How long have you been a Christian? Are you as spiritually mature as you would like to be? If you have been a Christian, even for a little while, I am sure you have been inundated with the metaphorical exhortation to bear fruit. There is the temptation to centralise fruitfulness as the foundation of your righteousness and thus becoming pharisaical – clean on the outside but rotten on the inside (Matthew 23:27-28). The other extreme is to neglect whether you are fruitful at all and develop a liberal lifestyle that uses grace to do whatever you like (Romans 6:1-2). The latter issue was the problem that was pervasive within the Corinth church. Perhaps it is an issue that you struggle with too?
A Corinth Kind Of Christian
Paul begins his first canonical letter to the Corinthians by affirming their Christianity
(1 Corinthians 1:2-9). I would like to do the same for all who are reading this article and may be (unnecessarily) concerned. If you are trusting in Christ as your life, you are saved!
However, similarly to the Corinth church you may not be as spiritually mature as you ought to be. The Corinth church wrestled with division, sexual immorality, false teaching, unrepentance, Christian freedom and more.
These Christians struggled to live out the freedom that Christ had purchased for them. Perhaps this is you? Maybe you are using your freedom in Christ to sin (Galatians 5:13) or you misunderstand your freedom in Christ and bind yourselves to laws (Galatians 3:10). Both issues have the same root, you are immature. There are many reasons why you may find yourself in this position, but one underlying reason that encapsulates them all – you trust in yourself rather than Christ for growth. The book of Hebrews defines our life as a race of faith and if we want to run this race successfully our only hope is looking at Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2) – how is that going?
God Is Committed To You
It can be difficult to rightfully distinguish between works-based righteousness and faith-based righteousness. Work-based righteousness says what I do justifies me in the sight of God. Faith-based righteousness says since Christ has justified me, I can now trust Him to live in the way I should. If you are a believer, glorification is your future (Romans 8:30). This means everything that blemishes the glory of God in you and in the world will be eradicated forever (Revelation 21:3-4). Whilst we await that glorious day, our journey here requires spiritual growth. If you are someone who laments their lack of spiritual maturity, perhaps it is because you have neglected the basic principles of God (Hebrews 5:12). There is a doctrine that is prevailing online that says studying the scriptures is unnecessary since you have the Word of God in you. Hebrews 5:13 responds in this way “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child”.
Perhaps your spiritual frustration stems from the fact that you do not spend enough time in God’s word. Every book in the New Testament, apart from Philemon, warns against false teaching. Perhaps you are enticed by false teachings because you have not trained yourself to distinguish between what is good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). This is not about being a scholar, it is about living for the reason you were created – to know God. The good news is, Jesus has given us his Holy Spirit to teach us everything we need to know (John 14:26). Maturity is not trying to absorb as many scriptures as you can. Maturity is trusting that when you engage with the scriptures there is Divine help readily available for you. When you do engage with the scriptures, remember this “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).