SPIRITUAL OPERATIONS AT WORK IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
[Please read the others sections of this study at these links:
Note this: before Paul introduces the operations he makes an important point that is sometimes missed. He asks certain questions of these carnal spiritual babies in Christ in the church in Corinth, concerning the gifts and ministries:
1Co 12:29-31 Are [Greek:“mē”] all apostles? Are [“mē”] all prophets? Are [“mē”] all teachers? Are [“mē”] all workers of miracles? Have [“mē”] all the gifts of healing? do [“mē”] all speak with tongues? Do [“mē”] all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Seven consecutive questions starting with the Greek “mē”. According to James Strong when this word “mē” is used to introduce a question, it always indicates that a negative answer follows:
Strong’s number G3361: “mē”: A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogative implying a negative answer.
One reason for this is that Paul is telling the body that no one individual can possess all of the gifts/ministries. God has placed different members in the body to show all members/people are needed, and God placed the gifts/ministries in different people to force people to come together regularly to get nourishment from one another.
The other reason Paul introduces these questions knowing a “no” is the only answer is because he wanted these spiritually immature Christians to concentrate on a “more excellent way”. This “more excellent way” is indeed the driving force behind all the gifts and all the ministries:
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
After this verse, Paul shows this “more excellent way” as the way of love in 1Corinthians 13. God is love and that is what all will come to know:
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
This love indeed has “diversities of operations” as we have discussed above in the gifts and ministries in the body of Christ. God is the one who works all of this…
1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God [God is love] which worketh all in all.
In Chapter 13 of the first epistle to Corinthians, Paul explains how the “more excellent way” of love helps us to understand the “diversities of operations” of God’s spirit in the body. It all starts with love and ends with love!
1Co 13:13 (ASV) But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
God works His “operations” according to different levels of faith, hope and love in all in the body. The only one that will outdo all is the operation of love in us, because God is love. The body will be perfect and without blemish when it has fulfilled love for God, Jesus and His body by keeping His commandments:
Eph 4:13-16 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Eph 5:25-27 …Christ also loves the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
This is the definition and fulfillment of love:
1Jn 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
God is love, and love also identifies the body of Christ, and love is the highest witness we have to be qualified as the saviors of the world (Oba 1:21):
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 4:10-16 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.