Tuesday, August 16, 2011
(The Difference Between The Spiritual Man & The Carnal Man)
By Scott Myers
John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius have been dead for years, but they are still stirring up a hornet's nest today! Well, at least their teachings are. Since the days of these two theologians, there has been a constant debate (and much arguing) in regard to salvation and sin in the lives of Christians. Calvin at least contended rightly that salvation is by God's grace, and that there was nothing that could destroy the believer's relationship with the Lord. Once a person is saved, he is saved for all eternity! (The life one gets at faith in Jesus Christ is 'everlasting', i.e., 'never ending'!) Arminius believed that it was possible for a 'sinning' Christian to lose his salvation. WRONG! Calvin, on the other hand went to the extreme in teaching that a Christian is not accountable for his sins because they were all under the blood of Christ, and that it makes no difference how one lives. WRONG! Arminians, those who adhere to Arminius' teaching, damn Christians who sin to hell. WRONG! So ... it's easy to see how these two systems of theology have caused many Christians to ponder the question; 'Is there any difference between a God-fearing, Christ-honouring, Spirit-filled Christian and one who is carnally minded, worldly ambitious, and self-righteous?'
OK, let's move ahead to our day. There are those who have gone so far away from the Scripture as to contend that if an individual sins after faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is evidence that he has not 'really' been saved. Such contention is not true because 1 Cor. 3:12-15 says;
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
and Eph. 2:8-9 says;
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
There are many other similar passages that also teach conclusively that works do not enter into spiritual salvation and that it is possible for an individual to be spiritually saved and yet not have a single good work to his credit. (The thief on the cross for instance had no works at all. A person who trusts Jesus on their death bed also will have no good works!)
The Word of God teaches that there are two types of Christians. The Word of God also goes as far and reveals a three-fold classification of mankind: The unsaved, called the natural man, and the saved, which are divided into two groups - the spiritual and the carnal.
The NATURAL MAN ~ The CARNAL MAN ~ The SPIRITUAL MAN.
The natural man is spiritually dead and lives life apart from any influence from God. Since he is spiritually dead, he cannot hear God or accept the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is a Christian who is following Jesus and living life by faith, the carnal man, a Christian as well, but like the natural man he too is dominated by his carnal/selfish desires and does not live by faith. The carnal man IS a Christian! This truth is unequivocally set forth in 1 Cor. 3:1-4.
"Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?"
We can look back into the Old Testament for a classic example: Abraham, representative of the spiritual Christian, and Lot, representing the carnal Christian. Were it not for the statement in 2 Pet. 2:7, 8 that says;
"and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)."
we would not know by the life he lived that Lot was a saved man. He was spiritually saved, but all of his works were destroyed. (Based upon their systems of belief both Calvin and Arminian camps would have to say Lot was lost!)
One of the most poignant truths in the Word of God is that Christians must give an account unto the Lord for the deeds done in the flesh as a believer. This is a repulsive doctrine to many Christians and for many it has never even been heard of! While the gospel of the grace of God has been taught, the doctrine of rewards seems to have been hidden or at the least obscured. For instance, how many Christians believe that heaven is a reward? Many hold to this erroneous belief all the while the truth is that heaven is a gift given to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Still, God's truth must be proclaimed whether man receives it or not. 2 Cor. 5:10, shows us that ALL Christians must appear before the Lord to be 'judged' based not upon whether we were saved or not, but instead upon 'how' we lived life once we were saved.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
OUCH!!! By much that is preached and taught today it seems that this verse must not 'really' exist in Scripture ... but it does!
By direct statement, parable, type and symbol, the Holy Spirit has set forth throughout the Word from Genesis to Revelation the truth that faithful Christians will be rewarded and unfaithful Christians shall suffer loss. For instance, consider briefly the parable in Luke 19:11-27. Here our Lord shows that in the days of His absence His business has been committed into the hands of His servants. When He returns, the servants shall be called before Him to give an account of their faithfulness. In the parable one is given authority over ten cities, another is given authority over five cities, while the unfaithful one has no authority whatsoever; however, the fact remains that this unfaithful servant is a servant of the Lord and his spiritual salvation is secure, though there is no reward; no place of reigning/rulership which would give him honour and glory
Look at David. From David's experience in the wilderness reveals that many of the men associated with him, because of their faithfulness to him in his exile, were given places of honour when he established his kingdom. Many others, because of their unfaithfulness, though still in his kingdom, had no place of authority/rulership.
Notice 2 Tim. 2:12;
"If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us..."
and Matt 20: 20-23.
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
You will note in these verses that the position in the Kingdom is up to the Father and it is on the basis of works. Many unfortunately take what Paul is writing to Timothy is about is salvation. He's not! Paul is dealing with believers and rewards!
Truth: Spiritual Salvation is by grace, and rewards are given on the basis of works. There will be a time, the coming thousand-year reign of Christ, in which rewards to the faithful Christian will be manifest as well as loss to the unfaithful Christian.