In order to answer your question, we’ll look at three different truths concerning the body of Christ in 1st Corinthians chapter 12. We will be using the New King James Version.

  1. Each believer is a MEMBER of the body of Christ. Verses 12-14 say, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into body….and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” We see here that our membership in the body of Christ was the result of the Holy Spirit’s baptism. When did this happen? It happened the moment we were saved, as we see in Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
  2. Each member has a PART to play. In verses 15-26 (which I would encourage you to read) the apostle Paul uses the human body to illustrate this truth, for just as the human body is made up of many members and each member has a role to fulfill, so it is with the body of Christ. A key verse in this passage is verse 18, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” When we were saved, God determined what place we would serve in the body of Christ. And in verses 4-11 we learn that in order to fulfill our specific role, He gave us the ability to do it by imparting to us a spiritual gift. Let’s read verses 4-7: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” Again, the human body is a beautiful picture of this, for the EYE has to fulfill the role to see, the EAR to hear, the TONGUE to speak, and so on, but they all perform for the good of the whole body. We, as believers, all have different gifts and we all need to perform (to USE our gift) for the good of the whole body! Some of the spiritual gifts are mentioned in verses 8-10, and then later in verse 28, but this is not a complete list. We have other gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:7-11. Some have asked, “How do we determine what our specific gift is? I would suggest that if we have the desire to serve the Lord, He will indeed make it clear to us what our role in the body of Christ is. You may recall that after Saul of Tarsus was saved he said, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10) These were very simple words, but they reveal the heart of a servant and Saul (whose name was changed to Paul) was led into a lifetime of service where he “played his part” in the body of Christ by using the gifts God had given to him. Dear fellow-believer, this is what God wants from us, for He wants us to have a servant’s heart. He will then lead us into the area of service that He has already ordained for us. We will then find that we have the God-given ability (the GIFT) to perform whatever service He asks us to do.
  3. Each member is NECESSARY. We have already seen that “the manifestation of the Spirit is GIVEN TO EACH ONE FOR THE PROFIT OF ALL.” We can’t stress this truth enough, for there is a tendency to think of certain gifts as the only ones that are needed. This can lead one to think his gift isn’t important, as we see illustrated in verses 15-17, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?” There is also a tendency for those with a more public gift (such as a teacher, evangelist or pastor) to look down on others and become independent. Verses 21-22 rebuke that thinking: “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.” Just as every member of our human body is necessary, so every member of the body of Christ is necessary. (234.7) (DO)