The Gifts of the Spirit
The gifts of the Spirit are special endowments given by God to His people. “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men…And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:8, 11). God appoints His gifts to certain individuals who are rightly equipped for His different ministries.
Through all ages, the Holy Spirit has been among God’s people. Hence, the gifts of the Spirit were not limited to the New Testament era. This is evident from the fact that many prophets existed in ancient times. And it is God’s will and plan that His church shall be given the gifts till the second coming of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
The Various Gifts
Paul wrote, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 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. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 2:7-11).
No Christian, because of the reception of a specific gift of the Spirit, is to despise another Christian because he is not so blessed. The distribution of the gifts by God is to be accepted thankfully and without pride.
The Purpose of the Gifts of the Spirit
In a special way, the supernatural gifts strengthened the faith of the early Christians, who had no historical proof of the power of Christianity that people have today. Believers then didn’t have trained leaders in the Word of God and Old Testament books were rare. Therefore, to supply their lack and to meet the need, the Lord gave the church liberally supernatural gifts.
The gifts of the Spirit were given for the purpose of bringing the church into unity and make it ready to face the Lord: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–15).
The Allocation of the Gifts
The Corinthian Christians have made inquiries regarding the relative greatness of these gifts of the Spirit, and that some of them had even boasted that the gifts they had were greater and more important than those granted to other members (1 Corinthians 12:18–23). But Paul taught them that because all of the gifts were from God, there should be no ground for a person boasting over his fellows because he has been favored of Heaven as an instrument for the manifestation of the power of God in a special way for the benefit of the church as a whole (1 Corinthians 12:11).
And Paul added that there was a clear order and plan in the allocation of gifts and talents (Romans 12:6). Every gift contributes its value to the spiritual growth of the church. Therefore, there should be no room for self-pride because God will expect more of the receivers; neither is there place for jealousy because receivers are responsible for using what they have.
The Gifts of the Spirit Are Not the Fruits of the Spirit
The gifts of the Spirit are not the same as the fruit of the Spirit that are listed in Galatians 5:22, 23. The gifts of the Spirit are donations of divine strength to certain individuals in the church for doing God’s purpose in fulfilling the perfection of His church.
On the other hand, the fruits of the Spirit are qualities of character that are seen in church members who yield themselves wholly to the leading of the Holy Spirit and are moved by God’s love. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23 also Corinthians 13:13).
In His service,