Be Mature In Your Thinking

woman looking at sunset

There is a lot going on in the church today. At first glance, it looks like Christianity is all over the map. For example, there have been recent splits among the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Methodists, to name a few. These are not small splits, either. It is a sign of how radically divided the nation as a whole is, and Christians are no better. The church in Corinth really mirrored a lot of the division we see today. A lot of the same issues emerged then that are dividing the church now–issues over sexuality, spiritual gifts (or non-gifts), which Christian influencers we follow, marriage and divorce issues, and so on.

Paul needed to nip the issues in the bud while there was still a semblance of a church left. In one sentence he sums up how they should get together as the body of Christ: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20 ESV). Paul warns them not to be children (“childish”) in their thinking. They should be infants in evil, where infants don’t even know what evil is! And they should be mature in their thinking, where they are patient with one another, compassionate, caring, and deeply rooted in the Word.

Just one chapter earlier Paul wrote about the importance of love. Love is patient. It is kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not self-seeking. These are all pointing Christians to mature thinking, something the church at Corinth really needed if it was going to survive. When we model mature thinking, it makes Christ attractive to others. We need to model the bride of Christ in a way that showcases who Jesus is. The church is the bride of Christ and nobody in their right mind wants to get near a bridezilla!

What You Were Is Not Who You Are

sad isolated young woman looking away through fence with hope

In a continuation of Paul’s thoughts in 1 Corinthians on purging the evil person, he reiterates that people who are practicing wickedness will not inherit the kingdom of God. In chapter 6 he repeats the list he gave in chapter 5, while adding to it. Paul is not backing it down. He is ramping it up. The point is that unrighteousness is not to be tolerated in the church because it destroys lives and maligns the body of Christ. Paul said earlier to “cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened” (1 Cor. 5:7 ESV).

What he’s referring to are the people within the church who create division and attempt to cause others to fall away from God. You cannot have both poison and nourishment in the same body. When Paul wrote the first letter to the church at Corinth, he was addressing some very serious sin issues. Christians were extremely divided, were sexually immoral, were having drunken parties during the Lord’s Supper, and were fighting horribly over spiritual gifts. The church was in complete shambles, and Paul was issuing a stern warning that they better clean up their act.

What’s noteworthy is that Paul is less focused on working on current issues and puts more emphasis on who they were called to be. In the church today, we tend to get caught up in the past, bringing up all the issues we have with people who are causing problems. Paul has no interest in placating the Christians at Corinth. What they were is not who they are.

Paul says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). He is reminding them that, yes, they really messed up. But that they need to repent and focus on who they are as bearers of Christ’s holy name. In other words, he tells them it’s time to get over themselves and move forward in unity.