World English Bible translation
3:1Brothers, I couldn't speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. 3:2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren't yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren't you fleshly, and don't you walk in the ways of men? 3:4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," aren't you fleshly? 3:5 Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? 3:6 I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's farming, God's building
Paul has written that God does not use the wisdom of man. God's wisdom seems foolish by the world's standards. God uses the weak things of this world to shame the strong. But God does have wisdom that He imparts to the mature through the Spirit of God. The Spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them to God's people. The Spirit knows the ways of God because the Spirit comes from God and is God.
But now Paul delivers a stinging rebuke to the Corinthians. He tells them that they are not yet ready to receive the word that God has for the mature. They are yet babes in Christ. They are not spiritually mature. They are fleshly. Paul knows this because of the divisions that they have allowed to grow up in their assembly.
By the very fact that there are factions and strife within their group Paul determines they are fleshly, they are immature. This is because people that are submissive to the Spirit of God are not filled with the jealousy and strife that Paul sees in the condition at Corinth. The Spirit of God brings people into harmony with each other and into harmony with God. People who are mature in Christ are not the ones that divide up into factions and divisions.
It is also the nature of the divisions that proves Paul's point as well. Those that have created strife in Corinth have tried to make a distinction between those that do Christ's bidding. One says, "I follow Paul," and another says, "I follow Apollos." Now Paul was the pastor that founded their assembly, Apollos was their current pastor. But such distinctions fail to recognize that it is God that is at work in Paul AND Apollos. God is one and the work that He will accomplish in separate people will be one was well. There is a unity in God's person and a unity in God's work.
Paul draws on an agricultural metaphor to explain this to the people of Corinth. We are God's farm. God's fellow workers do his bidding. One plants. Another waters. But Paul is firm, "God gave the increase." The life, the growth is God's. Whatever anyone else does they do at his direction and bidding. They will receive their reward from Him.
To the mature, all things are of God. In God we live, move and have our being. For this reason, whatever does not draw us closer to God is not of Him. Our purpose in life is to be moving toward God at all times. We will never finally arrive, but we will always be drawing closer. God teaches us patience in the journey and as we draw closer, we become more like God. We began to have the same values and goals. Our thoughts become closer to God's thoughts.
In this life we will never obtain perfection, but we can obtain maturity. Are you growing more mature in Christ? Do you want to be?
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