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Question #138

Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit still active today?

I would like to know whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit is still active in these days? I am very much confused as some say that for example speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit while the other says it is 100 percent demonic. These are two extremes. I don't know sir. Please help me.

The Answer:

This answer applies to Questions 138 and 153.

For the initial response to these questions you are referred to the answers to Questions 9 and 27, together with Class:Questions, Lesson 12. All of these relate directly to the work of the Holy Spirit. You should also read our lesson on Miracles or Magic (PDF file) that deals with modern day “miracles.” Some of that material deals with speaking in tongues. Additional comment is made on that subject here.

Given the teaching of scripture that miracles, including speaking in tongues, ceased with the death of the last person upon whom the apostles laid their hands and to whom miraculous gifts were bestowed, it is clear that modern day tongue speaking is neither miraculous nor of God. While some people assert that the modern day phenomenon must be demonic, that is not a necessary conclusion. It is certainly possible, and in some cases likely, that good honest people are moved to an emotional state where “tongue speaking” takes place. This, of course, does not mean that it is acceptable to God. Believing that which is wrong does not become right. It simply means that one is honestly mistaken. In Matthew 7 Jesus told of those who honestly believed that they had prophesied in the name of Jesus, cast out demons and done many mighty works in his name, yet who were turned away because they had not done the Father’s will. Believing that they had was not sufficient.

Perhaps one other matter should be addressed. The “tongues” that were spoken on the day of Pentecost were not unintelligible babble of the type passing for “speaking in tongues” today. They were intelligent languages that were the everyday tongues spoken by those who had gathered in Jerusalem. No one even claims this gift today. The “other tongues” in Acts 2:4 are clearly the native languages of the multitude in Acts 2:6, 8. In this passage Luke used glossa (tongues) and dialektos (language) interchangeably. Dialektos is defined by Arndt and Gingrich as “language of a nation or region.” Different nationalities were present on Pentecost and the speaking in various languages by the apostles attracted the multitude. Luke recorded the amazement of those assembled as they realized that all of the men who were speaking the various foreign languages and dialects were Galilean Jews speaking in languages that they had never learned so that the natives would understand what was being said. Acts 2:9-11. Three times in these verses Luke mentioned that the speaking was in each one’s native language. Acts 2:6, 8, 11.

Some have tried to explain the Pentecost phenomenon as a miracle of the ear, and not of speaking. They assert that the apostles were all speaking in their native tongue but miraculously the ears of the listeners heard and understood it as their own language. However, that is manifestly against the language of Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues” before the crowd gathered.

Thus, those who claim the gift of tongues have two problems. First, even when speaking in tongues existed it never was unintelligible babble. Second, neither type of speaking in tongues exists today. There is no need to question the sincerity of those who claim the present day gift, especially of the followers. One may have more reason to question the motives of some of the “health and wealth” proclaimers who use such claims to their own financial advantage. This is certainly contrary to the case of those who possessed the gifts in the early church.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)