Romans Bible Study Lesson 51

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Spiritual Gifts

Romans 12:3—8

There is a connection between presenting yourself as a living sacrifice and your spiritual gift. God has given each believer spiritual gifts that are to be used for His glory. The only way we are able to please God is when we serve Him through His power. Without the Holy Spirit indwelling us it would be impossible for us to please God because we would be serving in our own power. Only when we reckon (consider) ourselves (our old nature) dead are we able to glorify God. Our body can be used for evil or good. By considering the old nature dead we allow the Holy Spirit to use the new nature unimpeded as instruments of righteousness.

Romans 6:11, 13 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Verse 3

The problem with humans is that we tend to be proud of things they we no right to be proud of. People are often proud of their nationality, looks or intelligence but these are usually things that they were born with, not something they accomplished. The same is true with our spiritual gifts. These gifts are bestowed on believers through God’s grace without the believer being involved in the process. In spite of this Paul had to warn believers not to be proud of what God has freely given them. Paul also had to warn the Gentile believers not to be proud that they were now a part of the olive tree. Again, it was God who was doing all the work.

In 1 Corinthian 12 Paul says we should not think too lowly of ourselves while in this verse he says we should not think too highly. Both thoughts are wrong because the focus is on the individual and not how God is able to work through an individual. God is the one who has distributed the gifts and He is the one who energizes us to be able to use them for His glory.

1 Corinthians 12:15—18 15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

Verses 4—5

The members of the Church in this age of Grace are likened to a body. Each believer is a member of the body and each member has a specific function. Our own body is made up of many different parts and each part performs its own task. We are able to get things done because all the parts work together smoothly in such a way that we hardly need to think about each individual part. When we eat, we don’t have to concentrate on our hand reaching out to pick up a fork then focus on our fingers wrapping around the handle to bring food to our mouth.

This is a picture of how the members of the Church should function—effortlessly and smoothly without anything hindering or impeding of progress. If we treated each other like we treated our body parts we would respect each other and want what’s best for everyone we interact with. We would also respect each person’s function with the understanding that the body is composed of many different parts that are all critical for the proper performance of the entire body. As Paul puts it, we are individual members one of another. We are dysfunctional without other body parts interacting with us.

Verses 6—8

Notice that Paul assumes that every believer has a spiritual gift and that we all have different levels of giftedness—all in accordance with God’s grace. God did not give everyone the same gift or proportion of gifts but He distributed them according to His purpose.

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

The Gifts

The gifts God has given the members of the Church seem to fall into three categories. The ministry gifts are actually the people who serve in certain areas and are given to the Church for its edification (Ephesians 4:11). These people are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

The second group are the manifestation gifts and are found in 1 Corinthians 12:7—10. These are gifts given to individuals and are supernatural in nature. They include such things as gifts of healing, speaking in tongues and word of knowledge. When Peter knew Ananias and Sapphira had lied about giving all their money, it was through a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit that imparted this information. According to Paul (and through observation) we know these gifts have been done away. I believe they were done away with when God was completely through with Israel and after the Mystery was fully conveyed to Paul (1 Corinthians 13:8—10).

The last group is the Motivational gifts. These gifts or abilities are a part of our personality but as believers we need to allow God to use them for His purpose. We can use our gift for our own personal gain or we can use them for the glory of God. The seven gifts are prophecy (perceiver), server, teacher, exhorter, giver, leader (administrator) and compassion.