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There's no such thing as a Carnal Christian
rickroehm





 
Many times in life as a believer in Christ we have all heard the term, "Carnal Christian". It's used quite commonly. To be straight up with all of you...there is no such thing as a Carnal Christian nor does the Bible teach such doctrine.

The Biblical term "carnal" means...fleshly, earthly, or sensual. A carnal man is not a spiritual man. The carnal mind is a Biblical expression used concerning the mental state of man who walks and lives in the Adamic nature. The carnal mind is an emnity against God. Romans 8. The Bible says so! No man can be carnal and born of the Spirit at the same time. Carnal men walk in the flesh, not in the Spirit. The flesh is the physical expression of the Adamic nature. Carnality and walking in the flesh is a life totally out of harmony with the Christ of our Salvation. Carnality is a life in total opposition to a life in harmony with Christ in the Spirit.

So, where did the term Carnal Christian come from? There are many people in the religious world that condone sinful conduct in the life of the believer in Christ. The Bible does not condone sinful living or the sinful heart in the life of a believer. To be honest the Bible condemns the sinful heart and sinful living. I admit there are people out there who twist the Scripture just enough to justify sinful living. Some of these people are even teachers, pastors, and/or leaders in the the local Churches... but that doesn't make them automatically right! The Word of God especially the New Testament Epistles were not written to condone sin. The Epistles were written by holy men of God to condemn sin and glorify the resurrected Christ who delivers man from sin. I get happy just thinking about this subject! Holiness of heart and life makes men content in Christ. Glory!

Someone might say, "What about Corinthians 3".

1 Cor 3:1-3...And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men

The Apostle Paul was addressing a melting pot of various types of people and types of religion and philosophy. Some leaned toward Greek Philosophy. Others leaned to Hellenism which was a form of Judaism and pagan religion mixed. There was Gnosticism, Judaism, Rabbi's, Philosophers, etc. to deal with. Religious worship and practices were rampant. Head knowledge was even more rampant due to philosophy, etc. There was much confusion and much division in the locality of Corinth. Christianity through the preaching of Christ was new by the preaching of these Apostles. Paul stated, I do not speak to you as spiritual people but as to carnal people. You're acting like a bunch of little babies. Paul had coddled and nurtured them with the truth about Christ but they "all" wouldn't receive the truth about Christ. What I mean by "all" is this. Within that local church there were some people who trusted Christ, lived holy, and walked in the Spirit. Other people who were not part of Christ were "among" this same body of believers. They also attended the local Church at Corinth, but they were carnal (not saved) and behaving like a bunch of little babies. This is what Paul was contending with in the Epistle.

When I speak of the local church I speak of people who are "blood bought" Christians and also people who are not "blood bought". Any man will realize that all people who attend a local church are not automatically saved or blood bought by the Lord Jesus Christ. God knows who is saved and who is not. Those saved...The Church, the body of Christ are considered "perfect" according to the Scripture language. All members of Christ's body are blood bought, forgiven, saved, and have a holy heart. A blood bought, forgiven, saved, and holy man is "perfect" in the eyes of God. Perfect and holy have the same root word "teleiois". The Bible teaches this doctrine and uses the same root word for perfection and holiness. Read it for yourself as Paul addressed those who were saved and blood bought at the Church at Corinth. It's clear there were also those "among" this body of believers who were also carnal. Notice who was perfect in the following verse.

1 Cor 2:6...Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

The wisdom Paul was speaking was about the person of Christ that forgives, redeems, justifies, and sanctifies the heart of man. Paul knew the saving Grace of God! Paul knew what was going on at the Church at Corinth. He knew who and what religions he was dealing with. Paul was a Pharisee himself and came out of Jewish religion when he found forgiveness, justification, and sanctification in the person of Christ. God's Grace took Paul's heart and life over. This is not the wisdom of the world like religious people teach or like the philosophical world teaches. Divine Grace is the greatest blessing that ever came upon the human family! Glory! Divine Grace can only be found in the acceptance of the person Christ within the heart and soul. Salvation of the soul leads to sanctification in the Spirit. This is Biblical perfection. This is God's perfect work. This is why Paul addressed certain people as "perfect" in the Church at Cornith.

1 Cor 2:6...Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect

In the closing part of 1 Cor. chapter 2 we see that Paul related also to the "natural man". A natural man is carnal by nature and lives, thinks, and walks under the control of the Adamic nature. This fallen state could never be a Christian as some in the religious world teach. The natural man is a man without Christ, and without forgiveness from his sin. A natural man is a rebel against God and Christ is foolishness to him.

1 Cor 2:14...But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,

Don't be tricked or deceived into believing there is such thing as a Carnal Christian because there is not! The Bible doesn't teach such doctrine, it's a man made thing. How beautiful it is to examine the Holy Scripture and to find out these kind of teachings are false! When you get away from tradition, opinion, religion, and the imaginations of men you will get down to the truth of God's Word. It is written for our edification! The Bible can make some men into liars but we know God can never lie! The truth prevails when we study the Scripture. The truth of God's Word will take you away from traditional viewpoints and man's opinion. The truth of God's Word will show you that "perfect" is not a bad word as some teachers teach. To be honest Paul was addressing those who were "perfect" at Corinth...because there is no such thing as a Carnal Christian!

Christians are holy in the eyes of God, not unholy. Christians are righteous in the eyes of God, not unrighteous. Christians are obedient in the eyes of God, not disobedient! Carnality is a state where man comes from "before" he finds the Grace of God that morally changes the heart of sinful man! Christians are not carnal! Christians walk in the Spirit...not in the flesh! Glory to Christ who makes it all possible. Remenber there is no such thing as a Carnal Christian.

1 Cor 2:12...Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

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Christy Pinkston (@christania)

  First let me say I respect your blog and my post is only to offer my understanding on this subject. It is not a flame or an attack, but rather a posing of my personal prayerful study results having made a few studies on this subject and I am currently doing so again. I also look up meanings that seem vague in the English translations (or just plain hard for me to get the full meaning of) in Strong's exhaustive concordance to get an understanding of the meanings of words used in the original languages. I say that so you understand that my post is not an attempt to half-hearted rebuttal. I consider any Christian a part of the Family of God same as me no matter how understandings differ. So I pray that you keep on learning and posting! God Bless! I believe the term "carnal" and "walking by the Spirit" is referring to walking in a state of sin. It seems many times people tend to confuse the filling of the Holy Spirit with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You see, at the point of salvation we are said to be indwelt not only by the Holy Spirit, but God the Father and God the Son as well. The word carnal used in 1 Corinthians was being used to address believers that were failing to operate under the FILLING of the Holy Spirit. Just because we are saved does not mean we do not ever sin again and therefore we need to confess in order to be forgiven and move forward in our spiritual lives (1 John 1:9). When Paul was addressing the Corinthian church he called them "Brethren". This is an identifying word telling us he is referring to them as being apart of his family. Obviously they are not related by blood, but rather as members of the family of God. Therefore, they are believers and are saved but because they are in a state of sin and not filled with the Holy Spirit they are unable to understand more advanced doctrine which is why Paul could only give them "milk" as if they were babies. They could not comprehend the more advanced teachings, the "solid food". This does not mean they are not still indwelt by the Holy Spirit. They most surely are as any believer is, but because they had not confessed and continued to perpetuate sin within the church by way of various divisions and strife, etc. they were unable to move forward. They were at a standstill. It goes something like this. When we confess and are filled with the Spirit we are then controlled by the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is operational in regards to His ministry and guidance. Unfortunately, we as flawed human beings will inevitably sin again and this is the moment that the sin nature gains control of our soul. When the sin nature is controlling us that is when we are "carnal" or "walking like mere men". We are all sinners, but Christians are different not because we don't sin, but because we are able to have fellowship with God. However, why would God fellowship with us when we are controlled by sin? Sin is forgiven, but it is still a problem since the nature of sin still exists in the very cell structure of the body of every believer and unbeliever alike (it is an absolute evident in every human being save one, the Lord Jesus Christ) and we never lose that even after salvation until we die or the rapture, whichever happens first. We are "spiritual" when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. That is when we are "walking" in the Spirit.


Author: Christy Pinkston
Posted
  Update: Sorry the first sentence should have read: I believe the term "carnal" and "walking by the Spirit" is referring to walking in a state of sin [as opposed to being filled with the Holy Spirit]. brackets added. Got ahead of myself there. haha :)


Author: Ricky Roehm
Posted
  My dear Christiana,

Two biblical points I'd like use in response to your comment.

1. Justification is God's spoken pardon to the human soul that grants the sinner forgiveness for all the sins he of she ever committed
2. Sanctification "rids" the believer from the Adamic nature per Romans 6:6. The Bible actually says God "destroys" this body of sin.

Justification deals with the acts of sin
Sanctification deals with the sinful nature that man inherited

Justification is found in the intial work of the Holy Spirit called the new birth
Sanctification is found through the final work of the Indwelling Spirit and follows the new birth

Justification qualifies man to be Sanctified from the still existing Adamic Nature that tries to rule
Sanctification purges the Adamic Nature from the child of God and thus takes away the inner conflict with self

Most people in today's modern Church World are ususally hung up at Justification and never go any further in their Spirit life with Christ. They miss the sanctifying power of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire that cleanses the saved man from the Adamic life. The Bible teaches this doctrine by saying the spirits of just men can be made perfect in the Hebrew letter. This verse clearly states that Just men can be made perfect on this side of Heaven. How? By being sanctified!

Heb 12:23...To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,


Billy Beard+ (@billyb)

  Great blog and comments. My only part is that we all yearn, desperately, to be 'clothed upon', 2nd Cor. 5:1-7. The time when we will see Him as He is. 1st John 3:1-3. All possible, only through what Jesus Christ did, the blood He shed, the eternal Spirit of God, and Gods great grace and mercy. We have no excuse. God Bless Brother, Billy


Christopher Quek+ (@arisensleeper)

  Excellent blog and discussion!

Here is how I understand it. When we hear the Word of God (whether it is preached, shared, or read), His Holy Spirit contends with us drawing us to Him, by His power we are convicted of our sin and by that same power we are given the faith necessary for us to receive Him. This is when He stands at the door of our heart and knocks. When we in humility and contrition accept His prompting, thereby opening the door of our heart, He enters and sups with us, His Holy Spirit fills us and gives us the faith to accept Him confessing our sins with a repentant heart, acknowledging Him as Lord and Saviour. At that point, our "old man", dead in sin is put to death, falling like a seed to the ground, dying to burst forth with new life and the "new man" is reborn, covered by the blood of Christ, justified and no longer carnal in the sight of God. This is the rebirth by the Spirit that Christ speaks of to Nicodemus and we are born again. This is what we call justification by faith.

From that point forth, His Holy Spirit dwells in us, teaching, counseling, and convicting us. From that point many things that we used to do in the former carnal man are no longer palatable or agreeable. This does not mean that our sin nature is obliterated, it simply means that our carnal minds begin to change. This is the first sign of our sanctification, the beginning of the renewal of our minds. I have experienced this myself and I have seen it in those whom I work with. This too is the work of the Lord through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. When we acknowledge that by our our strength and will, we are unable to fully comply with the prompting and conviction of the Spirit and surrender our will to Him relying on Him to empower and change us, we begin our journey in sanctification. As we walk in obedience and humility relying on Him to work in us and to empower us, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, our minds are renewed in increasing degree of holiness and with it our walk is empowered. With each surrender, we gain successive victory over our sin nature and the desires of our heart become His desires. Through it all, though our sin nature still lives, in God's eyes, the covering of Christ guarantees our righteousness in the eyes of God. With each surrender our sin nature looses its hold on us. Does God remove that sin nature? No, our sin nature will always be there even though it will gradually loose its hold. Is it instantaneous? In some areas of our lives yes, in some, no. I have always been amazed at how God works with the addicts I work with, some loose their urge and need for drugs almost instantaneously, some just suddenly develop an instant aversion for their addiction, others more gradually, each according to God's perfect knowledge of the person in question. So it is with me. Do we have to cling to Him daily? Yes, whenever I do not take the time to be in the Word and in prayer, my sin nature which lurks like a lion just outside pounces and I find myself slipping. What I, in my pride thought I had conquered resurfaces rearing its ugly head. It is only when I heed the Holy Spirit and in humble obedience return that I am once more empowered and my sanctification continues. I suspect, for me at least, my sanctification will continue till I no longer draw breath in this form and stand before my Lord in heaven.

Humbly,
Arisen


Ricky Roehm (@rickroehm)

  The moment any penitent sinner realizes and trusts what Christ did for him personally at Calvary forgiveness for sin is found in the inner man. Through the forgiven heart a life of holiness of conduct begins. Holiness is the proof that God's Grace is greater than the carnal nature. A justified man is a holy man. A justified man comes to a realization that the old Adam still exists and still tries to rule. The Holy Spirt reveals to a justified man's heart... crucifixion to the Old Adam man sees himself in light of a Saviour's crucifixion. The Crucifixion of Christ testifies crucifixion to the old man. When the justified believer "dies" completely to the Old Adam (crucifies to Old man) the sanctifying power of the Inwelling Spirit takes over. Romans 6 states the "body of sin is destroyed". Sanctification through the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire "destroys" the body of sin. Rom 6:6-7...Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. This is what the writer of Hebrew Letter meant when he stated,"the spirits of just men could be made perfect". Heb 12:23...To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, Those sanctified at Corinth is who Paul was addressing in 1 Cor. 2. 1 Cor 1:2...Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus 1 Cor 2:6...Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: Justification is what qualifies a man to be sanctified with the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. God can operate through a justified man who knows Christ and has the power to do right. It's when the Justified man dies to the Adamic Life that the sanctifying power of the Spirit of God takes over. Perfection comes through Sanctification through the Spirit. Two operations..1. the new birth, 2. The baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire There are a lot of people who do not accept Sanctification "after" Justification...but a just man can be made perfect according to the Bible. Heb 12:23...To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect Carnality has to go from the heart of man... to be victorious in Jesus. God makes a way to keep you from slipping and I'm glad. Thank God...there is no such thing as a Carnal Christian! Read it!



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