1 Corinthians 12:7-11. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles [power], to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
If it is true that Christ lives in us and through us, then we must, as Christians, wrestle with the implications of this amazing truth. If our actual bodies are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, then that must mean that our actions are now Christ’s actions, our thoughts are his thoughts, our emotions are his emotions, and our words are his words.
Look at the list of spiritual gifts above. We see gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and power (miracles). These gifts are from the Spirit. In Isaiah 11:2-3 we read:
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
Christ himself was given the gifts of the Spirit. He was given the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge and power. But beyond this, Christ himself IS wisdom and knowledge and power.
1 Corinthians 1:24. but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The spiritual gifts are the manifestation of Christ through the words and deeds of his followers. Christ had wisdom and power and he IS God’s wisdom and power. We also have wisdom and power through the life of Christ. We manifest the words and deeds of Christ himself. These words and deeds of Christ flow from the mind of Christ, which we also have.
1 Corinthians 2:16. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This has great implications for us in regards to how we hear from Christ and how we speak for Christ. It seems that we go to two extremes when we talk about hearing from Christ. We say that we can only hear from Christ through the Bible. Or we say that we must go beyond the Bible and get silent and wait for a word from the Lord in some “super spiritual” way. But are both of these extremes missing the truth? Our own thoughts, words, and actions are literally those of Christ when they come from the Spirit within us. When Christians think, it is Christ thinking. When Christians talk they are speaking for Christ. When they serve they are Christ embodied. That is, when this is done in the Spirit, by faith in the indwelling grace and love of Christ.
Could it be that one of the primary ways that Christ speaks to us today, alongside scripture, is in our speaking to each other and serving each other? Could it be that Christ speaks to us today through the thoughts in our own minds- we have the mind of Christ, don’t we? I know God said, “my thoughts are not your thoughts.” But has union with Christ and the New Covenant changed this? Have the mysteries of God’s thoughts been revealed in Christ, and now in us?
But isn’t this a dangerous concept? How do we know that what we are speaking is from Christ? How do I know when what I am thinking is Christ?
Is it the gospel?
Remember, we not only have the wisdom, knowledge, and power of Christ. Christ IS the wisdom, knowledge, and power. His life, death, and resurrection are wisdom and power. If it’s the gospel message it is Christ’s mind and Christ’s words. If your actions are consistent with the sacrificial love of the gospel then it is Christ’s deeds. If it is just some personal wisdom, spiritual experience, or new insight into scripture- probably not Christ. If it builds others up in the glory of the cross- probably Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:2. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
“To live is Christ” gives us the words and power of Christ. And those words and power will be Christ. Words from Christ will be about Christ and his glory as seen in the cross and empty tomb. Power from Christ will be the weakness of the crucified life, and the strength of the resurrected life. “To live is Christ” is not just a concept, it is a reality lived out in your words and deeds of sacrificial power.
Do you think about your words and deeds as being Christ’s own words and deeds? Do you actively speak and live out the gospel? How does union with Christ challenge how you think Christ speaks to us today?