Tuesday, 9 December 2014
…to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:9
Paul continues his list of gifts of the Spirit. Here in verse 9, he notes that “to another faith by the same Spirit” is given. This is obviously not speaking of saving faith because anyone who is in Christ has exercised faith in order to be saved. At that time he was sealed with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13, 14). Therefore, this must be speaking of the great faith that carries individuals and even congregations through the difficult times; that builds them up in hopes of meeting and overcoming obstacles; that can “move mountains” in order to smooth the path ahead; and which says, “It will all be ok because the Lord is with us.”
Such faith is seen at times where it is most needed and it is to such individuals that people turn for reassurance and edification.
In his next thought, Paul notes that “to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit” are passed out. It should be understood that the same preposition for “faith” is given for “healings.” In the previous verse and in this verse, the prepositions are listed as follows:
wisdom – dia (through)
knowledge – kata (according to)
faith – en (in, by)
healings – en (in, by)
Where wisdom comes through the Spirit and knowledge is given according to the Spirit, faith and healings are both in or by the Spirit. Therefore, faith and healings come about in the same fashion according to Paul’s description. This then must be healings which are beyond the normal “go to your doctor for a cure” healings. They are those healings which come by faith and through prayer. Having said this, there is no reason to accept the overly ostentatious (and quite profitable!) displays of supposed healings which permeate the charismatic churches of today. Sickness and disability can be as much a gift or learning experience from God as being healthy is. To suppose that one can “claim” healing in Jesus’ name is to usurp God’s right to leave someone sick for His good purposes. A few sicknesses of note will verify this:
1) In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul suffered with a “thorn in the flesh” which he begged the Lord to remove. Instead of doing so, he was told that the Lord’s grace was sufficient for Him through his sickness. He was told by the Lord that His “strength is made perfect in weakness.”
2) In Philippians 2:25-30, Paul writes in detail about the sickness which almost resulted in the death of Epaphroditus; a sickness he had no control over.
3) In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul wrote to Timothy that he should, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”
4) Paul wrote to Timothy that he left Trophimus sick in Miletus in 2 Timothy 4:20.
In these and other instances of infirmity found in the New Testament, there was no arrogant display of “claiming” healing. It was understood that the Lord had determined for these people to suffer through the sickness. Many verses are ripped out of context in order to justify that healing can and should be expected. Such misuse can only lead to dissatisfaction in one’s walk with the Lord.
A good example of such a verse is from 1 Peter 2:24 which says, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” This verse has nothing to do with physical healing. The context in which Peter writes is healing from sin. Without proper doctrine and right dividing of the word of God, the supposed “gift” of healing used by many people only brings discredit, not honor, on the Lord.
Life application: Ensure context is always considered when quoting Scripture.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the times when I have sickness. They may not be fun, but without them I wouldn’t know how great it is to simply feel good. Thank You for the gray and drizzly days. Without them, I wouldn’t appreciate the sunny days. And Lord, thank You for the sandspurs which get stuck between my toes from time to time. When I lay in a soft field of grass, I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much if I didn’t know that laying in a bed of sandspurs was another possibility. Through all the tough times Lord, I thank You. Amen.