Monday, June 24, 2013

The Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV)

Over the past year, I have repeatedly heard this Scripture used to argue that the miraculous spiritual gifts no longer exist, and I am here to argue that in light of Scripture, that belief is both wrong contextually, and it is also sinful in nature. Let me tell you why:

1. If the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit have passed away, we are damned. Is the ability to love your enemy not just as miraculous as speaking in tongues? Is being given faith in a God you cannot see any less miraculous than speaking a word of encouragement with the gift of prophecy? Is the gift of knowledge, which allows one to understand the Scriptures that revitalize the soul, any less miraculous than the gift of healing? Every single one of these things is a miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, and to deny that is blasphemy. Why else must we pray for more faith, love and knowledge of God if we could merely grasp them on our own?

Titus 1:1-3

Paul, a servant[a] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began[b] and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior (ESV)

2. By arguing that prophesy and speaking in tongues have passed away you are asserting that knowledge has also passed away, and if knowledge has passed away then we cannot ever become godly because that only comes through knowledge.

1 Corinthians 14:1-5

1. Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

3. Love desires spiritual gifts. Merely looking at the next chapter shows that having love does not mean that we no longer need spiritual gifts; rather, it teaches the opposite. Prophesies are for strengthening and encouraging. Speaking in tongues are for the edification of one's relationship with God. Love is at the heart of both things. The love of our neighbor should send us running to God for the gift of prophesy so that we can encourage and strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ. The love of God should have us asking for the gift of tongues so that we can draw closer to Him in prayer.

4. We are told to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy (V.1). I have heard it said many times that "I believe in spiritual gifts, but I just have never seen them," but this statement in itself misses the point of Scripture. Not only are we called to believe in spiritual gifts, but we are called to desire them because of our love for God and for others. We must desire spiritual gifts. If we don't, we need to check out our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.22 Abstain from every form of evil.

5. Despising prophecies is quenching the Spirit of God. When we say that prophecies no longer exist, we are quenching the Holy Spirit from working in our lives and the lives of those around us. It should scare you to think that you have the power to quench the Spirit of God, especially if you are doing it.

6. Paul does not command disuse on the account of misuse. In Thessalonica, there appears to have been an abuse of the gift of prophecy, like we often see today, but Paul does not order that they be stopped on account of this, rather that they be tested and sifted through the Word of God.

"Miraculous" spiritual gifts in Scripture are used for encouragement and strengthening (prophesy), edification (speaking in tongues) and evangelism (healing). I have heard many argue that these gifts are no longer needed today, but that is to say that we no longer need to encourage one another, edify our relationship with God or evangelize. We need these gifts now more than ever. Denying spiritual gifts is like only bringing a screwdriver and a wrench when you go to build a house; they just won't cut it.  God has sent his people out to do his good work in this world, and salvation is on the line. He has given us all of the tools necessary to share the Gospel with those around us, but it is up to us to use them. That is God's word, not mine.

If you are interested in more work done on the Holy Spirit, I recommend that you check out the link below. It uses Scripture to provide great insight into how we can tell if those around us have the Holy Spirit or not.

1 comment:

  1. For another interesting read on the Holy Spirit, check out