MLJ on Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12

The following quote from the Doctor expresses something important that many people don’t fully agree with today. Now, I am sure that the Doctor did not mean to say that the Spirit only works in us in these direct, spiritual ways. Clearly for example the Spirit inspires a preacher, and he inspires an administrator, and in those cases he is indeed helping us to use our natural gifts. But whilst Paul sometimes lists these two different types of gifts together (Eg Romans 12) in 1 Corinthians 12, many interpreters conclude that here he is talking about nine ways the Spirit specifically works in us. It seems that the Doctor is in this camp:

Now there are some principles which stand out clearly in the biblical teaching. The first is that the spiritual gifts must be differentiated from natural gifts. We all have natural gifts, but the spiritual gift, which any one of us may possess, is something separate from and entirely different from this. It is a gift that is given directly to us by the Holy Spirit. Let us go further and say that it does not even mean the heightening of a natural gift. Some people have fallen into that error. They have thought that what a spiritual gift really means is that a person’s natural gift is taken hold of by the Holy Spirit and heightened or made more vivid so that it therefore becomes a spiritual gift. But that is not what the Scripture would have us believe. A spiritual gift is something new, something different.

David Martyn. Lloyd-Jones, God the Holy Spirit (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossways Books, 1997), 265

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About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, and a writer. Since 1995 he has been a member of Jubilee Church London which has sites in Enfield, Wood Green and Ilford. Adrian serves as part of Jubilee's leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.


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