There is a phrase that was coined to define a so-called believer who confesses and believes in Christ Jesus, but lives a lifestyle that does not appear to glorify God while claiming the forgiveness and acceptance of God. Some know this phrase as “the carnal Christian.” But before any of you get on that high horse and start labeling people, we need to determine if this phrase is biblical or something that man created. According to the dictionary, the word “carnal” is defined as “relating to the physical needs or strong desires of the body or the flesh in contrast to all that is spiritual.”
“For we are conscious that the law is of the spirit; but I am of the flesh, given into the power of sin. And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do. But, if I do that which I have no mind to do, I am in agreement with the law that the law is good. So it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me. For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good: I have the mind but not the power to do what is right. For the good which I have a mind to do, I do not: but the evil which I have no mind to do, that I do. But if I do what I have no mind to do, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me. So I see a law that, though I have a mind to do good, evil is present in me. In my heart I take pleasure in the law of God, but I see another law in my body, working against the law of my mind, and making me the servant of the law of sin which is in my flesh. How unhappy am I! who will make me free from the body of this death? I give praise to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So with my mind I am a servant to the law of God, but with my flesh to the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25 – BBE).
Here we have biblical evidence supporting the “carnal” part of our phrase “carnal Christian,” but can this be applied biblically to the definition of a Christian? According to the dictionary, the word “Christian” is defined as “a person who believes in Jesus Christ as his or her savior.”
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Here we have biblical evidence supporting the “Christian” part of our phrase “carnal Christian.” We trust that from these passages you can see that “a person who believes in Jesus Christ as his or her savior but is dominated by the physical needs or the strong desires of the body or the flesh in contrast to all that is spiritual” is by definition, “a carnal Christian.” And yes, we have a little experience in this area. You see, we have been that “carnal Christian.” We accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and believed it or not, we were sanctified or at least that was what we were told. We regularly attended church, was very active with our membership, and we were well versed in the Scriptures or at least we thought we were. We believed that we were saved and considered to be righteous and we were taught that nothing could take our salvation from us. And if we failed, all we had to do was to get down on our knees, ask to be forgiven, and we would be forgiven. But it was the following verse that gave us revelation into the destructive nature of the carnal Christian lifestyle.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 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, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8).
What we did not realize was those who allowed themselves to be controlled by the things of the flesh lived only to please themselves, which in itself leads to death. We did not fully understand that our carnal Christian lifestyle actually did not and never could obey or please God because our “carnal mindedness was enmity against God,” bent on only following our evil flesh nature. But thank God for his grace and mercy and for revealing the truth to us. We found that making the effort to follow after the Spirit actually led to us being controlled by the things of the Spirit. But more important was the revelation that when we were led and controlled by the Spirit, we wanted to live our life doing those things that were pleasing to God, which in itself leads to life and peace everlasting.
We pray that our inspirational message will give you a new perspective on obtaining life and peace everlasting. We pray you will be blessed, informed, and all the better for having read this. If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well. Amen.
Enjoy your blessings - KW