True Christians are changed people. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and regenerates us when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ the Lamb of God for salvation. This change feels like a difficult struggle. It involves a lot of conscious decisions to do what is right rather than what is easy, but in the end God’s elect will persevere by the power granted to them in the blood of Christ.
One way in which we change after we become Christians is in the way in which we think. We become not necessarily smarter, but wiser. Also, the way we talk changes as well:
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge (I Corinthians 1:4-5).
Paul is saying here that God’s grace is evident in the lives of new believers as God blesses them with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge. Paul had seen this kind of growth in the believers at Corinth. These believers were not perfect; they were still immature in many ways, as we will see later in the book of I Corinthians, but the fact that they had come this far, considering that they were saved out of an extremely immoral, pagan culture, says a lot. Their progress in these areas proved the power of Christ to change lives:
— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you (I Corinthians 1:4-6 NIV).
So what are these two areas of growth that Paul is talking about here? All kinds of speech is obviously not referring to linguistic or grammatical progress, otherwise politicians would be better Christians than I am! Rather it is talking about spiritual growth. It means that they have learned to say things that are both moral and edifying. Ephesians 4:15 says that Christians are to be “speaking the truth in love.” So good speech focuses on truthfulness, grounded in the truth of the gospel, and gentleness, grounded in sincere love for Christ and for each other. Christians, first of all, should not be speaking anything untrue. They should not be liars and deceivers. Those who go around constantly trying to trick people are immature Christians. Also, what we say must not only be true, but it must be said in a loving way. Christians ought not to tear each other down, but encourage each other and forgive each other with gentle, kind, words. Christians also need to be patient in deciding what to say, since too much talking will inevitably result in saying something sinful (Proverbs 10:19).
Christ-rooted spiritual growth is also displayed when we grow in all knowledge. This is not worldly wisdom, but Godly wisdom. This wisdom is the wisdom that teaches us that all humans are infinitely valuable because they were created in the image of God. It is the wisdom that tells us that it is better to do what is right than to “win.” It is the wisdom that tells us to deny ourselves. True wisdom has for it’s foundation a belief in the one true God:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)