Paul uses the term "body" as a metaphor. In other words, this is not a literal usage, but rather Paul wants us to compare ourselves in some way to a body. How exactly? What is a body? A body is an organism or a system of members that function together as a single entity. Paul's message is that we should be functioning together in full cooperation. Like the parts of a physical body, we only find our true expression as part of a whole, that is, the entire body of believers.
In Ephesians Paul is speaking to Gentile believers. At that time it was a revolutionary idea that Gentiles would partake equally in the faith of the God of Israel. Even the apostles had difficulty with this revolution (Acts 15). God gave Paul his ministry precisely among the Gentiles. Paul teaches that the Jewish believers need to see Gentiles as equal brothers. In the same way, he teaches the Gentile believers that they have nothing to be ashamed of nor should they feel rejected. Instead, they should feel accepted and equal in the eyes of God as his children.
Are we guilty of rejecting brothers in the faith? Do we treat other believers as if they are below us? If they are brothers in the faith, then we are all equal in the eyes of God, and we should identify with them. Sometimes we refuse to be identified with congregations or certain groups of believers, and we refuse to cooperate with them. But if they are believers, then they are our brothers, and if brothers, then we are one body. As one body, we must identify with all believers and support them and be ready to work together with them.
God, grant me the grace to love my brothers. Help me so see them, Father, as your children. Grant me opportunities to get to know them better, to be at peace, to stand beside them, to enjoy their fellowship, and even to minister together.
- 14 OCTOBER -