Are there carnal Christians?

athenasius

Well-Known Member
Your post is giving me a headache for some reason... must be my allergy to Yucateco red habanero sauce. I can't ask either of those two, their impressions of Canadians are probably jaded... I've spent some time going up and down the Alaska Highway. Most of the people I've come across were probably a wee bit carnal. I got stranded in Watson Lake, Yukon once. I had been trying to get through Canada without having to get any Canadian currency. I told some church goers my predicament... I think they thought I was asking them for a little charity but I was just sharing my predicament. They became scarce real fast, but one did suggest I find an ATM. Stupid me, I hadn't considered that and fortunately I had my ATM card that I probably hadn't used in over a decade... It worked and I found myself with a pocket full of loonies. I got stranded on a Friday afternoon and it turned out there was a Canadian holiday that weekend so I had to stay until Tuesday morning before I could find someone to do a repair. Then on my way back through I got stranded in Watson Lake again. Same thing, Friday afternoon and that weekend had a Canadian holiday... The reason I needed cash when I got stranded was because western Canadians for the most part want to be paid with cash... no receipt involved. That's the only way they can avoid the high socialist taxes their oppressive govmint demands of them.
Watson lake is a pretty good snapshot of western Canada. There's a reason our currency is called the Loony!

I'd say we are a pretty mixed lot. I'm talking Christians now. Cheeky and her list from Andy Woods seems about right for Canada.
Andy Woods just shared his list with a pie graph. He listed the Categories of people as:

Unbelievers
Baby Christians
Carnal/Backslidden Christians
Spiritual Christians

I've been there in the last 3 groups at different times of my life.

Carnality is a struggle, the war on our own fleshly desires, our heart that is desperately wicked at war with our born again nature. That war is the process of Sanctification.

Salvation is instant, and permanent. Once saved always saved.

From that point on, it's a struggle against our sin nature as the work of Sanctification is lifelong. Anyone who says they are without sin is a liar according to John.

In the struggle we develop muscles, abilities to resist the enemy, new habits, we learn the Bible as we grasp hold of it as a weapon of warfare against the enemy.

The problem with judging by appearances is we don't know how far the other person has already come, what is threatening to drown them in despair, what attacks of the enemy are they under. What personality defects they struggle with.

Or what responsibilities they are juggling.

I remember one idiotic woman in the church when my kids were very little. (Before I began rewarding good behaviour with candies every 5-10 minutes)

She came up to me about 3 years later and said, Oh my you've grown so much spiritually, when you first came you were so RESTLESS! NOW there is SUCH A SPIRIT OF PEACE ON YOU! You've really grown!

Yeah, my husband stayed home, and I was taking an 18 month old and an ADHD 4.5 year old to church with ZERO help and no nursery service. The Sunday school only got going about the time our son was 6 and our daughter was 3. Church was an endurance contest every Sunday.

I was performing like an 8 armed bandit with a genuinely diagnosed ADHD 4.5 year old son and a toddler determined to forge her own way. Once I started the bribery program, me AND the kids WERE wonderfully quiet. But it had a lot more to do with Safeway's bulk candy bin and my stash thereof, then anything going on in my spirit.

Then years later when George was going to church, a different church, a different city and we went to a home fellowship, where the adults would gather and those of us with kids brought them, but they were expected to be quiet and still and absorb the jewels dropping from the leaders' every word. At the very least play quietly with the games that one of the other adults (the parents of 4) brought.

Our kids-about 9 and 12 then and the 4 kids of those up and coming leaders were so quiet off in the corner beside the room we were in. The home fellowship hostess chirped at me that they were SO GODLY! She was SO impressed. So good, so quiet. She complimented our child rearing.

What she DIDN'T know (and why we quit shortly after-- how ungodly of us!) was that THE OTHER KIDS WERE TEACHING MY KIDS TO PLAY POKER!

It's not always possible to see what's going on in someone's life so I try to avoid classifying others in the godly to carnal spectrum, figuring that I've been all over that map at different times. And appearances can be deceiving.
 

daygo

Well-Known Member
I guess we're all carnal to some degree. Is it possible for a person to get saved but then their life doesn't appear to change at all? It doesn't seem plausible, but I don't know the answer.
Once heard someone say if your born again God's love is in you , and if God's love is in you then you can't help to be productive and I tend to agree, doesn't mean we won't sin just that your whole outlook is changed how you view things.
 

daygo

Well-Known Member
Another thing one area I'm having trouble with is the sort of Christian that can steal thousands of pounds off their mother who is a Christian and also a son beak off suddenly not speak to their mother for 3yrs then suddenly with no explanation at all comes back as if nothing has happened and will not speak to the step father, baffles me completely.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
I think all Chriatians have at times, probably more often than not, been carnal.

Jack Kelley, as usual, IMO, nails it:

From our brother Jack, who now resides with Him:

“The Greek word translated “carnal” in Romans 8:7 is usually translated “flesh” in the King James and “sinful” or “sin nature” in other translations. It’s described as “the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.” The phrase is often used to describe Christians who in the opinion of others are living in a sinful manner.

All humans are prone to sin because we all have a “sin nature”. And remember, sin is not just a matter of external behavior. It also permeates our very thoughts. So all it takes are carnal thoughts to be a carnal Christian. Therefore, every Christian is a carnal Christian to some degree, and will be until the rapture, when our sin nature will be removed.

If only those people who have given up every part of their will to Christ are saved then Heaven will be a very lonely place. Surveys show that the vast majority of those who call themselves born again Christians today live lives that for the most part are indistinguishable from their unbelieving neighbors. Fortunately, our salvation is based on what we believe, not on how we behave (John 6:28-29).

God in His mercy has forgiven all of our sins and because we believe that when Jesus went to the cross He paid the penalty that was due us, He no longer counts our sins against us (Colossians 2:13-14). So the old bumper sticker is true. “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/carnal-christians/

I agree with Jack. I think if we are all truthful, we will admit that at the end of the day and we are saying our prayers before going to bed, that we will find ourselves every day apologizing to God for committing the same sins every day. It can be anger, lust, lying, etc. We all do the same sins everyday. If someone says they don't, then the truth is not in them.

The Apostle said he was chief among the sinners. That he tried to do what was right, but failed. We are all like that. Thankfully, God's Word says that if we will confess our sins, that He will forgive us. God's Word says that His mercies are new everyday. :thumbup

We are saved by what we believe, not how we behave. The Bible tell us that there is not one that is good.

I think Jesus said that He came so that we would be free. Free from the sin debt and free from being held hostage by sin. JMHO.
 

Batfan7

Well-Known Member
The principle of eternal rewards, based on our deeds and faithfulness is a great example of how Christians can be carnal or spiritual, I think. The carnal Christan has deeds that are burned up, worthless, but they themselves are saved.

God doesn't kick kids out of the family for sin, even habitual, chronic sin. Because it's not our actions that bring us into His family, but faith.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
Another thing one area I'm having trouble with is the sort of Christian that can steal thousands of pounds off their mother who is a Christian and also a son beak off suddenly not speak to their mother for 3yrs then suddenly with no explanation at all comes back as if nothing has happened and will not speak to the step father, baffles me completely.
That brings in the other possibility. The person who masquerades as a Christian, who knowingly or not, has never actually been saved. They know the right words. They say all the right things, but the fruit of their lives is consistently different from a healthy Christian.

They might be saved. But consistently ignoring their conscience and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That's possible. A seared conscience, that has been ignored so long it's become like numb scar tissue.

Or they simply ARE NOT SAVED AT ALL. They may sit in a pew on Sunday, thinking good works will save them, saying all the correct Christian words like "born again" or "believing in Jesus" all while never ever actually been saved.

Tares and wheat grow together in the same field apparently, and they look quite similar until they mature. At least so I've been told by preachers speaking on the subject.

Not everyone who says Lord, Lord is saved, not every stalk in the wheat field is wheat.

Many a person claims to be a Christian but the Lord knows the heart. The very same passage that Jesus begins by saying Judge not that ye be not judged also says Ye shall know them by their fruits.

It's perilous for us to ignore the fruit coming out of a person's life when it's consistently bad, and think that he or she is saved but just not walking in their salvation.

They may not be saved at all. And unsaved people might have wonderful "works" and fruits to point to, but still be unsaved. The one who claims to be a Christian but has no good fruit to show is likely not a sheep, but a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Here are the bits in Matthew 7 where Jesus is teaching on these things.

Matthew 7: 1-5
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

This starts out with judging between the brethren but goes on to be quite different when it comes to discerning wolves among the flock that appear like sheep.


Matthew 7 15-23
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

And Matthew 13:24-30
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
They may not be saved at all. And unsaved people might have wonderful "works" and fruits to point to, but still be unsaved. The one who claims to be a Christian but has no good fruit to show is likely not a sheep, but a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Or, they are out of fellowship with Him for unconfessed sin, but still His, OSAS.

I think its a fine line to cross when we try and judge salvation based on the fruit we see from others, especially considering we only see them on a limited basis.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
Or, they are out of fellowship with Him for unconfessed sin, but still His, OSAS.

I think its a fine line to cross when we try and judge salvation based on the fruit we see from others, especially considering we only see them on a limited basis.
A judgement on fellowship would probably be needed. I forget where it says and I'm too tired to find the verse. I know we're told to avoid the unrepentant brother/sister in Christ.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
Or, they are out of fellowship with Him for unconfessed sin, but still His, OSAS.

I think its a fine line to cross when we try and judge salvation based on the fruit we see from others, especially considering we only see them on a limited basis.
I agree, but to answer daygo's question, there does seem to be a certain amount of up close knowledge being implied there and some pretty bad behaviour. While we can't judge salvation, we can and do judge fruit.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
And that brings up the idea of being ready to question when we see a lot of bad fruit in someone's life.

We aren't judging their salvation, simply judging the fruits-- the behaviour and calling them to account.

Do we do them any favours when we don't challenge them to explain how they see salvation, what their testimony is?

If we see consistently bad fruit and we have an opportunity to question them, we may shock a brother or sister back into a more godly walk (we don't change them from being saved, they always were, but we might just get them back on track for rewards).

If we question them and find out their idea of salvation is good works done sporadically to balance out the bad, then we have an opportunity to explain the gospel and perhaps help them get saved. (we don't change them from being saved, they were never saved in the first place, we simply brought that to light and allow them to understand more about what salvation is, leaving that process between them and God)

It is the compassion and mercy and grace of God to try to save those ones pulling them out of the fire.

Jude speaks of this in his epistle- v 17-25
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
 

lamonte

Well-Known Member
The Parable of the Sower

Luk 8:5
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

Luk 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

I feel the good ground represented true believers. They not only received the word, but the Word will bring forth fruit. I am not saying they must be perfect, but the goodness of God will lead them to repentance. Rom 2:4

If you walk like a duck if you look like a duck if you quack like a duck you’re probably are a duck.
 

lamonte

Well-Known Member
The Lord Jesus made stringent demands on those who would be His disciples—demands that are all but overlooked in this day of luxury living. Too often we look upon Christianity as an escape from hell and a guarantee of heaven. Beyond that, we feel that we have every right to enjoy the best that this life has to offer. We know that there are those strong verses on discipleship in the Bible, but we have difficulty reconciling them with our ideas of what Christianity should be.

We can accept the fact that soldiers give their lives for patriotic reasons. We do not think it strange that Communists give their lives for political reasons. But that “blood, sweat and tears” should characterize the life of a follower of Christ somehow seems remote and hard to grasp.

And yet the words of the Lord Jesus are clear enough. There is scarcely any room for misunderstanding if we accept them at their face value. Here are the terms of discipleship as laid down by the Savior of the world:

1. A supreme love for Jesus Christ. “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

2. A denial of self. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24).

3. A deliberate choosing of the cross. “If any man come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross…” (Matt 16:24).

4. A life spent in following Christ. “If any man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt 16:24).

5. A fervent love for all who belong to Christ. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

—William MacDonald
 

JoyJoyJoy

I Shall Not Be Moved
we see consistently bad fruit and we have an opportunity to question them, we may shock a brother or sister back into a more godly walk (we don't change them from being saved, they always were, but we might just get them back on track for rewards).

A similiar thing happened to me when I was living a carnal lifestyle. It made me mad as fire for my lifestyle and Christian status to be questioned. But the sister that did it was RIGHT and I was living in sin and in reality, knew that I was in the WRONG.

Correction and truth hurts. But I personally needed it.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
And that brings up the idea of being ready to question when we see a lot of bad fruit in someone's life.

We aren't judging their salvation, simply judging the fruits-- the behaviour and calling them to account.

Do we do them any favours when we don't challenge them to explain how they see salvation, what their testimony is?

If we see consistently bad fruit and we have an opportunity to question them, we may shock a brother or sister back into a more godly walk (we don't change them from being saved, they always were, but we might just get them back on track for rewards).

If we question them and find out their idea of salvation is good works done sporadically to balance out the bad, then we have an opportunity to explain the gospel and perhaps help them get saved. (we don't change them from being saved, they were never saved in the first place, we simply brought that to light and allow them to understand more about what salvation is, leaving that process between them and God)

It is the compassion and mercy and grace of God to try to save those ones pulling them out of the fire.

Jude speaks of this in his epistle- v 17-25
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
That's true! I don't just take people's statements of being saved as truthful. I've met way too many "Christians" that claim salvation but show zero fruit and at further inspection their lack of testimony finds them out. It's always that their goodness is getting them to heaven.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Inspecting others for “good fruits” has been mentioned, so here is some good info from one of my favorites, Jack Kelley.

Question: both Mattew and Luke talk about “Judge not and you will not be judged” but we are to inspect for good fruit, right? I have a sister that I try to witness to but she makes me feel guilty because of this. She is a great person but used to be part of a church that thinks everyone is going to heaven.

Answer: The admonition to avoid judging people is clear. Both Matt. 7:1-2 and Luke 6:37 warn that those who insist upon doing so risk having their lives judged by the same standard they use in judging the lives of others. In 1 Cor. 4:5 Paul said to leave the judging to the Lord who alone knows our hidden motives. It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not, and whose works are good and whose are not. Only the Lord can determine that.

In Matt. 7:20 the idea of inspecting for good fruit is given in the context of evaluating false teachers and was not meant as a general principle. If it was the Lord would have been contradicting what He said in the passages I cited above. He was saying that false teaching can not produce true believers.

This doesn’t mean no true believers can emerge from a church that teaches false doctrine. It means the false doctrine itself can not produce true believers. Many have become believers in places that teach false doctrine, but it’s because they decided to learn what the Bible says for themselves instead of taking someone else’s word for it.

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/fruit-inspectors/
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
Follow up from Jack

Question: In your article entitled Fruit Inspectors you stated that “It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not…” Is it safe to assume that we do not know if Hitler was saved or if the mass murderers of Islamic terrorism are saved? You get my point. We are commanded to exercise righteous judgment which must be based on conclusive evidence. We may not judge on the basis of appearance, personal opinions or unsubstantiated suspicions.

Answer: Here are the Lord’s clearest statements on judgment.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1-2).

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).
To these Paul added,
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts (1 Cor. 4:5).

These passages are not conditioned by context but are general admonitions. We don’t know what happens in the hearts of evil men, especially in the last moments of their life, and using such extreme examples to justify behavior the Bible warns against is really not a good argument.

Where are we commanded to exercise righteous judgment against others? There is no one who is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Our righteousness is imputed to us by faith (Romans 3:22) which means it doesn’t qualify us to act as judges of others. The Bible is clear in reminding us that we have enough to worry about in our own behavior without judging the behavior of others (Matt. 7:3-5).

But I wasn’t talking about observable behavior in my answer. I was talking about the condition of a person’s heart. It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not, because it involves looking into a person’s heart. That’s something only the Lord can do.
https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/fruit-inspectors-follow-up/
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
The Parable of the Sower

Luk 8:5
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

Luk 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

I feel the good ground represented true believers. They not only received the word, but the Word will bring forth fruit. I am not saying they must be perfect, but the goodness of God will lead them to repentance. Rom 2:4

If you walk like a duck if you look like a duck if you quack like a duck you’re probably are a duck.
IMO, we will all see a lot of “ducks” as described by you, in Heaven. Maybe not the whole flock, but still, more than most think possible.
 
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