Monday, February 22, 2010

Is the Holy Spirit Egalitarian?

There is no doubt that in God's economy, every person is of equal value before Him. No soul is better or worse than another -- none more worthy of damnation or salvation, since all sin and all must come to Him through Christ.

Among believers, every one is privileged to be sealed with the Holy Spirit and to possess a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Some Christians, however, maintain that not only are all believers of equal value before God, but also that the opinions of every believer are equally valid, on every subject.

This thinking appears in notions that each manifestation of the Spirit is the same. The opinion of the church member who rarely reads his Bible, studies, prays or researches any issue is considered equal to the one who is studied and experienced.

We would never think of asking our lawyer to read our x-rays, or of asking our radiologist to prepare our will.

It isn't exactly the same in church life, but the reality is that the Spirit gives gifts to men, and those gifts are different. To paraphrase Paul on the subject, "some are feet, some are eyes." All are of equal value and are all necessary, but they do not perform the same function. We wouldn't ask the foot to watch where we're going, and we wouldn't ask the eye to support the weight of the body.

Is the Holy Spirit egalitarian? Yes, in the sense that He seals, abides in, and provides gifts to every believer without distinction. But No, in the sense that His manifestation does not create uniformity among believers. When we fail to recognize and appreciate the different ways that He works through the lives of believers, and the unique spiritual contributions of each, we run the risk of quenching the Spirit.

The Lesson of Spilt Blood

The Old Testament system of sacrifices was a graphic and repetitive reminder of the severity of sin, and of the requirement that blood be spilt in order to obtain atonement and forgiveness. Since Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, offered himself as the unique and completely efficacious sacrifice that need not be repeated, there is no need for continued sacrifices.

Yet can we say that the need for men to be reminded of the severity of sin and of its drastic consequences -- as well as the sufficiency of the gospel to repair the God/man breach -- has been eliminated after the Cross?

If not, under the New Covenant in Christ what serves to teach men about sin?