Monday, July 1, 2024

Jesus Is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)

"… no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).

The prophets of the Old Testament predicted that the Messianic period would be marked by a remarkable effusion of the Holy Spirit: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). And our Lord, before He died, promised to send the Comforter (John 14).

As was predicted, these promises were fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as the Spirit was poured out upon the church. “Under circumstances so extraordinary it was unavoidable that many disorders should arise,” Charles Hodge wrote. “Some men would claim to be the organs of the Spirit, who were deluded or impostors; some would be dissatisfied with the gifts they had received, and envy those whom they regarded as more highly favored; others would be inflated, and make an ostentatious display of their extraordinary powers; and in the public assemblies it might be expected that the greatest confusion would arise from so many persons being desirous to exercise their gifts at the same time.”

To correct these evils, Paul first establishes the criterion by which the Corinthians were to judge those who claimed to possess gifts of the Spirit. How did they speak of Christ? Did they blaspheme or did they worship Him? If they recognized and believed that Jesus is Lord then they were indeed true believers. The word for “Lord” here is the same Greek word used for Yahweh in the Greek Old Testament. “To say Jesus is the Lord, therefore, in the sense of the apostle, is to acknowledge Him to be truly God,” Hodge wrote. This can only be done by the Holy Spirit. This, of course, does not mean that no one can utter these words unless under divine influence; but it does mean that no one can truly believe and openly confess that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh unless he is enlightened by the Spirit of God. This was the case with Peter who confessed that Jesus was the Son of the Living God. Jesus said, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Anyone who claims to be a Christian must confess that Jesus is the true God. Unless that be your confession, the Spirit of Christ does not live in you.

Many religious groups claim that they are led by the Spirit of Jesus, that He guides them and speaks to them. Yet they do not believe the historical Jesus, of whom Paul speaks, is God in the flesh. Pray that you will be able to discern those who truly speak by the Spirit of God and those who do not.