WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 6TH, 2021
TOPIC: GRACE AND GIFTS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6a New King James Version).
The Greek word for gifts in Romans 12:6 is charismata. The singular form is charisma (khar’-is-mah). It means, among others, “a (spiritual) endowment” and “miraculous faculty” (Strong’s Concordance). Charisma also means “a gift of grace; a favor which one receives without any merit of his own” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
Charisma, in the context of usage as regard spiritual gifts, is different from popular usage with respect to the “ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection in others by means of personal charm or influence.”
“Having then differing Gifts according to grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6a New King James Version). Take note that gifts and grace are mentioned in this scripture. There is a connection between grace and gifts. Since the word “gifts” means charisma, we can put it this way: “Having then differing Charismata according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…”
The New Century Version says, “We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. The person who has the gift of prophecy should use that gift in agreement with the faith” (Romans 12:6). From that scripture, we understand that gifts came because of grace.
We have different gifts in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4 says there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. “There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (verses 5-11 New King James Version).
Paul said further in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (New King James Version).
What does Paul mean in this scripture by saying we should desire the best gifts? What are the best gifts? And what is “a more excellent way”? The Bible in Basic English renders the verse as “But let your desires be turned to the more important things given by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:31a). The New Living Translation refers to the best gifts as “the most helpful gifts.” Though the Holy Spirit gives gifts as He wills, we can ask God for gifts that we consider helpful in any circumstance we are for service in His Kingdom, not for vainglory.
As regards “a more excellent way” Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 12:31b, he is talking about the way of love which he explains in 1 Corinthians 13 and should have been better put under chapter 12 so that his presentation is not broken by a new chapter.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1a to pursue love. According to him, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10b). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version).
The Greek word for grace is charis. Even from the spelling and pronunciation of the word “charisma”,it’s evident there is a relationship between the two. You can’t write charisma or charismata without first writing charis! Charisma/charismata came from charis.
Thus, from Romans 12:6, it is clear that there are no charismata without charis. Only those who have received charis are given charismata. Remember that charisma is “a gift of grace; a favor which one receives without any merit of his own” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (New King James Version). However, grace (charis) is for the receiver, but gifts (charismata) are for the benefit of others.
1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (New King James Version). The Living Bible puts verse 10 thus: “God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help each other, passing to others God’s many kinds of blessings.”
Salvation comes by grace (charis). If you’ve not been saved by charis, you cannot receive charismata (gifts, spiritual endowment). “Having then differing Charismata according to the charis that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6a New King James Version). “We all have different gifts (charismata), each of which came because of the grace (charis) God gave us” (Romans 12:6a New Century Version). No charis, no charismata!
We have seen in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 the variety of ministers God appointed in the body of Christ. Each has his place, and no single category of these ministers can do everything. If it were possible, God would have appointed only one category of ministers. The rest would be unnecessary.
However, all categories of ministers and the different spiritual gifts are in the body of Christ to complement each other. Therefore, there is the need for all to recognize what each can do and when to do it; and allow each to function where and when it is most appropriate. There should be no strife, envy, or competition.
Whatever spiritual gifts (charismata) you have received as a Christian or minister is a gift of grace; it is a favor you have received without any merit. You did nothing to deserve them. God gave you not for your benefit, but for service in the Kingdom of God and to be a blessing to others.
1 Corinthians 14:26 says, “Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord” (New Living Translation).
Please take note that the latter portion of this scripture says, “But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord.” That tells us the goal of the operation of charismata. It is to be used to the benefit of others. You should use your gifts to the benefit of others (build them up) and to the glory of God.
If your spiritual gifts are actually gifts, there is no reason for you to be proud or to feel superior to others. You were given gifts for the sake of others. You are a steward. Therefore, you should use your gifts with every sense of responsibility and humility. “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 New King James Version).
One day, you will give account to God how you have used the charisma or charismata that He gave you according to charis (grace). Don’t neglect, reject, hide or abuse your charismata (spiritual gifts). May God find you faithful.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I thank You for the grace and gifts You have given me and all Your children by the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, help me and all of us to be faithful stewards of the gifts we have been given. Holy Spirit, help us not to boast as if we have not received our gifts from You. Holy Spirit, enable us to use to bless others, the diverse gifts we have received according to the grace that is given to us in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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