For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ….For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14–18 nasb)
There are three things we need to see in this statement of Paul. First, the choice of where and what we are to be in the body is not ours, but God’s. God has arranged the members of His body and assigned their functions. It is not for us to decide; rather, God decides and reveals His decisions to us.
Second, as this comes to pass in our lives, we merge our lives in a larger entity, the body—yet we still retain our individuality. It is like a little finger that finds its place on a hand, side-by-side with four other fingers, and is thus connected to the total life and purpose of a complete body. As Christians, we never lose our individual identities, but we do become a part of a larger, corporate group, all the while being the particular members that God ordained us to be.
Third, as a corporate body, we are able to represent Christ in His fullness to the world. None of us can adequately represent Christ on our own; but when we are united to a body, that body can totally, corporately, and fully represent Jesus Christ to our world.