November 29 (Daily reading: 1 Corinthians 1-4) Paul presents three categories of people. There is the natural man (man being a generic term for all humanity). “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him” (2:14). He does not believe in Christ and does not want to hear about His crucifixion, which is “to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (1:23). He lives by the wisdom of this world, which is foolishness before God (3:19).
The spiritual man is mature, and his faith is in the power of God (2:5-6). He has received the Holy Spirit, which has revealed to him “the depths of God” (2:10). He is described as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. Paul wrote, “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (4:1-2). The Holy Spirit reveals to the spiritual man that which had been a mystery, “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard” (2:9, from Isaiah 64:4). He clearly stated this mystery to the Ephesians, “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6). God had sent His Son Jesus to bring eternal life to every person on the earth, regardless of race or creed!
Paul described the third category of man as “fleshly…infants in Christ” (3:1). “Fleshly” is rendered “carnal” (NKJV) or “worldly” (NIV). This is a Christian who tries to live by the flesh (sinful nature). God’s will for His children is that “there be no divisions” and that they “be perfectly united” (1:10, NIV). But, “since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly (carnal)?” (3:3). Paul reminded us: “We are God’s fellow workers” and it is “God who causes the growth” (3:7-8).
– Al Gary