Archive for June 21st, 2008

v. 12 “For 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”

“The connection between the last verse [v. 11] and this one is this: The formation of the Church and its inherence in Christ as the Body of which He is the Head, is the work of the Holy Spirit, Who, when He baptizes any one into Christ, assigns to him a position in the mystical body as one of its members, and afterwards endows him with the grace by which he will be enabled to fulfill his function, as a member of that body.

Thus, it is in the Body of Christ, i.e., His Church, as it is in the natural human body. The body is one, and yet this very oneness of the human body postulates a variety of members, and the multiplicity of members does not imply a multiplicity of separate organisms or bodies, but one organism only, and as it is with our human mortal bodies, so it is with Christ as the Head of His Body, the Church, with which He is one, so that instead of the Apostle saying the Body of Christ, he actually says “Christ,” Christ and His Body in the Apostle’s eyes forming, as it were, one Personality.

v. 13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”

This means that by the operation of the Spirit in Holy Baptism we are all baptized into, that is, are all made members of, the One Mystical Body. It may be well to consider for a moment the question, Does this refer to the visible Sacrament whereby we are made members of Christ, or does it refer to an invisible baptism by the Spirit, altogether distinct form the outward sacrament, and very seldom simultaneous with it? Now it may be sufficient to answer that the Holy Apostle knows nothing of such a baptism introducing us into an inner body or church apart from the outer. On the contrary, such an idea neutralizes the greater part of his teaching, which is, that all the professing members of the Church should consider themselves as having a real connection with Christ. There is but one Church from his point of view, an outward visible body endowed all of with invisible graces and powers: so that each baptized person, instead of doubting that his baptism brought him into connection with Christ, should have no manner of doubt about it, but be assured that if he does not live as a member of Christ so much the worse for him, and that if he does realize his union with Christ so much the more power has he against sin and on the side of holiness.”

(M. F. Sadler, The First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians, pp. 205-206)

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