For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.–Romans 11:29 (NASB)
For God does not change in his gifts and in his callings–Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.–King James Version
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.–New Living Translation
Could the words “irrevocable”, “does not change”, “can never be withdrawn” mean that the gifts (plural) that God bestows upon us only remain irrevocable for the duration of this life? Or, are these gifts eternal? Is “without repentance” temporary? Have you been patiently developing and diligently stirring up these gifts only to use them for this life alone and then drop them for all eternity? Or, will the gift(s) that God has bestowed upon you last forever? What gifts do you keep and which ones cease? As a believer, do your actions have any effect on the outcome? The answers may surprise you.
Looking at the context of Romans chapter 11, we see that verse 29 is primarily talking about the gift of salvation. Our salvation is eternal. Amen! BUT, salvation is just one gift, and this verse clearly tells us that there is more than just gift of salvation that is irrevocable. Gifts is a plural word. What other gifts, besides the gift of salvation, do we get to keep and exercise throughout eternity?
What gifts? We know that according to 1 Corinthians 13:8 that “Love never ends; but gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away”. It’s interesting to note that these temporary spiritual gifts are gifts that you cannot truly develop. Either you prophesy…or you don’t. You either speak in tongues, or you don’t. You either have supernatural knowledge…or you don’t. YOU CAN’T ADD ANYTHING TO THESE TEMPORARY GIFTS. YOU CAN’T DEVELOP THEM.
But there are other talents that God gives us that we have the ability to increase. Think about the parables of the kingdom of Heaven, and how God adds to those who used their resources and talents wisely. The parables seem to indicate that when we use our talents wisely we are rewarded with more IN ETERNITY. In addition, we just saw that in reference to gifts, Love never comes to an end. So, will God terminate, revoke, or ignore the talents that we develop and use for the sake of love? Remember this: Just because YOU can develop a skill, a talent, or a gift does not mean that gift came from you. David developed a skill to play the lyre (1Sam 16:18 NASB); God then used his skill to cause David to interact with Saul, and to play the Psalms. The gift that David picked up and developed came from God.
So, are the gifts of God in David’s life revocable or irrevocable? In Eternity, will King David lose all his musical skill and ability? In Eternity, will he be able to recall the tunes that he used for the Psalms? Imagine if you handed David a harp and said, “Please let me hear you play Psalm 23! I have always wondered what it sounded like to hear the inflections, the flavor, and the way you musically interpreted those lyrics. Please let me hear YOU sing and play with that same anointing that caused Saul to hire you to play for him (1Sam. 16:21)!” Will David turn to you and say, “I’m sorry but that gift and anointing are gone! The gifts, the anointings, the plows we put our hands to, the things we did with all our might unto God were only meant for life on Earth. We don’t carry any of our human skills to this side. It’s forever gone. Saul hired me to play, so are you asking me to work? Look buddy, I’ve entered my eternal rest, and I’m not lifting a finger. This is strictly a place of rest and Sabbath, right??? Don’t you understand that everything that happens now has to be beyond our imagination, and that we will forget about common things like playing harps and remembering songs? We will never enjoy the simple pleasures of earthly life ever again. Forget about Jesus drinking, eating, and cooking earthly food after His Resurrection. That was an anomaly. It’s over! Forget about the things you enjoyed doing on that planet. It has no more meaning here. Sit back and enjoy looking at your crown. Your duty now is to just sit back and say “Holy, Holy, Holy” all day. Now go back to your cloud and leave me alone.” Call me crazy but I think that I will get to hear King David sing and play the Psalms in its original musical score! Why? Because I believe the gift he developed is irrevocable. I believe His skill will go beyond death. David played for God; David played with love; David played to serve others; David played for the next stage of life. God will add to his talent; not take it away. Would you like to see some proof?
Let’s look at Jesus. Jesus actually used His skill to cook real fish for His friends AFTER His resurrection. Jesus was in the next stage of life. I didn’t hear any amens, so let me try that again. Jesus learned to cook (Luke 2:52 NASB). He used this skill that he had developed to cook for His friends. The skills that He had developed on earth were used BEYOND THE GRAVE! I know you’re still not listening to me so I’ll repeat it again. The simple talent that He had developed during His 30+ years on earth did not cease, it was not revoked when He died. When He walked around in His resurrected, glorified body He didn’t just snap His fingers and make a meal appear. Eternity would be boring if everything was done that way. Even though He was in His glorious resurrected body that could walk through walls, He stilled maintained the simple earthly skill that He had developed of being able to cook breakfast with fish and bread over a charcoal fire. Watch this: Even though scripture tells us that Jesus had already cooked and prepared a meal for them, Jesus was in a cooking groove, and He asked the disciples to bring some more fish to the fire (John 21:9-10). Why? Because that is what chefs do when they are enjoying themselves. They say, “Let’s throw some more on the fire”. Again, Jesus didn’t snap his fingers but used real fish that had been caught to fry up His second batch. He was really enjoying this! When He is finally finished He makes this announcement: Come and have breakfast! (John 21:12) Didn’t they already understand that the food was ready and they were invited? Of course, but when you are excited over what you have just prepared, you like to send up a cheerful “Come and get it! It’s time to chow down boys!”. Jesus wasn’t done. After doing all that cooking, He served their meal (vs. 13). Jesus was into that meal and not a single one of them entered into any serious conversation (vs.15) until they were completely finished with this breakfast feast. Jesus used all of his developed earthly skill and cooking talent to serve the disciples. Jesus used all that He had, and then more was added (John 21:9-10). And all of this happened when He was beyond the grave. He still kept his developed talent on the other side of life! He brought his skills with Him into Eternity.
At this point some of you may be thinking, “But this didn’t happen in Heaven”. It makes no difference. Eternal Living is not bound by the finite location of Heaven. As we learned in the last post about John 3:16, Eternal Life EXCEEDS the boundaries of Heaven. Click here, read it again, and look at the scriptures. Jesus promised us Eternal Life. Start thinking Eternal Life, listen to Jesus, and quit limiting the truth of what happens in Eternity to one measured location.
Death did not take away this skill/talent. Jesus is our example. Are you starting to get excited? What does that tell me? Jesus can still cook like that now! It also tells me that it’s not just the grand, outshine-the-Sun-glorious gifts that will be on display, but our simple earthly gifts that we developed on this earth will go beyond the grave to serve others. So whatever you do, do it with all your might as unto the Lord. That is what Jesus took with Him, He is our example, and that is what we will take beyond the grave. I used to sorrow that my Dad never got to hear his Granddaughter sing on stage. Now I believe that he won’t be missing a thing. If Jesus brought His developed talents beyond the grave, then I fully expect to hear King David sing and play. I expect my Italian friends (brothers Joe and Rick) to have a cook-off with Jesus. Why not? Jesus enjoyed serving others with his skills. Joe and Rick live and breathe to serve people with their meals! It would be Hell for them to never cook again! I’m not kidding. They deeply love cooking and serving. Just like King David, they have a God-given gift that they have developed and use to serve others. Just like Jesus, I expect them to cook from beyond the grave. Death will not take away these talents.
Will there be real choirs, actors, dancers, dramas, plays, orchestras, bands, directors, artists, paintings, concerts, and so on? I don’t know…But if God is pleased, then why not? If we are in bodies like the resurrected Jesus that can still simply eat, touch, drink, cook, and enjoy the company of friends, then why not? If a book like the Song of Solomon will not be censored or forgotten, but will be read and celebrated as holy throughout eternity, then why wouldn’t there be drama, art, cook-offs, and other human expressions that God created us and delights for us to do? These are good works! God has no desire to wipe out the humanity of the human race. God looked at created humanity and said it was good. This life is not all that there is! Life goes on, skills live past death, and the next stage is more real than this one. If it wasn’t more real, then why would Jesus encourage us over and over again to NOT live for this life, but to live for the next stage? WAKE UP! In the words of the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” I would dare you to ask, “Is THIS the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide no escape from reality (except through Christ). Open your eyes, look up to the skies and SEE! If we are primarily living for this life, and fretting to find complete fulfillment here, then we are greatly deceived.
Develop your gifts and talents and use them for Love’s sake, for God is Love. That is how you keep them. Lose your LIFE for His sake, and you get to keep it. In other words, live for the next stage.
What other gifts are irrevocable? What if my skill doesn’t seem to be useful for anything in eternity, what about that? Please share and stay tuned…
- Has John 3:16 Been Misunderstood? (defrostingwindows.wordpress.com)
- Sexuality & Heaven: Is Jesus Still The Son Of Man?.