Why God Gives Us Spiritual Gifts

God has bestowed spiritual gifts on us for a variety of purposes. Finally, all of these things have been given to us in order for us to honor God.

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The gifts of the Spirit were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” until “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfectman, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12–13, 15).

To Manifest God's Presence in the Body of Christ on Earth

Jesus is the perfect example; via the words He spoke and the deeds He performed, He exemplified all of the spiritual gifts. Because Jesus is now at God the Father's right side, the Holy Spirit is the primary expression of God's presence on earth. As a result of our heavenly Father's distribution of the Spirit's gifts among the members of His Body, believers can now honor God through those gifts.

“Because the Holy Spirit is the one who exhibits God's presence in the world, it's no surprise that Paul may refer to spiritual gifts as “manifestations of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor. 12:7). When spiritual gifts are active, it is another another sign of God's Holy Spirit's presence in the Church” (Grudem, page 639).

One of the Spirit's emissaries “The major objective of the new covenant period is to manifest God's presence, to give signs that reveal God's presence. And when the Holy Spirit operates in many ways that believers and nonbelievers can see, it strengthens people's faith that God is near and that he is at work in the church to fulfill his purposes and bless his people” (Grudem, page 641).

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Remind Us of Our Dependence Upon One Another

Rather than bestowing all of the gifts on each believer, the Lord chose to bestow one motivational gift and an unlimited number of ministry and manifestation gifts. He did this to ensure that no one would notice “Think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according to the measure of faith that God has assigned to each of us. Because we have many members in one body, and not all members have the same office, we are one body in Christ, and each member is one of another.

“Having then gifts that differ according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he who teacheth, let him teach; or he who exhorteth, let him exhort: he who gives, let him give with simplicity; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:3–8).

Our appreciation for all members of the Body grows as our comprehension of spiritual abilities deepens. If you have the motivating gift of mercy, for example, God has given you heightened sensitivity to other people's pain (so that He might express His compassion to them through you). You'll undoubtedly be tempted to condemn others as cold and cruel until you realize that everyone else isn't intended to be as sensitive to others' wounds (to the degree that you discern them and desire to respond to them).

Our proud human nature implies that “my perspective” is always the correct—and often the “only”—one. You are kidding yourself if you believe that. Yes, your point of view is valid—and necessary—but it is not the only one.

Others may appear insensitive to someone's pain since God hasn't given them a spiritual talent that includes empathy “heightened sensitivity to others' suffering of the “mercy-giver” Others aren't being cruel; they simply don't understand “as you can see” Others, in fact, will be sensitive to needs that you are completely unaware of, such as (1) the suffering person's financial needs, (2) the need to be shown the truth about the situation that is causing the suffering, or (3) the need to mow the sufferer's overgrown lawn, which is causing his wife and neighbors frustration!

Because God has given the provider heightened awareness to financial needs, the giver would be fast to recognize them in this case. The prophet, exhorter, and teacher would be particularly sensitive to the need to point out God's laws, promises, and precepts to the suffering person in order for him to obey God, be encouraged, and know the truth (which can set him free from bondage, i.e. types of suffering to which the mercy-giver is not as sensitive). The servant would be fast to recognize and fix practical issues such as an overgrown lawn outside the hospitalized person's home. All of the suffering person's needs can be met as diverse members of the Body of Christ detect each of these areas of need, and God will be exalted.

We are in severe need of each other. God has not given any one of us “the full picture,” but He has given each of us a “window” through which we are to discern one another's needs—through the use of our spiritual gifts. All of the needs will not be satisfied until the Body of Christ thrives, using our gifts in love.

To Build Unity in the Church

Spiritual gifts are given to the Church in order to bring it together rather than to divide it. (For more on this, see John 17:21–22.) The Apostle Paul encourages believers in his letter to the Ephesians to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), and he explains that God gave the ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) “for the perfecting of the saints… until we all come in the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:12–13).

In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem offers the following views into the Holy Spirit's involvement in achieving “faith unity”:

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To Edify the Church—Individually and Corporately

God gives us spiritual talents for the Church's edification (I Corinthians 14:12), to build up the Body of Christ in love and unity, “so that God may be exalted in all things through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 4:11). God's power, love, and wisdom are magnificently exhibited as He distributes His gifts among His people, and the Body of Christ is edified. “Every man is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit with” (I Corinthians 12:7).

“Forasmuch as ye are ardent of spiritual gifts, desire that ye may excel to the edification of the church,” the Apostle Paul admonished the Corinthian believers (I Corinthians 14:12; see also I Corinthians 14:3, 26, and Ephesians 4:10–16).

God has provided spiritual talents (motivational, ministry, and manifestation abilities) to equip His children to minister to others “in ways above simple human competence and inventiveness.” It is a manifestation of the Divine Presence when an ordinary human is suddenly given illumination of unknown facts and wisdom on how to deal with a difficult problem, or can discern what is an evil spirit, or can believe in a miracle, or can heal the incurable, or can speak forth a message from the Lord in his own language or in one he has never learned, or interpret an utterance given in an unknown language” (Rea, pages 133–134). (See I Corinthians 12:7–11 for further information.)

The Spirit's gifts are never an end in and of themselves. They are instruments through which we might communicate God's love to all men. They are not mysterious powers that may be purchased or sold (see Acts 8:9–24); rather, God's children are given gifts by their Father, at His discretion and for His glory. “All of these are empowered by the same Spirit, who distributes to each one as he sees fit” (I Corinthians 12:11, ESV).

To Reveal the Living God to Unbelievers

The Holy Spirit acts via spiritual talents in ways that both believers and nonbelievers can recognize. The manifestation of spiritual gifts encourages believers because it reminds them that God is actually near and is actively, attentively, methodically, and thoroughly working out His purpose in the earth. Unbelievers are confronted with the reality of the living God as He demonstrates His power, love, and wisdom through the lives of His people. (For more on this, see I Corinthians 14:1–40.)

The Apostle Paul highlighted one method that the spiritual gifts of languages, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy can be revealed as weapons of evangelization in his epistle to the Corinthian church: “Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to those who do not believe; but prophecy is for those who believe, not for those who do not believe.” Will they not accuse you of being insane if the entire church gathers in one location and all talk in tongues, and there come in people who are uneducated or unbelievers? But if all prophesy, and one who does not believe or is uneducated comes in, he is convinced of all, and he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made clear; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and testify that God is in you of a truth” (I Corinthians 14:22–25).

To Bring Glory to God

God has given gifts to the Church to demonstrate His presence among us, to remind us of our interdependence and therefore foster unity in the Church, to edify the Church personally and corporately, and to reach out to the lost. The believer is humbled, fulfilled, encouraged, and made useful in the hands of our Master, to whom all glory is due, through spiritual gifts (motivational gifts, manifestation gifts, and ministry gifts).

What is God's purpose for giving spiritual gifts?

The New Testament has a number of listings of spiritual gifts, the majority of which are found in the Pauline epistles. Although each list is distinct, there is some overlap.

The charismata were prophesied in the Book of Joel (2:28) and promised by Christ (Mark 16:17–18), according to Christians. This promise was realized on Pentecost Day and as the church spread around the world. Paul devoted much of his First Epistle to the Corinthians (chapters 12–14) to spiritual gifts in order to rectify misuse surrounding spiritual talents in Corinth.

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Two Greek phrases are translated as “spiritual gifts” in 1 Corinthians 12. The word pneumatika (“spirituals” or “things of the Spirit”) appears in verse 1. The word charisma is used in verse 4. The word comes from the Greek word charis, which meaning “grace.” The terms diakonia (translated “administrations,” “ministries,” or “service”) and energemata (“operations” or “inworkings”) are used in verses 5 and 6 to describe the nature of spiritual gifts. The term “manifestation (phanerosis) of the Spirit” is used in verse 7.

Christians interpret spiritual gifts as enablements or capacities conferred by God on individuals, based on these scriptural texts. These cannot be earned or merited because they are freely supplied by God. These are activities or manifestations of the Holy Spirit, not of the gifted person, even though they are carried out via persons. They are to be used for the benefit of others, and they are given to the church as a whole rather than to individual members. The gifts are distributed in a variety of ways; no single person will have all of them. The church is edified (built up), exhorted (encouraged), and comforted through spiritual gifts.

Many think that there are as many gifts as there are needs in the church of Christ, despite the fact that Paul did not mention all of the Spirit's gifts. The gifts have been categorized in the past based on their similarities and differences with other gifts. Some categorize them into three groups based on Old Testament offices. Any gift that involves teaching, encouraging, or rebuking others is considered “prophetic.” Mercy and concern for the poor are examples of “priestly” gifts, as is intercession before God. Gifts involving church management or government are referred to as “kingly.” Others classify them as “gifts of knowledge” (words of wisdom, word of knowledge, differentiating between spirits), “gifts of speech” (tongues, interpretation, prophecy), and “gifts of power” (tongues, interpretation, prophecy) (faith, healing, miracles). The gifts have also been divided into those that promote the church's inner growth (apostle, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, teaching, word of wisdom/knowledge, helps, and administration) and those that promote the church's outer development (apostle, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, teaching, word of wisdom/knowledge, helps, and administration) (faith, miracles, healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues).

Why are the spiritual gifts important?

Greater productivity in ministry and greater encouragement and support within the church of Christ are the results of each believer recognizing and applying his or her spiritual gift.

How do I pray to receive the Holy Spirit?

Then Peter addressed them, saying, “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if you repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. Because the promise is to you and your offspring, as well as to everyone who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls.” Acts 2:38-39 is a passage from the book of Acts.

What is the procedure for receiving the Holy Spirit's gift? How can one “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual melodies, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks continually for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:18-20)?

“Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Peter says in his Pentecost sermon.

It takes no significant spiritual effort on our side to be filled and directed by the Spirit of God. Before the Holy Spirit enters us, we do not need to pray a specific prayer or live a holy and sinless life.

God kindly beckons us sinners to turn from our sins to Christ Jesus for forgiveness and everlasting life through the good news of Christ's innocent sufferings and death for the sins of the world (cf. 2 Thess. 2:13-14). The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness and complete failure to live up to the demands of God's perfect Law (cf. John 16:7-11; Rom. 3:9-20,23); however, the Holy Spirit consoles us by assuring us that our sins have been atoned for in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, and that we are forgiven and counted righteous by God through faith in Jesus' name (cf. Rom. 3:24-26; Psalm 32:1ff.; 51:1ff.).

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We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we believe this and trust in Christ as our Savior, being baptized in His name and according to His instructions for the remission of our sins (Matthew 28:19). He enters our hearts, educates us about Jesus through God's Word, and strengthens and keeps us in the true and saving faith (cf. John 14:16-18, 23-28; 16:13-15).

And He who has “started a good work” in us will continue to reside in us and “finish it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, our risen and ascended Savior, we thank You for bestowing the gift of the Holy Spirit upon us — for leading us to repent of our sins, be baptized in Your name, and for dwelling in us by Your Spirit so that we may be kept and preserved in the true and saving faith unto eternal life. We pray for the sake of Your agonizing sufferings and death in our place, as well as Your triumphant resurrection. Amen.

Can spiritual gifts be inherited?

The term “The term “inheritance” is usually connected with tangible assets like money, however there is another type of legacy that is much more precious. A spiritual heritage is the most valuable present you can give to your children and grandkids because it cannot be seen, tallied, or measured. When fathers demonstrate constant godly words and actions from the overflow of their own spiritual lives, it is passed down over the course of a lifetime.

In his speech, he said: “Dr. Charles Stanley, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, outlines how there are various divine riches that fathers may leave their children that will have a lasting, profound impact on their lives in “Leaving a Godly Inheritance.” They are as follows:

Your zeal for the Lord is contagious, even if you can't pass on salvation. When you talk about Christ, children feel the same excitement you do. Their interest in Christ stems from seeing Him as the focal point of your life.

The Bible is unlike any other book in the world, and it is the obligation of parents to share it with their children. Allow them to see you reading the Bible so they can understand how essential it is. Give them Bibles and read to them on a regular basis.

What are some unique ways you may challenge your children to explore God's Word for answers as they get older?

Learning to listen to God is the most essential thing you can do in life. Because we can't see him with our bodily senses, youngsters must learn to listen with their spirits. Instruct them to seek guidance from the Lord and then to wait for responses.

How can you assist them in determining if what they heard is consistent with God's Word when they believe the Lord has spoken?

Because children are more likely to follow our actions than our words, modeling obedience is the most effective approach to teach it. This means we must inform them when our activities are motivated by God's will.

How can you accomplish this in a way that is appropriate for your child's understanding level?

This, like all the other advantages of spiritual inheritance, must be taught by example. When we are offended, our children need to see us respond with forgiveness. We have no right to do it because Christ has nothing against us.

Is there anything you can do today to improve a bad circumstance in your connection with your child?

A willingness to help others is an important skill that youngsters will benefit from for the rest of their life. It is our responsibility as adults to model this trait for kids by putting others before ourselves. Children will pick up on our servant-hearted attitudes.

Can you think of a method to help others while simultaneously having fun with your family?

Every youngster desires to be adored. They'll learn to provide true, unconditional affection to others as they experience it from us. This type of dedication is exhibited by pouring our lives into theirs, not by the goods we give them.

Is there an opportunity for you to show your children genuine, unconditional love today?

1. We do so, first and foremost, because of the pattern of our own life.

2. Second, we instill in children the values that guide our life. That is why it is our job to explain the biblical truths that underpin the beliefs and practices we hold.

3. Finally, as we interact with our children on a daily basis, we leave a spiritual legacy through the power of our words.

What does the Bible say about using your gifts?

As responsible stewards of God's mercy, we're called to use our gifts to serve others in 1 Peter 4:10. Peter was especially referring to spiritual gifts like prophecy and healing in that context. Those are supernatural skills that God bestows on each Christ believer, but the principle of benefiting others extends to talents as well. God does not provide for us solely for our personal advantage. After all, we've been given the opportunity to bless others (Genesis 12:2).