Thursday, July 4, 2024

Unity Amid Diversity (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:4).

The second point the apostle seeks to impress upon the minds of the Corinthians is that spiritual gifts are diverse, and their diversity of character are connected, are unified, in their source and purpose. Paul is not dividing the gifts into classes under the heads of gifts, ministrations, and operations, but he is presenting them under three different aspects. “Viewed in relation to the Spirit, they are gifts; in relation to the Lord, they are ministrations; and in relation to God, they are operations, i.e. effects wrought by His power,” Hodge wrote. “And it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God who are concerned in them all. That is, the same Spirit is the giver; it is He who is the immediate and proximate author of all these various endowments. It is the same Lord in whose service and by whose authority these various gifts are exercised. They are all different forms in which He is served, or ministered to. And it is the same God the Father, who having exalted the Lord Jesus to the supreme headship of the church, and having sent the Holy Ghost, works all these effects in the minds of men.” God works through His Spirit to instruct, encourage, and guide His church.

Those who understand this passage to mean three different classes of gifts, one derived from the Spirit, the other from the Son, and the other from the Father, suppose that to the first belong wisdom, knowledge, and faith; to the second, church offices; and to the third, miraculous gifts. But this view of the passage is inconsistent with the constant and equal reference of these gifts to the Holy Spirit. They all come under the heading of “spiritual gifts,” given for the benefit of the entire church. We should not categorize these gifts in relation to each member of the Trinity, but see that they are equally gifts of the Spirit, modes of serving the Son, and effects due to the efficiency of the Father.

Given this fact, we must not exalt one gift over another, as the Corinthians were prone to do. We are reminded by Paul that one and the same Spirit distributes a variety of gifts to the church. Here we see in reference to the Trinity, unity amid diversity. And such is the church, diverse in its composition and gifts, but unified by the Spirit of Christ.

Do you ever feel like the gifts God has given you are less important than the gifts of others in the church? Do you see how the church today exalts some gifts, making them more important than others? Be encouraged by the fact that all gifts are given by the Spirit, to serve the Son, by the power of the Father.