ATTRIBUTES, QUALITIES, FUNCTIONS, AND POWERS OF THE HOLY SPIRITBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
After God the Father has transformed a person into one of his children through the power of his spirit, that person has certain new and varied attributes and abilities through the power of the holy spirit that resides within them. Along with these new attributes and abilities that each of the elect is given at baptism, Jesus Christ may authorize certain individuals with additional specialized authorizations and powers for the benefit of the elect and the performance of the work of proclaiming the Father's good news message to the world as a witness and warning.
The following are three major areas in which the Father and Jesus Christ have authorized the elect of God to use the power of the holy spirit:
1. Spiritual Success
God the Father and Jesus Christ have an intense desire for those who are called to salvation to succeed in becoming immortal beings in the Family of God. Through the indwelling of the holy spirit, they have provided powerful tools to help the children of God accomplish the following:
2. Building the Church
Part of what the Father and Jesus Christ are doing here on earth, through the power of the holy spirit, involves the building of a physical organization that will perform the following functions:
3. The Work of the Church
The work of the church is to proclaim the Father's good news message and his soon coming kingdom as a warning and witness to the world.
All of these areas of the holy spirit's influence overlap each-other to one degree or another, because all three must work together to perform the work of God in the end of this age.
OPPORTUNITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
In order to gain a clear understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities of the elect of God pertaining to the attributes, qualities, functions, and authority to use the power of the holy spirit, it is important to review the following areas of the holy spirit's influence:
The first area of the holy spirit's influence to be considered is the personal growth of the child of God toward spiritual maturity and perfection. The following is a partial list of the attributes, functions, and qualities of the holy spirit, and some of the benefits that a child of God should derive from having this spirit-power dwelling within them.
The Spirit of God:
ADVOCATE AND HELPER
"But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the holy spirit—he [it] will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you" (Jn.14:26 LBP).
The English word 'comforter' is translated from the Greek word 'parakletos', which means 'advocate' or 'helper'. This power from the Father is indeed an advocate and helper to us in our physical and spiritual life.
Although love is the greatest gift of God (1.Cor.13:1-13), it is through the exercising of faith that all other attributes, qualities, authorizations, and powers of the spirit are accessed, increased, or acquired.
Because having faith is an extremely important part of having access to the power of the spirit, it follows that a person must know what faith is. The two types of faith that impact spiritual growth and access to spiritual power are: faith that is belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and their promises, and faith that is power through which works are produced. These two types of faith are different, yet they both must be used in order to gain more spiritual power.
COMPONENTS OF FAITH
The three major components of faith (i.e., belief) are knowledge, performance, and confidence:
In Acts 2:38, we see that those who want to receive the holy spirit must repent. In order to repent a person must have the knowledge of what to repent of before they can truly repent. Not only must a person know what to repent of, but they also must understand what repentance is and how to repent.
Acts 5:32 shows that the holy spirit is given to those who obey; however, to obey, a person must know what to obey.
Spiritual knowledge and understanding must be based on truth, which is not a nebulous unclear notion or mystical philosophic idea. Jesus says that the Father's word is truth. A lack of knowledge and understanding of God's word is a barrier to having the kind of faith that pleases the Father and produces powerful works.
Both Acts 2:38 and 5:32 show that a person is required to take positive action based on what they know and understand is necessary to receive the holy spirit (i.e., repentance, baptism, and obedience):
"Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit" (Acts 2:38 KJV).
"And we are witnesses of these things, and is also the holy spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32 Para.).
Because the approximately three thousand people who were gathered together on the festival of Pentecost in 30 A.D. knew that the God of Israel was real and believed that Jesus was the Messiah who was sent to save them, they had confidence that, if they did what they were told in reference to repentance and baptism, they would receive the power of the holy spirit. See Acts 2:37-41.
In Acts 2:38 and 5:32, we see all three components of faith that is belief. A person must have knowledge and take positive action on this knowledge in order to have the confidence that God will fulfill his promise based upon their knowledge and positive action.
Faith That is Belief
Faith that is belief and faith that is power are tied together. Without faith that is belief, a person cannot use or access faith that is power.
James 2:12-24 LBP
"But someone may well argue, You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can't prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act. Are there still some among you who hold that only believing is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the devils believe this too so strongly that they tremble in terror! Dear foolish man! When will you ever learn that believing is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith" (vs.18-20).
The King James Version renders the last half of verse 20: "Faith without works is dead."
True faith (i.e., true belief) must be followed by positive actions in order to accomplish a righteous way of life and fulfill one's calling. Faith that is power can be manifested in the realms of physical and spiritual reality (Matt.17:20; Eph.6:12). And faith that is belief is the link between faith that is power and the physical and spiritual realms of existence. It is through the exercising of faith that is belief that a child of God is able to exercise faith that is power. Therefore, neither kind of faith is independent of the other and they must be used together:
Faith That is Power
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.11:1 Para.).
Here, the English word 'substance' is translated from the Greek word 'hupostasis', which means 'the reality of the things hoped for' in this context. If one has the kind of faith that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 17:20, the thing hoped for will become reality in the spiritual or physical realm of existence, because the spiritual power that will cause it to become reality has been accessed and set in motion through faith that is belief.
It is through the gift of faith that is power, that all of those mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were able to perform great works and have spiritual success in their lives. Please read Heb.11:1-40:
"For one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another faith by the same spirit. . ." (1.Cor.12:8-9 KJV).
Faith to Move a Mountain
While speaking to his disciples about the reason they could not cast a certain demon out of a child, Jesus says, "For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard; you shall say to this mountain, move from here to there! And it will move. And nothing shall be impossible to you" (Matt.17:20 Para.).
Faith that is power is much more than just believing in something and hoping that it will happen. Moreover, a child of God who has this kind of faith has the ability to convert spirit energy into physical energy in order to perform awesome acts.
Faith that is power also has the three basic components of Faith that is belief: knowledge, performance and confidence. However, this kind of faith has substance, tangible energy, and power that can be used to produce works.
It was through faith that is power that Moses, the prophets, Jesus Christ, the apostles, and many others in the past were able to perform their great supernatural acts.
Jesus truly did great things, because the Father gave him great faith that is power and he had an unlimited supply of spirit-power. See Jn.3:34.
Jesus healed the sick, resurrected the dead, walked on water, turned water into wine, and performed many other supernatural acts through the power of the spirit. Although Jesus did great works, he says that those who believe in him will do even greater works:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (Jn.14:12 KJV).
How is it possible to do greater things than Christ did? It is possible because Christ did not fully use the power that was available to him through faith that is power. The elect who will be given powerful faith just before the return of Christ will be able to perform even greater works through this same spirit-power.
Although faith is the most powerful gift of the spirit, Godly love is the most important attribute, because a person must have and grow in love to remain a child of God:
"He that does not love, does not know God; for God is love" (1.Jn.4:8 Para.).
All the things the Father isChis infinite energy, his power, and his presenceCare centered around and defined in the words 'God is Love.'
It is because God is love and will not change (Mal.3:6) that we have the assurance that he will fulfill his awesome plan for humanity.
The Father's Love
"In this was the love of God the Father manifested toward us, because he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins" (1.Jn.4:9-10 Para.).
The Father's great love for humanity can be seen through his act of allowing his only Son to give his life for us. Neither the Father nor his Son had ever been human. The risk was enormous, because there was no guarantee of success. If his Son had failed to keep the law perfectly, he would have died forever. The Father would have lost his only Son who is the only other immortal being to ever exist. Moreover, the Father would have been alone for eternity, if he had lost his Son and companion:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Jn.3:16-17 KJV).
The Love of Jesus
Before becoming a human, Jesus was an immortal spirit-being (the Creator God) who possessed the highest form of existence: life that springs forth from itself, never dying or decaying. This immortal being who was not subject to death, emptied himself of his glory, power, and immortality to become a mortal man, in order to attempt to live a sinless life in the flesh, then sacrifice his life in an agonizing death as payment for the sins of all humanity (See 1.Cor.6:20; 7:23). Jesus is the love of God personified. See our study concerning who God is.
Deep and Abiding Love
Deep and abiding love and concern for others is the kind of love that the Father and Christ want those called to salvation to perfect through the power of the holy spirit:
"Knowing that affliction works out patience, and patience works out proven character, and proven character, hope. And the hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the holy spirit given to us" (Rom.5:3-5 Para.). See also 2.Tim.1:6-7; 13-14.
It is because of the love of God, which has been placed within a child of God, that they can grow spiritually and have hope in their calling.
Notice what Paul was inspired to say to the Corinthians about the importance of love in relation to all other power that can be manifested through the holy spirit:
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become as a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecies, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love I am nothing. And if I give out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love I am not profited anything. Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; does not behave indecently; does not pursue its own things; is not easily provoked; thinks no evil; does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in all truth; quietly covers all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things; love never fails" (1.Cor.13:1-7 Para.).
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that love is the result of having the spirit of God (Gal.5:9;22). To the Thessalonians he says that no one can be saved without this kind of love within them (2.Thes.2:9-10).
Notice some of the other very important things that are said about this powerful and necessary attribute of the spirit of God:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Even as it has been written, "For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep of the slaughter." But in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that has loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Rom.8:35-39 Para.).
The reason no person or thing is able to separate a child of God from the love of the Father in Christ is that the love of the Father and Christ is within the child of God through the holy spirit that dwells in them. Therefore, it is impossible for an outside force to separate them.
THE LAW OF LOVE
Another aspect of the Father's love is manifested in his immutable law, which he places within the hearts of his children:
"For this is the agreement that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:10 para.). See also Jer.31:33; Ezk.36:27.
"Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart" (2.Cor.3:3 KJV).
When one receives the holy spirit, the laws of God are made a part of their very nature and being, which makes it possible to be conscious of the difference between righteous and unrighteous concepts and behavior. Having these laws as a constant part of their consciousness alerts a child of God to the right spiritual path that they should follow as they experience life with its various trials and temptations.
Love Through Law
One manifestation of the Father's love is his righteous law, which defines righteous behavior. The holy spirit places this law within the sons of God, and the realization that this law governs one's attitudes and behaviors is powerful evidence that one has the holy spirit:
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not heavy" (1.Jn.5:2-3 Para.).
"And by this we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: and hereby know we that we are in him" (1.Jn.2:4-5 KJV). See also 1.Jn.2:13-15; 3:23; 4:7-8, 16.
John clearly states that whoever says they know God and does not keep his law is a liar. A person cannot know God unless they obey his law, because his law reveals his character and personality:
"He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas said unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and make our abode with him. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me" (Jn.14:21-24 KJV).
These verses show that, if a person has the holy spirit dwelling within them, they will obey the Father's holy and righteous law.
THE SPIRIT IS POWER
The baptism of the holy spirit is the most important event that can ever happen to any human, because it is at this point in time that God the Father's spirit-power is placed within a person. It is at this time that a person becomes a child of God and the Father gives them the authority to use his spirit power so that they are able to obtain victory over sin and death and live forever within his divine family.
To Become a Son
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13 KJV).
Victory over Sin
"For if you live after the flesh, you shall die; but if you, through the spirit kill the deeds of the body, you shall live" (Rom.8:13 KJV Para.).
Victory over Death
"But if the spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One having raised the Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of his spirit in you" (Rom.8:11 Para.). See also Job 4:17, Jn.5:21, 2.Cor.5:1-5, Rom.6:12; 1.Pet.3:18.
It is through the power of the Father's spirit that a person is made sinless through the blood of Christ, preserved in a sinless condition, and resurrected into an eternal and immortal being in the Family of God:
"Now Glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of—infinity beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the church through Jesus Christ" (Eph.3:20-21 LBP).
Sealed With the Spirit
"But He confirming us and anointing us with you in Christ is God. And having sealed us and giving the earnest of the spirit in our hearts. And I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. Not that we rule over your faith, but we are fellow-workers of your joy. For by faith you stand" (2.Cor.1:21-23 Para.).
Here, Paul speaks of the promises of the Father to those he has called to salvation. The Greek word translated into English as 'sealed' is 'sphragizo', which can mean 'to stamp with a signet or private mark for preservation or security'. And by implication, it means 'to keep secret', 'attest', or 'seal up.' Paul says that the Father has sealed the elect and made them his possession.
The English word 'earnest' in verse 22 is translated from the Greek word 'arrhabon', which means 'part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the balance of what is pledged.'
It is this down payment of the holy spirit residing within the elect of God that gives the assurance to a son of God that the Father will redeem them from death and fulfill his promise to give them eternal and immortal life. See also Eph.1:13; 4:30.
Paul also addresses the frustration of living in the flesh, while desiring to dwell in the spirit realm. Moreover, he talks about the assurance of success that we have through the power of the holy spirit that dwells within us.
2.Corinthians 5:1-6 Paraphrased
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven. For this we groan, greatly desiring to be clothed with our dwelling place out of heaven; if indeed in being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For indeed being in the tabernacle, we groan, having been weighted down, inasmuch as we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that the mortal may be swallowed up by the life" (vs.1-4).
Although it is sometimes frustrating to not be totally composed of spirit for those who have the spirit of God dwelling within them, they still have the assurance through the power of the holy spirit that resides within them that they have the power to succeed and become totally spirit one day:
"And He having worked in us for this same thing is God, who also is giving us the earnest of the spirit. Then always being fully assured, and knowing that being at home in the body we are away from home from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight" (vs.5-6).
"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in heaven and earth is named, that he may give you according to the riches of his glory by his power to become mighty in the inward man through his spirit, that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts, having been rooted and founded in love. . .. Now to him being able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the power working within us" (Eph.3:14-18;20 Para.).
It is through exercising the power of holy spirit in one's life that a child of God becomes spiritually strong.
Another function of the spirit of God is to help a child of God toward spiritual success through its advocacy and help in communicating our thoughts, emotions, desires, frustrations, and needs to the Father and Christ:
"And likewise the spirit also joins in to help our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit pleads our case for our groaning that cannot be uttered. But the One searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit because it intercedes for the saints according to God" (Rom.8:26-27 Para.). See Isa.65:24.
Truly, a person does not always know exactly what they need or how to express their emotions, thoughts, desires, and needs. One of the functions of the indwelling of the spirit of God is to act as an information gathering and communication system between a person and the God family. This function of the spirit allows the Father and Christ to constantly be aware of the innermost emotions, thoughts, desires, and/or needs of those called to salvation:
"But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you. Don't recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!" (Matt.6:6-8 LBP). See also Matt.6:25-33; 7:28-31; 18:10; Heb.1:14.
Because the spirit communicates one's true physical and spiritual condition to the Father and Christ, the child of God can always have the assurance that, even before asking anything of the Father, he already knows what they need:
"A man's conscience [spirit] is the Lord's search-light exposing his hidden motives" (Pro.20:27 LBP). The King James translation renders this scripture: "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly."
Access to the Father
"For through him, we both have access by one spirit to the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph.2:18-19 KJV). See also Heb.4:14-16.
Through the power of the holy spirit and the office of Jesus Christ who is the administrator of the holy spirit, we are able to communicate with the Father. See Heb.4:14-16.
"It is the spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it sees it not, neither knows it: but you know it; and it dwells with you, and shall be in you" (Jn.14:17 KJV Para.). See also Jn.15:26.
The holy spirit is the custodian and repository of all truth. Because this spirit-power resides within the children of God, they have access to all truth, knowledge, and understanding that is necessary for spiritual growth.
A GUIDE TO TRUTH
"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when it the spirit of truth, is come, it will guide you into all truth: for it shall not speak of itself; but whatever it shall hear, that shall it speak;. . ." (Jn.16:12-13 KJV paraphrased). See also 1.Cor.2:11, 1.Pet.1:12.
The spirit is used by the Father and Jesus Christ to guide those called to salvation into truth as they endeavor to grow toward spiritual maturity and perform the responsibilities they have been given.
A TEACHER AND REMINDER
"But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the holy spirit—he [it] will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you" (Jn.14:26 LBP).
The holy spirit is a teacher and reminder of the things taught by Christ. Through this function of the holy spirit, those called to salvation are able to internalize the truth of God.
REVEALS PROPHETIC EVENTS
"And it will show you things to come. It shall glorify me, for it shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you" (Jn.16:13-14 KJV). See also Acts 11:27-28; Rev.1:1.
It is evident from the scriptures that the prophets and the early church did not have a perfect understanding of some prophetic events (see Dan. chp.12). However, they did understand what was necessary for their time and circumstances. It is also evident that Christ and the prophets foretold that, just before the end of the age of human rule, these events will be understood by the sons of God.
REVEALS MYSTERIES AND SECRETS
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote before in few words, Whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit" (Eph.3:1-5 KJV).
SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE AND DISCERNMENT
Paul also confirms that the spirit has power to reveal spiritual knowledge and discernment to the sons of God:
1.Corinthians 2:9-16 Paraphrased
"According as it has been written, 'Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,' nor has it risen up into the heart of man, 'the things which God has prepared for those that love him. But God revealed them to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches all things, even the depths of God For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the spirit of God" (vs.9-11). See also verses 13-16; Psa.119:172; Rom.2:13.
Knowledge about humanity's physical realm of existence is discerned by the human spirit, and knowledge about the spiritual realm of existence is discerned by God's spirit:
"But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit from God; that we may know the things freely given to us by God" (v12).
Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are not like other human beings, because they have been given the Father's holy spirit, which gave them access to spiritual knowledge and understanding. This knowledge and understanding includes God's plan for humanity, what the spirit of God is, who and what God is, and many other things pertaining to the spirit realm:
"Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught of the holy spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things" (v13).
The knowledge taught by Paul, other apostles, and elders was not obtained from the spirit of man; it was knowledge conveyed to them through one of the functions of the holy spirit that resided within them.
"But a natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But truly the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him? But we have the mind of Christ" (vs.14-16). See also 1.Cor.2:11.
A human with only the spirit of man cannot receive or understand the things of God, because they are of the original human creation. However, sons of God are not of the original creation; they are a new and different creature and have different potentials and abilities. Therefore, they have the ability to discover and understand the true meaning of physical and spiritual things as they pertain to the plan of God.
A WITNESS OF CHRIST
"And when the comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the spirit of Truth which precedes from the Father, that One will witness concerning me" (Jn.15:26 Para.).
The holy spirit will be evidence to the child of God that what Jesus said and did was true. This witness of the spirit is abundantly clear to those who have the holy spirit, because of the various things that are manifested in their life through the power of the holy spirit.
THE CHURCH AND ITS WORK
Along with all of the various things that are given through the holy spirit that are necessary for personal growth, there are also many different attributes, qualities, powers, and authorizations that are given to be used for the physical and spiritual functioning of the church, which includes the churche's work of warning and witnessing to the world.
Specialized Authorizations, Gifts, and Power
"Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but the ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man I have planted, Apollos has watered: But God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his labor. 'For we are labors together with God" (1.Cor.3:4-9 KJV para.).
Please read verses 10-15, which speak of the care that must be taken in doing a work for God.
Although many at Corinth were blessed with specialized spiritual gifts, some did not understand the proper attitude they should have concerning the use of these gifts.
Among the things that concerned Paul about the Corinthians was their attitude of self importance, vanity, and pride, and their lack of understanding of the unity of purpose that was necessary in order to have collective spiritual growth and to perform the work of the church.
"But as to spiritual things, brothers, I do not wish you to be ignorant. You know that being led away you Gentiles were led to dumb idols. Therefore, I make known to you that no one speaking by the spirit of God says Jesus is a curse. And no one is able to say Jesus is Lord, except by the holy spirit" (vs.1-3 Para.).
Here, Paul says that he does not want them to be ignorant about spiritual matters that include a broad spectrum of spiritual attitudes, behaviors, and uses of spirit-power.
"Now God gives many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same holy spirit which is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. The spirit displays God's power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church" (vs.4-7 LPB).
Here, Paul says that different authorizations, gifts, and powers are given for the benefit of the entire Church:
"For to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; To another faith by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discern- ing of spirits; to another divers kinds of languages; To another the interpretation of languages" (vs.8-10 KJV).
There are two very important things to learn about these spiritual authorizations and powers from these three verses:
1. Not everyone is given the same authorization or power.
2. It is one spirit through which these authorizations and powers flow.
Distribution of Power
"But the one and same spirit works all these things, distributing separately to each as he wills. For as the body is one, and has many members, But all the members of the one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For also we all were baptized by one spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, even all were given to drink into one spirit" (vs.11-13 Para.).
A Unified Body
"For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him" (vs.14-18 KJV). See also Rom.12:1-8; Heb.2:4.
Paul stresses the point of unity and the necessity of the body (i.e., the church) to work together and use the various spiritual attributes and powers that the Father has given to the church.
Each Member Has a Purpose
"And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you" (vs.19-21 KJV).
Paul rebukes those who thought their particular attribute, talent, or spiritual gift was superior to another member's:
"No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness" (vs.22-23 KJV).
God the Father has specifically called and chosen each individual for their part in the church (Jn.6:44,65). Each is necessary and important and has a function and responsibility to fulfill.
"For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism [division] in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. [see 1.Cor.1:13-14]. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular" (vs.24-27 KJV).
Order of Relative Importance
"And God has set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of languages. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with languages? do all interpret?" (vs.28-30 KJV).
Paul's questions seem to be designed to emphasize the point that every member does not have the same authorizations and powers, but whatever an individual has was given for the benefit of the entire church, and each member must use this power for the good of all.
When the Father calls a person to become his son and a part of his great work here on earth, he gives as many authorizations to use his spirit-power as he deems necessary for the perfection of the individual and the church.
Each Member is Important
"And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;, For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph.4:11-13 KJV).
The spiritual authorizations and powers that a member of the body of Christ is blessed with are not for one's own personal aggrandizement or entertainment. These spiritual gifts are for the performing of the work of the church and the edification and enrichment of the elect of God who are being prepared to serve all of humanity through the Family and Government of God.
It is important to understand that every member does not have exactly the same authorization to use the various powers of the spirit. The Father knows the strengths and weakness of each person he calls to salvation and he calls each for a specific purpose.
Some might think that a person does not have spiritual power unless they are able to work great miracles, heal the sick, or foretell the future. However, these are only the more visible and spectacular acts that can be performed through the power of the spirit. They only seem more important because they are more visible and dynamic in presentation; however, they are not the most important.
Although Paul does not mention all of the various attributes, qualities, functions, and authorizations that can be manifested through the power of the spirit, his point is that all spiritual power given to the elect of God must be used for the benefit of all.
The Importance of Love
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that love is the result of having the spirit of God (Gal.5:9,22), and to the Thessalonians he says that no one can be saved without the love of God within them (2.Thes.2:9-10).
"Wherefore I desire that you faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory, For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by the spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you be rooted and grounded in love" (Eph.3:15-17 KJV). See also 1.Cor.13:1-7.
Without exercising the gift of love, all other gifts of the spirit become powerless and useless. Love is sometimes unseen; however, its power can be dramatic and monumental in scope and effect. By understanding and exercising the spiritual attributes of love, faith, and works, a person can become increasingly stronger in the spirit until they reach spiritual maturity and perfection.
POWER TO WITNESS FOR CHRIST
"You shall receive power after that the holy spirit is come upon you: and you will be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8 KJV). See also Lk.24:49; Jn.14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-18; Rom.15:13.
Here, Jesus says that the spirit of God empowers the sons of God with the ability and power to proclaim the Good News about him:
"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by me, to make the gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Rom.15:18-19 KJV). See also 1.Cor.2:24; 1.Pet.1:12.
"For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy spirit, and in much assurance, as you know what we were among you for your sake" (1.Thes.1:5 Para.). See Heb.2:4.
It is the Father's power that will enable the children of God to do their great work at the end of the age just before Christ's return.
GUIDANCE THROUGH THE SPIRIT
There are many references in both the Old and New Testaments that show how the power of the holy spirit was used to inspire, guide, and direct those whom God was working through.
Philip was directed by an angelic messenger who told him to go to Gaza where he would meet an Ethiopian. Philip did this, and when he saw the man, "The spirit said to Philip, go and join yourself to the chariot", which he did and the Ethiopian was baptized and became a son of God. See Acts 8:26-38.
In the account of Philip and the Ethiopian, a spirit messenger and the power of the holy spirit were used to communicate instructions to Philip.
In Acts 13:1-2, there is a communication through the spirit, which states, "Separate Barnabas and Paul for the work where I have called them." This was another direct intervention through the spirit for the purpose of giving Barnabas and Paul a specific task. See also Acts 10:17-20; 16:6-10; 21:3-4; Gal.1:12.
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men. For they will betray you to the Sanhedrin, and will flog you in their synagogues. And also you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious how or what you should say, for it will be given to you in that hour what you should say. For you are not the ones speaking, but the spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matt.10:16-20 Para.).
Jesus promises that inspiration to speak the words of God will be given through the spirit when it is necessary to provide a powerful witness to those persecuting the children of God.
AUTHORIZATIONS, GIFTS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The following is a list of twenty-one separate authorizations, gifts, and responsibilities that are given by God the Father and administered to his elect children through Jesus Christ for the edification of the church and the performance of its work.
7. Discerning of Spirits
OTHER ATTRIBUTES, QUALITIES, FUNCTIONS, AND POWERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Beside the many attributes, qualities, functions, and powers already mentioned, there are others noted in the Bible that are worthy of mention in order to gain a better understanding of the great and awesome power that the Father will place at the disposal of his children to help them grow into spiritual maturity and perform a great work for him.
Other Authorizations Mentioned in the Bible
Power to be used against evil spirits
Power to make decisions on earth and in heaven
Power over life and death
Power of a person's presence
Power over the physical universe
Power to resurrect the dead
Transportation through time and space
A Serious Warning
Although each person is accountable to the Father and his Son for whatever spiritual attributes, qualities, functions, or authorizations they have been given through the holy spirit, those who have been given stewardship over some specialized authorizations of spiritual power are given an extremely serious warning to maintain faith and use this power for the purpose it was given:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy spirit. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessings from God. But that which brings forth thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Heb.6:4-8 KJV).
The awesome spirit-power these individuals have been trusted with is only a taste of the power that the Father will ultimately give to those who are given immortality in his divine family. If a person cannot be trusted with a very small amount (just a taste) of authority and power, the Father will never trust them with the unlimited power of his spirit for all eternity.
The holy spirit is an energy, force, and power that is very complex and cannot be accurately described by a single word. However, the scriptures do reveal that the Father's spirit is whatever the Father wants it to be.
The holy spirit originates from, emanates from, and belongs to the Father and it has as many attributes, functions, and qualities as he deems necessary in order for it to perform his will and work throughout his vast realm.
The holy spirit is the sum total of all energy and power that permeates and sustains all that the Father has created through Christ. This is the limitless power that the Father wants to share with those he calls to salvation.