Preparation for Worship: July 20, 2013

Scripture

    12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 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. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

   15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

   21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

   27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Thought

“The doctrine of the Spirit . . . ensures that the third element of the economy of salvation—the making real of reconciliation in human life and history—is as much a divine work as the first element (the Father’s purpose) and the second (its accomplishment in the Son). In ecclesiology we are within the sphere of the perfection and sovereignty of God. There can be no sense in which, while God’s first and second works are pure grace, the third work involves some kind of coordination of divine and creaturely elements. . . . The church is what it is because in the Holy Spirit God has completed the circle of his electing and reconciling work, and consummated his purpose of gathering the church to himself” (John Webster, “On Evangelical Ecclesiology“).

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