Do Gifts of the Spirit Still Exist?
If you travel much and attend many different churches you will quickly find that most churches are divided into two camps when it comes to the issue of gifts of the spirit. That is sad because the Bible makes clear that if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Many people take a statement and or a few key words from a statement and say it means one thing. The truth is if you read the whole statement it often may mean the exact opposite.
Satan has used our lack of understanding God’s Word to divide churches and to keep many people in bondage. Much suffering could have been averted if people simply believed what the Bible says. I have one set rule when I read the Bible if Jesus said it, it has to be true. If I interpret it any other way I am going against the Word of God.
So what did Jesus have to say on the matter. John 14:12 says,“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Why don’t we see healing in this day and age? Well if you use the Bible it makes clear that Jesus marveled at two things belief and unbelief. In Mark 6 it talks about Jesus going to his hometown. It says even he could not do any great work there because of their doubt and unbelief. He was still able to do some healings of the sick though. It says he marveled at their unbelief. There was another time the Bible says Jesus marveled. It was in Matthew 8 and is found in the story of the centurion. Jesus offered to go to the home of the centurion and heal his servant and the centurion said there is no need to go. If you say it, it is done. It says Jesus marveled at his belief. The Centurion had unquestioning belief that Jesus was able to do whatever he said.
Today’s Christians are somewhere between the two extremes. It is because we listen to men’s interpretations of the Bible instead of what Jesus and the Bible actually say about the matter. Many use 1st Corinthians 13:8-9 to support the view that the gifts ceased with the last apostle. If they read verse 10-12 however they will come to an entirely different view. Those final verses say, “when that which is perfect is come.” Well what is perfect? Christ is the perfect thing that shall come and as he had already been here, it is clear it is speaking of when he returns. Verse twelve verifies that point of view. It says when we are face to face we shall understand clearly. We will not be face to face till Christ returns in glory.
It does say charity will never cease. Why will it not cease? Because those are attitudes and actions we will share with each other even in heaven. Do we have a full measure of charity toward others? Are there people in your life you have issues with? Read Matthew 6:15 and you will understand why you can’t receive the healing you need. It may have nothing to do with you or your attitude, but the attitudes of those you share your faith with.
We all have a terminal illness. It is called life. Sooner or later we all die. Jesus healed many people but they are not still walking around waiting for him to come back. The purpose of Jesus healings was to show the power and glory of God and so they could see who he was. It was not a feel good exercise to get people to follow him. He healed because of the people’s faith. Their faith that he could stop their suffering or the suffering of those they loved. The story in Luke 5 tells about an man’s friends lowering him down through the roof to be healed. It says nothing about that particular man’s faith. It talks about the faith of those who bought him to be healed.
Mark 5 relates another story of healing. Jesus goes to a ruler of the synagogue’s home and heals his daughter. When he gets there some people mock him and tell him he is wasting his time. He takes Peter and the brothers John and James with the parents and enters the girl’s room to heal her. He first kicks out all the other people though. I can’t prove what I am about to say, but I believe it. He removed any doubt and unbelief from the room so he would have his full power to heal. I base that on what happened in his hometown.
If we are sick and we are not healed. It is not because we lack the faith to be healed. God can heal anyone at any moment, but it will be for his reasons and purposes not ours. The Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Sickness fall’s the same as the rain. It is in and part of this world. We are not exempt because we are Christians. We do have the hope that when we are resurrected it will be to a more perfect body. We will no longer have to fear the ravages of life we will have entered a more perfect state of being.
In closing remember a few things Jesus said , If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes
5And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me
Jesus said nothing about those that come after having a lesser gift. John 17:20 makes clear that Jesus prayed for us who would come later. So what and how you believe is up to you. You can believe to receive. Or you can believe you received a lesser gift than those that came before us. It is our choice. One key is coming to a true and clear meaning of what charity really means.