Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.
1 Corinthians 12:1
The first thing we need to realize is that the word “gift” is not in the original. What Paul literally says is that he doesn’t want the church to be uninformed about the spiritual. To do that, he’ll talk about more than just gifts.
He begins by addressing their spiritual heritage.
You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
1 Corinthians 12:2
Because they were a mainly Gentile church, their background included the worship of idols. They had a history of serving gods that couldn’t speak. That’s very different from where they are now.
We serve a God who wants to speak to and through His people. That requires a different kind of lifestyle. We need to be in a position where we’re ready to hear and obey His voice. Along with that, we need to discern between the other voices trying to get our attention.
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3
I have a problem with the way this verse is usually explained. Why would any Christian need to be told that someone saying, “Jesus be cursed” is not speaking by the Holy Spirit? There’s a deeper issue here.
In the context of this chapter, Paul is speaking to former idol worshippers. The word for cursed is the Greek word anathema. It’s a word that has a specific meaning in regards to the worship of the Greek and Roman gods.
In these pagan temples, if you wanted to appease a god that you needed a blessing from, you would give an animal sacrifice. Once it was consecrated to that god, it was hung on a wall or a column of that god’s temple. Now you could go your way and never have to think about it anymore.
In reality, Paul is explaining to these former pagan worshippers, that Jesus was not merely some offering made to appease an angry god. Christ was, is, and always will be Lord of all. Not only that, but He now wants to be on speaking terms with His people.
When you’re in a relationship with the true God, He wants a constant interaction with you. He wants to have power over what you say and do. He wants to set the direction of your life.
I hate to say it, but sometimes we get this “anathema Jesus” attitude in the modern church. There are many who have accepted Christ as merely a payment for their sin. They’re not looking for a relationship with a Lord who wants to direct their lives.
Being a Christian means that Christ has a central role in all that you do. We live to please Him. That means we need to spend time in His presence, listening for the voice of His Spirit.
This is where Paul starts with the Corinthian church. He’s going to explain to them the earmarks of a spiritual life. What does it mean to walk by the Spirit?
Hopefully, as we continue on in this study, we’ll receive insight that will help us in our daily spiritual walk.
Question: How do you make your relationship with Christ central in your life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi