To the church:
.....think on these things (Phil 4:8)
He's a "Carnal Christian"??
(May we ask you some questions about that?)
1. What is a Carnal Christian? The bible speaks of two types of man:
a. the natural man (I Cor 2:14) who receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and
b. the spiritual man (I Cor 2:15) who judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
Many add a third category to these biblical opposites and thereby try to make allowance for a third type of man - the "carnal Christian" or "worldly Christian" - a person who "is saved" but is living "in the world", is "away from the Lord", is "backslidden", or is some other variation of these euphemisms.
2. Does the bible teach that Christians can be carnal or worldly? I Corinthians chapter 3 is often cited as proof for the existence of this "saved" - but fallen, or backslidden - individual (and his or her many friends).
3. But the Corinthian assembly was so affected by false doctrines, false teachers and ubiquitously carnal living that the Apostle Paul spent 29 chapters in his two letters to the church at Corinth to reprove, to rebuke and to correct them in these matters. He called them carnal. Therefore, if any of us were to advocate adopting the spirituality of a Corinthian, we would be unwise - at best.
4. To really understand the Apostle Paul's rebuke of the Corinthians, we need to study passages where he establishes the background doctrine for it. In Romans chapter 8, Paul teaches a distinction between two types of people:
a. those who choose to live after the flesh and who will reap death as a consequence, and
b. those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and who will therefore not be condemned
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: (Rom 8:6,7a).
5. So, if the carnal mind is enmity against God, then there can be no such thing as a 'carnal Christian'.
But let's read further:
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall DIE. (Rom 8:13a).
Two things are immediately obvious:
a. This cannot be speaking of physical death, because ALL die physically - not just those who live after the flesh. Also, there are many who live after the flesh and die in rebellion against God at a ripe old age, older than many godly saints who died before them. Therefore, this verse is speaking of eternal, spiritual death, and
b. This does not say that those who live after the flesh will merely "lose their rewards". It says that they shall DIE.
6. By putting these two truths together, we understand that living after the flesh will result in spiritual death. Galatians chapter 5 lists ways in which the works of the flesh are manifest:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)
7. One thing is immediately obvious: Again, this passage does not say that those who do such things shall "lose their rewards". It says that they "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
8. This is consistent with the previous passage that says they shall DIE; hence, they will not inherit the kingdom of God.
9. OK, ... but, if a person is a good person - especially if he's a Christian - then, just because he enjoys life and makes a few mistakes along the way, this doesn't mean that God will reject him; does it?
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt 7:21-23)
10. So, what must we do? The bible says,
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Gal 5:16)
Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (II Tim 2:19b)
If anyone claims to be a "Christian," let him pursue holiness - obedience to the will of God, as revealed in the Word of God. (I Peter 1:14-16)
Conclusion: There is no such thing as a carnal Christian.