Anointed To Teach God's Word

Classic Christian teaching from the holy Bible

The Marks of a Carnal Christian

on September 29, 2012

The Marks of a Carnal Christian

There are two kinds of Christians clearly named and described in Scripture. It is of the utmost importance that every Christian should know which kind he is and then determine which kind he wishes to be. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 speaks of Christians as either carnal or spiritual.

“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal,

even as unto babes in Christ.”

“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”

“For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

“For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”

Which kind of Christian are you? Have you ever had your picture taken in a group? Were you eager to see it? And you quickly found the picture of one person. If the picture of that one person was good, then the whole picture was good, but, if not, then the picture was poor, and you did not care to own one. Well, we are going to have a photograph taken of the carnal Christian, and I wonder if you will see yourself in it. It will be an absolutely accurate one because it is to be taken by the Divine photographer who knows each of us through and through.

The Marks of the Carnal Christian

It is a Life of Unceasing Conflict. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:22-23). “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).

Two diverse laws warring against one another in the same personality; two forces absolutely contrary to each other, contesting for its control – this is indeed the language of conflict.

Two natures, the divine and the fleshly, are engaged in deadly warfare within the Christian. Sometimes the spiritual nature is in the ascendancy, and the believer enjoys a momentary joy, peace, and rest. But more often the fleshly nature is in control, and there is little enjoyment of spiritual blessings.l

May I illustrate this conflict which is so common? A friend told me this story of her six year old nephew James, who had the bad habit of running away from home. One day his mother told him she would have to punish him if he ran away again. The temptation to do so soon came and he yielded to it. Upon returning home his mother said, “James, didn’t you remember that I said if you ran away again I would punish you?” “Yes,” said James, “I remembered.” “Then why did you do it?” asked his mother. James replied, “It was this way, mother. As I stood there in the road thinking about it, Jesus pulled on one leg and the devil pulled on the other, and the devil pulled the harder!” The Lord Jesus pulling on one leg and satan pulling on the other is the constant experience of the Christian, but habitually yielding to the devil and giving him the control of the life is the wretched condition of the carnal Christian. Is yours a life of such unceasing wearying conflict?

It is a Life of Repeated Defeat

“For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practice: but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15).

“Romans 7 is some one’s spiritual biography. It was no doubt Paul’s. But could it not have been yours and mine as well? It is the revelation of a true desire and an honest attempt to live a holy life, but it is surcharged with the atmosphere of deadly defeat; a defeat so overpowering as to burst forth in that despairing cry for deliverance..

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

Who of us has not uttered it? We have made countless resolutions at the dawn of a new day or of a New Year regarding the things we would or would not do. But our hearts have been repeatedly heavy with the humiliating sense of failure. The things we steadfastly determined to do were left undone, and those we solemnly resolved not to do were repeatedly done. Sins both of commission and omission, like evil spirits, haunt our bedchamber and rob us even of sleep. We have been full of pride, selfishness and worry this year as we were last year. We have neglected to study the Bible and to pray, and we have had no more concern for souls today than we had yesterday.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

Ruth Paxson is another Classic Christian author who was a missionary in China for many years. She then, in her older years, began writing her in-depth Christian articles and also holding conferences around the world. We will post more of her work after we finish this article on carnal and spiritual Christians.)

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