Are the gifts of the Spirit for today?
Thank you for your question. Many have wondered about this. It seems extreme positions have been taken. Like many issues there is a biblical balance between the extremes.
In the early twentieth century, with the rise of Pentecostalism, some placed a focus on the gifts of the Spirit. The gift of tongues especially came into prominence. For many this gift was the sure sign you were filled with the Spirit. Later the Charismatic Movement took this paradigm beyond denominational lines. Ironically, the focus on the gifts of the Spirit subtlety took the focus off the Spirit of Jesus. Where this wrong focus really entered in, as with any wrong focus, it hinders real life in the Spirit.
In reaction to this emphasis, others claimed the gifts of the Spirit ended with the apostolic era. For them the gifts have completely and forever ceased. In this reaction a subtle deemphasis of the Spirit crept in, perhaps unwittingly. This minimization of the Spirit has robbed many of real life and power.
So which position is right? I don’t believe either one is fully accurate. On the one hand the focus should not be on the blessings, but rather on the Blesser. On the other hand the Holy Spirit did not leave when the apostles died. Church history repeatedly demonstrates times when the Spirit worked like He did in Acts. Often when the gospel penetrated a new area, it has been accompanied by the miraculous to substantiate the message. But when the gospel took hold, and especially when the Word of God was made available to a people group, then the miraculous diminished, being replaced with a more sure Word, which cannot be counterfeited.
Sometimes God sovereignly moves miraculously for the sake of the gospel. Sometimes God stirs up faith within us to trust Him for the miraculous. Either way, God is still God. He can do what He pleases. If God leads us to trust Him for some miracle, then we must trust Him.
For example, if the Spirit leads to faith for a given healing, then He must be trusted to heal. God still heals. Many modern day testimonies demonstrate this reality. This is not the same as the gift of healing, which implies one has this gift for life. In fact, the Scripture never says the “gift of healing.” It says the “gifts of healing.” This implies God gives faith for healing in given instances—but not necessarily every instance. Even the Apostle Paul left Trophimus at Miletus ill.
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