by Ron Drumm
It would be wonderful to have a spiritual gift like the ability to do miracles or the ability to speak in tongues. There are nine gifts of the Spirit listed in the New Testament. They are the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues (I Corinthians 12:7-11).
The apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to desire spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 14:1). He even suggested that they desire the gift of prophecy over speaking in tongues. The use of these gifts should be for the building up (edification) of the church (I Corinthians 14:1,3,5,12). Paul gives guidance as to the use of the spiritual gifts in the church (I Corinthians 14:26-40).
We should note that the church at Corinth did not come short in any of these gifts (I Corinthians 1:5,7). But, even having all these gifts, the church still had many problems. The gifts of the Spirit did not assure faithfulness or a church with few faults.
What were the purposes of these gifts of the Spirit? We have already learned that the main purpose was the building up (teaching and strengthening) of the church. Jesus said: "these signs will follow those who believe," and the gospel of Mark ends with this statement: "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs" (Mark 16:17,20). The Hebrew writer reveals further: "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4).
The miracles, signs, wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit confirmed the Word and salvation of Jesus Christ. Paul explicitly states that certain gifts of the Holy Spirit will cease when that which is perfect has come (I Corinthians 13:8,10). The Word of God is called the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). The perfect has come the Holy Spirit has confirmed it, and the gifts of the Spirit have vanished away.
Keep in mind that the love of God is the more excellent way over the gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:31). Also, we still have the powerful promise of God answering our prayers of faith (James 5:15-16). Another promise from God is the differing gifts of grace we all receive in the body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8).