Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? Did you hear about? These are questions usually make me realize I’ve missed something. Whether it’s a scenario communicated through the grapevine of gossip, a report of breaking news around the world, or someone simply exposing an area of my own heart the Lord wants to change, I’ve initially missed it.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, multiple times (Eight by my count) through chapters three through six, Paul says the words “do you not know” to the Corinthians. Six of these occurrences are in chapter six alone. Here are the ones I found…
Do you not know that you are God’s temple. (1 Cor. 3:16 ESV)
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. (1 Cor. 5:6 ESV)
Do you not know the saints will judge the world. (1 Cor. 6:2 ESV)
Do you not know we are to judge angels. (1 Cor. 6:3 ESV)
Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of life. (1 Cor. 6:9 ESV)
Do you not know your bodies are members of Christ. (1 Cor. 6:15 ESV)
Do you not know he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one flesh with her. (1 Cor. 6:16 ESV)
Do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19 ESV)
Spoiler alert: This is a constant refrain of Paul throughout his letter to the Corinthians.
Now, why am I talking about this? Its because I find it absolutely fascinating. And here’s why I think its fascinating.
Have you not read?
This question Paul raises takes me immediately into the life of Jesus. In many of his interactions with the religious elite of first century Palestine, he corrects their interpretations of the Scriptures or their way of life (which has everything to do with said interpretations) with a question, “Have you not read?”
This is a direct shot to their identity. They too missed something. They prided themselves on being people of the Scriptures. They had them memorized, would recite them regularly, and even had the authority to teach by offering insights on them publicly. Here’s an example from Mark 12:10.
Have you not read this Scripture: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Jesus uses the very thing they boast of to reveal their ignorance while simultaneously revealing himself and the gospel to them plainly. Brilliant.
Back to Corinth
The Corinthian church had an attitude of thinking highly of themselves when it came to their way of life in Jesus (Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 5:6). This absolutely stinging question of ”Do you not know?” cuts right into this boasting.
If we boast about our ability to uphold a great way of life in Jesus what are we communicating? We are communicating that we understand the implications of the glorious gospel to the degree that it completely transforms the way we live. Throughout the entire letter, Paul uses the implications of the gospel and presses them to the consciences of the Corinthian believers. Why?
Paul uses the very thing they boast of to reveal their ignorance while simultaneously revealing Jesus and the gospel to them plainly. Brilliant.
Do YOU not know?
This brings me to a third and final truth cutting like a surgical incision targeted at my own spiritual boasting.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:11-14 ESV)
The writer of Hebrews is digging into Jesus’ fulfillment of the office of High Priest over God’s new covenant community (the church) and the depth of its significance. He stops himself in the middle of explaining this profound work of Jesus with what you just read. Ouch. Look at how those the author is speaking to got to this state of immaturity.
1. They became dull of hearing. This carries with it an idea of laziness. Their pursuit of God became sluggish, lacking motivation, tenacity, and the fervency that comes from operating out of a reliance on the Spirit’s power.
2. They became inconsistent. It makes sense. Lazy people become inconsistent and lose their competency. The last thought of this passage refers to the mature. It speaks of the mature as those who train their “powers of discernment” through their ”constant practice”.
Many of us have been following Jesus for years. It seems as though the years of knowing Christ have inoculated us to the sweetness of Christ. We have become numb to the implications of the gospel for our lives and if we are honest with ourselves the words of Hebrews (and Corinthians) speak volumes to our current experience.
I love watching my two-year-old eat chocolate. His eyes light up as he is enjoying the greatest piece of tasty deliciousness the world has ever created. For those precious twenty seconds, he has entered another world filled with joy until it all comes crashing down with the words, “Dad, more please.”
What would our very own community of Jesus consuming people look like if we cried out together, “Father, we want more!”
Spend some time pondering the words of Hebrews five. Feast on the Scriptures and cry out to the One who offers so much more than twenty seconds of tasty chocolate. Waiting for you is an eternal joy never fading—one billion years after you enter eternity. A crown of glory worth fighting every day for.
Yes, it is a fight, but the struggle is worth the reward.