What Is The Miraculous Gift of Faith?
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 states: "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
Many Bible students are puzzled by this miraculous gift. Yet there are some clues in God's word which will help us understand what this miraculous gift was.
In Matthew 21:18-22, the Bible states: "Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.' Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, ‘How did the fig tree wither away so soon?' So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.'"
In Matthew 21:1-11 Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, went inside the temple complex, and saw the people exploiting others by turning the house of worship into a den of thieves. So Jesus cleansed the temple by running people out of it (Matthew 21:12-17). In Matthew 21:18-22 Jesus withered the fig tree. Why? Because the fig tree represented the fruitless nation of Israel who no longer produced fruit because of what they had done to God's temple. So the disciples asked Jesus the question on how the fig tree withered up so quickly; and Jesus responded: "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." If we place this in its historical context, then Jesus' words become meaningful to us. He is talking to His disciples who will be given the power that comes from the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4), which would include this miraculous gift of faith. When Jesus stated "this mountain", Jesus was evidently talking about Mount Zion where the physical temple was built. He was stating that this whole mountain where Jerusalem, the faithless city stood, could be removed and cast out into the sea (a judgment from God). He was most likely thinking of the Mediterranean Sea as a possibility since it was 30 miles from Jerusalem. Jesus would later talk about the parables of the wicked vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-44) and the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14) that both mention the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies (a judgment from God upon the nation of Israel in A.D. 70). He would later give His Olivet discourse that prophesied of its destruction in A.D. 70 (Matthew 24:1-34).
This first-century miraculous gift gave the Christian recipient automatic trust in God without doubting, thus giving him the courage to boldly pray as well as face the severest of persecution (James 1:5-6; 5:14-15). It is a gift that is no longer available today since we have the word of God we can place our full confidence and trust (Romans 10:17).
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