I have been the recipient of what is commonly known as “divine healing.” I have been used by the Lord to administer that same gift as well as other gifts of the (Holy) Spirit (I Cor. 12:1,4). Therefore, I understand why people make a common mistake relative to those who possess such spiritual gifts. The assumption is that, because one can perform miracles, he is right with God. As the Lord reveals in His Holy Bible, that is not necessarily true. In fact, it is rarely true. Having operated in that spiritual realm both before and after my conversion, I know from first-hand experience that the socially true statement: “All that glitters is not gold,” also holds true relative to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. To prove this Truth we will turn to the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth.
Evidently there was a problem developing in the Corinthian church concerning spiritual gifts and their manifestations. In chapter 12 we find him telling the church about such gifts and how they were to be administered. The same information applies today. In verse three he reminds us that one who speaks ill of Jesus Christ is not being led by the Holy Spirit. Conversely, one can call Jesus “Lord” only through the Holy Spirit. This means that if an adulterating, lying, cheating, child molesting, thieving television pastor of a globally renowned church calls Jesus “Lord,” he is being prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. Recall that Judas Iscariot had the same ministry as did the other disciples, that he preached the gospel, healed the sick and cast out devils, and that he was a thief (Acts 1:7/ Jn. 12:6/ Lk. 10:17).
In verses four to eleven Paul tells us that the Lord has given His people a variety of “gifts” that He administers through the Holy Spirit. To His church the Lord has given such spiritual gifts as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, identifying of spirits, speaking in unknown languages and interpretation of unknown languages. Some people are given multiple gifts. All such gifts are administered through the same Holy Spirit. Let it be understood that man has no such power of himself. Man is simply the vessel through whom the Lord works His miracles. God and men work “hand in glove.” God is the hand, man is the glove. God chooses the glove. If the hand does not move, the glove does not move. By the same token, whatever the hand does, the glove does. Jesus displayed this Truth perfectly and proclaimed that: “I can of My own self do nothing” (Jn. 5:30), even though “All power in heaven and earth has been given unto Me” (Mat. 28:18). Note that the power was GIVEN TO HIM when and where it was needed in order to magnify God. He was as dependent on the Holy Spirit as any other man.
Why, some may ask, would the Lord use a non-Christian in a miraculous way? The answer is found in the 13th chapter of Deuteronomy where He tells us that if a prophet performs a miracle then asks the people to serve other gods, He (God) is testing us to see if we will: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, if you will walk after the Lord you God and fear Him and keep His commandments, obey His voice, serve Him and cling to Him” (vss 1-4). In today’s world, the “other gods” the miracle worker points to are the various gods who lead the various groups, denominations, faiths, cults, etc. that make up Catholicism/Protestantism.
In verses I Corinthians 13:27-31 Paul reminds us that, in God’s church, men do not assume for themselves positions and ministries. God alone makes those appointments. He also supplies them with the power to do what each position or ministry requires. Evidently this Truth had been ignored by the church of Corinth for Paul asks: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? do all have the gift of healing? do all speak in tongues? do all interpret?” He tells them do whatever God tells them to do. However, there was one quality without which one who has a spiritual gift must possess in order to obey God perfectly.
In chapter 13 Paul identifies this most important trait which every true saint possesses. Without this most valuable characteristic one can speak with the tongues of angels, prophesy, understand all mysteries, possess all knowledge, have faith powerful enough to move mountains. One can give away all of one’s possessions and even offer up one’s body to be burned at the stake. But without this particular commodity, one can do all of the above and it will be FOR NOTHING. It will all have been IN VAIN.
The virtue, the quality one must possess is agape–Christ level love. Two and one half billion professing Christians believe that they have agape and point to their religiosity as proof. However, as the Holy Scriptures (God’s “fine print”) reveals, they are deceiving themselves (Jam. 1:22) in that their faith is not accompanied by obedience to God’s Law–“works” (Jam. 2:10,14,17,18 20,24,26). Without such works one is Scripturally defined as a sinner. As the Scriptures make clear, faith plus sin equals dead faith. God defines sin thusly: “To transgress the Law is sin, for sin is the transgression of the Law” (1 Jn. 3:4). He is referring to the Law that, according to those claiming to have agape, He destroyed by nailing it to Christ’s cross.
As the Lord tells us time and again, love and Law are inseparable–a Truth rejected by all within the Catholic/Protestant Church System. Let us go directly to the Word of God to determine who is listening to the God of heaven and who is listening to the god of this world. In John 14:15 and 23 Jesus told His disciples that if they LOVED HIM they would OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS (vs 15) which He identified as His Words (vs 23). EVERY WORD IN THE BIBLE IS A COMMAND, including those Words that are rejected by the agape-professing church. Jesus Himself had to obey the Law (commandments) in order to please the Father. In John 15:10 Jesus tells us that, in order to abide in His (Christ’s) love, we must keep (obey) the Ten Commandments. He reminds us that, as a man, He had to keep the commandments (the Law) in order to abide in the Father’s love. Note this Truth: JESUS HAD TO OBEY THE LAW IN ORDER TO RETAIN GOD’S LOVE FOR HIM. Is churchman greater than Christ?
Come, let us reason together (Isa. 1:18). Would not the commandments Jesus was (and we are) commanded to obey (“keep”) be the same commandments a rich man had to obey in order to receive eternal life? The episode is recorded in Matthew 19:16-22. When asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied: “If you want to receive eternal life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” He then began to voice them. Note that the commandments the man had to obey are the same commandments listed in Genesis 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
Let us return to the subject of agape–true, Christ-level love–without which God’s most prolific writer of Scripture would have been nothing more than “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” In other words, without love one is all talk and no walk. The question is, do we who claim affiliation with the Godhead love as we are commanded to love? Notice that the first mention of love in the Ten Commandments refers to one’s love for God. Without this love everything else is meaningless and vain. And how does Jesus tell us to prove our love for Himself and the Father? BY OBEYING HIS LAW/COMMANDMENTS (GOSPEL/WILL/LIGHT/TRUTH)–Jn. 17:17. God declares repeatedly that without obedience to His Law one is a sinner (1 Jn. 3:4) and is nothing more than “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” Sin separates one from God (Isa. 59:2). One cannot be separated from Him and enter His kingdom where He will abide forever. One must pass inspection before being allowed to enter God’s paradise. One’s inspection will consist of comparing one’s “walk” to His stated rules of engagement. His message is clear: THERE WILL BE NO SINNERS IN HIS KINGDOM. L.J.