Volume. XX, No. 31
Sunday, 29 January 2006

From the Pastors Heart: Continuing Study of Romans 1:11

Having studied about spiritual gifts in Romans 1:11, we need to study the next word ‘impart’ in the verse. The word “impart” implies to share something with someone in Romans 1:11. The word does not necessarily make Paul as the creator or originator of any spiritual gift. It is not Paul’s way of talking that he himself is the one who imparts any spiritual gift to anybody. It is solely the work and will of the Holy Spirit. 

There are three exegetical points as following:
(1) Paul emphasizes that every believer is in the body of Christ, and every believer is also a member of that body. Every member of the body of Christ has his/her unique gift that enables him/her to make contributions to edify the body. 
(2) Paul commends the faith of the believers in the city of Rome in verse 5. Paul talks about both his faith and the believers’ in verse 12. He talks especially about mutual faith that may comfort both of them. 
(3) Therefore, it is reasonable to think of Paul’s spiritual gift (as every believer has to be shared) to build up the body of believers in Rome (verse 11). Douglas Moo says in his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, “But Paul never elsewhere uses the combination ‘spiritual’ and ‘gift’ with this meaning [charismatic gifts in 1 Corinthians 12], and the indefinite focus here – ‘Some’ – makes it difficult to think that Paul has in mind his special ministerial gift(s). Others think that Paul refers to ‘spiritual blessings’ that he hopes will result from his ministry in Rome. But we should think rather of an insight or ability, given to Paul by the Spirit, that Paul hopes to ‘share’ with the Romans. What gift Paul may want to share with the Romans cannot be specified until he sees what their needs may be. Whatever it is, its purpose will be to ‘strengthen’ their faith.” 
Although Leon Morris defines the word, “charisma,” as special gifts, he goes further to say, “But the word may also be used in a wider and more general sense of the gift of God makes to every believer (Romans 5:15; 1 Peter 4:10)” in his commentary, the Epistle to the Romans (p. 60). Thayer defines the word “gift” in his lexicon as “the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness or virtue.” John Murray in his commentary on Romans views that spiritual gifts are miraculous gifts, but probably with wider meaning (p. 22). Charles Hodge shares the same view. Geoffrey B. Wilson says, “God’s purpose in the bestowal of individual gifts is achieved in the building up on the whole community” (Romans, 21). Thus, he did not specify the kind of spiritual gift, but explained in a general way of the use of spiritual gifts that strengthened the body of believers in Rome. Robert Haldane says in Commentary on Romans, “He [Paul] appears to refer to some of the extraordinary gifts conferred by the Apostles, by which they might be more established in their most holy faith” (p. 47).
In summary, Paul did not think of distributing any particular gifts. He was not in position to hand out any spiritual gift to anybody. It is the Holy Spirit who dispenses spiritual gifts to different individuals (1 Corinthians 12:11). Thus, spiritual gifts in Romans 1:11 are either Paul’s spiritual gifts (as all other believers have) or special apostolic gifts related to his preaching ministry. There is no indication that spiritual gifts in Romans 1:11 are spectacular gifts as the charismatics claim.
Now we turn our attention to other uses of the word. The word charisma does not necessarily only mean miraculous and spectacular gifts.
It may mean eternal life or salvation. For example, Romans 5:15 says, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift [charisma]. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace [dorea en chariti], which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” The free gift in the verse must mean the pardon of sin and eternal salvation in Christ Jesus. The same idea is shown in verse 16, “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift [to dorema]: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift [charisma] is of many offences unto justification.” More explicitly, Romans 6:23 defines charisma as the eternal life, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Here charisma is interchangeably used with dorema.
It also may mean marriage or singlehood in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift [charisma] of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” In fact, this verse reinforces the teaching that God gives different gifts to different individuals and that a person cannot have all gifts in themselves as one person cannot have both gifts of marriage and celibacy.
It means deliverance from dangers and despairs to life in 2 Corinthians 1:11, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift [charisma] bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
It also refers to offices or ministry in the church in 1 Timothy 4:14 (“Neglect not the gift [charismatos, noun genitive neuter singular] that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery”) and 2 Timothy 1:6 (“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift [charisma] of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”).
It means “any act of service in love” (Geoffrey W. Bromiley ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1306) in 1 Peter 4:10, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
In summary, there is no compelling reason to define charisma only as miraculous gifts. Thus, it is not good to use the word, charisma, as a technical term for Charismatic movement. In fact, all of us are charismatic people in the sense that all of us are the recipients of God’s favor or grace one way or another. As we have seen so far, charisma includes varieties of aspects in our life, from salvation to character.
Two more of charisma
There are two more instances that charisma family words in 1 Corinthians. 
1 Corinthians 1:7 says, “So that ye come behind in no gift (charismati, noun dative neuter singular); waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:4 says, “Now there are diversities of gifts (charismaton, noun genitive neuter plural) but the same Spirit.”
Lovingly, Your pastor 

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 30: How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ? The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.  

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Pastor & Sis Myung Ki, Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Joon Ho Lee, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s parents, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, & Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei, & Auntie Sheila George, and others afflicted with illness. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev George van Buuren as he ministers God’s Word to the Khmers; Rev & Mrs Moses Hahn & their ministry (Sihanaoukville); Rev & Mrs Luke Kim & ministry (Veal Renh); Khmer pastors & their families in remote areas of Cambodia; b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & God’s provision; c) Journey mercies - Ps Ki (Adl); Sisters Nikki Ching (Melb), Clara Sim & family, Yee Min Tee, the George & Sankey families (Adl) & others who are travelling; d) Sketch N’ Tell ministry - Bro Hai Seng Lim, and for his next missions trip; e) Comfort & encouragement - Bro Tae-Yul Lee & family at this difficult time; f) God’s wisdom and guidance  - Ps Ki as he ministers to pastors and faithful in Kerala, India; g) YAF Outreach at The University of Adelaide on 21-22 Feb, during Orientation Week; h) Cooler weather this summer.
Praise and Thank God for – a) AFG Steam boat dinner and Bible Study, YAF/Teens & Wed Bible Study & Prayer Meetings; b) Journey mercies - Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi (Phnom Penh) & Rev George van Buuren (Sihanoukville); Dn Edwin D’Mello (S’pore/Adl); Bros Jason Tan (Adl) & Lincoln Law (Warrnambool/Tas); Sis Min Yen Chia (Adl), Mr. Tee & Sis Yee Min Tee (Melb) & others who travelled recently; c) Working Bees yesterday.
Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $19,585 for Pastor’s car by 31 Mar 06.
Ladies’ Fellowship: AGM on Sat, 11 Feb, at 2.00pm for election of a new committee.
Flower Roster: More people are needed on the flower roster. If you can help please put your name on the vacant spots on the roster on the notice board.
Looking Ahead: Basic Bible Knowledge class commences on 6 Mar. Anyone seeking church membership/transfer or baptism are invited to attend. For details, please see Elder Michael Lee.
Looking Ahead: Family Bible Camp at Easter, 14-17 April. Please plan ahead so that you are able to attend this Camp.



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