Some Reflections on Spiritual Maturity

Thursday, December 06, 2007 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man [sense ruled] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Scripture describes three classifications of man in I Corinthians 2 and 3.
There is the natural man who is positionally related to Adam. This man may be good, but whathe produces in his life can at the most be human goodness. This human goodness is totally unacceptable to God.
Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (NLT, That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.)

There is the spiritual man who is positionally related to Christ through justification and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual person bears the “fruit of the Spirit” which is pleasing to God and is what we are made for, Galatians 5:22-23. Spirituality is an absolute. Only those who have experienced new birth can be spiritual. One who is justified is either spiritual or carnal.

There is the carnal man, or “man of the flesh” who is positionally related to Christ but is controlled by himself. This person produces nothing that is pleasing to God, and lives like the natural man lives. This, as spirituality, is an absolute. A believer lives in the dynamic from carnal to spiritual. Both the spiritual man and “men of the flesh” are related to Christ. The man of the flesh controls his own life. (From William Barclay's New Testament Commentary)

Spiritual maturity is a process:
“It is part of the misguided and whimsical condition of humankind that we so devoutly believe in the power of effort-at-the-moment-of-action alone to accomplish what we want and completely ignore the need for character change in our lives as a whole. The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right and the condition we want to enjoy. This is the feature of human character that explains why the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We intend what is right, be we avoid the life that would make it reality.” (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 6)