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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Are All Spiritual Gifts Active Today?

Don Stewart :: Is Possession of Spiritual Gifts Equated with Spiritual Maturity?

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Is Possession of Spiritual Gifts Equated with Spiritual Maturity?

Are All Spiritual Gifts Active Today? – Question 19

Some people feel that the more gifts one has; the more spiritual he or she becomes. But the Bible does not equate spiritual gifts with being spiritual. Indeed, a search of the Scripture will show that this is not the case at all.

The Corinthians Had Every Spiritual Gift

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that they were second to none in the matter of spiritual gifts. He wrote.

He has enriched your church with the gifts of eloquence and every kind of knowledge. This shows that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:5-7 NLT).

They possessed all of the gifts.

There Were Carnal Believers in Corinth

However, this same church, which had many spiritual gifts, was described by the Apostle Paul as carnal. He put it this way.

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NRSV).

This church was ravaged with problems. There was division in the church, ungodly behavior, and gross sin. Yet they had all of the spiritual gifts.

The Goal Is the Fruit of the Spirit

Therefore, it is not accurate to equate spiritual gifts with spiritual maturity. The gifts of the Spirit are the means. The fruit of the Spirit is the desired goal. Paul emphasized this when he wrote to the Galatians. He said.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV).

The fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit, is the ultimate goal of the believer. The gifts are a means to an end. Spiritual maturity is not gauged by what gift a person possesses or how prominent they are in the church. This is something which we should always remember.

Summary – Question 19
Is Possession of Spiritual Gifts Equated with Spiritual Maturity?

There are a number of people who equate spiritual gifts with spiritual mature. The greater the gift that one has, the greater the Christian maturity is assumed for that person. Yet the Bible does not see it that way. According to the New Testament, it is the fruit of the Spirit not the gifts of the Spirit that is evidence of spiritual growth.

This can be illustrated with the situation with the Corinthian Church. The Apostle Paul said that they were behind no other church in the area of spiritual gifts. Indeed, they were lacking in nothing when it came to spiritual gifts.

Yet the congregation was immature – they were termed “carnal” by the Apostle Paul. As we read his letter to the Corinthians we note the numerous problems in the church.

Consequently the possession of spiritual gifts is not equal to spiritual maturity. It is the fruit of the Spirit that we are to produce. This is our ultimate goal. The gifts of the Spirit are a means to an end; they are not the end.

How Can We Help Children Develop Their Spiritual Gifts? ← Prior Section
Why Is There So Much Division among Christians over Spiritual Gifts? Next Section →
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