The Bible clearly states that there are three kinds of people in this world: the natural man, the carnal Christian and the Spirit-filled Christian. Your status with God is totally dependent upon your relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
The natural man (or woman) has not been saved (born again), and still has the same sinful human spirit he or she was born with. Here is what the Apostle Paul says about the natural man: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (First Corinthians 2:14, KJV).
When God created Adam, the Holy Spirit breathed into the body which God had formed of the earth and Adam “became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, meaning their human spirits no longer were in contact with God. They chose to be independent rather than dependent upon God.
That condition still exists when men are born into the world today. They are born spiritually dead. The Bible calls these persons natural men (and women). When people receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, God gives them a renewed spirit and the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of their spirit (Second Corinthians 5:17).
It is at that point of being born again that the formerly natural person becomes a carnal Christian. Paul says in First Corinthians 3:1-3: “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?”
These Corinthian Christians were operating in all the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, yet Paul called them carnal. The signs of their carnality were their envying, strife and divisions among them. Contrary to popular belief, speaking in tongues or exhibiting other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are not absolute signs that a person is Spirit-filled.
This was a sad state of affairs for the Corinthians in that after many years of being in Christ, they were still not able to understand the deep things of God. In fact, they could not please God because carnality is God’s enemy. God will not accept anything of the “flesh.” Here is what else Paul had to say: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8).
Many people believe that it is all right for them to go to church on Sunday and live like the devil Monday through Saturday. Many believe that they can do anything they please and it is okay. It is not uncommon to hear that people who call themselves servants of God have committed adultery, are taking drugs, are gambling and doing many things that are commonly done by people “in the world.” God’s Word is clear that these persons have made themselves God’s enemies by refusing to forsake carnality.
God reserves his best for spiritual Christians – those who choose to walk in the Spirit of God and forsake the flesh. First Corinthians 2:15-16 says: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
It is the Spirit-filled Christian who sets the body apart for God and studies the Word of God so that the mind is conformed to the will of God, as stated in Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
It is the Spirit-filled Christian who reckons the body dead to sin, as stated in Romans 6:11-12: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
The Spirit-filled Christian takes up his cross daily (Luke 9:23), dies to the flesh daily (First Corinthians 15:31) and follows Jesus, giving up his “soul” life by submitting his mind, will and emotions to the leading of the Holy Spirit through his renewed human spirit.
By so dedicating himself to the Lord, the Spirit-filled Christian is able to stand in the midst of trouble because he is submitted to the will of God, as indicated in Second Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Because the Spirit-filled Christian’s mind is on spiritual things, Satan is not able to cause the imagination to run away with this person, and rather than being self-centered, as natural men and carnal Christians are, the Spirit-filled Christian is God-centered and stable minded (James 1:8).
If you are a natural man or woman or a carnal Christian, pray this prayer with us. Say, “Lord Jesus please save me from my sins. Please cleanse me with your precious Blood. Help me reckon my flesh dead with Christ on the cross and raised with him to a new life. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to walk in the Spirit. I want to be pleasing in your sight. Thank you, Father, for restoring my relationship with you. I promise to give you the praise and the glory and to live for you from now on, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”