3. The Spirit makes "the many" one.
While "salvation in Christ" can only be realized on an individual level, it is not "individualistic." Fee stresses that individual salvation is not the "final goal" of God's saving activity through Christ, according to Paul. Constituting "a people for God's name" is. When Paul proclaims in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that "we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free," he is not outlining the gospel of how people get saved, says Fee. He is, instead, emphasizing that the force of the gospel is seen in how the many (Jew, Gentile, slave, free) become one.
Paul's key images for the church embody relationally interdependent constructs: temple, family, body. The temple was God's new dwelling place in the corporate life of the individual members of his church, the "living stones," to borrow Peter's imagery.
Paul uses the image of the family in Ephesians (2:19), telling the church that they are members of "God's household." Paul carries the idea further when he tells the church in Rome that they have received the "Spirit of adoption" through whom they cry, "Abba, Father" and which "testifies . . . that we are God's children" (Romans 8:15-16).
Paul's body imagery, Fee points out, carries the most pervasive implications. The image reflects the very nature of the Godhead itself in its unity and diversity. The body is unified by "one and the same Spirit," Paul says (1 Cor. 12:11). Yet it is incumbent upon the body to allow the free expression of its individual parts. That is why Paul goes to great lengths in 1 Corinthians 12 through 14 to strike the right balance between free expression of diverse gifts, on the one hand, and mutual, harmonious, restrained (i.e., tested) ...1
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