Summary: Have Cessationists missed on blessings by telling the Holy Spirit what He cann and cannot do?
For 40 years, I was a cessationist.Baptist and used this passage as one of my proof texts. Unfortunately, we forgot to follow one of our basic rules for interpretation. In college, they stressed context, context, context. We have taken verse ten out of context.
1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Verse 10 tells us when all the things mentioned will pass away or fail. “When that which is perfect shall come.” Left alone without verse 12 we might well surmise that which is perfect is a thing. Thus our thought that the Bible being completed with the writings of the New Testament was that which was perfect or complete.
However, when you look at verse 12 as a continuation of the topic we see that really that which is perfect is a time frame . We still look through a glass darkly and know in part, which ties back to verse 9. If that which is perfect has come we should no longer know in part. We should know absolutely everything. Seeing we have too many groups of Christians with various beliefs we are obviously not at the time when we will know everything and we will all speak the same thing and are undivided.
1Co_1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
That which is perfect will not happen until the end of the Millennium when all things are fulfilled and eternity begins. If you were to debate that it happens at the Second Coming, I would concede that it is a possibility, but since there is a 1000 years where we will see Christ on the throne and actively ruling the World in our presence I would submit there may be many things still to learn in that time period. Nonetheless, that time is not now and has not been for the last 2000 years.
Indeed, we still know in part as even in my Bible college I heard various interpretations of a Scripture passage or verse. Thus even if prophesy is only speaking the Word we are definitely prophesying in part because there are parts of the Scripture that are not yet fulfilled so we have to say it could mean, might mean as we do not know exactly how they will play out in detail. If perfection had come with the final NT Book being written we would know exactly how everything is going to come together.
At the end of the Millennium prophecies will fail because they will no longer be needed. Everything will then be fulfilled. Tongues will cease for we will all speak the same language. Knowledge, as we know it, will vanish because all things will have been revealed and our theologies corrected. We shall then have our dark glass will removed and we will see face to face. We will be full grown saints of God and the things we needed in our childhood will no longer be needed. Love will never fail because eternity will be all about God’s love for us and our perfected love for Him. Faith will exist forever because it means trust and we will still be trusting in Him forever. Hope or anticipation will survive because we will be anticipating what glorious thing will He do or do for us each “day” of eternity.
Thus cessationists have missed out on many blessings and the power of God in their life due to unbelief and oops theology. Yes, we do not seek the “showy” gifts or miracles, but rather look to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit dispense the gifts as He chooses. That doesn’t mean we can tell Him what to dispense or when He can or cannot do that. He is God.
We believe that God said. “I am the Lord, I change not.” We believe in “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” yet we believe that somehow the Holy Spirit’s mission has changed because we have a finished Bible. The Bible does not halter or hobble the Holy Spirit, but He will not do anything contrary to the Bible since He had an integral part in writing it. Not everyone has the same gift and just because you don’t have something don’t deny the Spirit the right to give it to someone else.