From In the Nick of Time, Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Read Part 1.
The previous essay attempted to show that 1 Corinthians 1:14-3:3 establishes three categories of people: natural, spiritual, and carnal. The latter two are both genuine believers, but differ in their level of maturity. This contrast seems especially clear in 3:1-3.
To avoid this interpretation, Reformed theologians like Ernest Reisinger appeal back to 1 Corinthians 1:2. Reisinger argues that this verse declares the Corinthian believers to be already sanctified, so they could not possibly be in a carnal state or condition. He says, “[W]e must bear in mind the designation [Paul] gives them in chapter one. He says they are sanctified in Christ Jesus…. They are rebuked in chapter 3, not for failing to attain to privileges which some Christians attain to, but for acting, despite their privileges, like babes and like the unregenerate in one area of their lives.”
Reisinger’s mistake is to confuse the believer’s position in Christ with the believer’s experience. The New Testament teaches many truths about the believer’s position in Christ. One of those truths is that all believers are completely sanctified and seated in the heavenly places with Christ. Yet no believer is experientially seated with Christ in the heavenly places, just as no believer is completely sanctified experientially while in this life. Read more about The Believer & Carnality, Part 2