A New Inheritance in God’s Family: Embracing the Gifts God gives us

When my daughter was born, we gave her the name Charis which means “gift of grace”. Charis is the root word of Charisma or Charismata which is the Greek word for “gifts” as written by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. 

The day we receive Jesus Christ into our lives, we are marked in God with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). These gifts or Charismata bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father are a precious blessing from God to His children; it is the remarkable inheritance of being part of God’s family. 

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians sheds light on the diverse and profound gifts given to each member of God’s family. Perhaps the most significant gift we receive is the gift of salvation. God offers us the opportunity to be reconciled with Him and experience eternal life in Christ. This gift, which is freely given, is the foundation of our new inheritance in God’s family, where we are adopted and become heirs to His eternal promises.

What is Charismata and what does the apostle Paul mean by spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12? Rev Benjamin Lau reflects on this inheritance in the kingdom of God and exhorts us to steward our gifts for our brothers and sisters.

What are Spiritual Gifts?

If we read 1 Corinthians 12, we can see that every single believer is given different gifts. In fact, everyone will have at least one spiritual gift or Charismata that is used for the building up of the body of Christ. 

The term Charismata is where we get the term “charismatic”. Many times we are confused with this term. We tend to label churches or services such as the contemporary service “charismatic”, whereas the traditional service we label “non-charismatic”. And there are some who understand “charismatic churches” as churches that focus on the “supernatural gifts”. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are the “hardline-cessationists”; this is a form of protestant doctrine where a church does not believe that the supernatural gifts of the spirit (such as tongues, prophecy and healing) exists in today’s time and age. They claimed that it ceased after the apostolic age or what we know of as the first century AD. 1

However, from my understanding of what the apostle Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 12, it seems to me that as long as a church exercises our spiritual gifts, we are a charismatic community. All of us should exercise our spiritual gifts which are expressed in so many ways.

Just as Paul describes in verses 4-6, There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  

Paul further lists down the different kinds of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8–11, there are words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, various kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. 

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:7

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good

The Spirit is the gift of God to the church; from that gift comes many gifts of the Spirit for the church to build up the Church. This is why the apostle Paul discusses the gifts of the Spirit in the context of the Body of Christ. So for example, if one has a natural talent or ability such as “leadership”, it becomes a “charisma” or a “spiritual gift” when it is used by a believer for the “common good”.

If we read Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul describes some of these gifts as what some scholars call “the Office Gifts”. 2

Ephesians 4:1112, 16

So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachersto equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

In Wesley, the definition that we use in our Discover Your SHAPE course describes, “A spiritual gift [as] a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the Body of Christ.” 3

Ultimately, the purpose of spiritual gifts is to build up God’s kingdom! 


So as children of God, we are blessed with a new inheritance in His family. Spiritual gifts are a significant aspect of this inheritance, which allows us to participate actively in the work of the kingdom. By embracing the diversity of gifts within the Body of Christ, we foster unity by faithfully stewarding our gifts which lead to the transformation of God’s family.

 1Max Turner, The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998), 185–220.

 2Snodrass Klyne, The Niv Application Commentary Ephesians. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House (1996).

3 Discover Your SHAPE Course

Read also: Never A Fractured Family in God’s Kingdom

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