1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I would not have you ignorant.…
Every member of this community —
I. HAS PASSED THROUGH A RADICAL CHANGE (vers. 1-2).
1. This is a change from the spirit of the Gentiles or the world to the Spirit of Christ — the most radical change that can take place in a man.
2. This is described —
(1) Negatively. No man who has experienced it has anything irreverent or profane in his spirit towards Christ (ver. 3).
(2) Positively (ver. 3). "Can say," not of course merely the words, for all could easily do that, but with the heart and life.
3. This is the production of the Holy Ghost. No man is a member of the true Church who has not come under the control of the Spirit of Christ. There are such who are found in no Church, and there may be Curches where no such are found. All such, however, wherever found, belong to the Church of the "firstborn written in heaven."
II. HAS RECEIVED SPECIAL ENDOWMENTS FROM GOD (vers. 4-12).
1. These may be divided into —
(1) Those of intellect. "Wisdom," "knowledge," etc.
(2) Those of "faith," operating faith in words, deeds, and "discernment."(3) Those of langunge. "Tongues," speaking and interpreting.
2. Now all responsible men have —
(1) Intellect of some kind and amount.
(2) Faith of some sort. Man has an instinctive tendency to believe, hence his credulity is proverbial. And he is necessitated to believe: he could not carry on the business of life without faith.
(3) A language of some kind or other.
3. The man who has come into possession of the Christly Spirit and purpose, and is thus a member of the genuine Church, will receive —
(1) A new force and elevation of intellect.
(2) A new object and energy of faith.
(3) A new style and emphasis of expression, a new tongue.
4. This great variety of endowments reveals —
(1) The sovereignty of the Spirit. Why did He bestow any at all? Still more, why so different to different men? The only answer is because it pleased Him so to do. "He worked all things after the counsel of His own will."(2) His affluence. He is the inexhaustible Fountain, not only of all life, but of all spiritual endowments.
(3) His benevolence. All these varied endowments are for "profit."
5. Since all our endowments are the free gifts of God, there is no reason for those of the humblest to be dissatisfied, nor for those who have the most splendid to be exultant.
III. SHOULD REGARD THESE ENDOWMENTS AS PARTS OF A VITAL WHOLE, ie., of the "body of Christ." As the soul resides in, directs, and reveals itself in the body, so Christ in the true Church (ver. 12, etc.). Great is the variety in the various faculties, organs, and parts of the human body. Some are larger and more comely than others, but each, even the most insignificant and uncomely, are equally essential (ver. 22, etc.). How preposterous would it be for one part of the body to contend with another for importance and supremacy! Yet not more absurd than for one member of a Church to contend with another.
(D. Thomas, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.