Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Waiting for the Perfect

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

9 ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν· 10  ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται.

This is one of those passages that gives great difficulty to the cessationist.  Basically, the argument hinges on the identify of τὸ τέλειον.  What is "the perfect?"

One argument is that "the perfect" is the completed canon of scripture.  Once that was finished the sign gifts ceased.  No one doubts that Paul and others practiced the gifts.  The question is whether they are still active today.  I wrote a short paper on this for my Pastoral Theology class.

My take is that the perfect refers to the second coming of Christ.  I think that makes the most sense out of the rest of the passage.  How do we look at the completed canon "face to face?"  Good men differ on this though.

So why bring this up in a blog that is generally devotional?  I think it is important for all of us to consider the gifts of the Spirit.  I know that I need to consider my relationship with Him.  I tend to be more "heady" and academic in my approach to knowing God.  Understanding that He really does work through me gives me a connection to Him in a more personal way.  This is something that I am just starting to think through.

I do not think that you need to manifest the "sign gifts" to have a close relationship with God.  However, I also know that these three chapters (1Cor 12-14) speak to God working through the believer in a very powerful and personal way.  I would love to experience some of that, but if I don't I still know that He is God and that knowledge gives me great peace.

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