Article written by Pastor Tan Kok Beng

2 April, 2023


(Christian Living 18)

The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to the Church and to all believers regardless of their spirituality. A new believer receives the gifts bestowed by Grace as soon as he acknowledges Christ as Savior and Lord. The Corinthian believers were spiritual babes yet Paul said they did not lack in any spiritual gift (1 Cor.1:7). This is the Grace of God; that is why they are called “gifts of grace” (“charismata”). God through the Holy Spirit bestows these gifts on us even though we may be undeserving of them.

There are nine spiritual gifts given by the Spirit (1 Cor.12:7-11) Who bestows them upon the believers sovereignly “just as He determines” (v.11b). Even in the exercise of such gifts, it is the Holy Spirit Who determines which gifts to be manifested through us in each situation. For example, on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit came on the 120 in the Upper Room, we read: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4 -NKJV). So it is not our human idea or the flesh that makes one exercise the gifts, but the Holy Spirit Himself Who sovereignly releases the gift (s) at the time of need. He will inspire us to exercise the appropriate gift to meet the need of the one we minister to. It may be a prophetic word or healing or deliverance.

The spiritual gifts are for the blessing of the Church – for the good of the believers: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor.12:7). The purpose of these gifts is to “edify” or build up the faith of the members. Paul writes to the believers, “Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the Church” (1 Cor.14:12). Gifts are not just for personal benefit or selfish purpose or to boast about our spirituality – that we are more “anointed” than others. That would be the flesh! When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in Him, we will be sensitive to His promptings and operate the gift accordingly, as He enables us.

The effectiveness of our ministry, besides the power of the Spirit, is the love of Christ: “for the love of Christ constrains us”. The Apostle Paul reiterates the importance of operating in the gifts with the love of Christ: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor.13:1-3).

There is power in the Love of God and Christ. Love removes pride, selfish ambition, and all wrong motives of the flesh. Love makes us humble and gives us compassion to minister to needy people. Love also inspires faith that empowers us to minister effectively. Love pleases and glorifies God. “Serve one another humbly in love” (Gal.5:13).

Click HERE to return to Article Listing