14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
have their senses
“Senses” here refers to special faculties of the mind that are for understanding and judgment. Mature Christians are trained in the art of spiritual understanding (He 12:11; 1 Ti 4:7; 2 Pe 2:14). This is what distinguishes between the mature and immature.
exercised to discern
Mature believers possess discernment because they can distinguish good from bad doctrine and the principles that flow from it. A baby puts anything into its mouth. Adults or the mature are those who have been “trained” or “practiced” in divine truth.
both good and evil.
Truth can become “evil” when misunderstood or misapplied, when it is not absorbed in its due proportions.
Mature Christians can distinguish between wholesome teaching and teaching that is harmful to the soul. They can appropriate more important truths for their growth.
A characteristic of maturity is a good grasp of the principles of Scripture and regular use of them in one’s life.
Spiritual children put almost anything into their mouths. They do not discriminate between what will hurt them and what will help them. Spiritual discernment leads to wise and godly decisions.
Spiritual babies cannot tolerate solid spiritual food. They cannot assimilate it because it is beyond their understanding. They have not accumulated enough principles from the Word to form mature spiritual food.
There are three indications of immaturity:
—inability to teach others,
—need for milk because of not having the capacity to take solid teaching from God’s Word, and
—lack of discernment between what is good and what is evil teaching.