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"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29).

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…." (Rom. 12:2-4)

When Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Rome, he didn't divide it into chapters and verses; he just wrote a letter to them. Men in recent times have divided his letters into chapters and verses for the sake of easy reference.

In the twelfth chapter, Paul continues the discussion he began in the eleventh chapter: the gifts and calling of God. You may think as you read the twelfth chapter that he's talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit referred to in First Corinthians 12, but he isn't.

You see, there are four different Greek words that are translated "gift" or "gifts." You have to understand that to really understand what the Spirit of God is saying here through Paul.

For example, we see the "gift" of eternal life in connection with salvation, and the "gift" of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word used here means "giving as to a pauper," or "a gratuity." Of course, salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are free gifts; you can't merit them.

However, the word "gifts" in our texts, Romans 11:29; 12:4-6, means an "endowment" of the Holy Spirit. Paul's really talking here about ministries or offices - the gifts and calling of God.

People are gifted by the Holy Spirit to stand in certain offices, but we're not all endowed by the Spirit to do the same things, or to stand in the same offices. To put it another way, people are anointed by the Holy Spirit to obey certain callings, but we don't all have the same gift or anointing. We do have the same Spirit, but there are degrees and measures of anointing.

If you read Romans 12:6,7 you'll see that Paul is talking about different gifts and ministries, but he also is talking about the gift of teaching. "Having then GIFTS differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching."

You know as well as I do that everybody is not called to be a teacher in the Body of Christ. Of course, a person could teach another whatever he or she knows - and probably could do a good job. But there's a difference in teaching someone what you know and being really called of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and equipped, endowed, and endued by the Spirit of God to stand in the office of teacher.

Not everybody is called to be a pastor. Thank God for the pastoral office. We need even more pastors, because their office is needed and necessary. People need an overseer; they need that "shepherd." (The Greek word translated "pastor" is also translated "shepherd," and vice versa.) So thank God for the anointing, that endowment. I don't have it, because that's not my calling.

I know something about the calling or anointing of the teacher, because one of my callings is to be a teacher; the other is to stand in the office of prophet.

One thing I want you to see from our very pertinent, explicit text, Romans 11:29, is that "the gifts and calling of God are WITHOUT REPENTANCE." In other words, God is not going to go back on His call on your life - that's it!

In the early days of the Pentecostal Movement, most ministers preached on Hebrews 6 and 10, telling people that if they ever fell away (backslid), it would be impossible for them to get back into fellowship with God. The devil used such teaching to rob, blind, and destroy God's people because of their ignorance of the Word.

Let's look at these verses, because they fit into our discussion about the gifts and calling of God.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Heb. 6:4-6).

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose yea, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)

One preacher I knew from the early days of the Pentecostal Movement told how he had held a street meeting one Saturday afternoon down in Corsicana, Texas.

He didn't take up an offering, but God so blessed the people that they threw money at his feet. Now, this was at the turn of the century, when money wasn't plentiful like it is now, but he got a nice offering. When he counted it afterwards, he had $28. He felt rich. That was a whole month's salary for that time.

After his meeting, the preacher was walking along the boardwalk - their sidewalks were made out of boards then - and an old drunk he knew from other street meetings came crashing out of the swinging doors of one of the saloons. (They had open saloons in Texas in those days.)

The old drunk staggered up to the preacher, got nose to nose with him, and demanded, "Say 'hallelujah'!" Then he backed off and repeated his demand: "You say 'hallelujah' or I'm going to knock you down!"

The preacher related, "I was stupid enough to say 'hallelujah,' and he hit me."

The drunk knocked the preacher through the window of the saloon, and that's the last thing he remembered. He fell into a pile of beer bottles, and spectators said that when he got up, he had a beer bottle in each hand and nearly beat the old drunk to death.

He told us, "I was so mad, that I can't remember any of it."

When he came to himself, the spectators were pulling him off the drunk. The police arrested both of them, and the preacher had to pay a fine for fighting - a Pentacostal, Full Gospel, tongue-talking preacher fighting!

Now, according to what he'd heard taught, once you've sinned like this and backslid, you can't get back to God. So he thought, When I die, I'm going to go to hell, so I might as well get all I can out of this life.

With the few dollars he had left, he caught a train, went to Houston, and lived it up. He finally wound up out in California. He was away from God for about 12 years, drinking, gambling, running around with women, and everything else. But he said the Holy Spirit kept dealing with him.

There weren't many Full Gospel churches out in California then, but he looked in the telephone directory and found a church of his own denomination. He called the pastor and said, "I want to come and talk to you." The pastor said, "All right."

He told the pastor, "If I've sinned away my day of grace and I can't get back in, I wish the Holy Ghost would leave me alone."

This pastor said, "Oh, well, we saw we were wrong in teaching that - that's not right." He prayed with the fellow and he got back into fellowship with God. And the minute he did, "the preach" was still there - because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

He had left his wife and several children back in Texas. The first thing he did was to get on the telephone and try to locate them. (He hadn't contacted them before, because he thought he was hell-bound.)

He was reunited with his family in California and he began to preach again. He became a leader in his Full Gospel denomination! He was mightily anointed and used of God. When I came into the Pentecostal Movement I heard of him. I was told that the anointing on him was greater than on most preachers - because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

It's to be regretted that he lost his temper and sinned. He wouldn't have if he'd known more about the Bible. It says in Hosea 4:6 that the people of God are destroyed "for the lack of knowledge." The Bible teaches, "Be ye angry, and sin not..." (Eph. 4:26)

Let's examine Hebrews 10:29 again. Notice what the unpardonable or unforgivable sin actually is: "...who hath trodden under foot the son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing...." Counting the blood of Jesus an unholy thing is the sin referred to in these Scriptures.

In church circles, theologians as a whole are not too sure just who wrote Hebrews. It sounds like Paul's writings to me, and one time when Jesus appeared to me in a vision, I asked Him, and He told me that Paul wrote it. And I believe he did!

Paul is writing here to Hebrew Christians. If you know anything about church history, you know that when these Jews accepted Christ, they were excommunicated from their family and their fellow Jews. They had it pretty hard, and some of them were tempted to go back to their old life in Judaism.

They could have had it easier; their friends and family would have stood with them; and they would have been helped financially and materially. But, you see, if they had done that, then they would have been counting the blood they were sanctified with an unholy thing.

In other words, they would have been saying that Jesus is not the Son of God - Jesus is not the Messiah - He is just a man. If He is just a man, His blood is unholy. But if He's the divine Son of God - if He's the Messiah - His blood is not unholy; His blood is holy! And that was the sin Paul was writing about.

Did that young preacher commit such a sin? Granted, he lost his temper and came up off the floor beating the drunk over the head with beer bottles, but that's not "trodding under foot the Son of God"! That's not the unpardonable sin. He did not count the blood of Jesus an unholy thing. He did not deny that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God.

The devil has used wrong teaching from this passage of Scripture to hinder a lot of people. Don't let him hinder you.

God doesn't repent. The Greek word translated "repentance" means a change of mind, a change of purpose, a change of will. God never changes, so He doesn't change his will; He doesn't change His purpose; and He doesn't change His mind. Hallelujah! The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

God had called this man; God had gifted this man; and God didn't change His mind even though the man sinned and failed. The minute he got back into fellowship with God, the call was still there. What should he do with it? Thank God, he obeyed God and became a nationally known minister.

Source: The Gifts and Callings of God by Kenneth E. Hagin.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth E. Hagin
Web site: RHEMA
Rev. Hagin served in Christian ministry for nearly 70 years and was known as the "father of the modern faith movement." His teachings and books are filled with vivid stories that show God's power and truth working in his life and the lives of others.

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