Flowing from the previous text where the diversity of gifts are described in verses 1-11, Paul continues by describing the employment of these diverse gifts in the church for their use for the common good. In verse 12 he uses the analogy of the physical body, writing: “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 _______ .” So it is with, who? With what? The church? The body of Christ? If you don’t have this verse committed to memory, that is what you might expect to see written here, as the analogy he makes so clearly relates the physical human body to the body of Christ. But he writes, “so it is with Christ.” The Scripture so implicitly links Christ with the church, that the Spirit seamlessly leads Paul to write of Christ and the church interchangeably. This shows the importance of what is being dealt with in this text. This text is not merely about the interrelatedness of any sort of body politic or social organization. What we are dealing with here is something far more important and far more enduring that any secular organization. When we consider the church, it has to do with Christ Himself.
The oneness of the church is established on the fact all of its members are baptized in one Spirit into this body (v. 13). That is why it is unfortunate that some charismatic Christians use this verse to suggest that “the baptism in the Holy Spirit” is an “inside track” only recognized by some believers who have been gifted with certain gifts. Such a teaching takes a verse that is meant to express unity and instead divides the body, often leading to spiritual elitism and smugness.