Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Gifts of Grace

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1 Corinthians 12:1 NRSV
 I sense the leading to conclude our study of the Holy Spirit by briefly examining His Grace Gifts of the Spirit. In doing so I hope to answer questions some may have. I also hope to bring clarity and good news that brings joy, freedom and refreshing in our walk with our good Father.

What Does It Really Matter?

 What is so important about studying the Holy Spirit? What is the big deal about studying speaking in tongues? Why take the time to look at the Gifts of the Spirit? The answer to these questions is really quite simple. God gave us His Spirit as the seal and guarantee of our salvation. His Spirit is within us, and it would behoove us to get to know Him. He thought it best to bestow upon the Church the Gifts and ministry of the Spirit, so we should understand how to operate in the Spirit. Finally, He declared in His Word that He doesn't want us ignorant or uninformed concerning the Gifts of the Spirit.

 Now some may say these Gifts of the Spirit are not for today. I am sorry but you can't substantiate this claim with Scripture. There exists no passage that proclaims this to be true. I have addressed this issue more deeply in a previous post. As sincere believers, we adhere to sola scriptura. That is the Word is the sole basis for doctrine and truth. 

  I stay with God's Word as the final authority. Not traditions, nor denominational creeds or spiritual movements. I stay with God's Word no matter if it cuts cross grain to the way I was raised. If the Word substantiates it I believe it. For instance, many "Charismatic" or Pentecostal Christians, (those proclaiming that signs and wonders and the Gifts of the Spirit are active and available for all Christians today), won't accept the truth of eternal security. I don't agree with Pentecostals on this issue because the Word is the final authority, it proves beyond doubt believers are eternally secure. They reject once saved always saved theology. I can't because I stay with God's Word.

The Gifts of the Spirit

 Let's briefly examine the gifts of the Spirit. In doing so we will also allay some myths about these gifts. Paul lays out these Gifts of Grace in 1 Corinthians 12. The Gifts of the Spirit can be divided into three categories. The revelation gifts, the power gifts, and the inspirational gifts. More simply, 3 that see or reveal something, 3 that do something, and 3 that say something.

The revelation gifts are the Word of Wisdom, the Word of knowledge and the Discerning of spirits. Let me say first what these gifts are not. It is not the gift of wisdom. Any believer can ask in faith and receive His wisdom. It is not the gift of knowledge or the gift of a special ability to study well.

 The Word of Wisdom is a revelation by the Spirit concerning a purpose or plan in God's will. With this gift, God reveals the future. The Word of Knowledge is a revelation of facts concerning people, places or things in the past or present. When praying for the sick many times this gift manifests. I recall being on a crowded bus in southern California. I saw a passenger and the Lord by the Word of Knowledge revealed he had Aids. A different passenger who was a Christian spoke to him and he revealed verbally he had Aids. She tried to pray with him and he didn't seem to desire prayer. How could I possibly have known this fact before he verbally confirmed it? This is the Word of Knowledge in action.

 The third gift is the Discerning of spirits. This is not the gift of suspicion, which is how this "gift" usually manifests. Judgmental and envious Christians will "discern" the "spirit" motivating another believer. They are quick to accuse and condemn and justify it with this gift. God is good and not the accuser. This simple gift is the Discerning of spirits. It is actually seeing into the spiritual realm. It is rare but sometimes believers may see an Angel. In 2 Kings, Elisha's servant was given the momentary ability to see the angels protecting them. Some have had visions and visitations of Jesus. That is this gift in operation. We should never ask or seek a vision or some experience. We have His indwelling Spirit and Word to comfort and guide us.

 The power gifts are the Gift of Faith, the Working of Miracles and the Gifts of Healing. It is better described as wonder-working faith. All believers have faith. We grow our faith by feeding on His Word. This special faith is a gift imparted as the Spirit wills. Supernatural provision or deliverance occurs with this gift. Jesus feeding the multitudes or Daniel being delivered from the lion's den is an example of this gift.

 The Working of Miracles is a gift whereby the natural course of events ceases for the glory of God. Jesus stilling a storm is a perfect example of this. Believers united have prayed against destructive hurricanes or tornadoes and they've dissipated or turned away. 

 The Gifts of Healing is not the gift of dispensing medicine or scientific medical breakthroughs. It is God's supernatural healing power manifested in the bodies of the afflicted. Truly any Christian can lay hands on the sick and see healing. This gift is more often evangelistic and on a mass scale. It demonstrates God's goodness and love to the masses.

 The inspirational gifts are the Gift of Prophecy, Divers kinds of Tongues and the Interpretation of tongues. Prophecy isn't the gift of preaching or teaching. It is merely an inspired utterance in a known language. Paul laid out the specific purpose of prophecy. It is to build up, to stir up and cheer up. It is not to proclaim doom and gloom. It is never a believer proclaiming disaster and destruction to sinful cities or nations. Jesus bore all the punishment for sins.

 Divers kinds of Tongues is an inspired utterance in an unknown language. It is God speaking to man. The Interpretation of Tongues is the ability to interpret what was uttered in another tongue.

 These Gifts of Grace were given to the Church to equip us to win the World for Christ. It was bestowed upon us to build us up and encourage us in our relationship with God. God in His goodness wanted a divine means to inspire and bring joy to the Church. 

 Who can operate or flow in these Gifts of Grace? Any Christian. If you're a Spirit-filled born again child of God you're qualified. He qualifies us. Don't we need to be sin free and perfect to operate in the miraculous? 

 Tradition teaches us that we need to be almost perfect before we can pray for someone. Many times we see someone in a store or a street corner that could really use our prayers. Yet, we allow intimidation and fear to rob us of the opportunity. We don't think our prayers will work. We know we haven't been living the best. Maybe we can get our Pastor to pray for them. 

 Reject that mindset. These Gifts are the Gifts of Grace. Jesus completes us. His Finished Work qualifies us. It's Him and Him alone doing the work, not ourselves. We are righteous and He always hears our prayers. 

 What about the stuff on Television? I'd have to visibly see a specific broadcast to know if something was fabricated or real. In honesty, just because something is spectacular doesn't nullify it. Also, just because something appears real doesn't mean it is. Trust the leading of the Spirit and look to the fruit of a ministry to validate it. 

 In summation, the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Grace. He has our best at heart. We can have a fruitful and joyous relationship with the third person of the Godhead. Our good God desires intimacy and relationship with each of His children. He qualifies us, He accepts us and rejoices over us. You're accepted into the beloved, enter into a deeper intimate relationship with your Father. He welcomes you and loves you deeply and eternally.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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