Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 3. Then read the below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude with a prayer.
Milk vs. Solid Food
What are the milk and the solid food that St. Paul speaks of? Spiritually speaking, the milk is the moral teaching and the behavioral practices. The solid food is the deep doctrines of God and the teaching about the depth of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sadly, the Corinthians were not yet ready to experience these depths, for they could not yet produce fruit worthy of God. St. John Chrysostom says that their inability to receive food was not by nature but by choice. They were not willing to get beyond their divisions, and jealousy.
How do you strive to enjoy the solid food?
Carnal vs. Spiritual People
St. Paul refers to the Corinthians as being carnal people. He says "For where there are envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor 3:3)
"If jealousy makes people carnal, everyone of us ought to be crying out because of our sin and covering ourselves in sackcloth and ashes. Who is not tainted with this? I say this of others only because I know how true it is of me." - St. John Chrysostom
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1Cor 3:7)
St. Paul is making it clear, the only one who is anything in the Church is God Himself. Certainly we all have a service to do, but no one is greater than the One who gives the increase. So if St. Paul and the Apostles state that they could not have accomplished anything if God had not given the increase, how about us? Do we follow God or do we follow His servants? Do we not realize the labor of any servant is in vain if God does not bless? Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; (Ps 127:1)
"The building does not belong to the workman but to the master. If you are a building, you must not be split in two, since then the building will collapse. If you are a farm, you must not be divided but rather surrounded with a single fence, the fence of unanimity." - St. John Chrysostom
"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1Cor 3:11)
"Paul is not exalting himself by taking the example of a skilled master builder, because whatever skill he possesses come entirely from the grace of God that has been given to him. Furthermore, because it is grace, it is not divided but rests securely on the one foundation, which is Christ." - Chrysostom
How do we know what type of material we are using to build on the foundation? The Scholar Origen writes "If we think what is right and good, then we are building on a foundation of gold. If we repeat every holy word that has been spoken without corrupting it, then we are building on a foundation of silver. If all our works are good, then we are building on precious stones. But if I sin after laying the foundation, then I am building on wood; if I continue, I am building on hay and finally, if I still go on, I am building on straw.
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1 Cor 3:16-17)
"and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Cor 3:23)
Human reasoning is unwise and weak, so one should not glory in man but in God, whose word cannot be altered. Whatever human beings think apart from God is foolishness. - Ambrosiaster
We are Christ's by Grace, by Adoption, by Baptism by Communion by the Divine Mysteries. Christ is God's as His own Son.
God, we Thank you for we are Yours. We became Yours not by our design, but by Yours; not by our works, but by Your grace. Thank You Dear God for calling us to You. Keep us O Lord seeking the nourishment of the Solid Food of your knowledge. Let us not return to the milk of babes, unable to satisfy ourselves and lacking the true nourishment of Your knowledge. Keep us from dissension, envy, jealousy and all that divides us. Unite us in You, O God. Amen
Posted on Mon, January 23, 2017
by Mathew Shehata