23 June 2008

Fatherly Wisdom-Babes in Christ

This gem comes from Bo Giertz (1905-1998), a former Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Sweden, and is a portion of his meditation written for the Monday after Fifth Sunday after Trinity based on 1 Corinthians 3:1-23.
From the beginning a Christian can be a babe in Christ. Babies need milk. They can't handle solid food. that's also the way it can be with those whoa re babes in Christ. They don't understanding the deepest wisdoms in the Gospel. For example, people who have become disciples and really want to be Christians may still not be in the right state of mind to understand the speech about righteousness from God It's obvious to them that in order to be children of God, they have to stop sinning and be born again. It's also obvious to them that the improvement consists of being better and doing better. Their hearts want to follow Jesus. They haven't understood, however, that there is only one possible path to salvation, namely, to accept what Jesus has done for them, despite everything. They can understand it from a purely theological perspective, but they haven't understood it in their hearts. Giving them such milk to drink could mean allowing them to take in as much as they can understand. They do their best by improving themselves and living according to Jesus' admonitions. That's when they discover how inadequate they are and what Jesus really means. God is the one who works in the field and builds His Church (To Live with Christ, CPH, 2008, p. 454).


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

St. Paul, though, is addressing the already-converted, the Corinthian Christians.

Randy Asburry said...

Yes, indeed, as is Bo Giertz. Since I only quoted the paragraph about the babes in Christ, it appears it would have been helpful to have more context. Here's what Bp. Giertz said at the beginning of the same meditation:

[cites 1 Corinthians 3:17, then says] "This is what Paul announces to the Christians in Corinth. He wasn't implying that they were model Christians. On the contrary, there is no one Paul rebukes more in his letters for their way of living than the people of Corinth. Despite this, he states that they are a temple of God. When they were baptized, they were incorporated into Christ. They became a temple of the Spirit. They were consecrated, just as a church is consecrated. A church like that, however, can be desecrated and used for things other than God's house. This can happen with Christians as well, for example, profanity, sacrilegious activity, something shocking and reprehensible. "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him" (1 Corinthians 3:17).

"That a Christian is sanctified in this way and dedicated to be a temple for the Spirit doesn't mean that the work is done. It's more like a field, Paul says, or a building that's being erected. Apostles, pastors, and parishioners are God's co-workers" (To Live with Christ, pp. 453-454).

[Then comes the quote I posted yesterday.]

So, I think it safe to say that Giertz also speaks of those already converted when he talks of "babes in Christ." (I just cited the paragraphs on "babes" and probably should have given more of a clue about the context there. Sorry!)