Few passages contain as much scope as this passage.  It involves each person of the Trinity and the essentials of the gospel for each of us.  It’s much more than can fit in a brief blog.  But as I read through the verses, there was one aspect of the passage that stood out—the one body, the “body of Christ” (v 12) that threads its way through the entire passage.  And it’s the reason that Paul, as he launches into this passage urges us “to walk worthy of the calling you have received.”

One of the traditions at church that I enjoy most follows baptism.  After the baptism, when the newly baptized member is introduced to the church, the pastor asks those present who are family of the baptized to stand up—and the entire church stands.  Invariably, as the person realizes what it represents, a large smile emerges.  When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His body.  We become part of the “household of faith”. Our focus changes from one oriented towards self in our former way of living to a new way of living—an orientation towards others that form this new body we become part of.

In the first three verses, we begin to get a sense of this new focus, “accepting one another in love.”  We also get a few hints that this isn’t something that “just happens” or is a seamless transition, it requires a few things on our part—namely, “all humility and gentleness, with patience, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.”  There are a number of “one anothers” in the epistles that keep our emphasis on how we grow the body as well as grow together.  The majority of them are continual encouragements to “love one another”.

But as Rom 12:10 shows, love expresses itself in many ways “Show family affection to one another with brotherly love.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”  Other ways in which we relate to one another are to “live in harmony, accept, instruct (Rom 15:5, 7, 14), serve (Gal 5:13) be kind and compassionate, forgiving, submitting to (Eph 4:32, 5:21), encourage (1 Th 4:9, 18), be concerned about (Heb 10:24), confess sins and pray for (Jas 5:16), be hospitable without complaining (1 Pet 4:9) and clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Pet 5:5).

On September 5th, President Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to Captain Larry Taylor for conspicuous gallantry as he put himself in harms way in the gripping account of his rescuing four soldiers.  As Rom 12:10 encourages us, we also are to show honor, preferring one another over self, without regard to self, sacrificially—just as Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.  It is in this way that all will know we are His disciples, if we love one another.  This is what this passage aims for—“promoting the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.”

Let us keep the “one anothers” in mind as we do the work of ministry, building up the body of Christ until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness… growing in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.

by Mark Ott, Elder

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