Gift, Gifts & Everything Else
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 I was brought up, like many of you, hearing the term "Spiritual gifts" bandied about. Often in reference to the list that we just read. But sometimes people used it in odd ways that never really settled in my heart or mind. As I grew in my faith I discovered that it was important to differentiate the GIFT of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, which comes at salvation (Acts 2:38) from the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit which we find in 1 Corinthians 12. The GIFTS, which are to be desired (1 Cor. 14:1) but come as God wills (1 Cor. 12:11) are collectively referred to as "the manifestation of the Spirit" and are all to be used for the "common good" (1 Cor. 12:7). But they are not the same as the GIFT of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, there's the "fruit of the Spirit" which we find in Galatians 5:22-23 and these are character traits that are produced because of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside a believer. So up to this point we have the gift of the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity), the fruit that he produces inside of our life (the fruit of the Spirit), and the special gifts that he gives to people for the common good of his church. All three of these things are very different. But wait theres more! Today we seem to have added a few more categories to the fray. These include "every good and perfect GIFT..." (James 1:17), Peter's declaration that everyone has received a "special gift" (1 Peter 4:10), the idea of individual talents and abilities that are within every human being (redeemed or not) and lastly the verse we read at the outset which uses the terms, ministries and effects. So why do I bring all of this up? Because the church is intended to operate according to the gifts God gives to each of his people, but we live in confusion concerning them. What are we to do in light of all of these many ideas? The answer is to parse through them so that they can be applied... correctly! You see in the church today we have conflated Spiritual gifts with all other gifts. When someone talks about the "Spiritual gift" they have, they often refer to a talent that they possess or they reference every good and perfect gift that God has given to them in their life. These things are excellent and they truly are from God. However, they are not what is referred to in 1 Corinthians 12 as Spiritual gifts for the common good of the church. In the next blog I will begin to literally parse through the words of scripture so that we might see the difference in these ideas. We will discover how they apply and how to accurately recognize and then communicate the Spiritual gift that God has given to each of us individually for the good of His Church.
If you have any thoughts or questions please comment in the comment section below or send an email to email@example.com