Thursday, May 12, 2016, 12:56 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Abide in Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 3:1-15 (ESV).
Infants in Christ (vv. 1-4)
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 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? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
When we think of an infant, we think of someone newly born into this world. The same is true of those who are newly born spiritually, of the Spirit of God. They are spiritual infants, just learning about Jesus and how to walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Although they have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and have been resurrected with Christ in newness of life, their journey has just begun. They must go through a process of sanctification in Christ Jesus, as we all must do, daily putting off the deeds of the flesh and putting on Christ and his spiritual armor. Daily we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ and are being made holy by God. It is a progression, but the fact that we are in process should never be used as an excuse for continued willful sin against God.
The problem here is when those who should have matured in Christ by this point are still behaving like infants, still needing the fundamentals of the Christian faith taught to them, because they are, in some respect, still living like they lack knowledge and understanding of the Christian life and what God expects of them. Sadly enough, this describes many who call themselves followers of Christ these days, and many who have professed to know Jesus for many, many years. They have not matured past day one, it would seem from all outward appearances. Of course, some of them may be professors only of Christ, and may not have ever had a genuine heart transformation of the Spirit of God, while others may have just never grown beyond spiritual infanthood, or they may have slipped back into some of their former ways due to neglect and laziness in their spiritual walks.
Only God (vv. 5-9)
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
I love this perspective! It is human nature to idolize people, it would seem. So many people become followers of other people or groups of people, and they follow them above God or in place of God, looking to them for their faith, hope and healing instead of looking to Christ. So many Christians or professing Christians are followers of humans over and above being followers of God. They believe whatever they see, hear or read without even bothering to inquire of God as to whether it is true or not. If a preacher says it or a famous person says it, or if a politician or the news media says it then so many people assume it is truth, when it may not be truth at all. Yet, even if the people that are being followed are godly men and women, still all the credit should go to God, for we have nothing that we did not receive from God, and all we are doing is just doing our assigned part. It is God who makes it work.
Our Solid Foundation (vv. 10-15)
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Ok, this is fundamental here. Although all believers in Jesus Christ are in process, and our salvation will not be complete until Jesus Christ returns, we must begin with the correct foundation or we are not in Christ at all. If we want to have the hope of eternal life with God, then we have to build on the correct foundation. That foundation is Jesus Christ, but not just his name, or not just some obscure “belief” in the person of Christ. If we are to build on Christ as our foundation, then we build our lives on the basis of all that he did and stood for and is, i.e. his divine character and will for humankind.
For example, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, but his grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). Jesus’ apostles taught the same message of death to sin and living to righteousness.
So, if our basis (foundation) for our Christian faith is that God requires nothing of us – no repentance, no obedience and no submission to him as Lord – then that is the wrong foundation. It is built on sinking sand, and it will not stand the test of time. We are not saved (past), then live our lives however we want, and then go to heaven when we die. Jesus is going to tell many people he never knew them, but who professed his name and who did things “for” him.
There is a difference, evidently, between those who have the correct foundation but who build little of value on that foundation and those who do not begin with the right foundation at all. If I were you, I would make certain I have the correct foundation, but also I would make sure that I am building on that foundation with what has eternal value. I would not bank on making it to heaven based on a notion that I can “believe” but then do nothing.
Abide in Him / An Original Work / July 31, 2013
Based off Ps. 27:14; Is. 40:31; Jn. 14-15
If you wait for the Lord,
Put your hope now in Him,
He will give you His strength
And endurance within.
He will renew your strength,
So you will not lose heart.
You will soar on wings like eagles,
“If you abide in Me,
And My words live in you,
You will walk with Me daily
And follow what’s true.
I will live now in you;
Give you peace now within,
If you obey My teachings
And turn from your sin.”
“If you listen to Me,
And do all that I say,
I will give you My comfort;
Be with you always.
I will heal all your pain;
Life with Me now you’ll gain,
If in fellowship with Me
You always remain.”