We all have our carnal moments every once in a while and that is courtesy of being confined in a sin body. While stumbling is inevitable, carnality on the other hand is stumbling in a greater degree. It is a willful and prolonged act of living in disobedience. What is the biblical definition of being carnal exactly? This term in reality only applies to a professing believer since the natural man does what comes naturally, which is sin. According to Romans 8:5, it is when someone chooses to live according to the flesh instead of living a life yielded to the Holy Spirit.
Picture Of A Carnal Christian
Just last week as I was tending to my sunflowers, one was bent and looked to be close to being uprooted by the strong winds. I watered all of the plants first and went back to the one that needed attention. I cultivated around it and made sure the plant was going to be rooted firmly in the ground. On the afternoon of the next day, I was surprised to see the plant I tended to be completely withered. It was completely green the day before! It was quite perplexing to me since I know I took the necessary steps to ensure its survivability.
As I was going inside the sliding door, I remember saying to my husband who was sitting on the living room couch that the plant withering was something of “biblical proportion”. I don’t mean the epic kind but what I meant when I said that was it reminded me of the instance where the apostles were perplexed to find the fig tree had died the next day when Jesus cursed it (Mark 11:12-21).
I wanted all of the seeds I planted to grow. Alas, that was not so. Some grew stronger than the others while some simply withered and died. They were given the same care and attention but even then, only some survived.
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
As I dissect this passage
To be carnally minded is death… This takes me back to the days I danced to Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl.” At the time I thought I was living the life, a life immersed in sin, physically alive albeit extremely miserable, but spiritually dead. The sad thing was, I professed to be a Christian when all that was going on.
“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
In extreme cases, this death is not just spiritual but also physical, a drug overdose or contracting a death sentence by way of a sexually transmitted disease.
The carnal mind is enmity against God… This parallels to James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” This verse clearly defines what a person does exactly that sets them in a position to go against God.
Those who are carnal CANNOT please God… This to me is a clear declaration. If we stay in a prolonged state of carnality, it hinders the believer from maturing in Christ.
A very serious carnal mentality that plagues the body of Christ is Sectarianism. As I was reading Romans 8, my mind wandered off to a previous post and thought about two warring schools of thought, that of Arminianism and Calvinism. Laypeople get saved oblivious to these men’s doctrines on Soteriology and is better off staying that way. I finished off on my reading but as I was going back upstairs, I weighed the major contradictions both theologians brought to the table. The former asserted that one can lose their salvation and therefore presented to question God and His faithfulness on His promise- I give them eternal life and no one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28), while the latter asserted that God is sovereign and everything He does is justified and that includes creating people for the very purpose of executing nefarious deeds to accomplish His will, which makes God to be the author of sin, and this to them is perfectly justified (Unconditional election & Irresistible grace).
Although both of these men appear to have done their study, both have seriously gotten the character of God wrong to an egregious degree sad to say, and one of these erroneous schools of thought go as far as being touted as the “True Gospel.”
“It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are truly and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make my pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me . . . Taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.” (Spurgeon’s Sovereign Grace Sermons, Still Waters Revival Books, p. 170).
The quote above is only one of many from leading theologians both dead and alive adhering to a man’s doctrine. The danger in this is the reliance on fallible men for wisdom rather than the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised as the counselor to the believer (John 14:26). It is quite scary to label that doctrine as the true gospel when all it does is lead people away from who God truly is!
If we look at 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 and apply this to the strife between “learned” Christians, it means they have set themselves up in willful disobedience and will continue to justify the sin of Sectarianism even to the grave.
Christian, have you come to Christ apart from knowing about Arminianism and Calvinism? If so, stay that way and keep your objectivity. It is the only way you can set yourself up to be receptive to the Holy Spirit. Knowing what these men thought about God DOES NOT mature one in Christ. It only does the opposite! Jesus told His disciples to “abide in His Words” (John 8:31-32) and one can do just that by reading the Bible. I say this assuming that the Holy Spirit is in the person, since without the Holy Spirit, the spiritual truths in the bible will not make any sense (1 Corinthians 2:14).
If you have come to know Christ through Calvinism, I challenge you to think about the time you have truly encountered Jesus Christ, that pivotal moment in your life where you have surrendered all and accepted Him as your savior. If you can’t think of such a time, I am sad to be the bearer of bad news… YOU STILL NEED TO GET SAVED. Do you want to live the abundant life? Do you want victory over a life of defeat? Then go to the source, Jesus Christ.
‘”For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”‘