Paul is again emphasizing that even new Christians should understand that salvation requires repentance, which is more than turning away from sin, it is also turning to something new and that is Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith in God. We know that we should be baptized as an outward representation of what we believe in our hearts. It is symbolic of dying to sin and our fleshly desires and being resurrected to a new life in Jesus. We understand that after the resurrection, some will go on to eternal life with Jesus and others to eternal life in hell. What we need now is to understand what Jesus wants us to do until the time of our physical death. He wants us to follow His example and lead a lifestyle that draws others to Christ. He sent His Holy Spirit to lead us “into all truth”. If we following His leading, we will grow in spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
Verses 5 and 6 are well-known verses from Proverbs but how many times a day do we violate those scriptures? Instead of taking a second to whisper or just think a prayer, do we just react to a situation and say or do something that is unkind? In our modern, hurry, hurry society, we just don’t have the time to do that, do we? But, you see, it really takes a lot less time to do it right (seek His will) the first time then it does to have to go back and correct all those situations. We are so impressed with our own wisdom that we think we can go through most of our day with little or no contact with God. How much is a computer worth to you when you have no internet connection? Your brain is the most amazing computer known but unless it is connected to the Spiritual internet (God) it isn’t worth nearly as much to you as it could be. There are some functions you can do on a computer without the internet, but you probably would not have purchased one for any of those functions. There are some life functions that the brain performs on its own, but it can’t make the proper decisions without being connected to the Great Server in the heavens. If you stay connected, you will truly find “healing for your body and strength for your bones”. And you will also find something else, a peace that passes understanding which is worth more than gold.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.–James 1:2-5 NIV
Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful? I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV
It is not a sin to wonder or to question “why?”. It is only a sin when we take it to the point of being disobedient. We need to pray for wisdom, but when we pray for wisdom, we need to understand that acquiring wisdom requires experiencing a lot of things and some of them will be painful.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.–Luke 9:23 NIV
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?—1 Cor. 4:18-21 NIV
Paul is really concerned about the puffed up and arrogant attitude some of the Christians at Corinth have developed. This example of the things happening at Corinth is a great reminder for us not to bring people to Jesus and then leave them as “babes in Christ”. It is very important that we take the time to mentor and disciple them in a Holy lifestyle. New converts do not understand the dangers of following the flesh any more than a newborn understands what he/she needs. They just know they are hungry and they need a parent to give them the right food. So do new converts. They need someone to make sure they are getting the right message until they get past the “milk of the Word’ .The Kingdom of God is not just a matter of talking and walking but it is a matter of the power of God and that power must be understood and used properly. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.—1 Cor. 2 :4,5 NIV