The Spirit works in our lives in so many ways, that our Christian walk cannot possibly be successful without Him; He works through the giving of Spiritual Gifts; in helping us see God's Word, God's world view, God's love for others; in teaching us how to pray, in praying for us Himself.
One of the biggest and most natural questions, that has caused much strife within theological, and denominational circles:
“Does God still move and work in supernatural ways today, or has the time for these works passed away?"
This question greatly affects the way we see God moving and working in our lives today—our expectations, prayers, hopes, and faith. Romans 12:3-8: Gifts that God gives to each believer, not so much supernatural works, as the way God gifted each of us to feel driven to serve Him and others. They represent the way each of us is to see and respond to needs within the Body of Christ. They are ‘The Motivational Gifts’, and each of us has at least one (in seven). These gifts are never questioned by anyone, and we see them working in the church daily.
1 Corinthians 12:1, 7-13: Gifts given by the Spirit, as supernatural strengths and knowledge in time of need and/or prayer. They have nothing to do with the ability of the believer, but in the manifestation of God’s Power alone: The Manifestation Gifts.’ These gifts are often challenged, doubted and criticized; they are also the most controversial, divisive, abused and misrepresented of all. Many try to ‘force’ these gifts for power, proof or self-glory; ‘fake’ them for attention or profit, or simply say they no longer exist in the church today because they were a specific time in history (which has passed).
To start—the biggest questions is: "Are these Gifts still being used by the Spirit in the church today?" Because if their time is truly passed on, we must establish this fact, so false expectations won’t bring disappointment and lost faith, and so God won’t be ridiculed and questioned. But if they are still present today, to leave them unused because of fear or indecision would be to miss a big part of God’s Power and Intimacy and cripple His Body. Galatians 1:10
1) We do not often see these Gifts in the life of a believer today, so they must not exist anymore—but is that a rational indication of whether they are available? We do not often see a life set apart and sanctified for Christ as it should be today either—does that mean God isn't still desiring and expecting it? We do not often see the model which God designed for the home being followed today—does that mean God isn't desiring and expecting it? We do not often see believers giving time & material goods as the NT describes and commands—does that mean God isn't desiring & expecting it? We have already established that our focus and desire have turned so far from God today that the, "norm" for us, is to walk without the Spirit; so would these Gifts, which are totally reliant upon the power of the Spirit, be presently active today the way we are walking and living? This reason, just based on the absence of the Gifts alone, is not only an empty argument, it actually gives us one more sign that the world is as God predicted it would be in the last days.
2) 1 Corinthians 13:8-11: There are many (called Cessationists), who believe this text is saying the Gifts of the Spirit ceased to function, when the Word of God was completed (v10); the justification being, that the Gifts of the Spirit were solely for the purpose of authenticating prophecies and words taught through revelation, and that, once the revelation was completed (The Bible), no more signs were needed. If you read these verses in context, with an open mind to what is being said, it is clear this passage is not describing, they would end at the completion of Scripture writing—it is clear the passage is not even describing a time on this earth. (1 Corinthians 13:12) There is only one time in the future when we will see God face to face (and it definitely wasn't when the Scriptures were finished). Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, 1 John 3:2-3, 1 John 4:12, Revelation 1:7.
1 Corinthians 1:4-7: We see some of the best evidence that the Spirit will continue to work through us until the end of our time on earth. There were others who used Gifts from the Spirit for no reason other than to benefit others in the Love of God (Elijah and Elisha, Stephen and Philip) (Acts 11:28-29, Acts 21:4, Galatians 3:5). James 5:14-16, Acts 2:16-18, 1 Corinthians 12:7: each individual will have Gifts for the serving of the body, they are part of, not just for the proving of Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 14:12. God is the same God that loved and cared for the people of the Old AND New Testaments—how many times do we read about Jesus healing people, and trying to completely avoid publicity and recognition simply out of love and compassion? Has He changed? Does He still have this love and compassion? Does He still want to give individual direction, warning, and healing to His people? (see David Guzik)
Does God still work amongst His people through these Gifts of the Spirit today? Absolutely!
The problem today, is the same problem faced from the first day God blessed His church with these Gifts—people become infatuated with the Gifts, the power, the attention, and completely lose the love and focus on why they even exist; they lose the hunger and infatuation with the gift giver. In that respect, Paul tells them, what we all need to hear today as well: 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. God still touches and communicates with His people in wonderful and intimate ways today, and it is a shame when we do not look for the Hand and the Voice of our Creator, and Beloved, in amazing ways—still.
When we can't look for a personal direction from our Guide; can't hope for miraculous works, when we are in His will; can't see His love and hope, sometimes shown in healing; but if we ever allow the Holy Spirit to truly guide and empower us; we will clearly see one thing—everything He does through us will be with one single passion—to Love God, love People, and see His will done on earth—period.
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