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Unity in Diversity

by on June 13, 2013

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

 – 1 Corinthians 12:13

Our verse for this week falls right in the middle of a passage where Paul is emphasizing two major ideas about the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the Church: unity and diversity.

On the one hand, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that every person in the Church has been uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit “for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7). We often use the term “spiritual gifts” to talk about the different ways God has enabled each of us to minister. In this verse, Paul actually uses the term “manifestation.” In other words, the way the Spirit appears in each of our lives looks different for everyone. He uses us in different roles and for different purposes, but all of these purposes are for the good of everyone.

On the other hand, in the verse that we are memorizing for this week, Paul points out that while the Spirit works differently through each of us, all of us have the same Spirit. Paul is challenging the idea that some people are more important to the work of the Church than others. While some positions seem more prominent and may receive more recognition, all are equally valuable to the body and the work of the gospel. We all have been baptized – placed into or washed – by the same Holy Spirit. Often our sinful tendency is to exalt some positions or people over others as more “spiritual,” but the reality is all believers have just as much of the Spirit as every other Christian. We are unified and brought together through this Holy Spirit, so that Christians in Shoreline, WA are no more or less important to the work of the gospel than those in the most remote places of Tanzania. God has called and uses each for His specific purposes.

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