1 Corinthians 12:8…
The gifts of the Spirit bring the life of the Spirit into the Body of Christ.
When we think of life in the human body, one of the most basic characteristics of life is animation. When there is no longer animation, we say life is no longer present.
When we look to the Body of Christ, do we see animation?
Further, when we do see animation, what is the character and quality of the animation? Is it animation consistent with Christ?
When it comes to a list of the gifts of the Spirit, which Paul next brings into his discussion of how it is the Holy Spirit unifies the Church, we note all the gifts of the Spirit listed are attributes of the Head, Who is Christ.
That Jesus possessed all of these gifts is a given. That no human does in the natural sense is also a given. And so, when we become aware of the presence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit animating the Body of Christ, we can conclude the life of Christ is present.
This is not only exciting, and even thrilling, it is also humbling and unifying.
That the Church can do ‘church things’ without the gifts of the Spirit is obvious. But the life that animates the church apart from the gifts of the Spirit is the life we are too familiar with apart from Christ.
It is a competitive animation. It desires to be recognized, it becomes dissatisfied easily and discontented readily, it is critical, embittered, self-seeking and notably selfish and peevish. All the while maintaining an appearance of reverence for the traditions which have come to be the center of church practice, because human beings love tradition. Unfortunately, this is what Paul speaks of as being present in the church at Corinth.
It is a church that has become separated from the life of Christ because the love of self has replaced the love for Christ. This is a church which once had all the gifts present and flowing freely and easily. They had come short in none. But what about now?
And, “What about now?” is always the question the church should be asking itself. What happened ten years ago or five years ago is wonderful, but what Spirit is presently animating the church? Is it the Holy Spirit – or the human spirit?
It is never too late. The Holy Spirit is always available to those who desire His life in the church to be its animation. And He always comes bearing gifts to those who desire He alone to be the way and the truth and the life.