Gifts of the Spirit
The spiritual gifts are manifestations (1 Cor 12:7). The Greek word for manifestations is phanerosis, which means a shining forth or showing forth. The Greek word for gift is charisma, which means a free gift, miraculous faculty, or divinely conferred endowment. Therefore, as the spiritual gifts are manifested, these divinely conferred, supernatural faculties are instantaneously shown forth in the believer's life like a flash of light.
The gifts are given for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). They can be divided into three types, which include: the speaking gifts (tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy), the knowing gifts (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits) and the power gifts (faith, healing, miracles). I'm not just listing these as if I only knew about them from a textbook, but I've been blessed to have seen them all in operation over the past three decades. And to anyone who thinks that the gifts ceased after the first century, I've got news for you, my friend. They are still genuinely in operation today, just as they were in the early church.
The spiritual gifts are the work of one Spirit and He gives them as He determines (1 Cor 12:11). Depending on which part of the body we are, we each have different gifts (1 Cor 12:27). These include apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, those with gifts of healing, those who help others, those with gifts of administration, those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Some gifts are greater than others (1 Cor 12:31), so they are not all equal. Prophecy builds up the church (1 Cor 14:3). Tongues will build up the person speaking in tongues (1 Cor 14:4). You need to build yourself up, especially during your personal prayer time with the Lord. But you should also fervently desire the greater gifts, so that you can build others up (1 Co 12:31).
The spiritual gifts are signs, which the Lord performs on the earth (Acts 2:17-19). They are evidence that the Holy Spirit has come upon us and given us power to be His witnesses (Ac 1:8). They are evidence that we have been filled with the Spirit (Ac 2:4).
And the gifts are not revoked once they are given (Rom 11:29). Once the Lord gives you a gift, he doesn’t take it back. But the Word tells us that the spiritual gifts are only temporary in that they will one day all cease and be stilled (1 Cor 13:8-12). This is not true of the fruit, which we’ll examine next.
|Culinary fruit. Picture by Bill Ebbesen|
First of all, the fruit of the Spirit are the Holy Spirit’s fruit found in the life of the believer. They are not our own fruit or they would be called the "fruit of the disciple" instead of "fruit of the Spirit."
We can do nothing without the Lord, and it is only as we remain in Him that we bear any fruit (Jn 15:5). The fruit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22,23).
The Greek word for fruit is karpos, which literally means the produce of a tree, plant; or animal (i.e., offspring or young). In a figurative sense it also means production or that which is produced, as in conduct or actions. That is the sense in which the word karpos is used by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5. In other words, the fruit of the Spirit are qualities that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives, which may be observed in our conduct, actions, words, attitudes, and demeanor.
If you’d like a way to summarize the fruit of the Spirit, here is how. They are summed up in love, which sums up the whole law and the prophets (Gal 5:14). Love is the most excellent way (1 Cor 13:31). Love is proven true by its actions, not by feelings (1 Cor 13:4-7).
Jesus said we would know people by their fruits not their gifts (Mat 7:16-23). People will know we are Jesus’ disciples by our love (Jn 13:35). The fruit are evidence of godly character in a disciple’s life, because they can only grow out of a life that is dead to self and that lives by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 24, 25).
Someone might mistakenly think that they need to produce the fruit of the Spirit in order to be saved, but that would not be correct. The Scriptures say we are saved by grace and not by our works (Eph 2:8). But once we are saved, we should produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Ultimately at the judgment, the test that will determine whether we truly know the Lord will be the fruit found in our lives (Matt 25:31-46). Those who merely function in the gifts, but do not obey the commands of Jesus Christ, will be eternally separated from God (Mt 7:21-23). It's the ones who hear the Word of God and act on it that will be able to stand in the judgment.
There is an eternal aspect to the fruit. It never fades away or fails. The fruit of faith, hope, and love will remain long after the gifts like prophecy and tongues have ceased (1 Co 13:8, 13).
Let's take a look at the spiritual gifts and the fruit in a side-by-side comparison to better help us see the similarities and differences between them.
|Non character-related (Mt 7:22-23)||Character-related (Mt 7:21)|
|Supernatural manifestation and work of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7, 11)||Result of a godly life that remains connected to Christ, abiding in Him (Jn 15:4-5)|
|Miraculous faculty, or divinely conferred endowment.||Conduct, actions, words, attitudes, and demeanor that are produced|
|Distributed by the Spirit to each person as He determines (1 Cor 12:4, 11)||Produced by the Spirit in the life of the believer who has crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:22-24)|
|Most people don't have them all, but we each have different ones (1 Cor 12:27, 30)||Everyone should have all of them|
|For the common good (1 Cor 12:7)||For the glory of God (Mt 5:16)|
|For the purpose of edification, encouragement, and strengthening of others or self (1 Cor 14:3-5)||For the purpose of showing you are Christ's disciple (Jn 13:35; 15:8)|
|Signs and wonders that follow those who believe in Christ (1 Cor 14:22; Mk 16:17-18; Ac 2:17-19)||Not signs and wonders, but evidence that we are in Christ, that we have come to know Him, that we are disciples of His, that we have passed from death to life, that we have been born of God, that we know God, that we love God, that we belong to the truth. and that the Spirit of God is within us (Jn 13:35; 1 Cor 12:3; 1 Jn 2:2-5; 3:6, 14, 19; 4:7; 5:2-3)|
|Tools for ministry, not used to identify one as a true disciple||Evidence of your identity in Christ|
|Must eagerly desire them (1 Cor 14:1, 39)||Must produce them by living in the light, walking by the Spirit and being led by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 18; 1 Jn 2:10; 2 Pet 1:5-11)|
|Visible, shining or showing forth (1 Cor 12:7)||Evident and observable (1 Jn 2:8; Mt 5:16)|
|Gifts "light upon" the believer who is Spirit-filled (Ac 2:3)||Come forth from a pure heart (Jam 3:10-12)|
|Empowerment received when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Ac 1:8)||Enablement received when the Holy Spirit works within you|
|Will cease one day (1 Cor 13:8)||Will last forever (1 Cor 13:13)|
|Gifts are not revoked (Ro 11:29)||One can become unfruitful, if one does not remain in Christ (Jn 15:5)|
|One can operate in gifts and still not inherit the kingdom of God but perish (Mt 7:19, 22-23, 26-27; Gal 5:21; 1 Jn 3:6b; 2 Thes 2:9-12; 2 Cor 11:14)||Without the fruit, one cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, but will be cut off and thrown into the fire (Mt 7:21; Jn 15:2, 6; 1 Cor 13:1-3; 1 Jn 1:6; 2:4-6, 9; 3:7-10; 4:7-8, 21)|
*Table above does not include ministries from Ephesians 4:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:5.
Putting it All Together
The spiritual gifts include: tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, faith, healing, and miracles. Having the gifts manifested in our lives is not the ultimate test of discipleship (1 Cor 12:31 – 1 Cor 13:1-3).
So we know that a person has once been filled with the Holy Spirit by the gifts we see manifested in his life. But the way we know if someone is living his life by the Spirit is by observing the fruit in his life. Those fruit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And while we should eagerly desire the greater gifts, so that we can build up the Body, we should be most concerned that we walk in the love of God.
The gifts are primarily tools that God has given us to stimulate faith in others and to minister to them. However, in order to live your life in such a way that is pleasing to Him, you must bear fruit.
Without the fruit of love growing out of our hearts, everything else would be worthless. The fruit of faith, hope, and love will remain long after the gifts like prophecy, tongues and word of knowledge have ceased.
I'm thankful for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that He has manifested in my life, but even more thankful for the fruit.
Image credit: Culinary fruit. Picture by Bill Ebbesen. Courtesy Wikimedia.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading Fruit in Every Season, as well as the companion poem to that message written by my eighteen year old daughter Charity Lacroix, also called Fruit in Every Season (the poem). You are also invited to read my articles, Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work, The Gift of Speaking in Tongues, The Wardrobe of the Saints, Baptized with the Spirit, The River of God, Obedience by the Spirit, Faith Works!, Ezekiel Moses' Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Multiplication, The Kingdom of God is Like This, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, Aim for Perfection, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Being a Witness for Christ, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, and Covenant Prayer. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Main Directory for this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.