|Volume 22 Number 2 February 2020||
Aaron J. Cozort
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). In almost every congregation, no matter where one worships, there are some people to whom we must speak carefully because they are just babes. They are not babes physically; they are babes spiritually. Mature Christians need to be patient and longsuffering with them. A new Christian, a novice in the Scriptures, may make mistakes, have incorrect opinions about Scripture and even harbor false beliefs on some matters of doctrine—simply because they have not yet had time to learn any better. Parents can remember the times when they were watchful for their infants, who would put anything and everything in their mouths. Infants don’t know any better, but they should, over time, learn better. We must teach them, and we must do so patiently.
Unfortunately, it is also true that sometimes there are Christians in congregations who have been Christians for years, and they are still babes in Christ. They are untrained, unknowledgeable and yet physically (carnally) minded instead of spiritually minded. It was this that Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 3 regarding the church at Corinth. He had patiently taught that congregation. “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3).
This situation of novice Christians (who are not babes in Christ) has a very negative impact on a local church, and it should be corrected. Paul noted that in the Corinthian church, spiritual immaturity resulted in envy, strife, division and a general attitude of carnal behavior. He told them they needed to grow up. Paul wrote, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18). We are to turn to God’s wisdom rather than to man’s wisdom to know how we ought to mature and grow up in Christ. We ought to set forth every day to become better Christians and to be more like Christ than we were the day before.
May I encourage you, please, to be careful how you speak to a real babe in Christ. Be careful what you tell them. Be careful how you talk to them. For the aged Christian who is still a babe, help him to see he must change; encourage him to obtain more excellent knowledge and spiritual maturity.
[Editor’s Note: Spiritual immaturity was widespread in the first century church, as evidenced by the writer of Hebrews and the apostle Peter also (Hebrews 5:12-6:2; 1 Peter 2:2). Doubtlessly to some degree, spiritual immaturity has hampered the Lord’s church from the first century through the present. This is a kind of self-afflicted personal and congregational injury. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Ernest S. Underwood
I wrote this while I was sitting by a small river in the Ozark hills of Arkansas. It was so peaceful and quiet. The rippling of the water around the rocks had a soothing effect. Then, I took note of a fact that we all know—water goes around the rocks! When water meets an obstacle, it goes around it. It will twist and turn, follow a crooked and erratic course, rather than challenge the obstacle.
Some people are like this. In order to have some so-called unity in diversity in religion, they will refuse to face the challenge that God’s truth presents. Paul said, “I buffet my body daily.” To become a Christian, and then live the Christian life, requires courage and stamina. It may mean the loss of friends, and relatives may turn their backs on us.
Jesus stated that the way leading to life is difficult. It involves, among other things, abstaining from the works of the flesh and loving Jesus enough to completely obey Him. Are you on that way that leads to life?
[Editor’s Note: In time, running water can erode its obstacles. May the influence of Christianity erode the ungodly world through the power of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]