Confirmed to the End

1 Corinthians 1:3  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5  That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul says Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians by the gifts they received. The only gifts that would confirm are spiritual gifts. These people were to be confirmed by spiritual gifts unto the end. What end? They were to be confirmed, behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord. The spiritual gifts were to help them be blameless in the "day of our Lord Jesus Christ." That's the end.

Paul is clear that the Corinthians were to have spiritual gifts unto the coming of the Lord. Those spiritual gifts were to confirm them, and the gifts would not go away because they were to keep the Corinthians blameless "in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 4:7  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Paul says all these people (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) would remain until the Ephesians all came in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man. When would that be? Well, we already know that the spiritual gifts were to remain unto the end, which was the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And prophets and the apostles had spiritual gifts. We can therefore know that prophets and apostles must remain until the "coming of the Lord" and "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Now, some might say, "Well, we still have all of these to confirm us except the apostles and prophets, but we have the WRITINGS of the apostles and prophets so in a way we still have them too." That might be an easy way out, but I don't think it's wise to dismiss the apostles and prophets so easily. If we can dismiss them, let's dismiss the evangelists, pastors, and teachers too! Even if it were the case that the apostles' and prophets' writings count as their still being here, we must remember that the spiritual gifts themselves were to remain unto the end--until the coming of the Lord, until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We must also remember that these words of Paul's were not written to you and me. They were written to the Corinthians. The Corinthians, living at the time Paul wrote, were to be confirmed by spiritual gifts unto the END, unto the coming of the Lord, unto the day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:9  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.

What is Paul saying here? He's saying that the Corinthians had prophecies but they knew only in part. They had spiritual gifts but they still knew only in part. But they would someday know as they were known and spiritual gifts would disappear. BUT these Christians were, as we saw earlier, to KEEP those spiritual gifts and not be behind in any gift while waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who would confirm them with these gifts unto the END, that they might be blameless in the day of the Lord.

Now, either these Corinthians are still alive and waiting, and spiritual gifts still remain to confirm Christians, OR the day of the Lord has come and we no longer need the gifts nor do we any longer see through a glass darkly but instead we see face to face. So which is it? Do we still have spiritual gifts? Can we speak in tongues and prophesy? Can we raise the dead? If we drink poison will we not die? Can we take up serpents and not be killed? Can we lay our hands on the sick and make them well? Can we raise people from the grave? I can't do any of those things and don't know anyone who can.

So what does that mean? It MEANS that spiritual gifts are no more. And what does THAT mean? It means that the end has come. It means the day of the Lord is past.

Again, in I Corinthians 13:10, Paul says that when that which is perfect came, those Christians would see face to face and know even as they were known. Spiritual gifts were in force during this "seeing in part" time. These gifts were given as an earnest or down payment (II Co 5:5), to sustain, confirm, and comfort the church. Just as the physical needs of the Israelites (water, manna, quail, and shoes and clothes that wouldn't wear out) were provided for while they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until they entered the promised land, so the spiritual needs of Christians (spiritual gifts) were provided for--unto the coming of the Lord, when they would no longer see in part but would see face to face, and be in the promised land--the New Jerusalem.

Have you thought about the fact that forty years also passed from the time Christianity began to the destruction of Jerusalem? Even more interesting, 3000 souls were destroyed when Moses got the Ten Commandments and 3000 souls were saved when Peter preached at Pentecost (Ex 32:28, Acts 2:41)? Moses and the Law were a type. He got the Law, they wandered forty years (being fed by God), they entered the promised land. Christ's law came, Christians "wandered" forty years (being fed by God), then entered the promised land.

Revelation 22:3  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4  And they shall see his face [I Co 13:12]; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Looking at Revelation 22:3 and I Corinthians 13:12, we can see that when spiritual gifts ceased Christians would be able to see God's face. Looking at I Corinthians 1:3 we can know that God would confirm with spiritual gifts until the coming of the Lord. At some point Christians were able, or will be able, to see the face of God and no longer need spiritual gifts--at the coming of the Lord. Either this has happened already or we ought to still have spiritual gifts to confirm us.

Tina Rae Dozier

May 31, 2009