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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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SPIRITUAL PEOPLE

A preacher was waxing eloquent on the subject, "What Is A Christian?" He punctuated his sermon at several key intervals by asking, "What is a Christian?" as he pounded on the pulpit for emphasis. A little boy listened with rapt attention. At one point, after the preacher pitched the question and pounded the pulpit, the boy whispered to his mother, "Mama, do you know what a Christian is?" The mother patiently replied, "Yes, dear. Now try to sit still and listen." Near the end of the sermon, the preacher pounded especially hard on the pulpit one more time as he thundered forth his question, "What is a Christian?" At that point, the little boy sprang to his feet in the pew and yelled, "Tell him, Mama, tell him!" Inspired words in 1'` Corinthians 2:13-3:4 guide us in our understanding of what and who a Christian is. In these verses, the apostle Paul does not say that a Christian is one who has believed and been buried with Christ in baptism, although we know the Corinthians had been taught to do precisely that (and many of them had according to Acts 18:8). In these verses, Paul did not define Christians as those who faithfully assemble every Lord's Day to sing, pray, give of their means, remember the Lord in the Lord's Supper, and study the word of the Lord, although the New Testament plainly teaches all those things are involved in being a faithful Christian. But in the verses mentioned Paul contrasts some people as "natural" and some as "spiritual." The "natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God" 2:14), but "he who is spiritual judges all things" (2:15a). Some people "have the mind of Christ" (2:16b), o t h e r s a r e "carnal ... . babes in Christ" who must be fed "with milk and not with solid food" because they "were not able to receive it" (3:1-2). Instead of being "spiritual people," they are characterized by "envy, strife and divisions" and are "still carnal. . behaving like mere men" (3:3). Paul makes it very clear that not everybody at Corinth who had been baptized into Christ was becoming more like Christ. There were people in the pews who were much more interested in getting into Christ than they were in letting Christ get into them!

Spiritual people are not perfect people. Nor are they so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. Spiritual people do not just sit around and read the Bible and pray all day, or shout "Hallelujah" and "Thank you, Jesus" all the time. But spiritual people do have the mind of Christ, they are hungry for and obedient to the Word of Christ, they increasingly reflect the image of Christ, and they are growing in the likeness of Christ. Are you a spiritual person as described in God's Word?

Dan Gulley,
Smithville church of Christ