#26. True Fellowship will be Characterized by Faith
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
Here is another passage where Paul speaks of the diversity of gifts given to believers so that the body of Christ may grow and prosper. There is some overlap in the lists that he gives in different passages (we have already considered "wisdom"), and it is not clear exactly what some of these gifts were, or how they operated (like the "word of knowledge") but we may assume that it was some form of instruction, perhaps akin to teaching and exhortation which we have also considered earlier. Other gifts, such as those of healings, were given at that time to authenticate the message that the Apostles were bringing as something new and authoritative from God. Since Paul himself was the last of the Apostles (1 Cor 15:8) there is no further place for the gifts specially given to validate their message. Therefore we want to look at the gift of faith that is mentioned in this verse. The word used means "to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance" (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (375). New York: United Bible Societies.). Whatever Paul has in view here, it is clear that it is something that operates over and above the level of saving faith, which all true believers have. This faith is not possessed equally by all believers - some have this gift and others do not, but it is something given for the good of the entire church, as Paul begins the passage by reminding us. Matthew Henry describes this faith as "a faith in the divine power and promise, whereby they were enabled to trust God in any emergency, and go on in the way of their duty, and own and profess the truths of Christ, whatever was the difficulty or danger." (Matthew
Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume. Peabody:
Hendrickson.). It seems that the best way to understand this, then, is in terms of the faith that both Jesus (Matthew 21:21) and Paul (1 Cor 13:2) spoke of, which can move
mountains, or the faith that James speaks of (James 5:15), with which God enables His children to pray effectively for the healing of a brother or sister, or the faith spoken of by the writer to the Hebrews throughout chapter 11, by which the people of God have achieved outstanding things for His glory. Why would the church need the gift of this kind of faith in some of its members? Surely the answer is clear. We have been called to move mountains out of the way so the Gospel can be preached to every creature. We have been called to pray with conviction in the Spirit that those afflicted with sin may be healed. We have been called to ask great things of God and then to attempt great things for God! Have you ever felt the encouragement in your own soul as you have witnessed the unshakable resolve and purpose of those who believe God and act unquestioningly on His promises? Have you been able to do more yourself because of the contagious faith of these gifted brothers and sisters? What a privilege it is to be in the presence of those who live by faith and not by sight, to whom no obstacle is insurmountable when the Lord is Captain of the army, leading them out in battle! One thing is for sure, you will never see this and experience it unless you are present in the church for fellowship!