"But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
I Corinthians 13:10
There will come a time when the gifts of prophecies, knowledge, and tongues will cease because something better will replace them. “Perfect” here means complete. The incomplete will be replaced by the complete.
What is Paul referring to? Is he referring to Christ’s return? Is he referring to when we die and go to heaven? Is he referring to the completion of the Bible? This is a much debated passage. Not sure if it is about us dying because there is nothing mentioned here about us going somewhere but something coming to us (when that which is perfect has come).
If it was about Jesus’ return to take us to heaven then completeness in Christ is not possible until we die. But in scripture we are told to be sanctified, to be holy, not then but now. I am not sure but it seems to be referring to God’s Word being complete. When that which is perfect has come. When the inspired Word of God is complete, the full revelation of God is identified, do we need anything else? Once we receive the Holy Spirit, do we need anything else? Once we have the canon of scriptures, partial knowledge and prophesying is done away with.
This provides an interesting implication. If that which is perfect has been revealed, then it makes sense that maturity is available now, not when we get to heaven or even when Jesus returns. The Word of God, the Bible, was given to help us be all that God wants us to be now while we still exist on planet earth.
Perfect does not mean sinless, but the completeness of God’s revelation. And the spiritual maturity is gained as we read and understand and believe God’s revelation.
I have often used this passage at funerals for young people or when someone has committed suicide. While every funeral has questions it is in these moments that the questions like why them, why like this, why now seem to take front and center. I do not know why but I would share what I do know from reading and experiencing God’s Word. I know God loves me, and God loves you. I know that life is a precious gift. I know that relationships are important. I know that Jesus loved you and me so much He died for us to be in a right relationship with God. I know I can be forgiven of my sin. I know that I can be filled with the Holy Spirit. I know that God can bring something good out of a tragedy. I know that God can give me strength. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I know that I can have victory over sin in my life. I know that life has purpose and meaning. I know that God can give us purpose and meaning in life. I know that this life I live is not about me. I know that God calls us to love one another. I know God knows our pain and sorrow. God sent His Only Begotten Son to live on this earth and experience our human frailties. I know that one day I will be reunited with all those who have gone to be with Jesus.
That which is perfect has come. God’s Word is revealed and complete. What do you know from your reading and experiencing of the Word of God?
See you around town!
John DiGiamberardino Executive Director / COO
Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association