BABY CHRISTIAN OR CHRISTIAN BABY?
(1 Cor 3:3) for you are still carnal . . .
Everybody loves a new baby. Everything they do is cute. (Okay . . . almost everything!) Their little sounds and their ever-changing faces, and how they look like little angels when they sleep. But what would you say of a grownup who is still acting like a baby? You would probably say, "Grow up!" because that's exactly what they need to do. In other words, you hold them accountable for their age and give them no excuse for their actions.
That's what Paul was saying to the Corinthians. They were believers who were carnal. They were acting fleshly and worldly and not their age. Paul had trained them well, but they were still acting like spiritual infants. They were struggling with factions in the church as well as immorality. They were going to court against each other, stumbling each other, and being selfish at the communion celebrations. They abused spiritual gifts and just needed to learn about God's agape love that takes into consideration other people's feelings. It was a tough letter to write because they were so carnal!
Receiving newborn Christians in the church is something we are all thrilled about. Their newfound faith is an inspiration to us all. It adds a spark to a church that sometimes is needed as older Christians can sometimes lose their fire. They are so hungry for the Lord and they are at every Bible study, prayer meeting, and Christian event. (1 Pet 2:2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. As time goes on they move out of that new convert state and enter into real Christian growth through trials and tribulations and the everyday things of life. The goal of the Christian life is maturity and being conformed into the image of Christ. (Eph 4:15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. But we know that as we grow, the goal is to keep that fire for Jesus alive if even in a developed way.
It's okay to be a baby Christian . . . but it's not okay to be a Christian baby! That's why Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and that is why we must be careful of spiritual immaturity in our lives. After that fire cools of first receiving the Lord there is that tendency to cool off into lukewarmness. We start going back into the worldly things and interests. What we rejected as worldly before we now make excuses such as how it's not good to be so overly zealous or we shouldn't go so overboard. Perhaps we cave into what people are saying about us, that we are too fervent, or that old saying, "he's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good." No one likes to be a freak and stand out. We want to be cool with others and therefore start to blend back into the culture. But our desire for cool might really be a direction toward compromise.
Sometimes there's even pressure from other carnal Christians to lighten up. You see, that on-fire Christian can make a carnal Christian look bad. The "sold out for Christ" believer just wants to love and serve the Lord. The compromised Christian is threatened by that and will many times seek to extinguish that flame if even by a subtle put down and teasing (which is really mocking).
Why do Christians revert back to that carnal state? Because the writer of Hebrews says they want the milk and not the meat. (Heb 5:12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. They just don't want to grow up. The Christian life becomes too hard and they want the toys of childhood.
Are you a Christian baby? Then it's time for you to grow up! Give the baby Christians something to aspire to.