Why don't we see more spiritual gifts in the Church of God today?


It depends what is meant by “spiritual gifts.”

Some equate
“spiritual gifts” with magnificent spectacular miracles and wonders,
such as public healings or the calling down of fire from heaven. It is
true, of course, that Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth,
performed many spectacular miracles (Acts 2:22), and that some of the
early apostles of the New Testament Church were able to do likewise
(Acts 2:43: 5:12). We read that Christ did many more miracles than have
been recorded in the Bible (John 21:25). We are also informed that
people were even healed when Peter’s shadow fell on them (Acts
5:14-16). We are told that at the very end time, just prior to the “Day
of the Lord” and Christ’s return, His Church will be given the power to
perform spectacular miracles (Joel 2:28-31), and the Two Witnesses will
have the power to call down fire from heaven, when and if necessary
(Revelation 11:3-6).

We should also realize, however, that God
has wisely decided not to grant such spectacular powers to the Church
or His disciples all the time, because of very important reasons. We
read that John the Baptist, even though he was the greatest of all men
born of a woman (Matthew 11:11), did not perform ANY sign or miracle
(John 10:41). During His public ministry, Christ was at times very
careful NOT to perform miracles in public, or to have made His miracles
known (Matthew 8:1-4; 9:27-30; Mark 1:40-45; Mark 5:43; Mark 7:36; Mark
8:26). He even commanded the demons, as well as His disciples, not to
tell anyone that He was the Messiah–the Son of God (Matthew 16:20;
Mark 1:34; 3:11-12). He knew that once He was revealed as the Messiah,
it would be difficult for Him to preach the gospel openly (Mark 1:45;
Luke 5:15-16), and He said that the preaching of the gospel was one of
the reasons for His First Coming (Luke 4:43).

He also stated that
many of those who began to follow Him did not do so because they wanted
to learn the truth from Him, or because of His signs which He
performed, but because of the physical benefits which accompanied the
signs (John 6:26). It is true that the signs and miracles which He did
should have been enough evidence for the people, and for us today, that
He was and is the Son of God (John 10:25, 37-38; 20:30-31).
However, they were not sufficient in many cases (John 12:37; 15:24),
and when they were, they did not provide a lasting basis for the people
to stay loyal and committed. Even though His own disciples had seen His
signs and wonders, many of them left when they became offended by His
teachings (John 6:60-66). We also read, of course, that the public
miracles of Christ and the early apostles brought about persecution
(John 5:15-16; 11:45-53), preventing Him to “walk… openly among the
Jews” (verse 54).

We should also consider the possibility that a
lack of faith might prevent God from granting power to the Church to
perform public miracles. Even Jesus could not do many miracles among
those who did not believe in Him or God’s Power (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark

Most importantly, however, is the realization that God
has a time table. He knows WHEN the time is right to give His end-time
Church the power to perform public miracles, which will, in turn,
invite persecution from Satan and those under his influence (Matthew
24:9; John 15:20). Right now, God is more interested in the Church’s
fulfillment of its ongoing commission to preach the gospel in all the
world as a witness (Matthew 24:14). At the same time, He warns us that
some will arise to perform miracles and signs, but they will DECEIVE
many (Matthew 24:11, 24). Even a charismatic religious figure, soon to
manifest himself on the world scene, will be able to perform public
miracles, but he will do so with the power of Satan, not of God
(Revelation 13:11-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9).

Christ came to
proclaim the gospel or the good news of the Kingdom of God to the
people–mainly those in Judea. But He told His disciples that they
would preach the gospel in all the world (Acts 1:8), and that He would
give them the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to do that. He said
that His Church would do greater WORKS (not necessarily public signs
and wonders) than He did, as He would go to the Father (John 14:12). He
poured out of the Holy Spirit from on high which He received from the
Father (Luke 24:49). And we can safely say that Christ has already
fulfilled His promise in these days–the gospel of the Kingdom of God
is being proclaimed in all the world. This has been made possible
through the marvelous technical inventions of the printing press,
radio, television and the Internet. It was not Christ’s purpose at His
time to have the gospel proclaimed in many other countries, but He knew
that in subsequent times, He would do so through His Church. Of course,
we realize that the technological advances have also made it possible
that big, powerful churches proclaim false gospel messages in all the
world–hence Christ’s warning to His disciples not to be deceived by
such false churches and doctrines.

The fact, however, that we do
not see God’s Church perform spectacular public miracles today, which
would attract worldwide attention, does not mean that God does not use
His Church today to perform miracles; or that He has not bestowed
spiritual gifts on His ministry and the Church as a whole. Every time
God’s ministers anoint sick persons with oil and pray for their
healing, or send an anointed cloth to the sick person, and that such
sick person is healed, God has performed a miracle. Every time God
protects His children from physical or spiritual harm, God has
performed a miracle. Every time God’s disciples are obedient to His
laws, even in situations which seemingly make it impossible to do so,
God has performed a miracle. Every time a person understands the truth
and responds to the gospel message, repents of his sins, believes in
Christ and His sacrifice, becomes obedient to God’s Word, and is
baptized and receives the Holy Spirit, God has bestowed spiritual gifts
on that person and has performed a miracle. Every time God’s Church is
receiving a better understanding of God’s Word, thereby growing in the
knowledge of Jesus Christ, God has performed a miracle and bestowed on
His Church a priceless spiritual gift. And every time one of God’s
children overcomes the temptation of forsaking the truth, resisting
false teachers and wrong doctrines, God has performed a miracle.

greatest miracle of all is that both the Father and Jesus Christ are
willing to live in true Christians, through the power of the Holy
Spirit. And what a great miracle it will be when, at the return of
Jesus Christ, true Christians will receive the gift of eternal life
(Romans 6:23) and the gift of the inheritance of the Kingdom of God
(Luke 12:32)–when they will be changed from mortal to immortal; from
flesh and blood to spirit; from a human being to a God being! Rather
than looking for outward signs and wonders, let us concentrate on what
God HAS BEEN giving to His true Church. Christ said that the greatest
GIFT which God the Father is willing to bestow on us, is His Holy
Spirit (Luke 11:13; John 4:10; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:45). God’s Spirit in
us enables us to develop the very MIND of God (2 Timothy 1:7),
including His very characteristics, such as His love, His peace, His
joy and His faith (Galatians 5:22-23).

Let us consider what
spiritual GIFTS, in particular, God is referring to in His Word, which
He gives to us today, and which we must deeply appreciate and value. We
read in 1 Corinthians 12 about all kinds of spiritual gifts, such as
gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits,
and different kinds of tongues or languages (verses 1, 9-10). Paul says
that not everyone in the Church has the same identical gifts (verse 4),
but all gifts are given “to each one for the profit of all”–the entire
Church (verse 7). God gives individual spiritual gifts to some so that
the entire Church can be built up. That is why He GIVES “some to be
apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and
teachers, for the equipping of the saints… for the edifying of the
body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
But, the greatest or best spiritual GIFTS of God to us are His love,
His faith and His hope (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:13).

let us never belittle God’s awesome POWER which He gives to all of us
if we are His children, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. God’s power
WILL change the world–in His due time. In the meantime, let us make
sure that the spiritual GIFT of God’s power changes US.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

©2024 Church of the Eternal God