The Gifts Part 75
1 Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
For the proponents of cessation, this is most often the verse that is used to make their case. The reason this particular verse is so often quoted by those who believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no more, is due to the misidentification of ‘that which is perfect’, because they believe that Paul is referring to the canon of scripture, the Bible, as being ‘that which is perfect.’
Although the proponents of cessation defend their interpretation vociferously, there is no scripture that supports their interpretation as to the Bible being ‘that which is perfect’ that Paul was referring to.
So what is ‘that which is perfect’ that is yet to come? Jesus of course, and throughout this exegetical detour, I will prove this truth out biblically.
Once again, our duty as followers of Christ is to defer to the gospel, to defer to the word of God, and not make up doctrines that will fit our preconceived notions. Due to certain denominational guidelines, there are an untold number of souls that continually attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole, and though it doesn’t quite fit properly they force it, and pound it, and twist it in, until there is some semblance of cohesion.
In my younger days, shortly after I came to America, I was informed by a ruddy cheeked elementary school teacher with a lisp that it was unhealthy for a child not to have a hobby. At the time I did not realize that collecting aluminum cans and empty bottles to take to the recycling center so I could help put food on the table was sort of like a hobby, so wanting to fit in with my new adopted nation, I decided I would get myself a new pastime. Granted, I didn’t have time for leisure pursuits even though I was barely ten years old, because life was hard, and between school, homework, and scouring the neighborhood for cans and bottles, the day was spent.
Nevertheless, after saving up my nickels and dimes for what seemed like an eternity, I went down to the local store, found the hobby section, and proceeded to purchase a five hundred piece puzzle, which upon its completion would be an old fashioned sailing ship.
I ran home, found a place in the corner of the living room where I knew there wouldn’t be much foot traffic because seven people in a two bedroom apartment makes for a busy place, and got to work on my new hobby. A few hours went by and as I inspected the work of my hands I realized with horror that the half-finished puzzle before me looked nothing like the picture on the box. Pieces of the cannon were dispersed throughout the sail, the ship looked nothing like a ship, and it was because I was forcing pieces of the puzzle where they had no business being just because they seemed to fit if only I forced them in just a little. That was my first and last foray into puzzle building, as well as my singular attempt at getting a hobby, but the lesson I learned from those few frustrating hours is one that has stayed with me throughout the years.
Each piece of a puzzle has its own unique and appropriate place, and if you attempt to force a piece where it doesn’t belong, it will ruin the whole.
Sin brought corruption and darkness into the heart of man. Jesus, the Christ, came from His heavenly glory, took on a body of flesh, and paid for man’s redemption with His own precious blood. Through Christ and His sacrifice we were given the opportunity to be free from the bondage and shackles of sin.
With His first coming, Christ paid the price for our redemption and established His Church. With His second coming, He will forever do away with the reign of the enemy and of sin, and a new age will begin. This is what the apostle Paul is referring to when he says ‘but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away with.’
Due to sin’s reign upon the land, while still in flesh, man will forever be limited in his knowledge, man will forever know in part. The human mind can never know completely, for by its very nature it is limited.
When Christ returns however all that which is in part will be done away with. Tongues will cease, partial knowledge will cease, the struggles of faith will cease, miracles will cease, as will all the means of grace which God employs in aiding mankind to come to the knowledge of Christ, for in the Kingdom of Holiness, all things will be complete. This is the goal toward which all the saints aspire, and having reached their goal, having laid claim to the prize, the race is complete.
There will come a day when the reality of the Kingdom will do away with shadows and symbols, when it will do away with partial knowledge and partial understanding. That day will be the day of our beloved Lord’s return, the day in which He will come to claim His Bride, that which is rightfully His. When that which is perfect is come, when the Son of Man returns, when Christ the King will appear, that which is in part will be done away with.
For now, we still need the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we still need the power of God, we still need all that God says we have at our disposal for the battle is not over, the race is not won, and that which is perfect has not come.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.