If we are confused about spiritual gifts, it is going to cause us to receive those manifestations that may not be of the Holy Spirit of God at all. So it is very important to spend some time studying what the Bible has to say about spiritual gifts.
It certainly goes without saying that there have been many confusing statements and much teaching that is totally contrary to the Word of God. We might say right here that we are not defending any denomination nor are we setting ourselves in favor with any particular group. We just want to know the truth of the Word of God concerning the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit mentioned here in these three chapters in I Corinthians indicate that God does give gifts to men.
There is another mention of the gifts that God gives in Ephesians 4. So before we consider I Corinthians 12, let's make the distinction that needs to be made between these gifts.
Ephesians 4:7 says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” That is plain and not hard to understand. God has given us His grace. We are saved by grace. The most important thing we understand is that salvation is by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
There are two kinds of religion in the world. There is the religion that presents salvation by grace and the religion that presents salvation by works. True religion presents salvation by grace only through the blood of Jesus Christ. False religion adds works to it. However much the people say it is by grace, if they add works to grace, it becomes false religion. Grace then is God's gift to us. We do not deserve it; it is God's unmerited favor. Verse 8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Paul is quoting from the Old Testament here. The Lord Jesus Christ after His crucifixion went into the heart of the earth. His body, of course, went into the tomb. His spirit went into the heart of the earth and this was paradise or Hades. There in Hades were all the souls and the spirits of the just men, saved people, people who had trusted the Lord. They were waiting for the crucifixion of Christ. They were waiting for this sacrifice that they had for such a long time looked forward to.