- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
By Howard E. Wright
The word carnal or carnality means fleshly lust or an inherited nature that wars against God. The carnal spirit wants to live without God's moral and spiritual restraints. It does not want to be told what to do. It is self-centered. The way a person understands this subject has much to do with a person's theology. It has much to do with our understanding of God, salvation, faith, love, hope and so forth.
The Greek words are "sarx" and "sarkikos." The first word means flesh as opposed to the spirit. Sometimes the first word can mean the soft parts of our body or of animals. The context of the word will tell you whether it means an attitude or a physical part of a body. The second word means carnal (9) or fleshly (2). The Old Testament word for flesh is "basar" and has the same meaning as "sarx" in the New Testament. Our physical part is made up of flesh, blood and bones.
Our physical flesh is not sinful. Our carnal part is what is called inbred sin or original depravity. This is something that is different from our physical body. It is something that can be removed without dehumanizing us. If this was not the way it is, then Jesus would have been born in sin. The Bible tells us Jesus was born "without sin." Adam and Eve were not created with a sin nature. The Bible tells us Jesus came as a "lamb of God" to "take away the sin of the world." See John 1 for the full account.
In Psalm 51:5, David said he was conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity.
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
From the time of Adam and Eve's rebellion against God to the present, every human has been born with a sin nature. Furthermore, this sin nature is under the control of the devil.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
This has brought the wrath of God upon us. See Ephesians 5:3-6.
5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once
named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Because of the above condition the whole human race needs a Savior to deliver them. They need to quit the sin business. In Galatians 5:19-21, there is a list of the "works of the flesh." We are told if we do these things "we shall not inherit the kingdom of God." This is a nice way of saying if you do such things you will go straight to hell.
5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Besides this, we are told we "cannot serve two masters." We are unable to save ourselves from this condition. Nor can anyone else save us. Seeing we are so bound by the devil that we cannot help ourselves, we need a Savior that is powerful enough to defeat the devil. The only Savior we have is the Lord Jesus Christ. See Acts 4:12.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The books of Romans and Hebrews give the full plan of how the Lord Jesus Christ delivers us from this sin nature. In Roman 7:24 Paul asks, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He answers this question in Romans 8:2. He says, "For the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." He also tells us in Roman 6:6 that "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
In summary, the Bible teaches us that we were born in sin, (Psalm 51:5),
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
that we are "dead in trespasses and sins," (Ephesians 2:1)
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
that we are unable to save ourselves, (Romans 7:14-24)
7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 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.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
that through the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved "to the uttermost," (Hebrews 7:25)
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
so we can live "soberly, righteously and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:11-14).
2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
This sets us free from the carnal spirit and fills us with God's Holy Spirit. When this is done, we are able to love God and others without being a phony. See 1 Timothy 1:5-7.
Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and
of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
Read more articles by Howard E Wright here: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Howard_E_Wright
In the book of Hebrews, the writer brings up an interesting church problem: "For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat" (Hebrews 5:12, KJV).
First, the writer is not talking to new converts, but he is talking to Christians who have been in the faith long enough that by now they should be serving as teachers in the church.
Secondly, not only did these believers fail to grow, but also they had actually regressed spiritually. They needed to be taught AGAIN, the basic doctrines of Christianity! Though God inspired the writer to pen the above verse over 1900 years ago, the problem is just as real today.
Let me quickly share with you several reasons why our failure to grow as Christians is a problem. The first one has to do with the will of God for us. He wants us to become like His Son. God is actively working in our lives to finish the good work that He has begun in us. He has no desire to stop until we attain unto the fullness of Christ so that as Christ was in the world so shall we be.
The second reason has to do with our service to God. If we fail to grow, we limit what He can accomplish through us. Of course, there are many things He can use us to do even when we are babes in Christ, but there are many things that only mature Christians can effectively do. A case in point is the verse quoted above. This portion of the epistle was specifically aimed at those members of the local church who by virtue of their time in Christ should now be teachers. Their failure to grow, however, made that impossible.
Thirdly, in a local church where Christians fail to grow, excessive carnality can be the result. Paul the apostle wrote to the church of Corinth regarding this selfsame problem. See 1 Corinthians 3.
Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but
as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 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.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
He said the evidence of their carnality was reflected in the envying, strife and divisions among them. It is certainly true that people who are spiritually mature handle conflict in more Christlike manners than immature and carnal-minded Christians do. A pastor whose church is plagued with carnality will feel the burden of the increased disharmony.
I could on and on listing the problems with Christians failing to grow. But a more important question is, what is the solution? How do Christians who have been babes way too long stem the tide and put themselves on the road to maturity? In the book of Hebrews, two verses down from the verse I quoted above, the writer gives the answer: Hebrews 5:14.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
In other words, the key to spiritual maturity is to constantly use-or put into practice-the truths that we are exposed to.
There is no groundbreaking revelation in that verse, but we know it's right. The bottom line is that Christianity is not simply a religion, but more importantly, it is a way of life. We must live it each day. In doing so, we exercise our spiritual senses, thereby learning to discern good from evil. This dynamic is fundamental to Christian growth. Those who fail to do this will not experience significant spiritual growth.
Copyright ©2011 by Frank King. All rights reserved.
King has been preaching the gospel for 30 years. He served as a senior pastor
of churches for over twelve years. Currently, he is an author, and ministers as
an evangelist. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to regularly cross
cultural lines in his preaching. He holds a Master of Theology degree. For speaking
engagements, contact Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor- Steve Van Nattan- Blessed Quietness Journal
An example of the spiritual warfare issue of carnality, and the action needed to deal with it, is needed.
Michael Tummillo has done us a real favor in dealing with this topic as it applies to the local church and open sin. This is the single most destructive problem in Christendom. The Pope recently claimed he was not qualified to judge sodomites. What a wimp. He claims to be Alter Cristos, another Christ, but he leaves sin to run rampant and unchecked in his alleged servants. How about YOUR local church-- are the leaders looking the other way as some people live in open sin?
Many mega churches are bulging with fornicator and perverts well known to the members and the ministers. Nothing is done. Men like Joel Osteen openly tell us they do not want to talk about sin-- "We are all about love". Well, the most unloving thing a pastor can do it look the other way when sin is in the camp.
I hope this article shows us all how deadly carnality is, especially when it runs amuck without being dealt with.
In 1 Corintians 5, there was described a sinful incident regarding a young man who was having an affair with his stepmother.
Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and
such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should
have his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
While such scandalous accounts are quite common in our world today, what makes this particular incident so unique is that it was taking place among Followers of Christ within the early church.
Though today's congregations would likely choose to 'live and let live,' for love is a beautiful thing and the pair might seem SOOOO happy together and besides, some might say, "isn't it nice to see her smiling after being so unhappily married to a man who's so abusive to her all these years?"
Perhaps these Greek thinkers had analyzed and dissected the matter, rationalizing it away and choosing to turn a blind eye. Maybe they were unwilling to make waves and stir up their peaceful, joyful Love Feasts.
What was the apostle Paul's directive to the Church in Corinth? He wrote, "You must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns."
OUCH! Have you ever handed anyone over to Satan for the destruction of his/her flesh?
What does that even mean?
What does that look like?
Actually, it's quite simple. If an individual has heard the Word of God, they've been exposed to the Way of the Cross, the Kingdom teachings, yet they have obviously chosen (yes, it's a choice) to serve his/her carnal nature rather than Jesus as Lord, showing no signs of godly sorrow which leads to repentence, perhaps even pride and rebellion, it is our place - our RESPONSIBILITY - to deliver such a one over to Satan for the destruction of that carnal nature. It isn't serving anyone, not even themselves.
In all the years I've mentioned, or have heard others refer to, this verse, the typical response is something like, "Oh! That sounds terrible! I could never do that!"
Bear in mind, Paul is NOT issuing this directive in order to condemn anyone to Hell. Truth is, motivated by a heart full of love and compassion, Paul says, in essence, "Let the devil whoop up on them for awhile and, hopefully... please, God, HOPEFULLY... they will repent and serve King Jesus! No one is a lost cause! We mustn't give-up on anyone!"
It's a hard call.
I have actually prayed this prayer for a loved one, a man who has been breaking the law, negatively impacting society for decades, jeopardizing innocent bystanders, costing taxpayers money, stealing, lying, having immoral relationships that have led to pregnancies and abortions, damaging property, hurting people, etc. It was not long after he had just been sprung from jail by well-meaning but misguided loved ones (who now know better) that I felt compelled to vocally command the devil - just as God assigned Satan to Job - to pursue this fellow, a man I firmly believe could be the Darkside's worst nightmare. My simple instructions were not unlike those God gave to Satan regarding Job, "You cannot kill him."
It was not long after I gave this command that he stole $1200 from me and was later arrested for breaking into a storage unit. He's in prison now, right where he needs to be, and he acknowledges that fact.
He's my oldest son.
I once spoke with a man with a prison ministry and asked him what aspect of his ministry he enjoyed most. Without hesitation, he said, "Talking to the prisoners who have had an encounter with Jesus... THOSE are my closest friends!" One of his dearest brothers in Christ is a prisoner who used to be a hit-man for a Los Angeles gang. His murder weapon of choice was a 12-guage shotgun. Tatooed from his eyebrows upward, down and his back and covering his body, my friend described him as a gentle, sweet-spirited Christian who, incidentally, has been married 25 years, even though he will spend the rest of his life in prison. God is using him there to reach gangsters and tough guys who know his reputation.
Is there someone you know who has heard the Word but has chosen to follow after darkness rather than light? Do you know any out-of-control people who have chosen a demonic death-style rather than a godly life-style? Have you prayed on scabby knees, broken curses, shouted at the devil, cried, begged and pleaded with that loved one AND with God, anointed with oil till you're blue in the face? Most importantly, have you demonstrated unconditional love for them, exhibited toward them the unmerited favor of God's grace, extended his mercy and even His availability toward them? Make sure you have loved them and prayed for them and that you are NOT angry with them when you do this.
You must know this: to hand someone over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh is NOT giving up; it's an extension of your concern for them. Loving someone who's always in trouble is NOT having them out of jail. No, the greatest love we can have for anyone is that they would encounter the Living Christ and be forever changed SO THAT they can advance the Kingdom in their world and experience life worth living.
Even if that world is behind bars.
Paul ends Chapter 5 with these words (emphasis mine): I told you NOT to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I was NOT talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don't even eat with such people. It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, "You must remove the evil person from among you."
Pray about this, folks. Ask God for wisdom. Our failure to practice this exercise WITHIN The Church might be the very reason for our complete lack of power and influence on our communities.
Founder, The Church @ Work
Michael Tummillo is the Founder of The Church @ Work (TCAW), an international ministry whose mission is to train and equip Christians in the marketplace. He has had an online presence since 1999. During that time, his articles have been read by, re-posted, eMailed, printed and preached to millions worldwide. He has written a growing number of eBooks, has often spoken on radio and is a sought-after Guest Speaker and can be reached at email@example.com.
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