Today's Foundations Devotional: We receive a gift by faith
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each
one individually just as He wills.
(1 Corinthians 12:11)
Yesterday we saw how Peter and his companions were convinced that Cornelius and his household had received the Holy Spirit when they heard them speaking in tongues.
The other church leaders concluded:
When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:18).
What convinced Peter and the other apostles that Gentiles could experience salvation through faith in Christ just as fully as Jews? One thing, and one thing only: the fact that they heard these Gentiles speak with tongues. In the whole of this account there is never any suggestion that Peter or any other of the apostles ever looked for any other kind of evidence in the lives of these Gentiles, apart from the fact that they spoke with tongues. There was no question of waiting for spiritual fruit to be manifested.
In this the apostles were perfectly logical – not because fruit is unimportant, but because fruit is, by its very nature, totally different from a gift. A gift is received by a single act of faith; fruit is produced by a slow, gradual process, which includes planting, tending and cultivating.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift – a single experience – received by faith. The evidence that a person has received this gift is that he speaks with other tongues.
Thereafter, one main purpose for which the gift is given is to enable the person to produce more and better spiritual fruit than he could ever have produced otherwise. It is no error to emphasise the importance of fruit. The error consists in confusing a gift with a fruit, in confusing the evidence that a gift has been received with the purpose for which the gift has been given.
In the following week we will consider a number of other common misunderstandings connected with tongues as the evidence of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I praise You for the fruit of Your Spirit and ask You to give me
clarity about the things concerning the gifts of Your Spirit that I do
not yet fully understand. Thank You for the clear insight that Your
Spirit wants to give me. Amen.