Fitting The Puzzle Together
Please read again 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 In today's blog our goal is to see if and how our "puzzle" fits together. To do this we're asking a simple question, how do our theological principles fit with the rest of the Bible? In other words did we come up with something out of the blue or does the scripture have a track record of communicating the principles we've discovered. Here's the catch, if we've written down a "theological principle" that doesn't correspond with the rest of scripture then (brace yourself) we were wrong and we need to abandon our idea. You see this is where man made doctrines and confirmation bias take over in theology. We either want something to be true so badly we claim it as truth even though we can't justify it according to whole of scripture, or we distort every scripture we read to confirm our bias. Both of these ways are terribly dangerous. So to start us off, here is a quick review of the principles we believe we've found in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. NOTE, these principles will help us to understand not only what Spiritual Gifts are, but also why God's given these gifts to His Church today.
The Spirit of God communicates
God wants good for us all
God operates with great diversity (many unique parts): wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues, interpretation of those tongues and sovereignty.
1. The Spirit of God communicates
This principle is found all over scripture. Whether it be Amos 3:7 "surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret council to his servants the prophets", or when Peter declares Jesus the messiah, the son of the living God and Jesus responds, "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven." God is always communicating. Nehemiah 9:20 says, "You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst." Why again did God give his Spirit here? To instruct them, to communicate with them. Isaiah 61:1 says, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;" Why was the Spirit of the Lord on Isaiah? To bring good news to the afflicted. The very gospel message we're to preach is a message from God communicated to the world via His Spirit. We will look more in depth tomorrow as we discover how we're to live out these principles, but for today it's important that you see the reason for Spiritual gifts is because God is Spirit and God is communicating with His people. He is the same yesterday today and forever. 2. God wants good for us all In order to understand this principle we have to define terms properly. By good we mean the very essence and character of God. In the scriptures a man calls to Jesus and says "good teacher..." Jesus responds that there is no one good but the Father. Therefore when we say good we mean godliness or god-likeness. When we look across the vast landscape of scripture we see this communicated over and over and over again. However, if we choose to define good as our own personal prosperity and gaining all the things that we want out of life we will find scripture wanting. Why? Because it was never intended to teach a man centered definition of good. Here are just a few verses for your consideration: 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Hebrews 13:20-21, James 1:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, and my favorite Micha 6:8 Through a lens of godliness as the definition of good we will understand this principle to includes the common good of God's church, the personal good of the individual follower as well as the ultimate good for those who do not yet know the Lord. If God wants that all of us would be godly or like Him then for the Christian it comes by way of sanctification, for the non Christian it comes by way of salvation. All of this is going to play into personal application for the Christian who desires to operate in Spiritual gifts. For example if God wants good for His people and He has given us a series of gifts for that common good then we of course are intended and must operate in all of these gifts in order to arrive at the destination of godliness that He expects. It does the church great harm when we reject these gifts. Mostly because we aren't utilizing all of God's tools to arrive at the goal. 3. God operates with great diversity (many unique parts): wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues, interpretation of those tongues and sovereignty. Whether we look to the story of Adam and Eve that it wasn't good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18) or Moses and his need of elders to judge Israel (Ex 18:25) or in the New Testament the need to set aside men to take care of the widows and the orphans and the poor (Acts 6:3), diversity of gifts is normative in God's Kingdom. This principle in its deepest form is found in the doctrine of the Trinity. A kind of unity among diversity. This is going to find its application with respect to Spiritual gifts in the church in that we all need each other. This goes beyond a mere noble motive. For if God himself operates in diversity and has given us gifts to operate in diversity it is godly to operate in diversity. It's also worth noting that it is rebellion to reject this kind of diversity. I have a lot more to say concerning this subject as we continue in the series. In conclusion the theological principles that we have discovered in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 are consistent with the whole of scripture. Therefore we can look to our next question, how do we apply these theological principles to our lives today. This is where we begin to get practical in application and discovery of spiritual gifts. As always I love to know your thoughts so please comment in the comment section below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org