1 Corinthians 12:15-31 / Read
In today’s passage, we continue to read Paul’s explanation of spiritual gifts given to the Church and their relationship to one another. Part of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every true follower of Jesus is the receiving of spiritual gifts. These gifts are to be exercised for unique purposes and in harmony with each other in order that together they reveal a great whole - the glory of God in the person of Christ.
Paul clearly stated that spiritual gifts are not lost or taken away (vv. 15-16). Yet, there is a danger that spiritual gifts can become useless in the body of Christ if believers adopt a wrong view of themselves and others. If they lose sight of the reality that they stand alongside Jesus as sons and daughters of God; if they forget that they are saved by grace and not works; and if they reject God’s call to be his representatives in the world, their focus moves from the Giver of gifts to the ones who are simply stewards of the gifts.
The sad result of this focus on the wrong thing is comparison and judgement. And as Paul states, comparison and judgement manifest themselves in two equally destructive ways: inferiority and superiority.
On one hand, comparison can lead to a view of ourselves that is less than God’s view of ourselves (vv. 15-20). On the other, comparison can tempt us to believe that we are better or more valuable than others (vv. 21-26) - instead of de-valuing ourselves, we de-value others.
Our remedy and defense against the foolishness that comes with comparing and judging is the Gospel. The Gospel forces us to be honest about our sin and understand that it has destroyed our relationship with God. In it we must acknowledge that we deserve nothing from God and that death is a worthy penalty for our willful disobedience. Yet the Gospel also invites us to believe that God’s love for us is endless - that the Father allowed his Son to receive our penalty on the Cross and offers us eternal life with him in exchange.
When we know the grace of God in Jesus Christ, how can we compare? How can we judge? How can we do anything but live out our role in his body with grateful joy that he’s chosen us to be part of it?
What from today’s Scripture and commentary most grabs your attention? Why?
What do you sense God saying to you about who you are and what he’s created you for?
How do you sense him calling you to live differently in light of his Word to you today?