Let’s begin with a review of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The Cessationist says that Paul was prophesying about the coming Holy Bible. This would be the bible that we use today with the new and old testaments united in one complete collection of 66 books.
Under that understanding, the partial will pass away meaning; the gifts of the Spirit are no longer needed, because, the full revelation of God’s word has come. This also means that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are childish in comparison to the grown up perfection of the Holy Bible. The spiritual gifts have us seeing things dimly. The bible reveals all in its perfection. We no longer need a mirror for we are face to face with the truth. We know in part but after the bible comes, we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.
In contrast, here is the Continuationist view.
As a Continuationist myself, I agree that the bible is the true and perfect Word of God. It is a light in this dark and imperfect world. For, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is no one who is righteous… no not one (Romans 3:10)!
The bible is perfect, but we are not.
In our fallen state, how can we fully know or be fully known? Even after reading the perfect Word of God, we still see dimly. Because of our depraved nature, we are like children, moody, complaining, deceptive, wicked little things that consistently moan and rebel against our Savior.
Bind my wandering heart to thee of Lord!
Until we meet Him face to face, this will never change.
These verses are talking about the coming perfection and person of Jesus, and after this, the new heaven and earth. Once all of these old things are passed away we will see Jesus who has made all things new.
On that day… who will need prophesy or tongues or the gift of knowledge? Even faith and hope will be unnecessary in that final perfect eternity when all of His chosen are finally and forever united with God!
In those days to come, only love shall remain, which is why Paul ends the chapter in verse 13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Looking deeper into this, you will notice how Paul writes as if he will see this, “perfect”, come about.
“When I was a child… when I became a man”, “For now we see in a mirror dimly but then…”, “Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know…”
Paul never saw the completion of the Holy Bible, but he will see the perfection of Christ Jesus upon the resurrection of the saints. This is the “then” that he is speaking of. This is the “perfect” that is yet to come.
If all of this is true, then the gifts of the Spirit are for today.
This makes 1 Corinthians 12-14 come alive! It isn’t just a historical reading of how the first century church operated before the completion of the Holy Bible. They are God’s instruction, directly from his perfect Word on how to best go about exercising these gifts; gifts that are in action until the “perfect” coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Then we shall meet Him face to face.
How do you use spiritual gifts properly?
~The gifts of the Spirit are for God’s glory alone.
~You should not be envious of these gifts in others. The Spirit gives them out as He wills.
~This means if God doesn’t want them to manifest… they won’t.
~Any attempt to “manifest” these gifts for your own personal gain… you are to be accursed unless you repent. Read of Simon from the book of Acts (Acts 8:18-24).
The misuse of these gifts is why so many have become Cessationists. Many Calvinists take this view. They say that the gifts of the Spirit are not to be used today.
But I, as a Calvinist and a Continuationist disagree. There is a place for spiritual gifts. There is a proper use.
What is that use? I’ll cover that next, but you can read it yourself in 1 Corinthians 14.