What is the Gift of Faith?
What is the Gift of Faith? Doesn’t every Christian have this gift? Isn’t it a kind of pre-requisite for belief in God? And how do you explain faith to someone who doesn’t believe? What does God say? He says that we wouldn’t even have faith in Him at all, if it wasn’t for His gift of grace to us in the first place!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
How astounding! I can’t even wrap my head around that one. It was God’s grace that saved me through “faith”, yet it would seem from the verse above that even my faith was a gift from God. I don’t know about you, but that kind of blows my mind.
What is the difference between the Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge? There is much confusion and debate about what these words mean, so it may be better to approach this from a different angle – what these gifts are not and how some Christians today are coming dangerously close to ignoring Scripture because of their misuse of these two gifts.
The Gift of Mercy
Mercy is described in Vine’s Expository Dictionary as “showing kindness, by beneficence, or assistance”, and is translated as “having compassion”. In general, it is to sympathize or empathize with the misery of another, so much so that you feel compelled to act. If not for mercy, you and I would still be lost. Jesus would not have died a gruesome death in order to redeem sinners from eternal suffering. It is mercy that drove Jesus to the cross and it is mercy that all Christians are to extend to others.
Mercy sort of sounds like grace, doesn’t it? But there is a distinction. Mercy is God not punishing us for our sins as we rightly deserve. Grace, is God loving us and blessing us even though we are sinners. Ephesians 2:8 tells us clearly, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves – it is the gift of God.” Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is unmerited favour. The two often go hand in hand.
When it comes to leadership within the church we invariably look to our Pastor. He is the one who is charged by God to lead congregants into all truth by exhorting from the Scriptures. In Romans 12:8 Paul says, “He who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” The Greek word used for “lead” is proïstēmi and is translated as “rule or set over” but it literally means “to stand before, to lead, or attend to.” This word proïstēmi is also found in 1 Timothy 5:17, in reference to elders, “let the elders that rule…” It is also used with reference to family, where a man “rules” over his household (1Timothy 3:4, 12; 1Timothy 3:5), with the understanding of what the word means - “to stand before, lead, or attend to.” In other words, ruling is not dictatorial.