As we dig into 1 Corinthians 3:1-4:21, we need to remember the Corinthians. They were enamored with various Bible teachers, even championing them. The chances are good that these particular believers in Corinth though of themselves as mature in Christ. So you can probably imagine how they felt when Paul claimed otherwise.
In the opening verse of 1 Corinthians 3, Paul said he couldn't even address the Corinthians as spiritual people because they were still so fleshy. He went on to give examples of their spiritual immaturity. Paul was telling the people to keep growing.
Lydia, my daughter, just celebrated her third birthday. She can look back and see that she was once a baby. We have pictures, evidence. But it's still difficult to know if she realizes that she will one day be an adult. I don't believe she can think past the baby doll to imagine that she might be an actual mother someday. And grandma, forget it about! She's so immature that she can't see the possibility of maturity. The same is true of the believer in Christ.
When a person is born again (notice that even the language Jesus used in John 3 is that of birth and maturation), he or she is a new creation. A growth process has begun. The journey includes learning information, gaining experience, making mistakes, and changing. The change comes as the flesh dies and the person becomes more and more spiritual. Technically, it's called sanctification, and it takes time plus the power of God.
Paul's original readers were believers, but they were like babies. And like babies, they were still feeding on milk. Milk is suitable for babies, and they needed it. But they were acting like they were all grown up. They were like a kid trying to wear mom or dad's shoes and thinking they fit! Paul wrote to correct them.
On Sunday, we're going to discuss the journey of the Christian life. It's a growth process. Many of us have a long way to go to spiritual grandparenthood. In Chapter 4, Paul shows us how that might look. He painted the picture of the baby Corinthians not to guilt or shame them, but to show them that it's a much longer journey they thought. We probably need to see that reality too. And we need to hear Paul's message: "Don't think you're all grown up when you're still breastfeeding and pooping your drawers." Christianity is much, much more than your salvation. It's sanctification too!
I pray you'll join us this Sunday at 11 as we open up 1 Corinthians 3:1-4:21. Also, we'll be celebrating a baptism. Come worship with us and hear from the Lord.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Bryan Catherman