I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able (1 Corinthians 3:2)
Note the past tense verb, gave milk, referring to times in the past when Paul taught the Corinthians milk because they were not ready for meat and that was okay; but the poignant criticism is indeed, even now, you are not yet able. Even now, still, at this point they were not able, when in reality they should have been much more mature and able to think as spiritual men, feeding on the meat of the Word. Continue reading →
True spiritual wisdom is to believe what God says above our human learning, wisdom, and thus pursue His wisdom so that we may truly be wise. The first thought that should come to our minds when someone brings something up about a topic is, what does the Bible say? We may not know, but we must not let a lack of specific knowledge cause us to fall back on human wisdom and thus foolishness. Moreover, we should be devoted to know the deep things God has revealed to us as well as the easily accessible truths of Scripture, lest we implicitly impugn God with having revealed a significant amount of extraneous information.
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
Some propose that it is unusually cruel of God to punish man for eternity, regardless of what man did. This perspective is erroneous for four reasons. Continue reading →
Maturing and equipping involves developing new thinking until we “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and those thoughts are manifested in our speech, motivations, goals, ethics, etc. We continually work in order to transform spiritual infants into mature followers of Christ, thereby empowering them to have victory over the tyranny of the domineering proclivities of our fallen flesh. Maturing is the process of conforming every area of the believer’s being to the new life given at regeneration, which is righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). Continue reading →
I use the term Extensivism to encapsulate my soteriological (salvational) understanding. I gave considerable thought in choosing the term. Although only used by me (hence, the need to continuously define for others), it does seem to be free of negative connotations and appears to me to be a suitable parallel for discussing soteriology within this Calvinist/non-Calvinist theological milieu in which I live. That is, consistent Calvinism is soteriologically exclusive (limited salvific love, limited unconditional election, limited efficacious call, limited atonement, etc.); whereas, we who disagree with that exclusive approach do so because we believe the Scripture teaches an extensive soteriology. The term also permits me to avoid spending time defending the nuances of other non-Calvinist perspectives with whom I agree on many points. Continue reading →
We can see the cooperation between human wisdom and divine wisdom in the need to build and maintain the physical church building with primarily human wisdom, and the spiritual church building with exclusively divine wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:1–21). Blurring this distinction results in being in opposition to God. We build the temple according to God’s blueprint alone, which is both lucid and sufficient. When man’s wisdom is in play, elevated, sought, and depended on, teaching the Scripture will be marginalized. Continue reading →
There are a number of ideas regarding what constitutes “wood, hay, straw,” and “gold silver precious stone” in 1Corinthians 3:12. I suggest that Gold, silver, and precious stones refer to God’s wisdom (as revealed in His Word), and wood, hay, and straw refer to man’s wisdom. The key to understanding the Corinthian problem is Paul’s use of the word sophos which appears 26 times in the Greek within the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians, and is translated wise or wisdom in the NASB. Paul only uses the word 18 other times in all of his epistles.[i] Continue reading →
“If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Corinthians 3:17).
In our day, when the local church is designed by cultural gurus who exalt tertiary aspects to primary status, and is often evaluated by whether she is relevant to the world rather than faithful to God, or is corrupted by carnal Christians under the banner of love, which is really narcissism or legalism called righteousness, this warning from 1 Corinthians deserves pondering.
It serves as a solemn word of warning to all unbelievers and believers alike. The local church building is not a temple, but the local church body is. As a temple she has priests – 1 Peter 2:9, a High Priest – Hebrews 3:1, an altar – Hebrews 13:11, and sacrifices – Romans 12:1, Hebrews 10:12, and 13:15.
The carnal are unmasked when they place promoting their desires, rights or opinions above God’s scriptural plan for the local church, by which they seek to replace her pastor’s leadership, fellowship, testimony and ministry of the gospel with a perspective that emanates from their carnal flesh (Rom 16:17-18); of course, always under an ersatz–imitation–veil of spirituality.
Such debased carnality is most glaring in free association churches like Baptist churches because all one has to do if he dislikes the way the church is structured or ministers, is to leave peaceably; as people regularly do throughout Christianity. But the spiritual adulterator will even sacrifice the church in his Pharisaist arrogance, which is evident to all who walk in biblical humility (1 Cor. 11:18-19).
As believers who seek to faithfully love our Lord and His church, we must never be a part of corrupting, disrupting, or destroying a local church, nor sit idly by while others seek her destruction under a corrupted banner of truth. Risk everything to see that she continues to reflect the love, holiness, and fidelity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Church discipline visibly demonstrates the seriousness of sin as well as both the holiness and love Christ calls His church to live (Matthew 18:15-20). When church discipline is first implemented, the immediate fallout may appear to be all negative.
However, in time the church will benefit by having honored God with obedience, and the credibility of the church and her message will experience a renaissance. The fellowship in the church body will be more reflective of our Lord Jesus Christ in both love and holiness.
This is not to say that everyone will then believe our message, but whether they believe it or not, they will be evidentially convinced that we do. That is the kind of assurance that is often lacking today.