Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit
The term pneumatology comes from two Greek words, namely, pneuma meaning “wind,”
“breath,” or “spirit” (used of the Holy Spirit) and logos meaning “word,”
“matter,” or “thing.” As it is used in Christian systematic theology, “pneumatology” refers
to the study of the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Generally this includes such topics as the personality of the Spirit,
the deity of the Spirit, and the work of the Spirit throughout Scripture.
The Personhood of the Holy Spirit
The personality (and therefore “personhood”) of the Holy Spirit has been denied by certain groups
throughout the history of the church. Some point out that the noun for “spirit” in the NT is pneuma
which is neuter and, therefore, the spirit is correctly referred to as “it” rather than “he.” In keeping
with this idea, some refer to it [him] as “God’s active force,” almost in a Gnostic sense of an emanation
from the one, true God. Before we look at the Biblical evidence, it is important to point out that there is no necessary connection
in Koine Greek between grammatical gender and personal gender so it is simply false to say that since the Greek noun pneuma is neuter the spirit must be an “it.”
It is important, then, to see what the Scriptures say about his personhood, i.e., is he really a person,
albeit divine? This is especially so in a culture moving more toward New Age thinking and pantheism. The Holy Spirit is not
the “god” within us which we possess via our own natures, nor is he some amorphous feeling or “active force.”
All these views denigrate him and rightly deserve rejection.
There are several lines of evidence in the NT which argue for the personality of the Holy Spirit. First,
Jesus said he would send “another” in his place (John 14:16). The word for another is allos
in Greek and refers to another just like Jesus. It is reasonable to conclude from this that the Spirit is a person since Jesus
is clearly a person. Further, Jesus referred to him as a parakle?tos (enabler, encourager, comforter,
etc.) which requires that he be a person since the functions of a parakle?tos are personal; Jesus
functioned as a parakle?tos to the disciples.
Second, the fact that the Spirit makes choices (1 Cor 12:11), teaches (John 14:26), guides (John 16:13),
reveals Jesus (John 16:14), convicts (John 16:8), seals believers (2 Cor 1:21-22), can be grieved (Eph 4:30), blasphemed (Matt
12:31), possesses a rational mind (Rom 8:26-27; 1 Cor 2:11-13), can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4), quenched (1 Thess 5:19), resisted
(Acts 7:51), and on numerous occasions is distinguished from, yet directly linked with the Father and the Son as co-worker
and co-recipient of worship, argues definitively for his personhood (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Cor 13:14).16
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
As we noted above, the Holy Spirit is distinguished from, yet closely related to, the Father and the Son—and
that on an equal basis. He receives the worship due the Father and the Son (2 Cor 13:14) and does divine works, including
inspiring Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21; Matt 19:4-5), regenerating hearts (Titus 3:5), and creating, sustaining, and giving
life to all things (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 34:14-15; Psalm 104:29-30). He is said to be eternal (Heb 9:14; only God is eternal),
omniscient (1 Cor 2:10-11), and is actually referred to as God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20). There is very little room
for doubt; clearly the Holy Spirit is divine.
Scriptural Metaphors for the Holy Spirit
Scripture uses several important metaphorical expressions to refer to the Spirit, his sovereign character
and his inscrutable, yet manifested workings. For example, Jesus referred to him as a wind—a metaphor
which seems to underline the inscrutable nature of his moving in the hearts of people to give them life and bring them to
faith (John 3:8).
In connection with his personal and glorious ministry to people, Jesus referred to him as water
in John 7:37-39. This symbol portrays the Spirit as the One who can fulfill the deepest longings of the heart to know God,
i.e., to enjoy eternal life (John 4:14; 17:3). As such, the metaphor speaks of promised messianic blessing and the presence
of the kingdom in a new and powerful way (Isa 12:3; 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 39:29; Zech 14:16-18; Joel 2:28-32; Sukk 5:55a).
In Matthew 3:16 (cf. Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) the text refers to the Spirit descending out of heaven
as a dove. The symbol of the “dove” probably represents the beginning of an age of blessing and
the end of judgment or perhaps it symbolizes the beginning of a new creation through the work of the promised, Spirit-empowered
Another metaphor for the Spirit is clothing (Acts 1:8). This idea involves being dressed by
another person so that one is characterized by this new clothing. In the case of the Spirit, it refers to his gift of power
to us so that we might live consistent with the gospel as we boldly preach it throughout the entire world.
The Spirit is also referred to as a guarantee or pledge of the Christian’s
glorification (Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:21-22). In this case, the present gift of the Spirit is the guarantee that the totality of
what has been promised to us will someday be fulfilled (Rom 8:30). BAGD (the standard Greek lexicon used in NT studies) refers
to the “Spirit” in these passages as the “first installment, deposit, down payment, [or] pledge,
that pays a part of the purchase price in advance, and so secures a legal claim to the article in question, or makes a contract
Closely related to the idea of the Spirit as “pledge” is the Spirit as seal or
the One with whom Christians are sealed by God. In 2 Cor 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14, 4:30, Christians are said to be “sealed”
by the Spirit of God. A “seal” in the ancient world referred to a “mark (with a seal) as a
means of identification so that the mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner (see Rev
7:3)…This forms a basis for understanding the symbolic expression which speaks of those who enter the Christian fellowship
as being sealed with or by the Holy Spirit.”19 Thus the “sealing” of the Spirit speaks to the divine ownership of the Christian which translates into
security and protection. This does not mean that the Christian will never sin or be chastened by God (1 John 1:9; Hebrews
12:1-11), but it does mean that God will never abandon them, neither in this life or the one to come (cf. Rom 8:38-39). We
will discuss this more under “Soteriology” or “Salvation” below.
The Pentecost Spirit is also likened to tongues of fire in Acts 2:3. Fire represents the holy
presence of God, as for example, in Exodus 3:2-5 and the “burning bush.” One might also recall the pillar of fire
(Exod 13:21-22), the fire on Mount Sinai (Exod 24:17) and the fire associated with the wilderness tabernacle (Exod 40:36-38).20 In all these cases, the holiness of God is paramount. Now, recall that the Christian’s election is unto holiness
and Christlikeness (Rom 8:29; Eph 1:4) and so the Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts to make this transformation
a reality (2 Cor 3:18).
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Revelation
The apostle Peter makes it clear that the Holy Spirit was responsible for the production of the OT scriptures
(i.e., graphe?s) by carrying men along as they freely wrote God’s message. Paul likewise asserts
the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the production of sacred Scripture (2 Tim 3:16—theopneustos).
When we go to the OT we see this phenomenon in several places, not the least of which is the clear example of Ezekiel 2:2:
“As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and raised me to my feet and I heard him speaking to me” (see also 8:4;
11:1, 24). Other examples of the Spirit speaking to people include Balaam (Num 24:2) and Saul (1 Samuel 10:6, 10). Also, Jesus
said that David spoke by the Holy Spirit (Matt 22:43; cf. Acts 2:30).21
There is not a great deal of discussion in either testament regarding the relationship between the Spirit
and men during the production of Scripture. Peter uses the analogy of the wind filling the sails of a ship. So we may infer
from this that the Spirit took the initiative and directed the work, but in no way suppressed the personalities, including
the emotional and intellectual input, of the human authors. In fact, it appears that he used all of this (and more), for the
spiritual/emotional/ethical experience of David writing lyric poetry (in the Psalms, for example) was not the same as Paul’s
experience in writing 1 Thessalonians or Ezra’s experience in writing the book after his name or John writing Revelation.
The fact that we have an intimate involvement of the Spirit of God with the writers of Scripture speaks not to mechanical
dictation or even conceptual inspiration (cf. Gal 3:16), but instead to a divine-human concurrence (1 Cor 2:12-13).
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
The work of the Spirit in the OT is much broader than just the production of Scripture, as important as
that is. The Spirit was involved in creating the cosmos (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13). He is currently intricately involved
in sustaining creation (Psa 104:29-30) and will someday, in a period of enormous divine blessing, completely renew it. The
nature of the Spirit’s present ministry testifies to this future work (Isa 32:15; Rom 8:18-27).
The Holy Spirit came upon certain people to impart wisdom and practical skills, strength and ability. He
did this during the building of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and all the tabernacle’s furnishings (Exod
31:1-11). He was also the strength and guidance behind the building of the temple (Zech 4:6).
The Spirit was involved in the administration of the nation of Israel by giving gifts of administration
and wisdom (Gen 41:38; Num 11:25; Deut 34:9). He also raised up national leaders during the dismal period of the Judges. He
gave strength, courage, capability in war, and leadership abilities to several people (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 14:19). Later on
he anointed Saul, David, and Solomon for leadership by giving them strength and ability to prophesy, but in the case of Saul,
the Spirit subsequently withdrew because of his disobedience (1 Sam 10:10; 16:13).
The Holy Spirit was also involved in the regeneration (Ezek 36:26-28), instruction, and sanctification of
Israel in the OT (Nehemiah 9:20; Psa 51:11; 143:10; Isa 63:10). It is also said that he will produce righteousness and justice
among the people of God in the messianic age (Isa 11:2-5; 32:15-20).22
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of Christ
The Holy Spirit was involved in the birth of Christ, with the result that Christ, while fully human, was
completely sinless (Matt 1:18; Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit was also involved in Christ’s anointing for messianic service
(i.e., at his baptism [Luke 3:21-22]), filled him during his temptations (Luke 4:1; John 3:34), and revealed the timing and
nature of the beginning of that ministry (Luke 4:14, 18). The Holy Spirit was also responsible for Christ’s ability
to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matt 12:28). He was also involved in both the death of Christ as well as his resurrection
(Heb 9:14; Rom 1:4; 8:11). Further, perhaps the best interpretation of 1 Peter 3:18-20 is that the pre-incarnate Christ preached
via the Spirit through the mouth of Noah to the wicked back in the days before the flood.23
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church
We will discuss the various aspects of the work of the Spirit in relation to the church under the headings
of “soteriology” and “ecclesiology.” Suffice it to say here that the Spirit is involved in the works
of calling, regeneration, uniting the believer with Christ, indwelling, filling, teaching, guiding, gifting, empowering, and
sanctifying the believer. His primary ministry is to mediate the presence of Christ and the knowledge of God to the believer
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND MIRACULOUS SPIRITUAL GIFTS
- When you and I read the Bible we will know as much as can be known about spiritual gifts because all that can be known
about them is found in the Bible.
- We cannot fully comprehend all that is involved in these gifts because no one possesses them today.
- Many think the Bible teaches that these gifts are available today, so they try to help God out by trying to manufacture
- These people are hindering the cause of Christ rather than helping. They are causing unbelief among thinking people. Many
think these gifts and the Bible stand or fall together and since they see nothing they can come to grips with they dismiss
the Bible as the word of God.
- On the other hand there are those who deny the indwelling Spirit. Perhaps they think to admit to the indwelling Spirit
would be to accept the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. This is not true.
- WE NEED TO MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE SPIRIT HIMSELF AND GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
- The Holy Spirit is a person. One of the three modes of being in the Godhead. "Howbeit when HE, the Spirit of
truth . . ." (John 16:13).
- The Spirit dwells in every obedient person. (Acts 5:32)
- Before Christ died the Spirit was in the world (Genesis 1:2) but did not in-dwell. The Spirit could not dwell in an unclean
tabernacle. Man was separated from God because of sin and until the sin problem was solved man would remain so. (Isaiah 59:1-2;
Hebrews 10:4, 9:13-15)
- Jesus said "He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: For the Holy Ghost was not yet given because
that Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38-39) After Jesus died man could have forgiveness of sins by obedience to
the gospel (Romans 6:17-18) and at that time his body would become a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Notice
John 14:17 concerning the indwelling Spirit. "For He dwelleth with you and shall be in you." Jesus is
speaking of a new relationship. The Spirit has been beside you but He shall be inside you.
- The first gospel sermon preached after the death of Jesus is recorded in Acts chapter 2. In this sermon Peter told the
people to "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." We cannot tell from this text whether or not he was speaking of the Spirit himself
or gifts of the Spirit. But we can tell from other passages he was speaking of the Spirit as in chapter 5:32. Peter said,
"and we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him."
- In Galatians 3:26-27 Paul tells us how to become children of God. And in chapter 4:6 he tells us what happens because
we are sons. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
- We have people who tell us God dwells in us through the Word. There is no passage that teaches this as far as I know.
But there is a passage that tells us how God in-dwells. Paul said to the Ephesians "Ye also are builded together for an
habitation of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22)
- When we think about the Spirit dwelling through the Word we must realize there is no difference in a man's knowledge before
and after baptism. We recognize a man's body is not the temple of the Holy Spirit before baptism and we recognize it is after
baptism. He must accept the Word before baptism or he is not scripturally baptized. We receive the Spirit at baptism (Galatians
3:26-27; 4:6) but we do not necessarily possess more of the Word. Therefore the indwelling of the Spirit is based on forgiveness
of sins and not how much knowledge one possess of God's Word.
- What does the indwelling Spirit do?
- The realization that my body is a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in me serves as a restraint against
the abuse of my body. Paul said to the Corinthians "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of THE HOLY GHOST which
is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
- The Spirit helps us bear fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance. This is not your fruit but "the fruit of the Spirit." Concerning love notice John 13:34-35; Romans 5:5.
- The Holy Spirit working in cooperation with our spirit enables us to put to death the deeds of the body. "If ye through
the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:13)
- The Spirit helps us in our prayer life. (Romans 8:26)
- The Holy Spirit is given as an earnest and a seal. (Ephesians 1:13-14) A seal indicates ownership. One of the functions
of the Holy Spirit is to make actual the ownership of God in my life. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) An earnest is a pre-sample,
plus a guarantee of something to come. What does that mean? I believe this has to do with the quality of life the Spirit enables
me to live. The Holy Spirit has been given to enable me to live now the same quality of life that I will live hereafter in
the eternity to come. (Romans 8:13; Hebrews 6:4b-5) That is an "earnest" or pre-sample. (Galatians 5:22-23)
- When we abuse our body, or do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, or fail to "put to death the deeds of the body",
or neglect our prayer life, or do not display the seal and earnest of our inheritance, we "grieve" and "quench"
the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 4:30; I Thessalonians 5:19)
- MIRACULOUS GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
We have looked at the indwelling of the Spirit. Now let's look at the gifts
of the Spirit.
- There are nine gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12:8-10. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working
of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
- How did a Christian receive these gifts?
Through the laying on of the apostles hands! It is recorded in the 8th chapter
of the book of Acts "that Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them" (verse 5). Verse 12
says, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ ,they
were baptized, both men and women." According to what we have already learned they received the indwelling of the Spirit
but not gifts of the Spirit. (Acts 2:38; 5:32)
- When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word they sent Peter and John that they might pray
for them to receive the Holy Spirit. "For as yet He was FALLEN UPON none of them." There is a difference in
indwelling and "falling upon." We know from Acts 5:32 that they had already received the indwelling of the Spirit.
Verse 17 says, "then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost."
- And Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given. Why didn't Philip lay his
hands upon them to impart the Holy Spirit? Evidently only the apostles had this power. Verse 18 says, "and when Simon saw."
What did he see? Can you see the Holy Spirit? No! But you can see manifestations of the Spirit, such as speaking in a tongue
or prophesying. I would conclude from this that the Samaritans received the indwelling Spirit at baptism and gifts of the
Spirit through the laying on of the apostles hands. (Acts 19:1-6)
- What was the purpose of these spiritual gifts?
- Revelation: Man needs a revelation from his Creator "It is not in man to direct his own steps;" therefore
God gave the gifts of knowledge and wisdom. (Jeremiah 10:23)
- Proclamation: Man needed to proclaim the right message in the right language; therefore God gave the gifts of:
- "Prophecy" - the message.
- "Discerning of spirits" - the right message. (I John 4:1)
- "Interpretation of tongues" - the right language.
- Confirmation: Early Christians did not have the Bible as we do today. They had to prove that the revelation they
had received and were proclaiming was from God. How would the audience know they were speaking God's Word without miracles.
(Acts 8:6) Therefore God gave the gifts of:
- Faith - I Corinthians 13:2.
- Healing - Acts 3:11.
- Miracles - Acts 13:11.
- Tongues - I Corinthians 14:22; Acts 2:1-5.
"These signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast
out devils; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands
on the sick; and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat
on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where the Lord working with them; and confirming
the Word with signs following." (Mark 16:17-20) "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the
first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." (Hebrews 2:3) "Brethren,
I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or
addeth thereto." (Galatians 3:15)
- How long were these miraculous spiritual gifts to last?
To answer this we must look again at their purpose.
- A complete revelation from God was given in the first century or during the life time of the apostles. In John 16:13,
Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into ALL TRUTH. That doesn't leave any truth to be
revealed. Jesus said in John 17:8, "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them."
Paul said in Ephesians 3:3-5, "How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery as I wrote afore in few words.
Whereby, when you read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto
the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
- Paul said the Holy Spirit revealed the mystery unto him. He wrote it down and we can read it and
understand it. Our faith is to be based upon the written Word (John 20:30-31). It is complete and final (II Timothy
3:16-17). This statement would take into consideration the concluding work of the then living apostles and prophets.
- Jude said "contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (verse 3). Not over and
over again, not even twice but "ONCE".
- Therefore, since we have a complete and final revelation from God, I would conclude that no one has the gift of "wisdom"
and "knowledge" (miraculous) today. These gifts served their purpose and terminated in the first century.
- Proclamation: There are three gifts of the Spirit that fall into this category.
- Discerning of spirits. John said, "believe not every spirit. But try the spirits whether they are of God: Because
many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4:1) We do not need this gift today because we test a man's
message by the Bible. (Revelation 22:18, 19)
- Interpretation of tongues. Within 29 years after the church was established the gospel was preached in every nation
to every creature. (Colossians 1:6, 23) The ability to translate the message of God into a man's own language helped to make
this possible. After this was accomplished this gift was no longer needed.
- Prophecy. "The speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God . . . it is the declaration of that which cannot be
known by natural means." (W.E. Vine, p. 221) With the completion of the canon of scripture prophecy passed away. In his measure
the teacher has taken the place of the prophet. (I Corinthians 13:8, 9) Note the significant change in II Peter 2:1. The difference
is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the
teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the scriptures. (Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, pp.
196, 197) Therefore this gift ceased with the completion of scripture in the first century.
- Confirmation: Men of God received a revelation from God and the abiltity to proclaim it; but they also needed to
confirm it, so God gave the gifts of "FAITH" that could remove mountains (I Corinthians 13:2), the gift of "healing" (Acts
3:11), the ability to perform "miracles" (Acts 13:11), and the ability to speak in other "tongues" (languages) as a sign.
(I Corinthians 14:22) All of these "gifts" were to back up or confirm the message they taught. Once the message was revealed,
proclaimed, and confirmed, there was no further need for these gifts. The message was revealed, proclaimed, and confirmed
in the first century. (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3; Galatians 3:15) Unless a man has a new revelation from God there is no
need for these gifts today. And if any man preaches a new message he is to be "accursed;" and he "hath not God."
(Galatians 1:7-8 II John 9)
- HOW LONG WERE THESE MIRACULOUS SPIRITUAL GIFTS TO LAST?
Until "that which is perfect is come." (I Corinthians
- In view of their purpose and the fact that that purpose has been fulfilled I would conclude that these gifts ceased with
the death of the apostles and prophets and at the death of those on whom the apostles laid their hands to impart these gifts.
- "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge,
it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which
is in part shall be done away." (I Corinthians 13:8-10)
- We notice here instead of bringing all nine gifts from chapter 12 to chapter 13 Paul only brings three, one from each
- Prophecies: Having to do with the proclamation of the Word.
- Tongues: Having to do with the confirmation of the Word.
- Knowledge: Having to do with the revelation of the Word.
I understand this to be inclusive of all
- We understand these gifts will cease when that which is "PERFECT" is come. What is that which is perfect?
There are three views that I know of.
Some say love because of the dominating theme of the chapter. I am looking at this answer from a critical
view and it doesn't make sense. Did the apostle Paul not possess love? And did he not also possess these spiritual gifts?
Many at that time possessed love and sprititual gifts. Love is the new commandment. (John 13:34-35) Without love we do not
know God. (I John 4:7-8) Love is proof of our sonship and spiritual life. (I John 4:10-14)
God was not waiting on an overwhelming
of love to engulf them before He removed the spiritual gifts! But He was waiting on that which is "PERFECT."
Christ is perfect and some say that when Christ returns then these gifts will cease. We know this is
not true by what follows. Some things are ceasing (spiritual gifts) and some things are remaining (faith, hope, and love -
I Corinthians 13:13).
- The Corinthians were envious and jealous of each other over these gifts. Paul is saying you are desirous of something
that is of a temporary nature. You should be seeking those things that abide: faith, hope, and love. If "that which is
perfect" is Christ, then "spiritual gifts" faith and hope will cease at the same time. This would destroy
Paul's argument on the time differential between the two. What will happen to faith when Christ returns? It will become sight.
(Hebrews 11:1; I John 3:lff)
- What will happen to hope when Christ returns? It will become realization. (Romans 8:24-25) Love is eternal!
- Besides there is no point in saying these gifts will cease when Christ returns. That is self evident. When Christ returns
we will not be given the message but judged on the basis of what we did with the message. (John 12:48; Revelation 20:12).
- These miraculous gifts will cease. But faith, hope and love will continue until Christ returns.
- PERFECT KNOWLEDGE, COMPLETE REVELATION.
Paul said, "We know in part and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." That which is "in part"
gives way to that which is complete. The things that were in part must balance with that which is complete. The things that
were in part, the spiritual gifts, were used of the Lord to bring the revelation of His will to man. But when this revelation
was committed to writing as it was in the first century, there remained no further purpose to be fulfilled by these gifts.
Therefore, when the completed revelation, the Bible, came the things that were in part were abolished.
- Notice the amplified Bible on this text: "For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy
(our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete
and imperfect will vanish away, become antiquated, void, and superceded."
- There are many scriptures that point out the perfection and completion of the scriptures. "All scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the
man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)
- There are some, before they would take the apostle seriously in this statement, would have him and his fellow apostles
lay aside their pens at this point.
- I believe this statement (II Timothy 3:16-17) would be inclusive of the remaining work of the then living apostles and
prophets. However, I believe it would be carrying it a bit too far to take on a second generation of apostles and prophets.
The apostle John was privileged to put that final touch to the scriptures. (Revelation 22:18-21)
- There are some who apply Mark's statement, "these signs shall follow them that believe," to all believers.
(Mark 16:17-20) If this passage applies to all believers then all believers perform miracles! If not, why not? I see three
alternatives from Mark's statement.
- I perform miracles.
- I do not believe.
- I admit Jesus was speaking to the apostles.
I do believe! I do not perform miracles! I am forced to the conclusion
He was speaking to the apostles. What is your conclusion?
- To appreciate the indwelling Spirit we should read Romans 7:14-24, "man without the Spirit." And Romans 8:1-18,
"man with the Spirit."
- Some feel that because we do not have these "miraculous spiritual gifts" we have a sub-standard spiritual life. They feel
this way because they do not really understand what the Christian possesses.
- When I was baptized into Jesus all of my sins were forgiven; God made me as though I had never sinned. (II Corinthians
5:21; Romans 6:3-4)
- As I walk in the light His blood continues to cleanse me from sin. (I John 1:7)
- Over nineteen hundred years ago Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for me. (John 14:1-3) And now reservations are
made. (I Peter 1:3-5) It is "a place that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven"
- He told me, if I would "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" I would not have to worry about food,
shelter, and raiment, these would be supplied. (Matthew 6:33)
- He said, He would not allow me to be tempted above my strength. (I Corinthians 10:13) That He would never, never, never,
leave me. (Hebrews 13:5)
- He said, if I continue to love Him He will work all things for my good. (Romans 8:28) I know all these things are true
because of what Romans 8:32 says.
- The substandard spiritual life is seen in the one who would neglect these things and go back to those "childish things"
that were needful in the infancy of the church. We need to act like men and put away childish things. (I Corinthians
- Miraculous spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12:8-10 are no longer available. They have ceased. But the gospel
still remains God's power to save. (Romans 1:16) Will you not obey?