November 28, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We have been looking at the question, “Are the miraculous gifts and offices valid today?” The title of this series, What Is The Perfect To Come? is from I Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” The context states that “…prophecies…tongues…[and] knowledge…will vanish away…” (I Corinthians 13:8) – three of the nine miraculous gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12:8 through 10 – when the “…perfect has come….” Many, and perhaps the majority of Christians identify with the theological position that The Perfect To Come is the completion of God’s revelation to man when the New Testament was accomplished at the end of the first century AD.
I disagree! And two blogs ago, we looked again at Ephesians 4:1 through 15 – the featured scripture for the recent series Maturing In Christ. Today I am including verse 16:
…He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and
some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of
the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the mea-
sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we should no longer be child-
ren, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the
trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive,
but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
head — Christ — from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what
every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part
does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
In Monday’s blog, we looked at verse11 through 13: Jesus gave His Church “…apostles… prophets…evangelists…and…pastors and teachers… till we all come to the unity of the faith…” I gave one example – and we can look around at today’s Church and see many more examples – that we certainly have not yet reached “…the unity of the faith…”! We have instead in our churches cliques, disagreements, arguments, bitter fighting, and splits galore! We have a long way to go until “…we all come to the unity of the faith…“! Remember, Jesus’ goal for His followers is plainly spelled out in His prayer recorded in John 17: “…that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me…” (verses 22 and 23).
God has given us all the Spiritual offices and gifts to be in effect until that unity is complete! And that unity will not be complete until our Lord returns in glory!
Let’s go on. All the Spiritual offices and gifts are in effect until we reach several more things:
• “…the knowledge of the Son of God…” (verse 13) – of which knowledge we have a lot to gain to reach what Jesus again prayed to the Father in John 17:3: “…that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” And the idea here is to know God fully! C. S. Lovett writes in his commentary on John, “…the Greek word for ‘know’ goes beyond mere intellectual knowledge to include the ideas of seeing and understanding as well as meeting the true God.”
• “…to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” (verse 13) – Have we reached perfection in our Christian walk? Are we yet so much like Jesus Christ that it can be said, “We are ‘…the stature of the fulness of Christ…’”?
• “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive…” (verse 14) – Are we as Christians no longer immature? Have we so grown up in the faith that no longer can we be deceived by false doctrine?
• “…but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
head — Christ…” (verse 15) – Do we always speak to brothers and sisters – as well as to the unsaved – “…truth in love…”? Have we so grown “…in all things…” Christian that we are just like our “…head — Christ…”?
• “…from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (verse 16) – Have we reached the point where we – every member of Christ’s Body, the Church – are so working together in harmony that we are the embodiment of love, lifting one another to ever-higher planes of the Christian life?
And has all this been accomplished by the end of the first century? Has all this been manifested in the world for the last 19 centuries following? If this has not happened yet, then what Christ has given His followers as gifts and offices – even miraculous gifts and offices – is still in effect and to be in use today – until He comes again!