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Posted by Carol Swenson (Member # 6929) on :
Is there such a thing as a Carnal Christian?

Yes, in fact, there is no such thing as a Christian who is not at times carnal. Did you get that? And if you're saying to yourself, "I have never been carnal," then, "God have mercy on you."

But let me tell you what people mean by that. There was a definition of a Christian as a Carnal Christian, as if that was a permanent condition. The people in the Church used to teach that there were three kinds of people, Natural, Carnal, and Spiritual. And they would define the Natural person as unregenerate, unsaved, self on the throne, life in chaos, and sin everywhere.

Then there is the Carnal person. What's that? That's the Christian who still has self on the throne. Christ is still in there somewhere, running around, but He is not in charge, and the life is still in chaos. So the only difference between a natural and a carnal person is that Christ is in there somewhere, but the life hasn't changed.

And then thirdly, there is the Spiritual Christian. Self is off the throne, Christ is on it, and the life is all in order. And so people came up with the idea that you could be either a Carnal Christian or a Spiritual Christian. You know, once you are saved you could say, "Well, I am going to stay a Carnal Christian, I like it better."

And that brings in this whole idea of Lordship, because those are the people who accepted Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord. Those are the people who said, "I don't want to go to Hell, and I want you to save me from Hell and I want you to forgive my sins, but I just don't want you to run my life."

And the old definition of a Carnal Christian was a person who believed in Jesus for salvation, but didn't let Him be Lord, and didn't let Him run his life. That's not what a Carnal Christian is. That isn't at all what Paul had in mind in 1 Corinthians 3, not at all. Let me show you what it is.

There is only two kinds of people in the world. My grandfather use to say the "saints" and the "ain’ts," that's it, Christians and Non-Christians, Believers and Unbelievers. Now listen, the Natural man is the unregenerate. The Spiritual man is the regenerate man. Read Romans 8, the Spiritual man is the regenerate. But the Spiritual man can act in a fleshly way. Anytime you disobey the Lord, you are carnal. Anytime you obey the Lord, you are Spiritual. Anytime you do what you ought not to do, you are carnal. That means fleshly, you're operating off the principle of sin. Anytime you do what the Lord wants you to do, you honor the Word.

So carnality is not a permanent state of Christians who have not given Christ Lordship. Carnality is simply a momentary experience of the Believer who is disobedient to God. So it is not a state, it is simply a kind of behavior. And all Christians at any given moment, right now, this moment here, are either Carnal or Spiritual, depending on whether you're functioning in the Spirit or in the flesh. If you are sitting there and the Spirit of God is teaching you, and you are enjoying what's happening, then the Spirit of God is at work, you're a Spiritual person.

If you're sitting there saying, "I don't like what he is saying, I don't buy any of this stuff. I reject all this stuff. This stuff isn't true." And you have hostility in your heart, and you may be dealing with sin, and you don't like what I said, I don't know. Your flesh is reacting, that's Carnality.

(John MacArthur)
Posted by Bloodbought (Member # 4365) on :
There is such a thing as a carnal Christian who is living in a state of vexation of spirit, not having the assurance of salvation and not enjoying the blessing of God. But there is a remedy, and it is found in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The fruit of the Spirit is listed in three groups of three virtues, which are as follows.

1 Love, joy, peace.
2 Longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.
3 Faith, meekness, temperance.

The first three virtues, Love, joy and peace, are a state imparted by the Spirit for praise and worship to God.

The next three virtues Longsuffering, gentleness and goodness, are a state imparted by the Spirit for reaching out to others in love.

The last three, Faith, meekness and temperance, are a state of conduct imparted by the Spirit to guide the believer in Holy living.

Note that this is the fruit of the Spirit singular, not fruits plural. They come as a package, and you can’t have one without the other. They are graces that are inseparable. You can’t have joy without love and you can’t have meekness without faith. The first of these virtues is love and the remaining virtues flow from love. This is (agapē) love, which is the highest form of love. It is the love that God has for His people. These virtues of the fruit of the Spirit are not always found in all believers, but they are never found in unbelievers. Therefore, when we see these virtues in a person, we know that they are a born-again believer. They love God and they love their neighbour. When we do not see these virtues in one who professes to be a believer, they do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, and we can’t tell whether they are a carnal Christian or a pretender like Judas. If a true born-again believer is living in carnality, they will not remain there for very long, before the Spirit will convict them by the word to bring them to repentance, but if they refuse to repent, they grieve the Spirit and will suffer consequences.

But some might say, didn’t we repent and receive the Holy Spirit when we believed? The answer is yes, but there is a difference in living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit. There is a difference in trusting God for salvation through Christ and trusting Him to lead us by His Spirit. It is not the case that we trust Christ for salvation and then keep ourselves saved by good works as some contend. It would be a work of the flesh to trust in our own efforts. If one is a carnal Christian, the Spirit is not leading them and they will have no reward, but they will be saved so as by fire. There will be no works of the flesh that will survive the fire. Only the work of the Spirit will be rewarded. The fruit of the Spirit can be the possession of every believer who desires to have it if they ask in faith, that is, if they ask in the same confidence and expectancy that they believed in Christ to save them. God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, much more than we know how to give good gifts to our children. All believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, but there is the need for the infilling of the Holy Spirit on a daily bases to be able to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our daily walk. Without fruit bearing the branch is cut off and cast into the fire. For the true believer, this does not mean hell, but it does mean loss of reward, their works will be burnt up, but they themselves will be saved. So to have treasure in heaven we must have the infilling of the Spirit to produce the work of the Spirit, and the work of the spirit will be rewarded with praise and recognition beyond our imagination.

How then can we demonstrate these virtues of the fruit of the Spirit to prevent us from being carnal? We can’t do it ourselves, because as soon as we make an effort, we discover that our sinful nature will be in opposition, so that we cannot do the things that we would. The Christian should have a changed life, but we need to see where the power of change comes from. It’s a gift; a promise from God and worldly knowledge can distort our perception of where our power comes from. The fruit of the Spirit is not a set of rules and regulations that we observe. Rather, it is a gift of the Spirit that we receive in the same way that we received the gift of salvation, namely by faith. Not faith in ourselves to be good enough to be able to use the fruit of the Spirit, but faith in Christ and repentance toward God. We want to bear good fruit and to do that we need to let Jesus be in control. While we are in this earthly tabernacle we are in continual need of cleansing. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The blood cleanses and keeps on cleansing, but there is also a need for the daily infilling of the Spirit. It is, as it were, the full armour of God to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

To be filled with the Spirit we must be doers of the word and not hearers only. When we are doers of the word we will mortify the deeds of the flesh. If our bibles are sitting on the shelf collecting dust and we are not interested in bible teaching, we will not be filled with the Spirit. We need to trust Christ and His word and ask for understanding. The Spirit will guide us into all truth. Sanctification is as much by faith as salvation. By drinking in the word in obedience and faith, it will lead us in holy living. Many so-called believers are living in disobedience these days. This is obvious with some, because they don’t subscribe to the use of all three symbols in public worship that represent the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and therefore demonstrate publicly that they are not filled with the Spirit, nor can they while they are in a state of rebellion. Faith and obedience is key. Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. In other words, do not be intoxicated by fleshly desires that lead to pride and rebellion against God, but be filled with spiritual desires that lead to Love, joy, peace, Longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, Faith, meekness and temperance.

There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. No one would make laws against anyone who is exercised by these nine virtues. It may seem an impossible task to live up to Gods high standard, but it is not up to us to do anything to earn favour with God. The infilling of the Spirit is divinely acquired by faith in the Lord to lead us and make us spiritually productive. Christ taught His disciples to pray “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is very important because if we are not tempted to sin and we are delivered from evil, we can live a holy life in the power of the Spirit. When a believer is in possession of the nine virtues of the fruit of the Spirit they are not under the law, but under grace and they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh or live a carnal life. If we have a relationship with Christ, we abide in Him by faith to lead us, and He in us to do His will. If our relationship with Christ becomes weak and we fail to depend on Him by faith, we grieve the Spirit and become unfruitful and a branch that is a castaway.

The fruit of the Spirit follows from Love for God and Love for neighbour.

Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

God bless.

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