Using Our Gifts

KEY VERSE: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” —I Corinthians 12:7

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-26

PAUL HAD BEEN discussing various gifts which came through the Holy Spirit to different members of the classes which constituted the Early Church. He observed how, in this unique arrangement for their instruction, there was a need for cooperation in the use of these gifts if they were to be profitable for the entire congregation. For instance: in order for one who could speak in a tongue to be useful, it required someone else with the ability to interpret. This situation being true with most of the miraculous gifts, a dose unity was forced upon them if they were to be spiritually benefited by their function.

Paul was quick to point out, however, that this need alone was not sufficient to sustain a strong and meaningful unity in “the body of Christ.” (I Cor. 12:27) Paul wrote to the Ephesian brethren that our true unity in Christ is based upon a solid foundation of a united belief in the “one Lord,” and the “one faith.” (Eph. 4:5) He mentions the unity of the “Spirit” and “the faith.”

Some have thought that what he meant by the unity of the Spirit was simply a tolerant, kindly attitude toward others, regardless of what they believe. While this should be possible, they say, unity of the faith is an ideal for which we should strive but will probably never attain. This does not seem to be Paul’s viewpoint. When he spoke of the unity of the Spirit, his reference was to the Holy Spirit, that holy influence of God which reaches us through his written Word.

Paul informs us that the written Word is communicated to us by servants whom the Lord has provided—prophets, apostles, teachers, evangelists, pastors—and that the work of these is “for the perfecting of the saints, … for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature [Margin, ‘age’] of the fullness of Christ,” who is the Head.—Eph. 4:11-16

The Holy Spirit of God has manifested itself in the lives of his people during the Gospel Age in a variety of ways; some of which are described in the Bible as the “gifts” of the Spirit, and some as the “fruit” of the Spirit.

There are many different gifts of the Spirit—among them the ability to perform miracles of healing, and to speak in unknown tongues. These special gifts did not continue. They were of great value in the Early Church, but were not needed after the church, under the direction of the apostles, had become well established.

These apostles were miraculously inspired by the Holy Spirit so that their utterances, oral and written, were infallible. Other ‘uninspired’ servants have been pastors, teachers, evangelists, bishops (overseers), and elders. These are consecrated men who, in the Lord’s providence, and by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, have had their natural talents for this type of service quickened by the Holy Spirit of truth.

There is also the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit differs from the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit in that it is a growth or development of divine graces which reflect the likeness of the Lord in daily conversation and conduct. Jesus called attention to this in his parable of ‘the vine and the branches’.—John 15:5

The fruit of the Spirit is also mentioned by the Apostle Peter. Peter indicated that it was only by possession of these godlike graces of heart and mind that we can be assured of an entrance into the kingdom of Christ.—II Pet. 1:5-11

We may think of godlike love as being the ‘bond’ which unites all the Christian graces. If these gifts and fruits of the Spirit are properly used in our lives they will not only profit us individually, but also all who come in contact with us.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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