‘Tis the Lord! The King of Glory!

Who is He in Yonder Stall?

by Benjamin Russell Hanby (1833-1867) *

  1. Who is He in yonder stall, At whose feet the shepherds fall?


’Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!

’Tis the Lord! the King of glory!

At His feet we humbly fall,

 Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

  1. Who is He in deep distress, Fasting in the wilderness?

  1. Who is He the people bless For His words of gentleness?

  1. Who is He to whom they bring All the sick and sorrowing?

  1. Who is He that stands and weeps At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?

  1. Who is He the gathering throng Greet with loud triumphant song?

  1. Lo! at midnight, who is He Prays in dark Gethsemane?

  1. Who is He on yonder tree Dies in grief and agony?

  1. Who is He who from the grave Comes to succor, help, and save?

  1. Who is He who from His throne Rules through all the worlds alone?

* Benjamin Russell Hanby (July 22, 1833 – March 16, 1867), was an American composer, educator, pastor, and abolitionist who wrote approximately 80 songs. Hanby was born in Rushville, Ohio. He moved to Westerville, Ohio in 1849, at the age of sixteen, to enroll at Otterbein University. He was involved in the Underground Railroad with his father, Bishop William Hanby. After graduation in 1858, Hanby briefly taught school and then became a minister in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. In 1860, he became principal of Seven Mile Academy in Seven Mile, Ohio. In 1864, Hanby was minister of a church in New Paris, Ohio, but by Christmas 1864, he was no longer working as a pastor, but operating a singing school in New Paris. At age 33, Hanby died from tuberculosis in Chicago on March 16, 1867.


Temporary Spiritual Sign Gifts

Charity [love] never faileth:

but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;

whether there be tongues, they shall cease;

whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

I Corinthians 13:8

Whether some spiritual gifts were meant to be permanent and some temporary has been the subject of debate among Christians for centuries. The Apostle Paul made it clear that some spiritual gifts would endure and some would pass from use. This chart is a quick summary of this in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13:

Miraculous sign gifts were meant for the apostolic age when the gospel was first taking root around the known world. Genuine miracles authenticated the teaching of apostles and their immediate disciples (like Timothy and Titus who were trained by Paul) about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As gatherings of new believers scattered, they met together in what they called “churches” (Greek – EKKLESIA). God gave spiritual gifts to people in those assemblies (I Corinthians 12: Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-12 ) to encourage them and help them grow spiritually. As the churches matured, they received the inspired writings of apostles and gifted prophets for a solid doctrinal foundation (Ephesians 2:20, 3:5; II Peter 3:2) that would be preserved into the future. As the first century came to a close, the apostles had died out and the near-apostles taught by them were dwindling. The apostles and prophets left behind what we call the New Testament gospels and epistles.

With the completed collection of New Testament writings (II Peter 1:3), some spiritual sign gifts were no longer needed: the miraculous, authenticating sign gifts (healing, tongues) and the revelatory gifts (prophecy, inspired knowledge and wisdom). Other spiritual gifts, however, continued in local churches to encourage, edify, and exhort through gifts like faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 13:13).

Every local assembly of believers is a marvelous collection of spiritually gifted individuals who function together as the Body of Christ. God’s supernatural power working through Spirit-filled individuals demonstrates the vibrant life of Jesus Christ to the world.


Permanent and Temporary Spiritual Gifts

There are two lists of spiritual gifts and one list of spiritually gifted men in the New Testament. These are identified as God’s gifts to the local church.  Some of the terms and functions of these gifts overlap.

  • I Corinthians 12:6-8 (8 gifts)

  • Romans 12:6-8 (7 gifts)

  • Ephesians 4:11-12 (5 gifted men)

When we look at these lists, we immediately have to question why some of the gifts seem in regular use today while others are not. Should I expect to see every one of these gifts being used? For example, are there apostles today? What about the gift of healing? What about miracles?

One way to answer these questions is to realize that out of the entire list of spiritual gifts (all of which were given for edifying or building up believers), some are still active in the church and others gradually disappeared when they were no longer needed.

Permanent spiritual gifts are general in nature and contribute to the ongoing spiritual health and vitality of the Body of Christ—the local church. Temporary spiritual gifts were active immediately after the start of the church and were evident in the Book of Acts in the first century. By the end of the first century and upon completion of the Apostle John’s Book of Revelation, the need for sign gifts like healing and miracles had become unnecessary. The purposes of sign gifts were to certify God’s true messengers (the apostles and prophets). Edifying gifts like prophecy were to give churches verbal revelation directly from God until the apostles and prophets wrote their down their inspired revelation.

Today, the New Testament Scriptures are sufficient and complete revelation from God and are all we need “for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4) and we do not need new, supplemental revelation (Revelation 22:18-19). God’s New Testament messengers (the apostles and prophets) have been identified and recognized as authentic in the Gospels and Epistles by many eyewitnesses (Ephesians 2:19-22). Any new or special revelation today that claims to be from God lacks authentication by genuine, divine sign-miracles (John 3:2; Hebrews 2:1-4). Any information claiming to be of divine origin that disagrees with the written Scriptures is to be rejected (Galatians 1:8-9; Titus 3:10). The believer’s duty today is to compare spiritual information with words of the apostles and prophets to see if they agree (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1-5). If in agreement, those words are sound doctrine and acceptable (Titus 1:9; 2:1).

Next – Temporary spiritual gifts and why they gradually ended.


The Third Emissary: Cohort Chronicles | Book II


The Third Emissary is now available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

Click here for Kindle

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Available soon from Apple Books, B&N, and other online book sites.


A network of agents known as The Cohort is run by the powerful Roman politician Senator Tatius. In 41 A.D., Emperor Caligula is assassinated by his own bodyguards and “Uncle Claudius” is propped on the throne by the Praetorian Guard.

Rome’s plan to conquer Britannia requires an important naval base in Mauritania at the Pillars of Hercules between the Mediterranean and Atlantic can be secured by an Army legion before a political delegation to the region can tribute from the local Berber tribes, by force if necessary.

Two novice operatives of The Cohort are placed into the Mauritanian delegation to report back to Senator Tatius about naval and trade negotiations. Legatus Linius Crispus Valerius, head of The Cohort in Asia Minor, (see The Quiet Centurion | Book I), gives the two young men their orders and sends them into a web of diplomatic and military intrigue. Linius Crispus and his assistant, Ming, run into their own dangers in Roman provinces across norther Africa and Syria.

The Third Emissary | Book II continues a fictional series that traces the lives of a Christian centurion, his family, and a host of characters during the period 35-74 A.D. The rapid spread of Christianity intertwines with the ruthless expansion of the Roman Empire.


The Purpose of Spiritual Grace-Gifts

A spiritual grace-gift is not mine to do with as I please. God has entrusted it to me as His steward to be used as He alone intends. His intention is that spiritual gifts be used to minister to (serve) one another and not to please myself.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Our spiritual gifts are to serve one another. They are motivated by love.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The manifestation or use of the Holy Spirit is given to benefit or profit everyone. (In the context of I Corinthians chapter 12, the “withal” or “everyone” is the local church.)

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

God’s purpose is for me to use my spiritual gift(s) to edify or build up the local church.

1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Ultimately, God’s purpose for spiritual gifts is that they be used in the local church for the glory of God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

God gives some people to the local church who are uniquely gifted to train others. They are to help grow believers to spiritual maturity and to edify or strengthen them for the work of the ministry. The principal is that all the members of the body of Christ are “in the ministry” together and not just the gifted teachers.

Ephesians 4:8, 11-12 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ


The Source of Spiritual Grace-Gifts

In one sense, every blessing that comes from God is a gift. The Bible says that all gifts ultimately have their source in God the Father. James says:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Spiritual grace-gifts (Greek, charisma)  are the outworking of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 7a) as evidence of spiritual life in a born-again person for the profit of all in the local church (1 Corinthians 7b).  Each believer is given one or more spiritual gifts by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 8a).

1 Corinthians 12:7-8  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

Among believers in an assembly (local church), spiritual gifts are given, apportioned, distributed, or assigned by the Holy Spirit according to His will for the spiritual edification of the body as a whole.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

John MacArthur comments on the end of verse 11: “…,this beautiful thought: ‘dividing to every man,’ which is universality; and ‘severally,’ which is individuality. The Spirit of God universally gives gifts, but to every individual. He give them peculiarly. Nobody has your gift. You are a snowflake. It is not mass production; everybody is different. There are not forty-three teachers in one section, eighty-four givers over here, and forty-nine with faith over there. Everybody’s uniqueness manifests itself in a unique way. So, the Spirit of God divides to every man severally as He wills. Remember, you cannot seek a gift. In the first place, gifts are from God, and in the second place, He is the one who wills what He gives.” *


* Spiritual Gifts – I Corinthians 12, John MacArthur’s Bible Studies (1983) pp. 60-61


What are Spiritual Grace-Gifts?

In 1 Corinthians 12:1 the words spiritual gifts in English are actually the one word spirituals (plural) in the original Greek. Bible teacher John MacArthur explains the meaning:

“The word spirituals is the word pneumatikōn in the Greek. This is a simple word. You can understand a lot about its meaning by understanding the word. Pneuma is “Spirit” and any time there is an -ikōs or -ikōn ending on a Greek word it means “characterized by” or controlled by.” So pneumatikōn would be “characterized or controlled by the Spirit.” The verse can now be translated, “Now concerting certain things characterized or controlled by the Spirit, brethren…”

“You can learn a lot about spiritual gifts from that word because it tells you spiritual gifts are controlled by the Spirit. Paul’s use of the word pneumatikōn is one of five terms he uses in subsequent verses to refer to spiritual gifts.

  • In verse 4 the word “gifts” is charisma (grace or “grace-gifts”) in the Greek. It means that they are received by grace. You can’t earn them.

  • In verse 5 he uses the word “administrations.” In the Greek it is diakōnia which means “serve.” This word indicates that spiritual gifts are used to serve.

  • In verse 6 he uses the word “operations.” The Greek word energeō, refers to energy, which means that the gifts are energized by God.

  • The Greek word phanerōsis is “manifestations” in verse 7.

“So, spiritual gifts are controlled by the Spirit, given by grace from God, used to serve the Body, empowered by the Lord, and manifest the Lord. The different terms that he uses each have a different emphasis. In verse 1 they are simply called spirituals—those things under the control of and characterized by the Spirit.

There is a lot of ignorance today concerning spiritual gifts. It manifests itself in the abuse of gifts—ignoring them, neglecting them, overemphasizing the wrong ones, and confusing them with counterfeits. Paul says that this ignorance has to end. Hopefully, the Spirit of God will direct us in the understanding of spiritual gifts so that the ignorance will come to an end.”


* Spiritual Gifts – I Corinthians 12, John MacArthur’s Bible Studies (1983) pp. 23-25


Spiritual Grace-Gifts – Introduction

And he [Jesus Christ] gave some apostles; and some, prophets;

and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,

for the edifying of the body of Christ

Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)

This post begins an important section about Biblical Spirituality that delves into the “spiritual gifts” or “grace-gifts” that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, gives “variously as He wills” to each believer. God decides in His infinite wisdom to give grace-gifts to each believer—unique and personal to that individual; some with more than one gift—to minister to others. The purpose of spiritual gifts, as we will expand upon later, is three-fold, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Lewis Sperry Chafer introduces the topic of Spiritual Gifts:

“The very service of the Christian, like his salvation, has been designed in the eternal plan and purpose of God: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). According to this passage, God has before ordained a very special service (work, ministry) for each individual to perform, and the doing of these particular and individual ministries constitutes ‘good works’ according to the divine estimates. Any service other than that which was foreordained for the individual though valuable in itself, cannot be called ‘good works’ because it is not the personal outworking of the will of God. The…realization of ‘good works’ is not experience by all believers, but only by those who have presented their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; who are not ‘conformed to this world,’ but are ‘transformed’…by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2).

“Christian service (ministry) according to the New Testament, is the exercise of a spiritual gift. The Bible use of the word ‘gift’ should not be confused with the world’s conception of a ‘gifted person.’ The thought of the world concerning a gifted person is of one who by physical birth, is especially able to accomplish certain things. Such natural ability the Spirit will doubtless employ; but a ‘gift’ in the Bible use of the word is a direct undertaking or manifestation of the Spirit working through the believer. It is the Spirit of God doing something, and using the believer to accomplish it; rather than the believer doing something and calling on God for help in the task. It is the ‘work of the Lord’ in which we are to ‘abound.’ According to the Word, the Spirit produces Christian service as He produces the graces of Christ in and through the believer. Every faculty of the human instrument will be employed in the work. That human instrument will know what it is to be weary and worn in the service. Human energy, however, could never produce the divine results which are anticipated, and the Scriptures jealously contend that true Christian service is a direct ‘manifestation of the Spirit.’

“A ‘gift’ then, is the ‘manifestation of the Spirit,’ or service divinely produced by the Spirit, and ‘as He wills.’ Thus it is clear that there can be no exercise of a spiritual gift through an unyielded life.” *

* He That is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer (pp. 51-52)


Spiritual Love’s Characteristics

If you are like me, spiritual love is something hard to wrap your mind around. Love itself is hard to fully grasp and so spiritual love seems even more abstract. Yet, spiritual love is the dominant characteristic of a believer who is full of the Holy Spirit and walking in the Spirit. Lewis Sperry Chafer lists seven evidences or characteristics of genuine spiritual love. *  (I paraphrase for the sake of brevity.)

  1. Spiritual love is not experienced by the unsaved: “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you” (John 5:42 – Jesus addressing the Temple leaders who were conspiring to kill Him.)

  2. Spiritual love is without favoritism and reaches out to the whole world. A desire for salvation for others is at the core of spiritual love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 – Jesus to Nicodemus on the new birth and eternal life). “And he [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).

  3. Spiritual love abhors the present world system (GK. cosmos). “Love not the world [cosmos], neither the things that are in the world [cosmos]. If any man love the world [cosmos], the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15).

  4. Spiritual love is naturally shown to God’s Spirit-born children. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. …if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:11-12).

  5. Spiritual love is limitless, eternal, unending – like God’s love for us. [Love] “…Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” ( I Corinthians 13:7).

  6. Spiritual love has a special affection for Israel. The spiritual believer will learn to rejoice in the great promises and purposes of God for the people for whom He is in everlasting covenants, and for whom He has an everlasting love. “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

  7. Spiritual love is sacrificial. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). Such an attitude on the part of the Son of God toward eternal riches must, if reproduced in the Christian, affect largely his attitude toward earthly riches.


* He That is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer (pp. 48-51)


Spiritual LOVE

“In this is love, not that we loved God,

but that He loved us

and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

I John 4:10

“There is very real human love; but all Christian love, according to the Scriptures, is distinctly a manifestation of divine love through the human heart. A statement of this is found in Romans 5:5, “because the love of God is shed abroad [lit. gushes forth] in our hearts by [produced or caused by] the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us.” This is not the working of the human affection; it is rather the direct manifestation of the love of God passing through the heart of the believer out from the indwelling Spirit. It is the realization of the last petition of the High Priestly prayer of our Lord: “That the love wherewith thou has love me may be in them” (John 17:26). It is simply God’s love working in and through the believer. It could not be humanly produced, or even successfully imitated and it, of necessity, goes out to the objects of divine affection and grace, rather than to the objects of human desire. A human heart cannot produce divine love, but it can experience it. To have a heart that feels the compassion of God is to drink of the wine of heaven.” *



* He That is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer (page 48)