God On The Net

Theological Dictionary

Gifts - Hypostatic Union

Gifts, Spiritual Gifts

      Spiritual abilities given by God for the purpose of building up the church. Every Christian has at least one (1 Corinthians 7:7). They are listed and discussed in different places in the N.T. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30; Ephesians 4:7-12). Following is a list of the gifts arranged in two groups. The first are gifts that require supernatural intervention and are possessed only by true Christians. The second are gifts that do not require supernatural intervention. Even non-Christians can have the second group of gifts. A further issue is whether or not the gifts are still in use today. Some believe they ceased with the apostles and the closing of the Canon (the completion of the writings of the Bible) and they are no longer needed for the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Others believe the gifts are still in use but not in the pure apostolic sense. In other words, they are still in use but not in the same way possessed by the apostles. Instead, they are available to the believer if and when God decides it is beneficial to use them.

Spiritual Gifts

1 Salvation Romans 6:23  
2 Word of Wisdom   1 Corinthians 12:8
3 Word of Knowledge   1 Corinthians 12:8
4 Faith   1 Corinthians 12:9
5 Healing   1 Corinthians 12:9
6 Miracles   1 Corinthians 12:10
7 Prophecy Romans 12:6    1 Corinthians 12:10
8 Distinguishing of Spirits   1 Corinthians 12:10
9 Tongues   1 Corinthians 12:10
10 Interpretation of Tongues   1 Corinthians 12:10
1 Serving Romans 12:7  
2 Teaching Romans 12:7  
3 Exhortation Romans 12:8  
4 Giving Romans 12:8  
5 Leading Romans 12:8  
6 Showing mercy Romans 12:8  


      The supreme being of the universe. He is the creator of all things (Isaiah 44:24). He alone is God (Isaiah 45:21,22; 46:9; 47:8). There have never been any Gods before Him nor will there be any after Him (Isaiah 43:10). God is God from all eternity (Psalm 90:2). In Exodus 3:14, God revealed His name to His people. The name commonly known in English is Jehovah. This comes from the four Hebrew consonants that spell the name of God. (See Tetragrammaton.)

     God is a Trinity, knows all things (1 John 3:20), can do all things (Jeremiah 32:17,27 - except those things against His nature like lie, break His word, cheat, steal, etc.), and is everywhere all the time (Psalm 139:7-12).


      The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins though Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

     The gospel comes from God (Galatians 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), is a mystery (Ephesians 6:19), and is a source of hope (Colossians 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1 Corinthians 4:15), and peace (Ephesians 6:15).


     Grace is unmerited favor. It is God's free action for the benefit of His people. It is distinguished from (see Justice and Mercy). Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God's love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption.

      Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Grace rules out all human merit. It is the product of God, that is given by God, because of who He is not because of who we are. It is the means of our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are no longer under the Law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). (See Acts 15:11; Romans 5:2,15-20; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and 2 Corinthians 9:8).


     Heaven is the dwelling place of God and for those who go there a place of everlasting bliss.

     Scripture implies three heavens, since "the third heaven" is revealed to exist (2 Corinthians 12:2). It is logical that a third heaven cannot exist without a first and second. Scripture does not describe specifically the first and second heaven. The first, however, apparently refers to the atmospheric heavens of the fowl (Hosea 2:18) and clouds (Daniel 7:13). The second heaven may be the area of the stars and planets (Genesis 1:14-18). It is the abode of all supernatural angelic beings. The third heaven is the abode of the triune God. Its location is unrevealed." (See Matthew 23:34,37; Luke 10:20; and Revelation 21:2, 20-27).


     Hell is the future place of eternal punishment of the damned including the devil and his fallen angels. There are several words rendered as Hell: Hades - A Greek word. It is the place of the dead comprising the state of the person between death and resurrection. (See Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Acts 11:27; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 1:18, 6:8). Gehenna - A Greek word. It was the place where dead bodies were dumped and burned (2 Kings 23:13,14). Jesus used the word to designate the place of eternal torment (5:22,29,30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). Sheol - A Hebrew word. It is the place of the dead, not necessarily the grave, but the place the dead go to. It is used of both the righteous (Psalm 16:10; 30:3; Isaiah 38:10) and the wicked (Numbers 16:33; Job 24:19; Psalm 9:17). Hell is a place of eternal fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20). It was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) and will be the abode of the wicked (Revelation 21:8) and the fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4).


     A doctrinal view that deviates from the truth, a false teaching. We are warned against it in Acts 20:29-32 and Philippians 3:2. Heresies include teachings that Jesus is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person (Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, The Way International), that men may become gods (Mormonism), that there is more than one God (Mormonism), that Jesus lost His divinity in hell and finished the atonement there), and that good works are necessary for salvation (all cults say this), to name a few.

Holy, Holiness

     A quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone. As Christians we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). But this does not refer to our nature. Instead, it is a command of our practice and thought. We are to be holy in obedience (1 Peter 1:14). God has made us holy through His Son Jesus (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9).

Holy Spirit, The

     The third person of the Godhead. He is completely God. He is called God (Acts 5:3-4), has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11), speaks (Acts 8:29; 31:2), and knows all things (John 14:17). He is not an "active force" as the Jehovah's Witnesses mistakingly teach. The Holy Spirit is alive and is fully and completely God. He is called the Spirit of God (Genesis 1:2), Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11), the Helper (John 14:16,26), and Eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). He knows all things (1 Corinthians 2:10,11), is all powerful (Luke 1:35), and is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-13). (See Trinity and Holy Spirit.)


     The attitude of the Christian that teaches us not to "...think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment..." (Romans 12:3). It teaches us to prefer others over ourselves (Romans 12:10). It is knowing our true position before God. It is not self-abasement or demeaning one's self. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Humility is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 18:3-4). The humility of Jesus is described in Philippians 2:5-8, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (NIV).

Hypostatic Union

     This is the union of the two natures (Divine and human) in the person of Jesus. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9; John 8:58; 10:30-34; Hebrews 1:8). He is fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9); thus, He has two natures: God and man. He is not half God and half man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost his divinity.1 He continued to exist as God when He became and added human nature to Himself (Philippians 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a "union in one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature."2 Right now in heaven there is a man, Jesus, who is our Mediator between us and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). (For related information on Jesus and His two natures. (See Incarnation, and the errors concerning His natures known as Eutychianism, Monophycitism, and Nestorianism.)

Jesus as God   Jesus as Man
He is worshiped (Matthew 2:2,11; 14:33).   He worshiped the Father (John 17).
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59).   He prayed to the Father (John 17:1).
He is sinless (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15).   He was tempted (Matthew 4:1).
He knows all things (John 21:17).   He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52).
He gives eternal life (John 10:28).   He died (Romans 5:8).
All the fullness of deity dwells in Him (Colossians 2:9).   He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

1. Divinity means the quality of being God. Jesus was always God. There are people within the Christian church who are teaching that after Jesus died on the cross, He lost His divinity and suffered in hell at the hands of Satan for three days and nights. This is absolutely wrong. See, A Different Gospel by D. R. McConnell, Peabody Mass., Hendrickson Publishers, 1988 and Christianity in Crisis, by Hank Hannigraff. Harvest House Publishers, 1993.

2. B. Milne, Know the Truth (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1982, p. 145.

Theological Dictionary pages (c) 1997 by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div. (except as noted) at
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (C.A.R.M.)

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