When Do The Gifts Cease?

Q. Some say spiritual gifts were only for the apostolic era. Others say they continue in our time. Does the Bible say when the expression of spiritual gifts will cease?

A. According to 1 Cor 13:8-12 the gifts of the Spirit were given to the Church for use during the Church Age. At the rapture, these gifts will cease because we’ll be made perfect and will no longer need them. As examples Paul said the gift of prophecy will cease, the gift of tongues will be stilled, and the gift of knowledge will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8). This is just a partial listing of the gifts he explained in 1 Cor 12:7-11.

Paul compared our current understanding of spiritual things to that of a child’s understanding of life in general (1 Cor. 13:11). God has given us various gifts of the Spirit to use now to supplement our lack of understanding. But when we’re perfected our childish understanding will no longer limit us, because then we’ll know fully even as we’re fully known (1 Cor. 13:12) and will no longer need them.

Using Paul’s examples from above, this means we will completely understand the future and won’t need someone to inform us about it, we’ll speak and understand every language fluently, and every nuance of God’s word will be crystal clear to us.

Until then, the Holy Spirit has distributed His gifts as He determines for the good of the body (1 Cor. 12: 11). In this way we can share our gifts with others to help them and in turn be helped by them as they share their gifts with us.

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