The gifts of the Holy Spirit are still for today. We know this because of one reason: the Bible never says that they would stop.
In this article, we are going to be covering why the Gifts of the Holy Spirit have never ceased, and we are going to be answering some common objections that people mention when trying to prove the Gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased.
Let’s get started.
Common Objection #1: The Gifts of the Spirit Ceased with the Apostles
There is a common belief in the church today that the time of the apostles and prophets have ceased, and the spiritual gifts ended with them. The believers of this view claim that since the apostles and prophets were the foundation of the church, there is no longer a need for apostles and prophets since the foundation has been laid.
They get this idea from two passages of scripture:
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
“Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12).
With these two scriptures, it’s clear that one of the signs of an apostle are miracles, signs, and wonders, and that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church, with Jesus being the cornerstone.
However, believers with this perspective twist the meaning of these scriptures by using them to prove their point. They claim that sense the apostles laid the foundation with miracles, signs, and wonders following the Word of God, there is no longer a need for apostles, prophets, and miracles, because the foundation of God’s Word and Church has already been laid.
Lets look at a passage of scripture that addresses the ministries of the apostles and prophets.
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:“When He ascended on high,He led captivity captive,And gave gifts to men“…And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:7-8,11).
Notice there are five ministries in the list above: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. There is not just apostles and prophets that Christ gave the church, but all five of these ministries Christ gave to His body. People who claim that apostles are no more, would never say that teachers and preachers are no more, would they? No, I don’t think so.
So, what is the purpose of these five ministries that Paul lists off? Well, the very next verse tells us.
“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 12-14).
These verses say the purpose of this five fold ministry is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, and to help grow us, so we can come to “the unity of the faith and of the Knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of. the fullness of Christ.”
Now, if that is the purpose of this five fold ministry, their job is clearly not done. We have not come to the “unity of the faith”, we have so many denominations and disagreements on theology, it’s ridiculous. We haven’t come to the point of being “a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” either. The church probably won’t achieve that until Christ returns.
So, as you can see the role of the apostles and prophets have not ceased, and therefore, the gifts of the Spirit have not ceased.
Common Objection #2: 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 States the Gifts of the Spirit will Cease
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
Cessationists are quick to quote this scripture, because as you can see in the beginning of verse 8, it clearly says that prophecies will fail, and tongues will cease.
And I would agree with them. Prophecies will fail, and tongues will cease, but the question is not will they cease? Rather the question should be: when will they cease?
In fact, this passage of scripture gives us the answer to that question.
“But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Corinthians 13:10).
This verse says that “when that which is perfect has come” then the gifts will cease. Now there are those who say the “perfect” is the Bible, the canon of scripture. They say now that we have the Bible, we no longer need the gifts of the Spirit. But this simply cannot be the case.
I agree that the Bible is perfect. I believe it is inspired by God, but this is not what the apostle Paul was talking about. If it was, knowledge would be no more, just like tongues and prophecy.
“But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Paul also goes on to say that when this “perfect” has come it will be compared to when he was a child in the process of becoming a man, and he continues by saying, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.”
We don’t see “face to face,” we still understand things dimly.
So, what is this “perfect” that Paul speaks of?
He’s speaking of when Jesus returns, and we all put away this body of mortality, and we put on immortality. He’s talking about eternity, when we go be with the Lord. You see, that is the only time we will be able say “I know just as I also am fully known.”
Common Objection #3: The Gifts only Followed the Apostles
First off, people who hold this claim believe that there were no other apostles except for the twelve, Barnabas, and Paul. In fact, they believe that Paul was the last of the apostles because of 1 Corinthians 15:8. But Paul was just listing off people who have seen the risen Lord, and he was mentioning that he was the last of the apostles to do so.
We also know that the apostle Paul wasn’t the last apostle because of (Ephesians 4:12-14).. It clearly sates that apostles won’t cease “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
But either way, people who hold this view believe that the gifts of the Spirit only followed the apostles, not ordinary disciples. We are going to go over some scriptures to show this can’t be the case.
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
In the these verses, Jesus just rose from the dead, and He is speaking to His disciples, commanding them to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every person. Then He lists signs that will follow these believers that the apostles converted. Two of these signs are listed in the 1 Corinthians 12, with the gifts of the Spirit. It’s clear by this scripture, believers are called to have miracles follow them.
Another example, is Phillip and Stephen. They had miracles, signs, and wonders following them and they were not apostles.
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.” (Acts 8:5-7)
The disciple Ananias is another example. Paul just seen the Lord, and he was blinded from the encounter, and he was fasting and praying for three days. The Lord appeared to Ananias and told him to go pray for Paul so he can receive his sight, and lay hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit.
“And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.” (Acts 9:17-18)
Ananias wasn’t an apostle, the Bible only says that he was a disciple (Acts 9:10).
My last example isn’t as clear as the other ones, but it sill implies that God worked mightily through ordinary believers.
“Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.“ (Acts 11:19-21)
The “hand of the Lord” is a term that usually implies God’s power being manifested.
In short, the gifts of the Spirit have not ceased, they are still meant to be active in the church today. There is no scriptural evidence that implies the gifts have ended. The only reason, that I can see, that people hold this view is because their experience doesn’t line up with the Bible. But if our experience doesn’t line up with the Bible, lets can our experience and seek God with everything we have, so we can have our experience and the Word as one.