Charisma is an "act of grace" or a "free gift". Charisma is not something you earn, but rather is something that is just given to you without condition, without manipulation, without qualifiers. The One who gives charisma shows favor to the recipient.
The word charisma (χάρισμα) comes from the word for grace (charis, χάρις). The suffix (-ma, -μα) indicates a result from grace. Charisma is something that is given as a result of the grace of the giver.
In the New Testament, the word charisma is only used in reference to gifts that are given by God. In 2 Corinthians 1:11, Paul shares that God's work to deliver him from "peril" is a charisma. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, "self-control" is considered to be a charisma from God (*Note: we personally need God's gift of grace to guide even our most independent thoughts and actions). Often charisma is used to designate special gifts given by the Holy Spirit, especially for the edification of others (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 12; 1 Peter 4:10, etc.). In his letters to Timothy, Paul indicates that Timothy received a unique and personal charisma from God when some other church leaders laid their hands on him and prayed for him. Paul has already used the word in this letter-book of Romans to indicate the redemption and salvation we receive from Jesus (Romans 5:15-16, and 11:29).
Charisma is a remarkable, wonderful truth. God gives. And God gives out of his favor for us. God gives from the depth of his love. And God gives to us so that we can give to others. God gives freely, without expectation of an equal return.
Charisma is never to be considered something that we deserve. We are tempted to treat God as if He is some great Supplier who owes us for our good works. Proclaiming "I've done all this for you!" doesn't earn us any charisma from God. Charisma is simply a gift of grace… a present undeserved… a bestowal of blessing from the Author of Life and Grace.
In the midst of a great discussion about sin and death and the cross of Christ, Paul succinctly articulates a remarkable truth: God graciously gifts us with life because of who Jesus is and because of what Jesus has done.
If we were treated like we deserve, if we were given according to the earnings of our sin, we would be paid for our work appropriately. Sin produces death, reality apart from God, the consequences of trespass and off-target living. But, thankfully, we are treated with a showering of blessing from a God of love who desires that we not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
So, one of the greatest verses in all of scripture communicates this freeing truth: Romans 6:23 ~ 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is impossible for me to reflect on this passage without sharing this simple request. If you have never done so, consider inviting Jesus into your life today. This verse presents a powerful opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life. If you aren't sure how to begin, you could simply say "Sorry", "Thank-you", and "Please" = the three words we teach our children to learn and practice are the three words we need to share with God. So we say: "Sorry, God, for my sins. Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross to take my sins from me. Please come into my life and lead me from this day forward."
May we be blessed today in the charisma that comes from Jesus.
Here is the verse in Greek. Can you find some familiar words?
~ τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος,
τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιος ἐνΧριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν.