Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Grace and Faith III

There is another Faith that is a gift of grace given to certain people who already have saving faith. You see this gift described in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11:

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (NIV)

There are two key verses in this paragraph, the first and the last. This gift of faith is not saving faith; it is faith for the common good. This faith is not caused by the preaching of Christ; it is given as the Holy Spirit determines. All Christians, by definition, have saving faith. This gift of grace of faith is given to certain Christians for the good of the whole body.

Question:

“If this ‘Edifying Faith’ is applicable for our day and age, does it mean the other gifts are also applicable for our day? What about Dallas Seminary’s view that it died out with the last apostle?”

Answer:

In listening to Bible teaching be very alert for the following:

1. Does the teacher have to do much explaining as to the meaning of the text?
2. Does the explanation fit the text as it is in the Bible?
3. Is the explanation simple or is it involved?
4. Is the explanation a reaction to false teaching and/or practices?

First Corinthians 13:10-12 tells us when these gifts will pass away.

But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:10-12 NIV)

1. “when perfection comes.”
2. “then we shall see face to face”
3. “then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.”

These are future “times” statements. They will happen to us individually when we go to be with Him or all at once when Jesus Christ returns. If these gifts are practiced, remember the Holy Spirit gives them as He wills, not as we will, and that they are for the common good, not for our own good. Do these gifts edify others?

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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