In today’s text (1Corinthians 3:1-9) we will examine three different conditions of human reality, Natural, Spiritual, Carnal. To be a natural person simply means to be born naturally as a descendant of Adam. This is a fallen condition, separated from the life of God and the benefits of God’s kingdom. To be a spiritual person simply means that you have been born again of a new nature, no longer a slave to the fallen nature but now possessing the nature of Christ (2Corinthians 5:17). To be a carnal person is to have the primary focus and priorities of your life fixed on the flesh, its passions, drives and desires. It means to be dominated by the materialistic world. All a natural man can be is carnal. A spiritual man has a choice.
Some have believed and taught that there is no such thing as a carnal Christian. They would argue that if you are born again, you are now spiritual and not carnal. Though I understand what they are trying to say, I disagree because of today’s text. Paul is writing to born again Christians who are carnal. There are many descriptions in the New Testament of what it looks like to be a carnal Christian (Ephesians 4:22-5:16, Colossians 3:5-4:1).
Another clear sign of a carnal Christian is found in 1Corinthians 3:3-4. Today we would simply call this denominational pride. But God calls it sin and carnality. It often shows itself in hyper intellectualism or theological arrogance. But God calls it sin and commands us to repent. Is there carnality in your life? Which category best describes you? Natural? Spiritual? or Carnal? If you are a “natural” born person you need to be born again. If you are spiritual, are you walking in the Spirit? If you are carnal, are you willing to see your situation as sin, repent, confess your sin and turn to God?
“…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
1 Corinthians 3:3
Be a doer of God’s word and grow up spiritually,