Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spiritual Gifts and the Church (part 3): 1 Cor 12:4-6

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Paul gives reference here to three aspects of the wind of the Spirit and three aspects of God. Notice he speaks of Spirit, Lord, and God; a reference to God the Spirit, God the Son, and God the Father. It is the one God that works all His works in us, distributing them just as He pleases. Paul also mentions gifts, ministries, and effects.

Gifts: The Greek word is charisma and it means a gift of grace, or a free gift. However, this gift is different from a present; there is another Greek word for that. This gift is associated with grace and has the connotation of unmerited favor. One could translate charisma as "gratuitous favor". God's gratuitous favor is bestowed upon us in a variety of ways. For some, it may grant prophetic insight, for others the faith to declare healing, still for others the grace for administration, helps, or hospitality. Whatever is found in us to be good and worthy is the direct result of God's charisma in our lives. We have each received of God's gratuitous favor in our lives and that favor which is specific to us is what makes us unique in God's kingdom.

Ministries: The Greek word is diakonia and it means ministry, service, and administration. It is the same word from which we get our word for Deacon. The understanding of this word is found more in terms of one's function and one's authority. God has given us a specific function within the Body of Christ. We all have a place, a part, and a role to play. Paul repeats this idea when he said, "the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part." (Ephesians 4:16) We are all members of the one Body of Christ and each of us have our own function and role within that Body. Our roles may be different, but it is nonetheless necessary. When some of the roles within the Body are missing, the whole Body suffers. We are all needed; we are all necessary.

Effects: The Greek word is energema and means operation, working, or effect. This is same Greek word from which we get our word for Energy. This is also the same word Paul uses later when he speaks of the "working" of miracles. Each of us have a different effect on the Body and the world around us. For some, their effect is well know and seen by many. For others, their effect is more subtle and behind the scenes. For some, their work is a work of power. For other, their work is a work of influence. Some impact our lives for sudden change. Others serve to accomplish incremental advancements in our movement towards God. What ever the effect, it is the same God who works all in all.

Each of us are different. God's favor in our lives is different, our role in the Body is different, and our working and effecting of the Body and the world around us are different, yet it is the same God who does all these things. We were not meant to be the same, we were meant to be different. God does not want just one type of believer, rather He wants a multitude of believers who will manifest and express His manifold nature to all of creation. We were meant to be different.

More to come... David Robison

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