THE NATURE OF THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit is the Divine Helper that the Lord Jesus Christ promised to send to His disciples to dwell with them and in them forever, helping them to live, walk and operate in this world just as Jesus did while in the world (John 14:16, 26, 15:26).
Since His glorious and dramatic arrival on the Day of Pentecost upon the 120 Disciples of Christ in the upper room in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit has remained on earth (in the Church), revealing Christ, glorifying Christ in and through the believers, and transforming believers’ character progressively into Christ-likeness.
One of the ways through which the Holy Spirit glorifies and magnifies Christ is by distributing or imparting spiritual gifts to the believers as He wills.
There are varieties or diversities of supernatural gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes or imparts to the believers in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (NKJV).
However, the Holy Spirit holds the prerogative or the exclusive rights to decide or determine which spiritual gifts to give to each believer.
Paul further writes, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12:11 NKJV).
The Hebrew writer also testifies, “God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:4 NKJV).
As a result of the ignorance of the nature of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, many believers in the Church today are busy comparing their spiritual gifts with that of others.
When you compare your spiritual gifts with that of other believers, you may either end up despising the spiritual gifts you have, thereby envying others and not profiting with the gifts, or you may end up esteeming your gifts above that of others, thereby becoming proud and giving the devil a foothold in your life.
Paul warns, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Cor. 10:12 NKJV).
Spiritual gifts are not suitable or appropriate spiritual standard, plumbline, or yardstick for measuring and judging your spiritual growth and maturity, or that of others.
The Church at Corinth was said not to be lacking in any spiritual gift. The believers at Corinth were highly spiritually gifted. All the gifts of the Spirit were evident and operative among the Corinthians Christians. Nevertheless, they were said to be carnal – babes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:
4 I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
5 that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge–
6 even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you–
7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (RSV).
Paul sharply rebuked them for their carnality.
1 Corinthians 3:
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (NKJV).
This obviously shows that being spiritually gifted or exercising spiritual gifts have nothing to do with spiritual maturity in Christ.
It is possible to be highly spiritually gifted, yet still carnal!
Unfortunately, in the Church today we hold in high esteem or deem to be highly spiritual and mature anyone who exercises some spiritual gifts, especially the power gifts (gifts of Healings and the working of miracles). This obviously shows our depth of ignorance of the nature of spiritual gifts.
What does the Bible teach about the nature of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Let us explore the Bible to find out!
First, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are simply gifts:
The Greek word “Charisma” translated “gifts” in 1 Cor. 12 speaks of “a gift of grace, a gift involving grace.”
This word is closely related to the Greek word “Charis” translated “grace, favour.”
This implies that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are simply expressions of grace. They are free divine bestowments and endowments upon the believers. They are gifts freely given by the Holy Spirit which are to be received by faith. They are part of the inexhaustible riches of grace available to us in and through Christ Jesus.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not spiritual rewards for a holy living, performance, or good works. They are not spiritual wages for faithfulness in Christian service.
Rather, they are simply gifts of grace for effectiveness and fruitfulness in Christian service. Because they are gifts, you cannot earn them by your good works or performance.
The Holy Spirit distributes His gifts to believers in accordance with His own will, not in accordance with our fervency in prayer, length of fasting, zeal in the things of God, or faithfulness in giving to God.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit “bestows His gifts upon each of us in accordance with His own will.” (1 Cor. 12:11 WNT).
Second, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are spiritual:
The Bible refers to the gifts of the Holy Spirit as “spiritual gifts.”
In His epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul said, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.” (1 Cor. 12:1 NKJV).
The Greek word “Pneumatikos” translated “spiritual” in this verse connotes invisibility and power.
This implies that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not natural, physical, human or earthly abilities. Rather, they are divine, supernatural, and heavenly abilities.
This is why the Scripture refers to them as “the manifestation of the Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:7 NKJV).
Third, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for all born-again believers:
Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit and His gifts were only available temporarily to the few chosen people who were chosen and called for specific divine tasks.
But under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit and His gifts are now available to all the believers in Christ.
Paul states, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Cor. 12:7 KJV).
Spiritual gifts are not exclusively available to a sect, class, or denomination of Christians; it is available to all who believe in Christ Jesus.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not divine abilities specially or exclusively meant for God’s servants or mature believers in active or full time ministry; they are meant for all born again believers for the profit of all (1 Cor. 12:11).
The Holy Spirit is not partial in the distribution of His supernatural gifts or abilities in the Church. There is no believer without a gift or divine ability from the Holy Spirit!
Paul testifies that “each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” (1 Cor. 7:7 NKJV).
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Eph. 4:7 NKJV).
Fourth, there are varieties or diversities of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
There are various kinds of supernatural gifts or abilities that the Holy Spirit bestows upon the believers as He pleases. One expression or manifestation of the Spirit is not greater, superior or more spiritual to another.
Paul writes, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6 NKJV).
Paul further writes, “For I would that all men were even as I myself am. But each has his proper gift from God, one according to this manner and another according to that.” (1 Cor. 7:7 MKJV).
Lastly, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are irrevocable:
The Holy Spirit imparts His gifts to the believers, not based on the believers’ maturity, performance or good works, but based on God’s grace. Therefore, the believers will always have the gifts the Holy Spirit has given them regardless of their character or conduct. Why?
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom. 11:29 NKJV).
Beloved, under the New Covenant, God does not withdraw His gifts and callings from the believers. This is because they are not given according to our righteousness, but according to God’s grace – the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believers which is ever constant.
This is why some ministers or believers who are obviously living a sinful lifestyle may still have and exercise supernatural gifts. However, they will begin to lose effectiveness, and eventually make shipwreck of their faith if they fail to repent (1 Tim. 1:19).
Find out about the purpose of spiritual gifts in the next piece.
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for the supernatural gifts or abilities You have freely bestowed upon me according to Your own will. Teach and help me to discover them and to begin to use them for the divine purposes they are meant for, in Jesus’ name. Amen.