AS UNTO SPIRITUAL…
I Corinthians 3/
1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
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.
Who is Paul the Apostle addressing here?
Answer – ‘brothers’ – brothers-in-Christ of course, because all the Corinthians he is speaking to, were not his kith and kin.
Not natural kith and kin but ‘brothers in Christ’.
And in addressing brothers, (bearing in mind that his epistles were to the whole church) – he is addressing his ‘sisters-in-Christ’ also.
Is he addressing you and I? Bearing in mind that the Bible (used always-and-eternally in the hand of The Holy Spirit) – is addressing all believers for all time. We conclude readily then, that he is speaking to us also.
All you need to qualify for hearing this epistle – is to be a ‘brother/sister-in-Christ’.
Can’t imagine that everyone I’m addressing has joined this family of believers?
Anyway – that is for you to decide.
But Paul reveals indirectly to us that there are varying depths of spirituality among believers in Christ.
And that there are matters they were not yet able to comprehend.
The surprise perhaps in this passage is this – he was addressing them all. And he puts them all in the same category (unlike John did in his epistle). Paul refers to them as ‘babes in Christ’.
John – in I John 2 refers to little children, young men, and fathers.
Paul speaks to them all as ‘babes in Christ’. And coupled with this designation is the idea that they are still carnal.
The word carnal can mean different things. But essentially it is the natural sinful mind we are born with.
Everything in the Christian life is a matter of exchange.
We trade in our thoughts, our self-righteousness, our selfishness, or mental problems, our limited reasoning, our emotional hang-ups – and in exchange we receive the joy of The Lord, The peace that passes understanding, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of The Holy Spirit, God’s strength, his righteousness, his holiness, his forgiveness and above all His love.
So now everything is ‘rosey in the garden’?
No – simply because we still have everything that life throws at us to contend with.
But with the attributes of Christ within us – we now must learn to yield ourselves to The Lord of our life, and allow those attributes to control us.
This takes time and inner development under the hand of God. But we grow, we mature, we enter into what the Bible describes as being grounded and settled – all through the exercise of faith that expresses itself in biblical meditation, praise and worship, prayer, and joining ourselves in true and real fellowship with the family of God.
–23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Notice the behaviour that accompanied the ‘babes in Christ’ designation that Paul reveals to us as the epistle continues –
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
As we look and listen we recognise similar traits in the church today. Manifesting the fact that we all need to grow up –
14 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, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This calls firstly and foremostly for a willingness – yes a willingness – to come together at the foot of the cross and lay it all down – all the carnality – AND EXCHANGE it for His life.
Tomorrow as an area of my spiritual immaturity is made clear to me – I need to return to the one with whom I first made the great exchange – and offer Him my mistakes, my sin, my immature behaviour – “Sorry Lord please come and let your life rule over mine!”