As we launch into spiritual gifts part four, we encourage you to read part one, which gives you some foundational principles on spiritual gifts. You will need to read parts two and three as well, which describe the speaking gifts and knowledge gifts. We are now going to describe for you the last three of the nine gifts, which are power gifts. Although all the gifts require the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to operate them, these next three gifts release God’s power in a mighty way.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are found in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10.
The first of these power gifts is the gift of faith.
Romans 12:3 – “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Every believer has been given a measure of faith. Initially, we are given the faith of salvation. Along with this we are given the faith of perseverance which comes from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. This faith enables the believer to remain in Christ and causes the believer to pursue Christ.
Romans 10:17 – “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
The gift of faith that we find in I Corinthians 12:9 is a special faith that the Spirit of God gives to believers above and beyond simple faith of salvation and perseverance. It could be called a miraculous faith. We see Jesus with this kind of faith in John 11:38-44. In this story Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
You might be thinking, well this is Jesus the Son of God, what would you expect?
Yes, it was Jesus, but Jesus being fully human and fully God depended on the Holy Spirit even as we do to accomplish the work of His Father (Luke 4:18). Remember Jesus said, ‘these things that I do even greater things than these will you do’ (John 14:12). Jesus, being the Messiah, flowed in all the gifts.
Let us look at some of the characteristics of the gift of faith in order to better understand what it is. A person who has the gift of the faith will believe in the extraordinary as if it is something ordinary.
In Acts 28:3-6, we see Paul bitten by a poisonous snake and seemingly not bothered in the least by it. I don’t think the apostle Paul was in a panic about it, but carried on as normal while the people around him were expecting him to die.
A person who has the gift of faith will have faith in things that an ordinary Christian would not have faith to believe for. He will have faith to raise the dead, heal those who are terminally ill, believe for extraordinary amounts of money; believe for extraordinary accomplishments, and miracles of all sorts. As you already see, the gift of faith often works hand in hand with the gifts of healing and miracles. Some people in the Bible who had the gift of faith were Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, and Daniel.
Another characteristic of a person who has the gift of faith is that their faith is not based on the promises of God’s word, but on the measure of faith God has given them and a rhema Word of God. A rhema word is a spoken word of God to you, not necessarily a Scripture.
A person who has the gift of faith will always speak words of faith and the thing that the person believes for will be accomplished. In other words, you will see the results of the faith gift in their life and ministry. Remember that none of the gifts are given for personal benefit, but for the benefit of the body of Christ and His kingdom.
The next power gift is the gift of miracles.
Before looking at the characteristics of this gift, let us define what a miracle is. In its simplest form, it is a work of power. More specifically, a miracle is a supernatural act of God where God uses a person as an instrument of power and where the laws of nature are superseded by the power of God, to bring about a physical outcome contrary to the laws of nature. Not all things that are out of the normal are necessarily a miracle. An exceptional ability is not an indicator of miraculous power. A miracle is more than a phenomenon. A miracle is not simply a manifestation of the power of God or a supernatural intervention of God. It is important to understand that a supernatural act of God without the use of a person in accomplishing it is not a miracle. Without man involved, it is simply an act of God.
The person who has the gift of miracles will perform many miracles as part of the ministry God has given him. Just because God used a person to perform one or two miracles does not mean that they have the gift of miracles. It will be a dominating factor of the person’s ministry. A person, who has this gift, often has the gift of healing as well. I don’t believe the Bible teaches or shows that there is a ministry of miracles and/or healing. None of the spiritual gifts are a ministry in themselves, but accompany a ministry gift. In the Bible we see that apostles and evangelists often have the gifts of healing and miracles.
There are many examples of miracles in God’s word. The following are references to some of them – Deuteronomy 29:2-5; Exodus 4:1-9; I Kings 18:44-46; 2 Kings 4:32-35; Mathew 8:23-27.
The final power gifts is the gift of healing.
Even as a miracle requires the involvement of a person, a healing also requires the involvement of a person. The gift of healing takes place when God uses a person to heal someone physically by supernatural powers, not medicine. Not all miracles are healings, but all healings brought about by God’s servants in a supernatural way are miracles. All examples of healing in the Bible are instantaneous. They are never progressive. In the same way, the person who has the gift of healing will see immediate results. Although God is able to use any believer to bring healing to another person, the person who has the gift will heal many. It will be a regular part of their ministry. Also, a person who has the gift of healing will more often than not be used by God to do extraordinary healings, like healing the blind and the lame, healing cancer and other terminal diseases. We see that the apostles in the book of Acts were used tremendously in this way.
Let us not fall into the deception of Satan and believe that miracles and healings were only for Biblical times and are not for today. God is the same God. He has not changed and His purposes have not changed. If we look back over the history of the church from the times of the apostles to this very day, we see God has used many people in miracles and healings of all kinds.
Let us not ignore the fact that Satan and his followers are able to do miracles and healings as well.
Exodus 7:10-22 – “So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”
Matthew 7:22-23 – “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Although Satan is able to do miracles and healing, God is more powerful than Satan.
1 John 4:4 – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
How do we know if a miracle or healing is from God? You first need to look at the person who is doing the work. Are they a child of God? If not, you know that it is not with God’s power that they are doing it.
Also, ask the question, to whom or for whom are they doing it? If they are doing it for their own glory or the glory of another, then it is most likely not of God.
I pray that this series will not only give you greater insight into the Holy Spirit and his works, but will also stir up a hunger in you for more of God and His power in your life. I pray that you will give the Holy Spirit greater control in your life.