THE COMELY AND THE UNCOMELY
In verse 24 Paul goes on to say, “Our comely members have no need.” Those who are comely have no need and therefore do not require any particular care. In a sense, we may forget about them. Both the comely and uncomely ones are necessary. The difference here is that the comely ones have no need because they are already comely. The uncomely ones, on the contrary, need to be clothed with honor in order to have more abundant comeliness.
These verses speak of three kinds of members: the weaker ones, the less honorable or uncomely ones, and the comely ones. Which kind are you? Actually, we are not able to say whether we are a weaker one, a less honorable one, or a comely one. We should have no confidence in our estimation. I simply do not know what kind of a member I am. However, I can discern when a particular brother is lacking in honor or comeliness. How can I be at peace as long as my brother has such a lack? I should not be at peace until I clothe him with Christ. If we all practice this, how different the church life would be!
THE PROVING OF OUR SPIRITUALITY
We have pointed out that in verse 24 Paul speaks of the tempering of the Body. To temper something is to make it balanced by dealing with the extremes. For example, we cannot drink water that is either boiling hot or ice cold. But if hot water is tempered with cold water, the tempered water will be the right temperature for drinking. In the local churches there are many different saints. Some are very spiritual; others are not so spiritual. The spiritual ones need to be tempered with those who are not spiritual. Then the spiritual ones will be spiritual in a proper way. The weaker ones are necessary to test the genuineness of our spirituality. Sisters, if you are truly spiritual and if you have genuinely seen the oneness, I ask you to go to the weaker, less honorable sisters and see what you can do for them. You are so hot, but they are so cold. You are so honorable, but they are very uncomely. Because they are utterly without honor, they need to be beautified by you. If you do this, you will find that both you and they are needed. In the Body there is the need for tempering. Even our spirituality must be tempered. Through this tempering, we shall find out how genuine our spirituality actually is. Our spirituality will be proved by God’s tempering.
Do not expect every saint in the church life to be a spiritual giant. This will never be the situation in the church. According to the Bible, we all must be tempered, the hot ones with the cold ones, and the spiritual ones with those who are not spiritual. In the proper church life there will always be the weaker members, the less honorable members, and the comely members. Nevertheless, because all are being tempered together, these are not three divisions.
VIOLATING THE PRINCIPLE OF THE BODY
In verse 24 Paul also says that God has given more abundant honor to that member which lacks. Any group within the church that claims to be spiritual will always collapse. I have seen this take place several times and in several places. In my home town of Chefoo a certain group of sisters thought they were today’s Madame Guyons. They regarded themselves as the most spiritual ones, and they tried to help others to be like them. But their so-called spirituality was abnormal and a damage to the Body.
When Brother Nee was ministering on the matter of the Body in Shanghai, he emphasized the importance of seeing the Body. Certain co-workers testified strongly that they had seen the Body. However, none of them became a real help to the Body. Both those sisters in Chefoo and those co- workers in Shanghai violated the principle of the Body.
(All Ages for the Lord's Testimony, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)