The use of spiritual gifts has been a controversial issue over the years in the Body of Christ. There are many of my brothers in the Body of Christ who believe that certain gifts especially the gifts of tongues, healing, miracles and prophecy ceased operation at the end of the apostolic age. I’m not putting myself forward as an expert on these matters. Smarter people than myself have pondered these issues.
But, I do believe that we need to have an understanding of scripture so that we can march forward in Jesus as He would have us move; using whatever tools He has provided for us.
People who believe in the cessation of gifts base their belief on the fact that these gifts were given to validate the apostle’s teaching in the early establishment of the church and that these gifts ceased at the end of the apostolic age and at the advent of the Bible. These beliefs are based in part upon the passages of scripture found in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.
In the next couple of blogs, I’ll address this issue from my view of scripture. I have no beef with anyone, just asking the same question that the little lady asked on the hamburger commercial popular a few years ago, “Where’s the beef?” I have no beef and I’m looking for some!
The Corinthian church had a lot of things out of order. Paul wrote to address these issues and to get the church back to the place in worship that it needed to be spiritually. He begins his letter to the Corinthians by saying this to them in chapter one, verse four:
“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge–because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.”
Now, look at what Paul says next–“Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul seems to be saying to the Corinthians that the grace given them produced in them spiritual gifts and that these gifts were to be present until a time that is coming-a time when Jesus Christ will be revealed. The word “revealed” here is the word from which we get our word “apocalypse”. Then, Paul goes on to speak of their strength continuing until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ comes.
I think that it is highly likely according to the wording used that Paul is saying that the spiritual gifts given the church were given to them for the time period until the apocalypse of Jesus Christ-the day He appears at the end of the age. If that is so, then to think that they would be operational today would be in accord with that thought.
But, what about the passages in 1 Corinthians 13 mentioned above that state that tongues will be stilled, knowledge will pass away and prophecies will cease?
We’ll look at that next time.