Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spiritual Gifts- Healing

We come to the gifts of healing in our study of the charisms of the Spirit. Once again, we remind ourselves that the context of these verses is the church gathered. Beginning in 11.2 the Apostle has been talking about propriety in worship as the church gathers. it is in this context, that he has mentioned the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Paul sees these as equipment that the individual believers have distributed upon them by the Spirit so that they may minister one to another. In the same way that the other gifts are not the sole property of the one on whom they have been distributed, neither is the healing gift the express possession of one individual.

Interestingly enough, when we look at the verbiage we recognize the plural in both the word "gifts" and "healings". What is the significance of this? Some have  recognized that the gifts of healings refer to various healings of various diseases. The thought being that there is a variety of proficiencies in healing various diseases. But T. Holdcroft implores us to look deeper than that saying"... the Bible by no means restricts its presentation of God's provision for human healing to a limited scattering of gifted healers..." Truly, the gifts of healing may "shine forth" through many as the church gathers. God has given us direction in James 5.14,15 for the sick to call the elders of the church for prayer and anointing with oil. But any can used in healing, if they are open to the Holy Spirit's manifesting himself in such a way through them.

That these gifts are often attached to evangelists is of no surprise. Mark 16.17,18 reminds us that these signs shall accompany the proclamation of the Word. For we often see the celebration of healing and forgiveness in the same breath (Ps 103). We see these gifts in the lives of those apostles in the book of Acts. But these gifts of healing and other miraculous signs are not limited to those who are apostles as some have said. Philip, for instance (Acts 8.6) did many miracles in Samaria and Barnabus (Acts 14.3) had the word of grace confirmed by signs and wonders. Here in 1 Corinthians Paul is reminding them of the significance of the diversity of the Spirit's manifestations among them when they gather. We ought to be pricked to measure our gatherings against those of the Corinthian church, and to seek the gifts of healings and make room for them among us, realizing that we are given these gifts to compliment and equip the body of believers.

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