What is a carnal Christian?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Eced7a1f c81d 42f4 95ea 9d5719dce241 Singapore Moses Messenger of God, CEO in IT industry, Astronaut, Scientist
✿ Paul prevented from speaking to the Corinthians as unto spiritual people (1 Cor. 1-3) because they were still carnal, still babes in Christ meaning their inner-man (soul + spirit) is not grown. They are not mature enough to discuss spiritual things.

✿ Greek: sarkinos (G4560), is used to refer carnal meaning fleshly; natural; human (Rom. 7:14; 15:27; 1Cor. 3:1-4; 9:11; 2Cor. 10:4; Heb. 7:16). Here it means the full depravity of fallen man, sold as a slave and under the control of animal appetites and the forces of evil spirits.

✿ The term babes in Christ is used to describe the beginning stage of Christian living and that of living more in the natural than in the spiritual life. Bible teaches says it is a newborn Christian experience. Greek: teknia (G5040), infants; newborn (1 Jn 2:12 It is also used of Greek: nepios (G3516), an infant who cannot yet speak and who knows nothing of sin (the verb nepiazo (G3515) is translated "be ye children" in 1 Cor 14:20. Bible consider them as they are not grown at all. They are still unweaned babes (1 Cor 3:2; Pet. 2:2). Milk-feeding was a metaphor used by many writers, both sacred and profane, to express the first principles of religion and science. They applied sucking to learning; infant to every beginner; and meat to those who had learned the first principles of truth

✿ Greek: sarkinos (G4560), Rom. 7:14. Here it is the natural man acting in contrast to the spiritual man--living in the babyhood of Christian faith. Paul classes envying, strife, and divisions over preachers as carnality (1Cor. 3:3-4). It is perfectly natural and sinless carnality to have preference in preachers; but when it gets to the point of envying, strife, and division it becomes sinful carnality. All carnality is not sinful. It is only natural to have preferences, to eat food, to sleep, and do many other normal things which in their moderation do not break the law of God. They become sinful carnality when carried to the point of breaking the law of God (1Jn. 3:4).

✿ New believers are babies just born into the Kingdom of God. In our enthusiasm we must not push them into our perfection moulds. Neonatal deaths abound in Churches because of the impatience of pastors and preachers. People must be given time to grow. The only condition for water baptism is a sincere faith in the heart (Acts 8:36,37). Any addition is not Scriptural. There are no "seven" steps to salvation. There is only one! (Acts 16:30,31). See how God teaches us: "Line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" (Isa 28:13). He treats us like those "just weaned from mother’s milk" (v 9). 

✿ So much of fruit of evangelistic labour is lost because of insufficient follow-up. Everyone wants to be a planter like Paul, but very few opt to become a waterman like Apollos. Watering is to be done patiently and consistently (1 Cor 3:6; Js 5:6). The Bible is both "milk" and "meat." For beginners it is milk, and for the grown-ups and the mature it is meat (Heb 5:12-14). 

We cannot feed the meat to the babies because they cannot digest. Similarly the born again Christians cannot digest the in-depth sound doctrines. Chewing of meat takes longer time than drinking milk. As we grow in our Christian life, we must allot more and more time for Bible meditation.

April 23 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Can a true Christian be carnal? In answering this question, let's first define the term "carnal." The word "carnal" is translated from the Greek word sarkikos, which literally means "fleshly." This...

July 01 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
When Christ died for the sins of he whole world, He did it and gives eternal life with faith only being the requirement of salvation by grace. John 6:40 

He gave us an example of carnal believers in the parable of the sower. Two of them received the free gift of salvation by grace, but the cares of this world and other things came in and they never grew. But, they were still saved but with a loss of rewards they could have had for eternity.

We have to always remember that salvation it self is a free gift from God. Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him who justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. The thief on the cross did nothing, but believe Jesus was who He said He was and was saved in that instant. We are saved the same way. Salvation is a free gift that we did nothing for so we have nothing to boast in. Ephesians 2:8-9 No one can earn salvation, and no one can lose salvation. We are not saved by good works, and we can not lose it by bad works.

But after we are saved, we should do good works for rewards in heaven. And if we go off and live in sin long enough, God will chasten us, and may even take our life early, but we still can not lose eternal life. First Corinthians 5:5

Carnal Christians may not even remember when or if they ever believed. Second Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, He abideth faithful, He can not deny Himself. His Holy Spirit who seals a believer when they believe. 

A child may have believed John 3:16 and was sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) but never remember it. How we live and what we do has nothing to do with salvation which is a free gift from God when we believe.

If how we lived and what we do, our works, had anything to do with salvation by grace, then we would be our own savior, and Jesus died in vain. James was not preaching works salvation, or that works have anything to do with salvation.

We can not add one thing to what Jesus has done or salvation is not a free gift and a perverted salvation. 

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, and not by the deeds of the law. We are saved an given eternal life when we believe Jesus paid our sin debt in full and we can never be condemned again. John 3:18 How we live after that has nothing to do with salvation, but chastening of the Lord and rewards in heaven.

December 05 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jim Dubé Former pastor
Excellent responses - please allow me to add these scriptures:

Paul clarified the Corinthian carnality with this statement:

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ...you are yet only able to receive milk and are not able to receive (strong nourishment from me) for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like ordinary people? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal?" 1Co 3:2b-4

Author of Hebrews states this:

"For though by this time you should be teaching others, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for his is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are mature, that is, those who be reason of use have their senses exercise to discern between good and evil." Hb 5:12-14

Paul to King Agrippa:
"...that they should repent, turn to God, and prove their repentance by their changed behavior." Acts 26:20b

James to the scattered Jerusalem Church:

"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that wage war within you? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet you do not have because you not ask. You (then) ask and do not receive because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your own lusts." Js 4:1-3

John to the Church:

"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does no know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him." 1Jo 2:9-11

Let me close out my thoughts with this quote from the author, A.W. Pink:

"The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. (They announce) a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness."

December 03 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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