In Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians he discusses spiritual gifts, saying, “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. ” The NIV text notes define a spiritual gift as “a manifestation of the Holy Spirit enabling one to minister to the needs of Christ’s body, the church. ” According to the Evangelical dictionary of theology, Spiritual Gifts are “Gifts of God enabling the Christian to perform his or her service. ” Spiritual gifts are given by God for the benefit of the church.
They are distributed by the Holy Spirit for the service of the Body. There are many spiritual gifts that are used to benefit the body. “Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. ” John Walvoord said that spiritual gifts are “divinely given capacities to perform useful functions for God, especially in the area of spiritual service. ” Every member of the body serves a purpose, and all the members contribute to the beauty and working of the body as a whole. All parts are necessary and useful to one another in the spiritual body of Christ, just as in the physical body.
And all members are to show care and concern for every part. “But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. ” The Fruit of the Spirit is produced from abiding in Christ and proceeds from the Spirit, whereas spiritual gifts are gifts bestowed upon believers by the Spirit.
The Fruit of the Spirit is related to character; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ” Fruitfulness is determined by our abiding in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Everything we produce is dependent upon our relationship to Christ. The Lord prunes and purges us so we will be more productive, therefore, the fruit we produce relates to our spiritual maturity.
Our fruitfulness brings glory to God. “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples. ” Spiritual gifts are given to the church for the building up, or edifying, of the body. Paul explains, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophecies edifies the church. ” Words spoken in an unknown tongue convey no meaning or instruction to the listener. Therefore Paul instructs, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two-or at the most three-should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
Paul states in 1st Corinthians 14 that the gift of speaking in tongues is only edifying to oneself without an interpreter. No one can be edified by what they cannot understand. The gift of tongues was given to spread Christianity. “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers. ” When the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost the disciples were enabled to speak in the languages and all those who were in Jerusalem from the other nations were able to hear them speaking in their own language and the people were saved.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? ” It is the promised gift of the Father. “The moment a person is saved a number of things take place in his life. He is born again by the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, sealed with the Spirit, and a host of other things almost too numerous to list. ”
1st Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we were all baptized by ne spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one spirit to drink. ” At salvation we are spiritually baptized, regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united to Christ. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus, saying, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. ” It is this baptism of the Spirit, the indwelling, which enables a believer to overflow with the fruit of the Spirit. Speaking in tongues is not necessarily a sign of the baptism in Holy Spirit.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the sign of a believer’s spiritual life, whereas speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift, and not everyone receives this specific spiritual gift. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. .. ” 1st Corinthians 12:11 says, “All these are the work of one and the same spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as he determines. ” All believers receive the Spirit, but not all receive all the gifts of the Spirit; but all are meant to produce spiritual fruit.
Speaking in tongues is still somewhat valid today, however, it will be unnecessary when Christ returns. Paul writes that prophecy will cease and tongues will be stilled, but love will not fail. In heaven there will be one language that all will speak – the language of love. The gifts we are given for today, in our present and imperfect state, are meant for the building up and edifying of the church, until we reach that state of perfection when all that will remain is love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ”