First Corinthians Three:
1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
The first reason Paul says they are still worldly is that they are jealous and quarreling amongst themselves; that's pretty straightforward, as we can all agree those two things are not at all good. It's the next thing, though, that stands out a little more:
They claim to follow "mere men," not God. They say they follow different earthly teachers. The men listed are good men of God, yes, but Paul and Apollos are "only servants, through whom you came to believe- as the Lord has assigned each to his task." Paul continues the discussion of his and Apollos's role in the context of being God's workers.
The next shift in topic comes in verse ten:
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
No one can do the work Jesus did, says Paul to the Corinthians. Simple enough, but is bears reminding. Paul tells them that what they do in this world will be brought to light and shown for what it is, and if it survives the fire, they will receive their reward. If not, the believer shall still be saved, but without the reward received by the others.
This may not have blown the minds of the Corinthians, or it may have. It blows mine. We have many assumptions about heaven that aren't Biblically based... including that we'll all be equal. Do not get me wrong here: no one will be unhappy in heaven, where no light is needed because God's glory will keep it lit forever; but there will be difference in "reward" and "treasure in heaven" because of what was done on Earth.
Beyond expounding upon the nature of heaven, this is encouragement to be diligent in the work of God; of investing your resources in the Kingdom, of sharing the Word with those who need it, and of serving the church and working in the Body.
More to come. In the next post, I will talk about the rest of 1st Corinthians 3 and what else Paul is telling the Corithians about milk and meat. There is also a mention of "spiritual milk" in Hebrews 5 that I will talk about then, too. This post has gone a bit long.