The Church As It’s Supposed To Be: Members Of One Another
A continuation in our series The Church As It Was Supposed To Be
“Members of One Another + “Outdo One Another In Showing Honor” Romans 12:3-21
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I think we often overlook verses such as these, because they do not compute in our western, modern understanding of Church and community. What does it mean to be “Members of one another?” We see ourselves as individuals here in the West, and it is hard for us to see ourselves as part of someone or something else. We feel like we can join something on our own will, but being part of something that includes us humbling ourselves and our needs for the sake of the Gospel is hard for us. But this is exactly what Paul is talking about here and similarly in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Being ‘Members of one another” is a profound mystery of the Gospel. God has united all peoples to His body (Christ) to humble ourselves to take part in His mission in the world (See Ephesians 2:8-3:10). When we are members with one another, we cry when they cry and rejoice when they rejoice. We all pitch in and work toward the same goal, so we give our time, talent and treasure, demonstrating where our love is pointed. Love once again emerges as the central motivating factor in this endeavor. We are closely related to that which we love, and are called to serve those around us, even if they are our enemies. Thus things like gossip and the right for revenge is God’s and not ours. Again we see “Living in harmony” as part of this command toward unity for the Gospel. Can you imagine a community of faith working hard to “Outdo one another in honor?” What kind of community will that create? Instead of one upping each other and ignoring one another, we work hard to honor one another.
Questions For Study
- What does it mean to be “Members of one another?”
- How does this help the advance of the gospel?
- How can you become a member of another?
- What do you think would be the result of working to “Outdo one another in honor?”
- What can you and Anchor do to improve in this area?