Have you ever watched the Addams Family (I prefer the old show to the movie), and wondered how "Thing" (the hand) became as...er...he/it was? Was Thing born that way, or did he belong to a body and somehow grew the ability to live on its own? While this is a fanciful way to look at things (pun intended), we know that body parts cannot live on their own. My hand cannot live apart from the rest of my body because it depends on my heart, brain (along with the rest of the nervous system), and other systems in my body beside. Why then do we feel we can do this with Christ? A lie has come about in the last 50-60 years that we can have a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ, and we do not need the church. Before that, the church became divided by denominations, and followed doctrines of men, while not coming to agreement in the word (it got so bad that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, denominations would burn one another's churches down!). The enemy, throughout history, has done well when he seeks to (and sometimes accomplishes) divide up the body of Christ. The fact is, though we need one another. The church does not exist in a building, for a building could not contain it (otherwise the Temple need not have been destroyed). The church does not exist as an individual, because the church implies that it is a unified body of believers. The church is the fellowship of Believers, and so long as we follow Jesus Christ as our Sovereign Lord and Master, and so long as we do not change the word of God, we are of the body! Why then do we let divisions and disunity ruin the harmony of the Body? Why do we give the Devil rights and privileges over things he has NO BUSINESS in? Believer in Christ, it is our duty (yes duty) to seek to be unified with all believers in Spirit and Truth. We do not gather behind man-made doctrines or in buildings, but exist in Africa, Asia, the US, and the world over as a unified body with Christ as our head. Let us, then, pray for and seek unity in the body, to strengthen one another, and to build one another up in love. After all, Jesus said they will know we are His disciples by how we love one another.
Romans 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
Gifts of Grace
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,[e] 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,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Marks of the True Christian
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,[g] 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.[h] 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[i] 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.
a. Romans 12:1 Or brothers and sisters
b. Romans 12:1 Or your rational service
c. Romans 12:2 Greek age
d. Romans 12:2 Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God
f. Romans 12:8 Or gives aid
g. Romans 12:11 Or fervent in the Spirit
h. Romans 12:16 Or give yourselves to humble tasks
i. Romans 12:19 Greek give place