The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
August 30, 2015
1) "For Now We See in a Mirror Dimly" (Tom Edwards)
2) Design and the Designer (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
"For Now We See in a Mirror Dimly"
by Tom Edwards
In writing in the time prior to the completed New Testament, Paul
declares, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have
been fully known" (1 Cor. 13:12).
Though some individuals might interpret this to indicate that one
can never see all things clearly while here on earth, but only in
heaven, yet is that what this passage is really saying?
In the days that Paul wrote this, mirrors were not like what we are
familiar with today. Rather, they were merely a polished metal
that would dimly reflect an image.
Going back many centuries before Paul's time, those mirrors
mentioned in Exodus 38:8, for example, had been made of
bronze. And in this passage, women had been donating theirs to
be used in making the laver, which would be for washing by the
priests, between the tent of meeting and the altar (Exod. 30:18).
According to the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, "The first mirrors
known among men were the clear fountain and unruffled lake. The
first artificial ones were made of polished brass, afterwards of
steel, and when luxury increased, of silver; but at a very early
period, they were made of a mixed metal, particularly of tin and
copper, the best of which, as Pliny informs us, were formerly
manufactured at Brundusium" (which is now known as Brindisi, a
natural seaport in the "heel" of southeast Italy).
In Job 37:18, Elihu questions Job: "Can you, with Him, spread out
the skies, strong as a molten mirror?" Or, as some other
versions render this last part, "...hard as a mirror of cast bronze"
(NIV), "...strong as a cast metal mirror" (NKJV), and "...hard as
polished metal" (GNB).
And so Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that having only a
partial or incomplete revelation from God is like seeing an image
only dimly, instead of getting the complete, clear picture.
But when God's divinely inspired word would be given in its
entirety, then it would be as plain as seeing "face to face," which
is the contrasting phrase Paul uses to seeing "in a mirror
dimly." In addition, Paul also likens the mirror to knowing
only "in part," and seeing "face to face" is paralleled to knowing
So let us note, too, that this seeing "face to face" or knowing
"fully" was to happen here on earth, and attained through the
complete knowledge of God's word, which is recorded in the New
This can be compared to Ephesians 4:11-13, where Paul states: "And
He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as
evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of
the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body
of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the
stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ."
Again, some folks would view this as being able to be fulfilled only
in heaven where everyone will be perfectly mature and in perfect
unity. But look what Paul goes on to say in the very next
verse as to the purpose for why these men were given to help the
church grow: "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed
here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (v.
So if that maturity and unity can be attained only in heaven, then
what are those men doing there, in that beautiful place of God's
abode, who are given to trickery, craftiness, and deceitful scheming
to lead folks away from the truth by every wind of false
doctrine? That most definitely won't be going on in heaven, so
it must be something taking place while here on earth; and where we,
therefore, see the need to grow in the knowledge of God's word so
that we might remain on that right path and not be led astray from
We noted above that one of the purposes for the saints being
equipped for the work of service and built up in the body of Christ
is that each would become a "nature man"; and, of course, it is
through the knowledge of the Scriptures that that is possible.
In Hebrews 5:12-14, the Hebrew writer reproves his readership for
failing to have acquired a good knowledge of "the word of
righteousness." Here, he also indicates that having attained that
knowledge would not have been an impossibility for them. For
he says, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have
need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the
oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid
food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed
to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant." And now
notice what he goes on to say, in defining what a "mature" Christian
really is: "But solid food is for the mature, who because of
practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Heb.
5:14) -- and that discernment comes through a knowledge of God's
word. Yes, attaining to that maturity, that discernment,
is to be true of each of us while here on earth.
In the completed New Testament, we today have the "perfect law of
liberty" (Jms. 1:15), "everything pertaining to life and godliness"
(2 Pet. 1:3), and "so that the man of God may be adequate [perfect,
KJV], equipped [furnished completely, ASV] for every good work" (2
So the "perfect" of 1 Corinthians 13:10 is the New Testament in its
entirety that has been "once for all handed down to the saints"
(Jude 1:3). And with that, man is no longer limited to just a
dim, dark, or partial view; but can now see as clearly as viewing
someone face to face. As Paul declares, "For we know in part
and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial
will be done away" (1 Cor. 13:9,10).
Though some believe the "perfect" to be referring to Christ, the
perfect is actually the totality of the "in part" (KJV) or the
"partial" (NASB) of the same verse. In other words, when the
complete revelation would be given, the miraculous gifts (which had
been revealing the word "in part" or partially at a time) would
cease, as Paul also speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:8: "Love never
fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away;
if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it
will be done away." Prophecy, tongues, and the word of
knowledge were just three of the miraculous gifts; but the ceasing
of them would also be true of the other gifts as well.
Miraculous gifts were for the church in its infancy. They were
greatly needed then. For man was without the completed New
Testament to turn to. Therefore, six of those nine spiritual
gifts, which the Holy Spirit had given as He willed (1 Cor. 12:11),
provided them with the knowledge of God's word to grow thereby,
which were "the word of wisdom," "the word of knowledge,"
"prophecy," "distinguishing of spirits," "various kinds of tongues,"
and the "interpretation of tongues" (1 Cor. 12:8-10). And, in
this same passage, we also read of the three other spiritual gifts
that had been given to confirm by miraculous signs those messages
from God (cf. Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3,4), which were "faith" (a
miraculous kind), "gifts of healing," and "the effecting of
And we need to also point out that it was not the gifts in
themselves that produced spiritual maturity -- as evidenced by the
Corinthians who abounded in miraculous gifts (1 Cor. 1:7), but were
still "infants in Christ," "fleshly," and characterized with
"jealousy" and "strife" (1 Cor. 3:1-3). Paul's letter to them
(1 Corinthians) makes mention of many spiritual problems the
Corinthians had that he strives to correct them of.
So what people need today is simply God's truth as found in the
gospel. For, as we saw, it contains "everything pertaining to
life and godliness" by which we may be spiritual mature (2 Pet. 1:3)
and built up in the faith (cf. Acts 20:32).
Paul also shows that after the miraculous gifts would have ceased,
faith, hope, and love would still continue (1 Cor.
13:13). This, however, conflicts with the wrong belief that
many have today that the miraculous gifts are to continue throughout
time. For if that be the case, then faith and hope will have
to also be continuing in heaven. "...but hope that is seen is
not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we
hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for
it" (Rom. 8:24,25). And "...faith is the assurance of things
hoped for, the conviction of things not see" (Heb. 11:1). We
now hope for heaven and have faith that it is; but once there, what
will happen to that hope and faith?
So now with the completed revelation of the gospel, we can see as if
"face to face" -- rather than merely a dim reflection on a polished
piece of metal. May we each, therefore, continue to look into God's
illuminating word that we may clearly see those things He wants us
to know; and faithfully respond to that which would have us to
Design and the Designer
by Greg Gwin
The Journal of the American Medical Association give this
interesting report: "The hummingbird is the smallest bird on earth
-- some species weigh no more than a dime. It has the highest rate
of metabolism (at rest, about 50 times faster than man's) and thus
must consume enormous amounts of nectar to avoid starvation. Not
adapted for night feeding, it must stretch its food stores from dusk
to dawn. To accomplish this, nature has equipped the hummingbird
with a unique energy-saving design: the ability to hibernate
overnight. During the night, the hummingbird's metabolic rate
is only one-fifteenth as rapid as in the daytime, and its body
temperature drops to that of the surrounding air. The bird becomes
torpid, scarcely able to move. When it does stir, it moves as though
congealed. By daybreak, the hummingbird's body spontaneously resumes
its normal temperature and high metabolic rate, ready once again to
dart off in search of food."
The physical world is literally full of amazing examples of design
which the atheist and evolutionist cannot explain. The simple case
of the hummingbird is a case in point. Just how did this
incredible little creature develop its unique characteristics which
allow it to function so well in this world? Could this have happened
by chance? And if it came about by gradual evolution, how did the
hummingbird survive over millions of years while this awesome
metabolic regulator was evolving? This one simple example is
sufficient to illustrate the overwhelming difficulties of the theory
What we're saying here is that when we see obvious design in
anything -- a car, a house, or a hummingbird -- that design
necessarily implies that there is a designer. In the case of the
hummingbird (and all the rest of physical nature) the designer is
Almighty God. "For every house is builded by some man; but he that
built all things is God" (Heb. 3:4).
-- Via The Beacon, July 21, 2015
News & Notes
Let those of us who are the Lord's people continue to remember the
following in prayer:
Jewell Wilson (hospice care), Rex Hadley (bypass
blockage and possible stone), Danielle Howard (low
blood pressure, which she recently had to spend some time in the
hospital for), Dexter Roberts (cancer in lymph nodes and
several places), Steve Vesta (critically ill), Shirley
Davis (healing from a leg procedure to remove blockages), Pat
Joyner (healing from breast cancer surgery), Eleanor
Roberts (Alzheimers'), Henry Roberts (pain in back and
feet), Brittany Royals (recovering well from surgery for
broken hip), Judy Daugherty (slowly recovering from a
fall to the head which caused a pea-size tumor), Mary
Vandevander and Sue Wooten (shut-ins), Dolly Moody
(fractured bone), Benny Medlock (mild stroke), Sunny
Nichols (Parkinson Disease), Jean Beach
(gastrointestinal problems), Michelle Rittenhouse (PVCs) Raylee
Metts and Lexi Crawford (cancer), Betty Miles (stroke),
Buddy Gornto, Don Hill (cancer), Colleen Henson,
Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams
There will be a gospel meeting at the Oak Grove church
of Christ in Jennings, Florida, September 6-11 with Paul Earnhart
(from Louisville, Kentucky) as the guest speaker. The church
meets at 2922 NW 76th Terrace, Jennings, Florida. Weeknight
services will begin at 7:30. For additional information,
There will be a congregational singing at the Golden
Isles church of Christ in Brunswick, Georgia, September 12 (Saturday),
beginning at 4 PM. The church meets at 441 Touchstone
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes
(Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24;
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal.
3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation
can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)