Knowing God Through (Instructions About) Spiritual Gifts

When I read my Bible it is all too easy to forget who the main character is.  Note to self. It isn’t me. So when I’m pondering important questions about the nature of spiritual gifts (and they are important, otherwise Paul would not spend over eighty verses on them), it is centering for me to come back to the most basic questions of the Bible.  Who is God?  What is he like?  All Scriptures answer the question, “who is God?” All of Scripture reveals what God is like, even the portions on spiritual gifts.  In other words, not only do spiritual gifts equip the church to know God, but even the very instructions concerning those gifts reveal what God is like.  Over the next few weeks let’s read through 1 Corinthians 12-14 again and ask the question, “What do I learn about God?"

GOD SPEAKS

How quickly we forget how uniquely magnificent that is!  God’s self-disclosure of himself is the only way for us to know him.  If God did not communicate with us, we would not know what he is like or how to live with him. It is not random then that Paul reminds the Corinthians that they had been led astray by mute idols (12:3) God is not a mute idol made from wood or stone.  No, he is the source of all language, who created the world by the power of his word, who raises the dead by his word, and gives new life by his word. Paul even says that is is only by God’s Spirit that we speak “Jesus is Lord.”

GOD EMPOWERS

No matter what variety of ministry, “it is the same God who empowers them all,” Paul said (12:6). Jesus described the good gifts of God like this, “If you then, who are evil,  know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13)!  What does our good and loving and empowering Father give us?  The Holy Spirit.  God always empowers  and equips his people to do what he commands.  Throughout this passage we God at work among his people, graciously providing them with what they need to grow and success. God unites all in the body of Christ (12:13). God arranges the body as he sees fit.  (12:18) God composed the body (12:24), God appointed gifts (12:28).  I have sovereignly equipped the church so that it lacks no good thing for her success.