Has “That Which Is Perfect Come”?

March 18, 2016

For 40 years, I was a cessationist.Baptist and used this passage as one of my proof texts. Unfortunately, we forgot to follow one of our basic rules for interpretation. In college, they stressed context, context, context. We have taken verse ten out of context.
1Co 13:8 Charity 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.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Verse 10 tells us when all the things mentioned will pass away or fail. “When that which is perfect shall come.” Left alone without verse 12 we might well surmise that which is perfect is a thing. Thus our thought that the Bible being completed with the writings of the New Testament was that which was perfect or complete.
However, when you look at verse 12 as a continuation of the topic we see that really that which is perfect is a time frame . We still look through a glass darkly and know in part, which ties back to verse 9. If that which is perfect has come we should no longer know in part. We should know absolutely everything. Seeing we have too many groups of Christians with various beliefs we are obviously not at the time when we will know everything and we will all speak the same thing and are undivided.
1Co_1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
That which is perfect will not happen until the end of the Millennium when all things are fulfilled and eternity begins. If you were to debate that it happens at the Second Coming, I would concede that it is a possibility, but since there is a 1000 years where we will see Christ on the throne and actively ruling the World in our presence I would submit there may be many things still to learn in that time period. Nonetheless, that time is not now and has not been for the last 2000 years.

Indeed, we still know in part as even in my Bible college I heard various interpretations of a Scripture passage or verse.  Thus even if prophesy is only speaking the Word we are definitely prophesying in part because there are parts of the Scripture that are not yet fulfilled so we have to say it could mean, might mean as we do not know exactly how they will play out in detail.  If perfection had come with the final NT Book being written we would know exactly how everything is going to come together.

At the end of the Millennium prophecies will fail because they will no longer be needed. Everything will then be fulfilled.  Tongues will cease for we will all speak the same language.  Knowledge, as we know it, will vanish because all things will have been revealed and our theologies corrected.  We shall then have our dark glass will removed and we will see face to face.   We will be full grown saints of God and the things we needed in our childhood will no longer be needed. Love will never fail because eternity will be all about God’s love for us and our perfected love for Him.  Faith will exist forever because it means trust and we will still be trusting in Him forever.  Hope or anticipation will survive because we will be anticipating what glorious thing will He do or do for us each “day” of eternity.

Thus cessationists have missed out on many blessings and the power of God in their life due to unbelief and oops theology.  Yes, we do not seek the “showy” gifts or miracles, but rather look to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit dispense the gifts as He chooses.  That doesn’t mean we can tell Him what to dispense or when He can or cannot do that.  He is God.

We believe that God said. “I am the Lord, I change not.” We believe in “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” yet we believe that somehow the Holy Spirit’s mission has changed because we have a finished Bible.  The Bible does not halter or hobble the Holy Spirit, but He will not do anything contrary to the Bible since He had an integral part in writing it.  Not everyone has the same gift and just because you don’t have something don’t deny the Spirit the right to give it to someone else.

Are there fakes out there?  Absolutely!  There are crazy people out there.  That is why you need to try the spirits as John commanded. Jesus tells us that there will be people who did all sorts of things in His name that He never knew and we know that the Anti-Christ will come with lying wonders that are so good that it were possible it would deceive the very elect.  The elect are not deceived because they know the real deal and have discernment by the Holy Spirit.  Don’t let fakes rob you of the real treasure.

I like how Todd White said it. “It’s God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, not God the Father, God the Son and God the Bible.  Without the Holy Spirit you have a closed Bible.  Baptists and other have allowed the Holy Spirit to partially open the Bible to them, but have not allowed Him to open the whole Bible in their lives.

We are no way living in a world made perfect.  What gifts do we not need today?  Doctors have  taken bits and pieces out of our body thinking they are not really needed and fortunately we survive without tonsils and gall bladders, but God put them there for a reason.  The Fall created the problems where they are diseased and need removed.

God gave the gifts to His Body and He does not take them out because He wants the Body completely functioning for His glory.  Cessationists have been playing doctor and telling the Body that something is wrong with various gifts.  Yes, the Body has survived without welcoming and using some of these gifts, but they were given the we might thrive, not just survive.

What gift do we not need if God gave the gifts?  Do we need healed?  Yes!  Would being able to tell a person what illness they have and then heal them make them listen to the Gospel?  Yes!  Would a person who despairs that God loves them be encouraged if we could tell them something about their sin or hurt  as we pray for them knowing that He revealed their issue to us?  Would being able to speak to a foreign atheist in their own language spontaneously get their attention?  Yes.  Would the healing and speaking their language be a miracle?  Yes.  Would these gifts help people to find the truth and not just trust in rituals or the teachings of men?  Yes. Did Paul say that he came to the preach the word not just in word but in power?  YES!  Did not D. L. Moody have a new experience with God after salvation and even preaching that changed his ministry and put power in his messages so he could win a million souls to Christ?  Yes.  Did Hudson Taylor experience years after conversion what he called the “exchanged life” that changed his ministry?  Yes  Do you think you might need such an experience in your life?  I do and I am seeking it.  Call it what you will, “exchanged life”, second blessing, baptism or filling of the Spirit, but the Body needs it especially at this late dark hour in history.

Are you saved if you don’t have some of the gifts or experienced what Moody and Taylor did?  Yes, salvation comes by faith and faith alone.  Yet, God wants us to be lights on a hill not passengers at the station waiting for the Glory bound train.  We are more than conquerors through Him, but we cower and hide like we are defeated behind our church doors.  Todd said, “The Rapture is not a rescue mission.  It is a pickup for the wedding.”

Maybe we need to allow the Holy Spirit to be who He is and not tell Him what He can and cannot do thus quenching, grieving and even resisting Him in our life.  When is the last time you heard Him?  Did you feel a tug to witness or to walk over and offer to pray for someone or give a word of encouragement and you didn’t do it?   You resisted, quenched and grieved Him.  If you resisted these little things it is unlikely you will see Him work in mighty or miraculous ways in your life.

In your own words, tell Him that you are sorry that you have resisted, quenched and grieved Him.  Repent of not letting God be God in your life by allowing the Spirit to move freely in your life so that He can make you like Christ and take you where Christ wants to go in you to do what He wants through you.  You ARE the light upon a hill and the salt of the earth so surrender to God, the Holy Spirit in your walk as your surrendered to God the Father, God the Son and the God the Holy Spirit when you were saved.   Shalom!  Maranatha!


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