August 19 - Spiritual Gifts and the Body
It seems that Paul has changed topics, from teachings on the Lord’s Supper to teachings on spiritual gifts. Actually, Paul only uses the issue of spiritual gifts to strengthen his exhortations on church unity. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate reason for unity within the body of Christ. The Corinthian believers were once into pagan worship, led astray by many mute idols. Idol worship, or the worship of the self ultimately, is divisive for each looks for his own rights and wants. The worship of idol by many cannot bring all to unity and this is eventually the cause for disunity in the church. If we all worship ourselves and have self-interests at heart, there would not be any unity at all.
The two works of the Holy Spirit in every believer’s life are the unifying factors. First, the Holy Spirit enables us to call “Jesus is Lord”. Second, the one God (a unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), has given to us a variety of spiritual gifts. When we exercise these gifts, God’s presence and power will be present to do the ministries that otherwise we are powerless to do. From the same Spirit, same Lord and same God come a variety of gifts, services, activities or functions. Spiritual gifts are but a manifestation of God’s work among His people to edify the body.
Then Paul goes back to the teaching of unity, that one member cannot say to another, “Because I am not you, I do not belong to the body.” Differences are there because we are different and are gifted differently. We cannot reject another part of the body simply because of our differences. One part of the body cannot say to another part, “I do not need you.” The weaker and seemingly dispensable parts are the important parts. We need all parts of the body for the body to function correctly. We need to bestow honor to those that are less honorable so that there would not be any division in the body of Christ and that we can care for one another.
The different body parts are organically related and we can feel each other’s pain and share one another’s joy. Not all of us have the same gifts but we use our gifts to build up the body. All things are to be done in love for only love builds up and not tears down. Even Paul’s admonitions have become sources of contention throughout the history of Christendom. The view on the Lord’s Supper has been hotly debated and the different views on spiritual gifts have further divided the church. What are supposedly uniting the church has become divisive, defeating the main purpose of Paul’s teachings.
What are your views on the Lord’s Supper and on the spiritual gifts? Are you sometimes confused on what to believe amid the confusion? Just go to the Lord and hear His heart for the unity of the body instead of further dividing the body.
Ps 89:46-52 Esth 4:1-7:10 1 Cor 12:1-26 Prov 21:21-22