Maturing in the Faith

[1] But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. [2] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, [3] for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (1 Corinthians 3:1–3)

“Stop acting childish!” 

Any number of us have heard that phrase. But very few of us have heard it was as adults. That would be, well, embarrassing.

Yet that’s what the Apostle Paul was saying to the Corinthian Christians. Even though they had every opportunity to mature in the faith, they were behaving like infants in the faith.

As we read this charge against the Corinthians Christians, we can’t help but apply to our own lives. God has also brought us to faith and God is working to bring us to maturity in the faith. (Hebrews 5:11-6:2, Ephesians 4:11-16) There is an expectation that we will grow in our knowledge of God, which God then uses to shape our beliefs and behaviors. 

Are we acting childish when it comes to faith? Are we jealous of fellow believers or covetous of fellow Christians? Are we engaging in ego driven disputes or prideful debates? If so, then yes, we are demonstrating a lack of spiritual maturity. 

The good news is that Paul didn’t label the Corinthians Christians “infants in Christ” because he had a critical spirit. He did so because he was concerned for them. This meant calling them to repentance. We are called to the same repentance. We receive the same absolution for the same sins. Since it is God who matures our faith, we know that will lead us to leave such sins behind. 

(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)

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