Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Still for Today?
Are Miracles and Gifts of the Holy Spirit Still Happening Today?
Some people say the miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit that we read about in the New Testament have ceased, while others say they are still at work today. Which one is it?
Unfortunately, this question has needlessly caused a great deal of division in the Body of Christ. This is tragic because the answer to this question is very simple, and clearly laid out in Scripture. Without question, both the gifts of the Holy Spirit and miracles are still happening today. Lets look to the Bible to find out exactly what it says about this.
The Gospels and the Book of Acts record numerous miracles performed by Jesus and His followers. The New Testament details over 35 miracles performed by Jesus alone. In John 14:12 Jesus told His followers “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” In other words, the same things that Jesus did while He walked the earth will also be done by His followers. Miracles happened then, and Jesus assured us they would continue to happen after He returned to His Father. Why then would we think they have stopped when there is nothing Scriptural to support such a stance? Not to mention there are countless reports of miracles happening all of the time. The dead are brought back to life, diseases are healed without explanation, people survive multiple gun shot wounds that should have taken their lives, and the hardest heart and most heinous sinners are brought to repentance and a changed life by faith in Jesus Christ everyday! Perhaps some fail to see these as miracles and assume they just don’t happen.
Lack of faith is another reason people don’t experience miracles. To often, we turn to doctors to heal us, or medicine to make us feel better without first praying for the Lord to heal. We operate in laziness, doubt and fear, and fail to see the great things that God can do. Even the Disciples of Christ had faith issues. In Matthew 17:20 when the disciples came to Jesus wondering why they could not cast out a demon, Jesus replied, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” In light of this, our cry should be like the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9:24 who cries out in tears, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Ok, well what about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Why do people say they have ceased and are not for today?
Lets examine what the Bible says about this topic. In 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 we find that there are 15 Spiritual gifts that are listed (There may be more but here is what is presented). These gifts include; prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, ministering, giving, ruling, mercy, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues. Each of these gifts is a blessing either to the individual or the Body of Christ. When referring to these gifts, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts….” Not only are these gifts available, but also to be desired.
So then, with all of the different scriptures that explain these gifts, why do so many Christians believe they have ceased? Is there something in the Bible that states this?
To come to the conclusion that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased, believers will cite 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Their argument goes something like this. “See, things such as tongues are done in part according to this scripture. But now we have the Bible, (which some claim is the “perfect”referred to in verse 10.) Thus their conclusion; the gifts have passed away. The problem with this argument is that it is an erroneous assumption to assume that the word “perfect” is a reference to the Bible. It is NOT a reference to the Bible, but rather to Jesus Himself at His second coming. Verse 12 expands this further stating, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”. In other words, while here on earth we see dimly. But when we see Jesus face-to-face on the New Earth some gifts will cease or pass away.
Just like miracles, all of the Gifts of the Spirit are for today and should be desired. Remember, though, Paul says to seek Charity (or love) above all else. Read 1 Corinthians 13, and pray that God will increase our faith. Pray that our faith will grow and signs and wonders will follow us to the glory of God and that the Holy Spirit will bless us with all the wonderful gifts as He sees fit!