While Paul was busy doing ministry at Ephesus, the reports of various troubles that had plagued the church at Corinth reached him (1 Corinthians 5: 1).
Of factionalism, sexual immorality, misuse of spiritual gifts, misunderstanding of basic Christian doctrine and how the corruption of Corinth had laid its grip on the church.
Many of the issues Paul addressed and dealt with in his days are still very much rampant in the present day church and the only way out is to use the same remedy provided in the Word just as Paul did.
1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 3 [KJV] – “And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal …”
The word “Babes” used by Paul in this context is the Greek word “NEPIOS”. It simply means an infant or immature.
I have a 4 month old baby, named Daystar; all he wants is attention, care, food and all the good things of this life.
He is innocent; he would take up anything, even soap and there it goes into his mouth.
All he wants is to play, enjoy, and get breast milk almost every time and sleep.
He is unstable; today he wants to be with me, the other times with his mum then with friends, but he would always go to mum for breast milk and mum has no choice than to feed his boy. She is always available.
He cries for needs – to be pampered, carried, protected, and attended to.
He’s not ready for any responsibility or task; He is ignorant of many things. I have called him many times, but, He wouldn’t respond, he can hear me speak but he doesn’t understand communication yet.
Yet He is my son, but an infant and an immature. No matter the degree of my love for him, I cannot trust any great task in his care.
If I really love him, I must be patient and wait for him to grow up to the point when he can handle those responsibilities.
This is how God waits on us too.
No matter how this baby of mine is eager to walk, play, drive, ride, climb, run. He must be patience until he grows to that level and become skillful. (Galatians 4: 1 -2)
It cannot happen by sudden flight, he must undergo the process.
A babe is not yet sophisticated; he possesses little or no knowledge, even he cannot act on the little knowledge he has.
He must constantly be fed and nourished with breast milk. This is the only thing that guarantees the development of his limbs, bones, muscles, blood veins, tissues, brain etc.
This is same for a babe believer in Christ.
A babe believer is born again but he is carnal; just like Paul described the Corinthians brethren.
A babe believer is unstable; he is always in different places; he listens to Preacher A and tries another Preacher B.
A babe believer is conscious of needs, he is body ruled.
He wants to try many things out, and see that which works.
But the Word only works!
I once bought a chocolate for a small boy in the neighbourbood, then I asked him to give me a small piece out of the chocolate, but he frowned and refused, I said “O you’ve forgotten I gave you that choco right?” He didn’t even respond, because he does not understand my language.
This is an example of many babe believers.
The opposite of a babe believer is a “full grown or mature” in 1 Corinthians 2: 6 – “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect (full grown)”…
A full grown believer understands and responds easily when wisdom speaks. Abraham was an exceptional character is this regard; When God speaks, he understands; he knows what God meant, how to act and what step to take. He received his justification by faith.
A babe believer frowns at correction and chastisement. He is not ready for any responsibility yet. All he wants are the good things this life can offer. He is a gimme gimme believer!
He is selfish – He is concerned about me, myself and I.
A babe believer who speaks in other tongues and gets involved in many activities of the ministry but refuses to develop his spirit man and renew his mind through the Word is a carnal man.
Today is he on fire, the next day because of the challenges of life or cares of this world; he suddenly throws into the towel.
When a baby didn’t get enough nutrition in life’s early stage, he gets affected in his subsequent and later stages of growth and development, so also a believer with a wrong or insufficient formula.
What is the remedy?
1 Peter 2: 2 – 3 [KJV] – As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow there by: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
What a babe believer needs is the milk of the Word first, not the meat of the Word. When a babe believer is weaned, then an intake of meat will begin.
The remedy out of being a babe believer to a full grown man is to be fed over and over with the “SINCERE MILK” of the Word.
No other route. The sincere milk of the word should be the utmost desire of every “Nepios”.
Deliberate and conscious effort in searching out the scriptures daily and also attending corporate Bible Study in the local church or books and tapes with exegesis of the scripture cannot be overemphasized.
Hebrews 5: 12 [NIV] – In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Dear Nepios, you need milk for now, not solid food! When the appointed time comes for solid food, you will feed on your own accord.
When believers who ought to have mature and come up into higher responsibilities are still acting out like babies, what they need is to teach them the elementary truths of God word again; the sincere milk of the Word, not solid food!
Even when teachers have hurriedly taken their “Nepios” far into deeper dimensions, they should be careful enough to love their souls and feed them with the “sincere milk” of the word that they may grow and be fully developed; and when our “Nepios” partake of this good word of the Lord again and again and are being regularly fed, they will grow better and be refined unto the graciousness of God.
Grace to your heart!