But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. -Ephesians 4:7 NIV
Each of us has been given grace, that is, salvation through faith in Jesus which Christ effected through his death on the cross. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14-15 NIV Although we may be significantly different from each other, Jesus died for each of us that we might live, it made no difference who/what/where/when/why we are. That is grace and the greatest gift that God could have bestowed. We are united in Christ despite our diversity because God gave his Son.
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, also gives us gifts. Some are gifts that we have naturally and we are expected to use them within the Body of Christ to build up the body. The Holy Spirit also bestows some very specific gifts to the Church that the Church may be be built up and united in the faith. Yeah, there are a lot of different gifts but only one Body and the diversity within the Church is there so that we may be one. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians that God has put the Body together with a great diversity, each equal, “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
Hmm, that puts an imperative on us. Not only do we need to be active in our use of the gifts Christ has given us but we also need to be aware of everyone within the body. We need to encourage each other to use those diverse gifts and praise each other as we use them. We need to rejoice there is diversity while also rejoicing that we are united in Christ, united by God’s grace and in the hope/expectation of eternal life.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. -Philippians 2:1-2 NIV