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WHEN IS THEN? May 21, 2010

Posted by Gavin Porter in Teaching.
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1Co 13:12  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.

So when is then? When can we enjoy face to face fellowship with God? When will we know God even as He knows us?

When that which is perfect comes…

1Co 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

1Co 13:11  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.

1Co 13:12  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.

The coming of perfection will bring us to the place of intimate fellowship, but the coming of perfection is a process of maturing rather than a sudden event…when I became a man, I put away my childish things.

The Corinthian church was immature…still using milk…babies in Christ

 1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1Co 2:6  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:

1Co 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

The immature Corinthian church could not yet understand the hidden wisdom, the mystery of God’s purpose. They didn’t yet understand what they saw in the glass. It was still dark! It was still an enigma.

1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly;

[G135  ainigma  ah’ee-nig-ma – From a derivative of G136 (in its primary sense); an obscure saying (“enigma”), that is, (abstractly) obscureness: – X darkly.]

Hebrews 5:11-14 explains a similar immaturity…a church slow to understand…still using milk

Heb 5:11  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Heb 5:13  For every one that useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

But it’s time to grow up. Lets get passed immaturity!

Heb 6:1a  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;

We can see that perfection speaks of maturity, but what is this perfection?

Compare an infant and a parent. Immature and mature.  A crying baby at three o’clock in the morning and a parent who could be sleeping, but is awake nursing the child. Self-centred vs selfless!

Mat 5:48a  Be ye therefore perfect

The context of Mat 5:43-48 is unconditional love, selfless love, agape.

The context of 1 Cor 13:10…(when that which is perfect is come)…is unconditional love.

The perfection that we must grow up into…is unconditional love.

Unto a perfect man…

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Eph 4:13  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 fullness of Christ:

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Eph 4:16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


The edifying of the body of Christ is not just talking about building up in quantity, but also in quality.

The perfect man is the united body of Christ which has grown up into Him.  Built up by the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Built up by hearing the truth spoken in love.(1Co 8:1b  knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up). Built up in love!

The process of growing to spiritual maturity

Eph 4:17  This, then, I say, and I testify in the Lord; ye are no more to walk, as also the other nations walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Eph 4:18  being darkened in the understanding, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart,

Eph 4:19  who, having ceased to feel, themselves did give up to the lasciviousness, for the working of all uncleanness in greediness;

Eph 4:20  and ye did not so learn the Christ,

Eph 4:21  if so be ye did hear him, and in him were taught, as truth is in Jesus;

Eph 4:22  ye are to put off concerning the former behaviour the old man, that is corrupt according to the desires of the deceit,

Eph 4:23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

Eph 4:24  and to put on the new man, which, according to God, was created in righteousness and kindness of the truth.

This is a process of putting off the old man and his deeds and putting on the new man by renewing the mind. 

Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Col 3:12  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Col 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Col 3:14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

When is then? Then is when we love one another!

Jacob, Moses an Gideon all experienced God face to face here on earth, not one day on the other side.

Exo 33:11 And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Jesus said:

Joh 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Joh 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Joh 15:14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Selfless, self-sacrificing, unconditional love will bring us into face to face intimacy with God.

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

God is invisable…the only visable representation of God is His image. (like a reflection in a glass)

God is perfect, God is Love. Be ye perfect, Love one another.

God’s desire is for us to love Him and to love one another. The more we love Him, the more we love one another. As we love one another, we love Him.

We are designed for a love relationship, but sin separated us from God and from each other.  Jesus paid the full price for sin on the cross.

Perfection is therefore only possible through the cross.

The greatest act of love!

Through Jesus Christ we have been given all things for life and godliness, to be sharers of His glory, partakers of His divine nature, the image of God, Love!

2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

2Pe 1:6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

We have the Seed of Christ in us.

Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The Seed has all the potential.  The Seed has been planted in us. The Seed has fallen into the earth and will bring foth after it’s kind. Christ the incorruptable Seed in us is our hope of glory.

Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

What is the glory?

Joh 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

 Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Joh 17:23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me

The glory is all that He is and all that He represents. God in us!

Moses reflected the glory of God. We should radiate the glory of God!

Jacob, Moses an Gideon all experienced God face to face, but they could not yet have perfection…

Heb 11:39  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

Heb 11:40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

They had to wait for us…

We still don’t realise what we have…

They are still waiting for us!

When is then?

Then is when we realise the finished work of the cross! 

It is finished!

Heb 10:14  For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

Then is when we believe what we have been given by God’s grace.

The promise is not for one day in the future, NOW faith is!

Gal 5:6b  …faith which worketh by love.

1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Let’s love one another!

Be blessed!

Gavin Porter




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