Bible Basics: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

At various times in His dealings with men, God has delegated the use of His power (“Holy Spirit”) to men. However, this has never been in the form of a “blank cheque,” as it were, enabling them to do what they wished; always the use of this Holy Spirit has been for a specific purpose. When it was accomplished, the gift of the Holy Spirit was withdrawn. We must remember that God’s spirit acts in a way which forwards the purpose which is in His mind. His purpose often allows short-term suffering in the lives of men in order to bring about His long-term purpose, so it is to be expected that His Holy Spirit would not necessarily be used to alleviate human suffering in this life. Any such relief it does achieve will be for a higher purpose of expressing God’s mind to us.

This is in marked contrast to popular Christian attitudes to the Holy Spirit today; the impression is given that belief in Christ is worth it because of the physical benefit, e.g. healing from illness, which the Holy Spirit will supposedly give. This would explain why in strife-torn countries like Uganda there has been a marked outbreak of people claiming to possess the spirit gifts of healing and, historically, such claims have often coincided with times of great human need. This in itself places present claims of spirit possession under some suspicion; if someone is looking for experience which transcends the present human plight, it is easy to claim to have found something which fills the bill.

Many Christians today claim to possess miraculous spirit gifts, yet when questioned about what their exact purpose is, there is a significant uncertainty. God has always given His spirit to achieve specific, defined objectives. Because of this, those who truly possessed the gifts of the spirit knew exactly what they were to use them for, and therefore did not achieve only partial success in their use of them. This contrasts with the many failures and partial cures experienced by those who claim to have spirit gifts of healing today.

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Author: Duncan Heaster

Keywords: Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, Holy Ghost gifts, Holy Spirit gifts, Spirit gifts, Spiritual gifts, Gifts of healing, Speaking in tongues, Tongues, Tongue speaking, Glossalia, Glossolalia, Ecstatic speech, Ecstatic, Pentecostal, Pentecostal movement, Holy rollers, Fruits of the spirit, Spirit filled, Charismatics, Unknown tongue, Foreign tongue

Bible reference(s): Exodus 28:3, Exodus 31:3-5, Numbers 11:17, Judges 3:10, Judges 6:34, Judges 14:5-6, Judges 14:19, Judges 15:14, Acts 2:4-12, Acts 4:31, Acts 8:18-20, Acts 19:6, 1 Corinthians 14, Hebrews 2:4

Source: Bible Basics.

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