August 5

1 Corinthians 12:1-14 / Read

The Gospel of Jesus creates change. In fact, to be a Christian means to be changed dramatically - from lost to found, from enslaved to free, from dead to alive.

For the believer, change happens from the inside-out so that, eventually, the new person who has been re-made becomes visible through their actions.

The Bible makes clear that all of this change - both inside and out - is initiated by the Spirit of God. This is what Paul reminded his audience of in the passage we read together today.

We’ve become aware throughout our study of 1 Corinthians of the Corinthians’ tendency to compare themselves to one another and succumb to judgement and boasting based on their external lives. It is very likely that these people were experiencing amazing new realities as the Spirit came to life in them and began manifesting himself through the gifts Paul mentions in vv. 7-10. Yet he urged them to remember that it was God - not themselves - that brought these new realities.

God is always the initiator with people. It is not so much that they “find” him as he reveals himself to them, nor is it that they reason themselves to belief as he makes them aware of their sin and his grace. Their salvation is a free gift, an opportunity to change made possible by his Spirit.

So it is with the manifestation - the revealing - of the Spirit within them: given freely so that no one can boast, except of the God who gave freely. While individual parts of the body each have unique qualities, they express their fullness only when understood as part of the whole. Together they reveal something they could never reveal on their own.

  • How aware are you of the grace God has shown you? It may feel like a difficult question to answer at first, so it may be helpful to consider: What good things do you enjoy that, if you’re honest, you can’t take credit for?

  • Where are you tempted to judge the behavior of others? Where are you tempted to believe that you’re better than others because you’re more disciplined, more self-controlled, a harder worker, have higher standards, etc.?

  • What would it look like for you to live in grace today? How will you freely live in your gifts to reveal the presence of God in your life? How will you affirm the gifts of others? How will you cultivate a spirit of continual thankfulness for all that God has given you and given others to reveal his grace and goodness?