I'm afraid this is the typical "Christian" story. Now ask yourself; Is there really such thing as a "Carnal" Christian? There are two kinds of people in the world....the saved and the unsaved. You can't serve two masters. Let's see what John MacArthur has to say about the so called "Carnal Christian".
John, in our country right now, we have what’s called “false teaching on the carnal Christian.” In I Corinthians 3, it says, “And Brethren, I could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.” And then it goes on to say “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not able to receive it. Indeed, even now, you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.” I think a lot of people would be benefited…if you could draw a distinction between the biblical teaching on a carnal Christian or a fleshly Christian.
Well, the best thing you can do is forget the concept of Carnal Christian. Just forget that. Just wipe that one out. Take your little diagram thing that you might have seen at some point which has Natural Man, Carnal Christian, Spiritual Christian; just wipe that out if you can and look at the passage without that in your mind and realize that what he is saying is this: "I couldn’t speak to you as spiritual men, but as men of flesh.” Verse 3, “you’re still fleshly.” There’s jealously and strife among you—you’re fleshly!” And you’re walking like mere men. All he is saying is, “Look, you’re spiritual. But I can’t speak to you as spiritual because you’re sinful. See? He doesn’t say, “You’re not spiritual”; he says, “I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual men.” At any point in time in a Christian’s life, any point in time, he is either spiritual—that is, living in accord with the Spirit—or fleshy, living in accord with his flesh. But, that isn’t two types of Christian. That is one kind of Christian (there’s only one kind) who can either behave by obeying the Spirit or obeying the flesh. See?
Now, the problem with labeling people as a “Carnal Christian” is this: that came to the fore in a little booklet on the Spirit-filled life. And it had three circles in it, and this is where all this really came from. Circle number one had a throne in the middle of the circle; had a big circle and a throne, a little chair. It had an “s” on the chair, and the “s” represented “self.” Then there were little dots in the circle that represented all the elements of life, and they were all in chaos. That was the “natural man,” unredeemed, unregenerate…Right? Self is on the throne and life is chaos.
Then, circle number two had the same little throne, self was still on the throne, Christ was in the corner (if a circle has a corner) down by the edge, and life was still in chaos. So, this was the “Carnal Christian.” Self was still on the throne, Christ is in there, but not in charge. Now, that’s what I don’t believe the Bible permits.
The third circle was the “Spiritual Christian.” There was a throne, on the throne was Christ, and self was somewhere in the circle, and the life was in perfect harmony. Now, the implication of that is that you can be a natural man, unregenerate; or you can be a “Carnal Christian,” with you on the throne and Christ down here somewhere; or you can be a Spiritual Christian, with Christ on the throne and you down here somewhere, and that’s what you want to be. So you got to stop being a Carnal Christian and start being a Spiritual Christian, and the implication was, there are two kinds of Christians.
Now, that implication has been carried through this whole system. The first kind would be a believer who’s a non-disciple. The second kind would be a believer who is a disciple. The first one, according to what they’re teaching today, would be a Christian with dead faith. The second one would be a Christian with living faith. The carnal Christian would be a Christian with no fruit. The spiritual Christian would be a Christian with fruit.
The thing that you have to reject is that there are two kinds! What you really have is one circle: Christ on the throne, and chaos if you don’t obey Him, and order if you do.
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