is to know my own place in the glory. But what more can I say? It is an ocean without a shore. And it is true of all believers—of every member of His body, the feeblest as well as the strongest. The apostle John sets his seal to this, " As he is, so are we in this -world."
But grace has no evil eye. We forget not the Christless soul, the portionless, the godless, the homeless soul. This wealthy portion may be thine, my dear reader, even though thou art the chief of sinners. It was for sinners and for sinners the chief, that Jesus died. All, all, is thine if thou wilt only believe. The gospel is preached to faith. In the finished work of Christ and His exaltation, thou hast a solid ground for the immediate pardon of thy sins, and the complete salvation of thy soul. God has glorified Himself in Christ, and He is waiting to glorify Himself again, in the full remission of all thy sins through faith in His well beloved Son. This is all; honor the Son; embrace the Son; honor Him as the one that suffered to save thee from everlasting suffering in the lake of fire. Yes, this is all; honor Him with thy faith, thy confidence, thy worshipful adoration. Is it difficult to love one who so loves; to trust one who was faithful unto death; who is God as well as man?
But be assured, if thou art still careless, that great and wonderful as the work of Christ is, it is of no value to thee without faith. But its full value is thine the moment thou hast faith in Him. He has borne the judgment due to sin, He has done all that is needed for the glory of God and for the salvation of the sinner; the work is absolutely complete. He who knew best, said, " It is finished." Believe it, it is true; believe it now, and thou art saved, saved forever. Oh! turn not, I pray thee, a deaf or a careless ear to the joyful sound. Oh! hear the joyful sound of heaven in that one word, Come! Come! COME! Love waits, love lingers; sin and Satan are also here! The awful judgment of God is hanging over this doomed world; hanging over thee; flee, then, oh! flee, to the only shelter from the impending storm, from wrath to the uttermost, the sure shelter of the Savior's blood. Rest on this word whatever thy frames and feelings may be, " The blood of Jesus 'Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7).
" THE ever-blessed Son of God
Went up to Calvary for me:
There paid my debt, there bore my load,
In His own body on the tree.
Jesus, whose dwelling is the skies,
Went down into the grave for me;
There overcame my enemies,
There won the glorious victory.
In love the whole dark path He trod,
To consecrate a way for me;
Each bitter footstep marked with blood,
From Bethlehem to Calvary."