This is difficult ground. It is difficult, not so much from the awkwardness of the terrain itself as from the incessant disputes of those who claim possession. Rival susceptibilities are very tender, and it might help to establish confidence if we review first of all facts on which we shall certainly agree.
The Holy Spirit is the power whereby the prophets of the Old Testament were inspired to write their message from God. It is the power whereby the mighty works of Jesus were wrought, and whereby God showed His approval of His beloved Son. It is the power promised by Jesus to his immediate disciples, whereby they were to be led into all truth.¹ It was actually poured upon them on the day of Pentecost² and, subsequently, upon others who believed their word.³ It could be conveyed to the believers by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands. It gave rise, on occasion, to phenomena called “the gifts of the Spirit,” such as speaking with tongues, prophesying and healing.⁴ It was possible for these gifts to be competed for in unworthy fashion, and to be abused in a way which did grave disservice to the Christian cause.⁵
Now it has to be noted that these miraculous gifts were normally conveyed only in one way. The Apostles themselves received them from heaven at Pentecost, and Cornelius,⁶ the first Gentile convert, was similarly singled out. But it was apparently impossible for Philip, himself Spirit-gifted,⁷ to bless in this way his converts, and the Apostles must come and lay their hands upon them.⁸ It seemed to be recognised as their peculiar power, for Simon tried to bribe them to pass on to him, not the Spirit merely, but the power to transfer it.
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Author: A. D. Norris
Keywords: Holy spirit, holy ghost, spirit of god, fruits of the spirit, spirit of the lord, Holy spirit gifts, gifts of the holy spirit, gifts of miracles, faith healing, speaking in tongues
Bible reference(s): Act 8:17-18, Act 19:6, Rom 1:11, Rom 8:13, 1Co 12:7-11, 1Co 13:8, Gal 3:3, Gal 3:5, 1Ti 4:14, 2Ti 1:6
Source: “The Scriptural Doctrine of God (VI),” The Testimony, Vol. 16, No. 188, August 1946, pp. 213-6. Used with permission.
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