November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”—1 Corinthians 12:12–14 (NIV)
On any NFL team, there are 53 guys on the active roster. And while all 53 have the same goal each week to win the game, they don’t all have the same role. The quarterback has a role that’s different from the running backs or cornerbacks, the defensive line’s role is different from the offensive line, and the tight end has a different role than the defensive end. However, even though they play diverse roles within the team and have different names stitched on the back of their jerseys, they’re all part of one team.
Like an NFL team, the Church of Jesus Christ is all part of the same team. We’re united in Christ, regardless of who we are or where we come from. These things don’t matter, yet at the same time, they do matter! Say what?!
Let’s break this down:
It doesn’t matter . . .
Regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality, skin color, socio-economic status, past history, family history, sexual history, religious history, life experience, job title, gifts, talents, and abilities, or anything else you want to throw in to the mix, we’re all on level ground before a holy and perfect God.
Whether we’re the uttermost or the gutter-most in the eyes of the world, we’re equally separated from God apart from the saving work of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. Who we are and where we come from makes no difference as it pertains to our standing with God either before we receive Christ (where we’re all equally dead in our trespasses and subject to the wrath of God) or after we receive Christ (where we’re all equally made alive in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and adopted as sons and daughters, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, members of His family).
We’re one in Christ—all part of the same family, the same body, and the same team. We’re united under the banner of heaven, wearing the same jersey, even if we play different positions.
It does matter . . .
Let’s look at our list again: gender, ethnicity, nationality, skin color, socio-economic status, past history, family history, sexual history, religious history, life experience, job title, gifts, talents, and abilities. We’re one in Christ and we all receive the same salvation and same Holy Spirit when we come to Christ. We have unity in that, and none of these things make a difference in that regard, but what these do provide is beautiful and valuable diversity in the body. Based on my past, my history, my upbringing, my individual life and experiences, my gifts, what I bring to the body of Christ is unique and important, ordained by God to serve a good and perfect purpose within His wonderful plan. And the same is true for you.
Who you are, where you come from, your cultural heritage, your abilities, your struggles and history . . . these things bring diversity and unique perspectives, passions, and callings to our unity. Though we are one, we’re individual components of the one, and we each serve different roles and operate in different position groups. This is one of the most beautiful things about the body of Christ!
We’re one in the Spirit and in the gospel and yet we’re unique, special, and individually valuable to the work of the Spirit and the advancement of the gospel! So, let’s lean into this, friends!
Pause: How are we both one and the same, yet unique and individual in the body of Christ?
Practice: Look at your circle of Christian friends, your community, and your church. Think about the differences between you and your friends. Think about the different things you each bring to the table—the unique gifts, talents, passions, and experiences God can and does use in each person. Celebrate a few of your friends for the ways God has made them unique, while also expressing gratitude for the fact that He has knit us together and made us one in Christ.
Pray: Father, thank You for making us all unique, yet making us all one in You. Thank You for the Spirit that brings us together regardless of who we are and where we come from. I pray You would continue to grow me in the areas You’ve called me to walk in and serve and work, and that You would use me to build up my brothers and sisters and affirm them in who You have made them to be. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.