Why is it that when Christians read a list uniquely described as the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23) – they tend not to argue that this is a representative sample, or that some of the fruit no longer apply today...but that when they read a list uniquely described as the gifts of Christ – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:7-16) – they so often argue both these things?
A Christ-centric gospel of reconciliation frames us as sharing in Christ’s identity and mission, both personally and corporately.
To each person God has created, a facet of, a share in, Jesus’ identity has been given. He is the one who is sent, carrying, protecting and extending the kingdom; he is the one who confronts false kings; he is the one who embodies good news of reconciliation; he is the one who stands between his people and their predators, and who, having defeated the predators, binds up the wounded and nurtures them to health; he is the one who seeks out and passes on the wisdom that leads to life. As communities of faith, as the Body of Christ, we are called to make manifest each dimension. As the warrior-bride of Christ, we are called to partner with him. As persons given to one another for the fulfilling of this purpose, we each have a particular part to play, connected to the others.
For a more extended exploration of our Christ-centric identity and mission, see my dissertation.