Friday, July 29, 2016

P1 Reflecting briefly on spiritual gifts in the Bible

1 Corinthians 12:1-4 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit."

Today we will consider in brief what the New Testament teaches on the subject of spiritual gifts. May the reader find these headings useful, since they include the key Biblical texts on spiritual gifts that are without question profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16).

1. Spiritual gifts are taught throughout the Bible
The first thought to note is that spiritual gifts are not just a New Testament phenomenon. In Exodus 31:1-3 we find one of the earliest mentions: "Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship." 

When God called Noah, or Moses or Solomon to build the ark, tabernacle and temple, did these men do it by their own ingenuity? Hardly. They were supernaturally graced or gifted by God in the Person of the Holy Spirit to do so. The Old Testament sets the pattern, from the offices of the priesthood and prophet, to the abilities given on occasion to perform miracles or speak forth prophecies. Such giftings from God paved the way for what would be the more fuller and abiding character of the gifts revealed in the New Testament.

2. Spiritual gifts are graces or gracings from God
The word we render "gifts" could more accurately be translated "gracings" or "graces". When we use the term "gifts", we are speaking of the manner in which God distributes His graces to His people - namely in a free and Sovereign manner.

3. Spiritual gifts are given at salvationWhenever you read 1 Corinthians 12:1-4, the understanding is that all of the spiritual graces or gifts are given to the believer at conversion. The issue of course comes in our discovery and awareness of those gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 reinforces this point - "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

These are a few of the thoughts we can mention on the subject of spiritual gifts. In the next post we will consider three additional thoughts.

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