(Knowledge, Wisdom and Faith)
“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:5-6)
Man having been created from the elements of the earth has been endowed by the life of these same elements or life of this world in him. On the other hand since God Himself breathed life into man’s nostrils the life of God also was breathed into him. A man thus has two lives in him- the life of God as well as life of this world and each life gives him certain specific traits. While life of God fills him with godly character the other life provides him the qualities of the world. When the two lives are in unity with one another and act in unison that man acquires the finality of the image and likeness of God into which man was created. This unity was disturbed in the Garden of Eden and our Lord Jesus became Immanuel- God to live with us, to restore our broken relationship with God thus providing us direct access to Him and also to reconcile our two lives to each other. As Son of God He revealed God to us and He blessed the believers with the indwelling Spirit of God- the Holy Spirit- to do the same task after the Lord Jesus ascended to the heavens and to His Divine glory and throne.
The Holy Spirit on the one hand acts on our hearts and minds to reveal God to us and lead us into His presence through the torn veil of the Temple while on the other He blesses us with the gifts to enable us to reunite the two lives in us. The Holy Spirit gifts are given to us to know God and rejoice in fellowship with Him and to gradually merge our worldly life with our heavenly life in complete union. While speaking in tongues and the power of interpretation leads us to converse with God and man without our full awareness of the content of our dialogue, the other gifts equip us to lead to Spirit endowed life. The gifts work independent of and in unity with one another.
Gift of Knowledge – The Greek word used by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is ’gnosis’ translated as knowledge and understanding and in the Old Testament Hebrew word ‘daath’ is also used for this. Paul underlines knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the highest form and all understanding of the worldly things in this light (1 Corinthians 1:5-7). The gift of knowledge provides us understanding of the relationship of the created things with the Creator emphasizing their nothingness in comparison to enlighten us to value God above all else. The great scientist Albert Einstein said “There are two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle” and then see the hand of God in each and everything as a unique and a miraculous part of the whole.
We are blessed by the Holy Spirit to see everything as exceptional and this knowledge then provides us a different perspective about the world. This then enables us to:
- Critically assess the state of our soul through inward looking and compare this with our attachment to the outwardly visible wealth and materialistic nature to lead us to repentance and love of God by removing these self created ‘idols’ that impede our spiritual growth.
- We are then led to prioritize God’s place as first in our lives in the light of God’s love for us.
- Spiritual knowledge then helps us in analyzing the knowledge of the world and use it for Godly work.
- We are then helped by the Holy Spirit to grow in faith and to witness to others the riches of the life in Christ Jesus to bring them into His Divine light.
- Finally, this knowledge then helps us in our inter-personal relationship by leading us to be just and faithful towards others.
“The Lord gives wisdom (sophia), from His face comes knowledge (gnosis) and understanding (sunesis)” (Proverbs 2:6).
Gift of wisdom – Prophet Isaiah was gifted with the profound truth about the coming Messiah and His anointing “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord- and He will delight in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11: 2-3). The Greek word ‘sophia’ refers to wisdom as a deep understanding of the commandments of God and His Word to lead a holy and righteous life. This gift then provides insight about every situation with a godly vision to guide others about God’s will and living in obedience to the same.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). Knowledge is collecting facts and information while wisdom is its application in light of insights to reach a deeper level of understanding. Wisdom is basically the proper use of the tool of knowledge to arrive at logical conclusions. Knowledge provides us an insight into the traits of God while wisdom instills fear in our minds about the awesomeness of God as compared to our nothingness. Application of knowledge results in praise of God and living a righteous life through a right understanding of the truth and transformed hearts and minds. Holy Spirit “removes the scales of blindness” which are caused by “the god of this world (Satan), preventing the unbelievers from discerning the truth and seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the Image and Likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It was this blindness that stopped Saul, a learned scholar and student of Gamaliel, another learned teacher of the Old Testament, from seeing the reality of Christ till the “blinding light from heaven” descended upon him to turn him into Paul, the Apostle.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17) and this is the work of the Holy Spirit. This wisdom then transforms lives and sets everything in the right perspective causing a right relationship with the world. We then love the creation and see God’s hand in it for “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). This light of Divine wisdom then creates within us a proper order and synergy between the material and spiritual worlds enabling us to achieve a better and right balance in relationship between the two to lead a life of bliss.
Another aspect of wisdom is the resultant awareness of the Holiness of God and our utterly depraved state to bring us in abject surrender before His throne to seek His mercy and grace. This reveals His will for our lives to enable us “to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:9-11).
Gift of faith – The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to an unbeliever and this truth about God seen in the Son of God then creates faith in Him to turn him into a believer. This faith is called the personal or saving faith and the Greek word for faith is ‘pistis’ translated as ‘confidence, certainty, trust and assurance in the object of faith’. Though faith is only one but its origin differentiates the two as personal or supernatural and the results of the two also differ greatly. Personal faith, which resides in a born again person, is like a ‘mustard seed’ planted in his spirit and then nurtured and watered through “hearing and hearing the Word of God” and then grows into a ‘great tree’. Even this cannot grow on its own for then it would give us a right to feel pride in ourselves whereas God does not want us to rely on ourselves but be totally dependent on Him. Apostle Paul clarifies this further “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Personal faith is also a gift of the Holy Spirit for without His light it is not possible for anyone to come close to the Lord for it is the “Spirit of truth who comes from the Father and bears witness to the Son” (John 15:26). This anointing gives an instinctive knowledge of the Gospel truth which helps them recognize authentic doctrine from the false to reject it and is called “sensus fidei”. This insight provides the power of discernment of things of faith and gives true wisdom to proclaim the truth. And with a close and personal relationship with the Lord this develops into a special gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit to “move mountains”. Apostle Paul talks of this faith with the other gifts of the Spirit while comparing them with love in 1 Corinthians 13:2. This ‘supernatural faith’ always comes as a gift of the Holy Spirit and is not through personal effort and Lord Jesus could say in this faith without even saying anything “Father, I thank You for having heard Me” (John 11:41) and then call Lazarus who had been dead for four days to come out of the grave.
“The gift of faith is from the Spirit and through the same Holy Spirit connects us and makes available to us the vast resources of heaven as if God has added His faith to it”. While operating in this faith one is never surprised by the fulfillment of the spoken words in conformity to the Lord’s blessing “Whoever believes in Me will do the works I do, and even greater things than these, for I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). The gift of faith cannot be developed since it is a manifestation of God’s faith which is constant. But we can develop operation of this gift through the development of our personal faith for it is this faith that leads us to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is this personal faith that helps us to believe the truth of God’s Word and helps us convey a command from God to another person.
Is God selective in giving faith? – “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy, according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6). Is this proportion different for different individuals or the same for everyone? “God is not respecter of persons” for then He will be partial and unjust and His promise is “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). Every believer becomes equal before God who is Father of all and the given faith is exercised by us through belief to do “greater works”. God does not have any biases but He does respect faith for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The gift is there it is for the believer to exercise it “and ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:6). The baptism of the Holy Spirit provides us access to that unlimited Divine Faith that works in us but we have to realize and accept this fact and walk in it, only then will it be manifested and become evident.
Faith to fulfill Divine plan – “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17). God’s plan for man is to triumph over evil and lead a righteous life and the Holy Spirit “convicts us of sin leading to repentance”. This convicting is not to show our guilt but to show us the path of feeling sorry and seeking His help and power to give up sinful living. Salvation provides us that opportunity by cleansing us and helping us start with a clean slate along with the comparative mirror image of the Lord to transform us into His likeness. Apostle John received the Divine command for the ‘seven churches’ and the message to each one ended with a promise to the triumphant (Revelation 2:7; 11; 17; 26-27 and 3: 5; 12; 20 and 21). By implication the promise is made by God for those who overcome because He expects those who receive the message to triumph. It is for this reason that the Lord blessed the disciples with special powers to perform miraculous deeds “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
The promises are available to the believers not only in the name and authority of the Lord but that can be only exercised in faith for “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30). The referred chapter lists out the acts of the “star believers” who received God’s blessings through faith.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” (Martin Luther King, Jr). Take the plunge in the knowledge that “He is not going to leave you nor abandon you”!!