Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On the Holy Spirit - Spiritual is Gospel

Let's go hunting elephants in the charismatic jungle in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Chapters 1-4 of this letter are most concerned with wisdom and then the discussion is pursued in the area of sexual immorality (5-7) and idolatry (8-14) all of which has concern with the body of Christ, a prominent theme in chapter 15...

1. Spiritual is gospel (1 Corinthians 12v1-3)

Paul says, v1, that he does not want them to be uninformed about 'spiritual gifts' or 'spiritual things'. He's writing to a church that is experiencing charismania. Things are in chaos – evidently it’s more the miraculous gifts being carried to excess than an excess of administration. Rather than forbidding pursuit of these things he seeks to inform them. It's a good principle to remember that abuse should be replaced by right use rather than non-use.

Getting informed: First there are idols. Mute idols (v2). The Old Testament says quite a lot about idols. A key theme is their inability to speak. They are breathless. (Habakkuk 2v18-19). By stark contrast the Spirit speaks (v3). His words give life. By the Spirit Paul will preach Christ & him crucified (2v4) and know the mind of Christ (2v10,16). And by the Spirit the Christian confesses - Jesus is Lord (12v3). We have no business attributing anything to the Holy Spirit unless the focus in the gospel. That might not always be easy to see (Agabus?) But, the broad brushstroke is that Spiritual is Gospel! Do not be uninformed – by the Holy Spirit we confess the gospel.



Confessing the gospel is not something to take for granted. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit will men and women delight to confess the glory of God's gospel about Jesus Christ who was crucified. Only by the Spirit will we love God's wisdom and God's power at the cross. The gospel sets the stage for our thinking about all things charismatic. Whatever our thinking about gifts of the Spirit our framework is of being Spirit-indwelled justified-by-grace people.

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