1 Corinthians 12:12-13: Baptism into the body

Outline

  • Unity of the Spirit
  • Baptism of the Spirit
  • Drinking of the Spirit

Introduction

What is baptism?  For some it is a cultural tradition which goes along with your nationality.  For some it is a private devotional moment that becomes subject to personal taste and timing.  For others it is something irrelevant you don’t have to worry about, an optional extra like a fashion accessory.  For some it is baby insurance applied to babies as a type of protection.  There are many things we could say about baptism but today we want to focus on baptism as a command of Christ for every Christian that pictures and formalises our unity with Christ’s church by the receiving of His Spirit.  In the middle of a discussion on the spiritual gifts, Paul alludes to our baptism into Christ in 1 Cor. 12:12-13, ‘ For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.’  We are familiar with the context, Paul is speaking about the diversity of gifts that are active in the diversity of spiritual gifts in the church.  Having stressed this diversity by the one Spirit he wants to reemphasize the oneness of the body and he does this in the text we are considering by talking about our baptisms.  What is baptism?  For some it is a cultural tradition which goes along with your nationality.  For some it is a private devotional moment that becomes subject to personal taste and timing.  For others it is something irrelevant you don’t have to worry about, an optional extra like a fashion accessory.  For some it is baby insurance applied to babies as a type of protection.  There are many things we could say about baptism but today we want to focus on baptism as a command of Christ for every Christian that pictures and formalises our unity with Christ’s church by the receiving of His Spirit.  In the middle of a discussion on the spiritual gifts, Paul alludes to our baptism into Christ in 1 Cor. 12:12-13, ‘ For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.’  We are familiar with the context, Paul is speaking about the diversity of gifts that are active in the diversity of spiritual gifts in the church.  Having stressed this diversity by the one Spirit he wants to reemphasise the oneness of the body and he does this in the text we are considering by talking about our baptisms.

As we look at these verses we want to tease out three ideas.  Firstly, we want to recognise the unity in the body the Spirit creates; then we want to look at how baptism and the Spirit uniting us to the body are linked; finally we want to examine Paul’s curious phrase about drinking the Spirit at the end of v13.

Share

Recent Sermons