Are the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.7-10 for every generation in the church age? More importantly, what does it mean to be a spiritual person. The great desire of faithful believers is to make certain we do not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit when we meet together. Any genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our midst is something all of us should desire. The operative word is genuine. God the Holy Spirit distributes gifts as He wills. Some gifts were more common in the formative years of the first century church and some are no longer operative today. That is, there were gifts manifest in the first century that were used to confirm apostolic teaching. God used both signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit to testify of the great salvation delivered to the church (Hebrews 2.3-4).
Whatever gifts the Corinthians had, we know that they neglected some, coveted others, and abused one. Pride, strife, and disorder resulted. Envy, superiority, and inferiority were promoted. Paul sought to correct matters by pointing up the divine origin of their gifts. The sovereignty of the Holy Spirit is in view as you read 1 Corinthians 12. “One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (12.11). It’s not about peer pressure or psychological pressure to perform in a way that will be accepted. It’s about a genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit in church life. A manifestation that leads to mastery.
The Manifestation of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12.18 states, “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” God determines what is needed for both the first century church and the 21st century church. It’s all in accordance with His pleasure. Everything He does in and through every age is good because He is good. We are all one body in Christ. We have talents and gifts from the Holy Spirit. They may not be the same as the those of the Corinthian church in the first century, but they are manifestations of the Holy Spirit nonetheless.
The Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the transforming love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control we see in one another. If we live in the Spirit, we manifest the fruit of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. We are not conceited and provoking one another or envying one another (see Galatians 5.22-26).
He is one and the same Spirit working all these things (1 Cor 12.11). We are currently being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3.18). The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8.16-17). Once we believed, the Holy Spirit of promise sealed us. He is presently the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1.13-14).
The Mastery of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit is sovereign God. This means He has mastery over the distribution of gifts to individuals in the church as He wills and pleases. Paul says in another place that “to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph 4.7). All of us are enabled to live godly lives by the grace of God. But the Holy Spirit gives differing enabling abilities to different individuals. It is as He wills. By the grace of God Paul was who He was. God’s grace toward him was not in vain (15.10). May that be said of each of us even though that grace and its manifestation differs in us. May the Spirit of God manifest Himself in our lives and gain mastery over those lives day by day. What does this look like today?
When Jesus departed, He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us. If we lie to the Holy Spirit, we lie to God as Ananias and Sapphira found out. But if we do not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit, He is able to transform us because He is God.
We need our Helper and Comforter because we cannot help our comfort ourselves. The Holy Spirit still has the power behind Pentecost in Acts 2. He can revive the church. He can revive you and me. Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon us as He was poured out upon the first century church. Let the word be preached in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
All glory to God. Great things He has done for us and in us. God works all in all so that He may be glorified in all things through the person and work of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit illumines and ignites His church.
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Cor 12.12-14). Paul uses the metaphor of a body for the church. A human body is made up of many elements: sinew, blood, bone, muscle, eye, fingers, toes, etc. These elements are called members in Paul’s metaphor. The body has many members, but all the constituent parts make up one body.
We are baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Some of us are Jewish but most of us are Gentiles (Greeks in this text). Some of us are slaves and others are free. We are all made to drink into one Spirit. That is, we thrive and grow because of the water of the Word is illumined and ignited by the Spirit’s sovereign pleasure and will. Still, our one body is made up of many members. We find diversity within the constituent parts of the church of Christ.