There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Most Christians are familiar with the various gifts of the Spirit, and, to the glory of God, many are blessing believers and unbelievers alike with them. Fewer Christians are aware that the Son and the Father also bestow particular gifts, and only a small portion are well-acquainted with them.
Scripture reveals that specific gifts are given by each member of the Trinity to build up the Body of Christ, with each member of the Body in turn serving and edifying the others with our varied gifts. All of these blessed gifts are unmerited tokens of God’s love for us: no one can earn a single one of them!
It is in First Corinthians 12:4-6 (see above) that God informs us He has three categories of spiritual gifts, each from a specific member of the God-head. Verse 4 informs us the Spirit gives different kinds of gifts (Greek: charismata, hence the origin of the term “charismatic”). Verse 5 tells us the Lord gives us different kinds of service or ministry (Greek: diakonia). Verse 6 explains that God gives different kinds of working, and that He works all of them in all men (not just believers); the Greek word here is energema, related to the Greek word from which “energy” is derived. To summarize, the Spirit gives different kinds of gifts (charismata), the Lord gives different kinds of services, or ministry (diakonia), and the Father works different kinds of working (energema) in all men.
The charismata are the familiar gifts of the Spirit. We will not address them here other than to say that the Holy Spirit gives them as He determines for short periods of time to born-again believers in Christ, and that Paul exhorted us to eagerly desire the greater gifts, especially the gift of prophecy (see 1 Cor. 12:11,31; 14:1). The gifts of the Son and of the Father, however, are chosen by them – we have no influence regarding which ones we might serve and bless our brothers and sisters with.
The diakonia are the services or ministries of the Lord, i.e. Son. They are addressed in Ephesians 4:7-13. This passage begins But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. Verse 11 continues It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers [the Greek for what has been translated here as “pastors and teachers” apparently indicates one group: teachers who tend a flock], to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up UNTIL we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (emphasis added).
Two important points are to be noted about what the word of God says here. First, these diakonia are services to prepare God’s people for works of service – they are not offices to edify the leaders on whom Christ bestows them! Many Christian leaders twist or pervert the diakonia today, promoting themselves and “their” ministry instead of humbly serving the Lord and His people. Secondly, note that emphasized word “UNTIL” at the beginning of Eph. 4:13. God’s word here is clear: Christ will continue to appoint saints to all four of these functions Himself UNTIL His Body is fully matured, and that hasn’t happened yet. In other words, apostles and prophets are as vital to Christ and His Body today as evangelists and pastor-teachers are; neither of these vital functions of the Church ceased after the first century, as erroneously taught in some churches.
(Praise God for delivering us from deceit and from both of these forms of pride! Praise Him for giving grace to the humble, and for enabling us to know and apprehend His glorious word!)
The energema are the workings of God, i.e. the Father.* They are addressed in Romans 12:4-8. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us (vv. 4-5). The seven are then named in verses 6-8: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. As we noted before, First Corinthians informs us that these particular gifts, or workings, are worked into all people. It is thus understood that the Father works them into us while He knits us inside the womb; they are part of our constitutional nature – they are what motivates or drives us. We each have some characteristics of all seven of the named patterns (see 1 Cor. 12:6), but one pattern predominates (see Romans 12:5-8). Once we receive Christ as our Lord, we start maturing in these constitutional make-ups; they are what motivates each member of the Body of Christ in serving the others, in carrying out God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Praising the Giver of such blessed gifts with you, your sister deanna
*These energema were called motivational gifts half a century ago, and are better known as the redemptive gifts today.