Means of Grace- Spiritual Gifts
Traveling through this life of faith I’ve been privileged to see various aspects of the Church. Beginning in the Lutheran Church, jumping into the Charismatic movement, and now landing quite soundly in the Reformed perspective; I look at the Church differently. There was an element of the spiritual gifts in all these views: some more, some less. Since I don’t have the space to explain the various gifts, there are great websites for that, I’m only touching on why they are given as ways God blesses His beloved Church: the means of grace.
1 Cor. 12 and 14 is where Paul declared the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be important, not ignored, have great variety, and work in together as synergy within the Body of Christ. That’s so important to remember. It’s not about the individual ability to speak in tongues, heal the sick, give mercy, administrate, or leadership; it’s about being an integral part of the bigger picture. In Rom. 12 Paul lists some of the various gifts but what’s clear is that we remain in the place of humility as God sovereignly chooses which gift to give to whomsoever He has decided. It’s not about you; it’s about Him. We are only channels through whom He distributes and empowers this grace.
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV
That word ’empowers’ is energeo, we get the word energy from it. The Holy Spirit gives us divine energy or power to work on His behalf for the benefit of His Body. The image of the body with Christ as the Head so beautifully pictures for us how the gifts of the Spirit should work together for the same good (synergy). Eph. 4 says it so beautifully:
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12 NLT)
As believers in Jesus Christ and an active part of the Church it’s our responsibility to use our gifts to help our church family grow utilizing whatever energeo God has given us. Spiritual gifts look different because each one is created uniquely, however, the spiritual growth of the church continues to depend on the wide variety of those gifts of grace (charis). We can’t afford to ignore them in their fullness.
And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. (1 Corinthians 14:12 NLT)
God is working through you to build up His body; don’t ignore the spiritual gifts. They are diverse (we’re all about diversity, right?) but they are all imperative to your church.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10 NLT)