What is the Holy Spirit? More appropriately asked… WHO is the Holy Spirit? When does the Holy Spirit come into someone’s life? How does it happen? What gifts does He bring? These questions can fill a 300+ page book. Because the Holy Spirit moves in so many different ways there is no pattern for us to look at and say… ”Well, there goes the Holy Spirit!”. It is perhaps this single point that divides a number of churches as to what the Holy Spirit is capable of. I mean let’s be honest… our lives would be a lot easier if the Holy Spirit was predictable, and easy to figure out and when I get to Heaven… I am going to drop that in God’s suggestion box! Since He is not, we are left to debate scripture, and sharpen our own iron. The topic I want to cover in this post are the giftsof the Holy Spirit. In order to do that, I feel like there are some points that have to be made.
First of all… Though the Holy Spirit is a… Spirit… He is a real person. He shows intelligence (1 Corinth 2:10-11, Romans 8:27, 1 Corinth 2:13), He shows feelings (Eph 4:30), and He has a will (1 Corinth 12:11, Acts 16:6-11). The Holy Spirit also exhibits the actions of a person. He guides us to truth (John 16:13), He convicts us of sin (John 16:8), He performs miracles (Acts 8:39) and He intercedes (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit receives Ascriptions. He should be obeyed (Acts 10:19-21), He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), He can be resisted (Acts 7:51), He can grieve (Eph 4:30), He can be blasphemed (Matt 12:31) and He can be insulted (Heb 10:29). ALL of these things, all of these traits, all of these idiosyncrasies belong to a person. They belong to the Holy Spirit, and one must conclude based on these facts that the Holy Spirit is a person.
Second of all… and perhaps most important… The Holy Spirit is God. He exhibits all of the signs of being God. He is omniscient (Isaiah 40:13, 1 Corinthians 2:12), He is omnipresent (Psalms 139:7) and He is omnipotent (Job 33:4, Psalms 104:30), and He is omnibenevolant (1 John 4:8; James 1:17). His actions are also of God. He caused the virgin birth (Luke 1:35), He was the agent in giving the inspired scriptures (2 Peter 1:21) and He was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2).
So can you get the Holy Spirit? Sure! But not through some 800 number or through the QVC. The Holy Spirit is delivered at Salvation. We can see this in Romans 8:9, Acts 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:16. With the deliverance of the Holy Spirit we receive gifts (special distinction… it is not a reward). Acts 11:16-17 (along with Romans 5:5, and 1 Corinthians 2:12) bear this out.
This is the Holy Spirit.
At this point we will begin to take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit. First, we go Romans 12:6-8 for a pretty clear list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. These would include prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and compassion. Another list is found in 1 Corinthians 12. Here Paul goes on to be more specific. Among this list are words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostles, prophets and administration.
Pretty healthy list of gifts provided to us by God through the Holy Spirit.
I do feel like there is something else that has to be said here. Specific gifts are not required to demonstrate that you have been saved. There can be no doubt here. Salvation is conditional upon faith. The gifts are unique to each individual, and do not demonstrate salvation. What I am trying to debunk here is any notion or idea that… if you don’t speak in tongues you are not saved. This statement is biblically inaccurate. The proof is in the pudding. 1 Corinthians 12:27–30 demonstrates this. The questions asked here are rhetorical. As I said before, all gifts are unique to the individual to serve the body. There is no scriptural support that shows that tongues are mandatory.
These gifts are assigned to us all upon salvation and the indwelling of the Spirit. All gifts are given to us individually, but are given for the benefit of the entire body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
The remaining part of this post was originally intended to take a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they function today. This is a heavily debated topic amongst Christians from a number of denominations. This is a point that Kevin and I heavily disagree on. As we started to work through how we could display the debate we came to the conclusion that the debate itself needed to be its own post. Our disagreement does not take away from the fact that we are both brothers in Christ, and that we can disagree (respectively) and sharpen iron.
In an effort to demonstrate this Kevin and I will be posting a debate on the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they exist today. Specifically on the hotly debated topic of tongues, and prophecy.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are awesome. There are a few things we can draw from all of this…The Holy Spirit is active, the Holy Spirit is moving, and the acts of the Holy Spirit are not repetitive.