Spiritual Immaturity Exposed
The human race has an inbuilt blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4), thinking that we are better than we are; and as believers in Jesus we can fall into the same trap. We may presume a greater spiritual wisdom than is true. The Corinthian church was like that and it had become a den of ungodly spiritual arrogance. Yes, they were in Christ, but behaved much as they did before they were saved, but with a spiritual gloss.
They had assumed that worldliness was normal before they were saved, and were still trapped in those ungodly habits. They certainly had new life in Christ but they were like small children – self-centred and unable to discipline themselves. They were spiritually immature and so Paul could only teach them the 'spiritual basics'. God had blessed them with spiritual gifts, but they were treating them as toys to please themselves and not as tools to serve Him.
Childish squabbling demonstrated their immaturity. They had transferred the world's 'tribal instincts' into the church. They were jealous of God's gifts to other believers and formed party alliances, some supporting Paul but others preferring Apollos. Their arguments were not so much about the gospel itself but about style and other personal preferences. It was human nature and not Godly wisdom. Even if Paul had taught them deeply they could not receive it: what they needed was rebuke.
Today's church is often the same. Gospel joy needs to be followed by gospel obedience (Titus 2:12). Otherwise, worldly habits will become normal in the church, holding back those who want to grow in faith and making the church spiritually sterile, unable to reproduce because the gospel is distorted. Jealousy and quarrelling are little signs of a much deeper disease which needs radical treatment (2 Corinthians 12:20). Paul's rebuke needs to be heard and heeded today; each of us needs the humility to admit that our spiritual maturity is only as real as our obedience.
© Dr Paul Adams