Natural or Spiritual

There isn’t anything called a carnal man, carnality or carnal mindedness is the sign of the natural man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1Co 2:14 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.

The Apostle Paul focuses the spotlight on just two categories of people: the natural and the spiritual. Every other distinction whether they be men or women, bond or free, circumcised or uncircumcised fades into insignificance.

Firstly, the spiritual man.

Man is a tripartite being, he has three parts:  the spirit (pneuma), the  soul (psyche) and the body (soma). The spiritual man is only one third of the whole man, two third of him is the soul (will, mind, emotion) and the body.  The tripartite man/woman  is the prototype of the Jewish temple, and not the other way around, that the temple is the prototype (A first or preliminary version of a thing from which other forms are developed) of the human self. The body (soma) is the outer court of the temple, the soul (psyche) is the holy place, and the  spirit (pneuma) the most holy place of the Jewish temple. The Spirit of God, preposterous as it may sound, made the inner sanctum of man, his spirit, His dwelling place. The spiritual man is forever taking counsel from God, for God and he are woven into one. His identity, his action, his ways are all  a reflection of God’s image.The spiritual man empowered by the indwelling presence of God ,before the fall, was in perfect communion with God.

Secondly, the natural man: he is carnal.

The natural man is also a lot like the spiritual man, tripartite, expect that he is a loner in his most holy place. His spirit is alone, it has no companionship with the Spirit of God. For the Spirit of God departed the human sanctum when the first Adam sinned, and man was giver over to carnality, his natural essence. The spirit zone of a man devoid of the Spirit of God is dormant, inactive.

Carnality

Carnality comes to us from the Greek “sarkikos” meaning “fleshly” which in turn comes from the word “sarx” translated “flesh” or “body” in English. All sin is carnal, related to the senses, but not everything carnal is sin; eating is carnal and so is physical intimacy, and they are both not sins when expressed in the right way. All men before they accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior are carnal and therefore natural.The natural man is carnal, fleshly or bodily because he is influenced by the information he receives through his sense organs, he is affected by what he sees, feels, smells, tastes and hears. Instead of being ruled by God, he is given into self rule, no wonder the opposite of “flesh” is “self”, of course, with a silent “h”.  The natural man is controlled by what he gets to sense, when he confronts crisis he loses control, and when he faces adversity, he faints.

There isn’t anything called a carnal man, carnality or carnal mindedness is the sign of the natural man.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Compare

1Co 2:14 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.

With

Rom 8:6-to-9: 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. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul draws parallels between the  natural man and the spiritual man, he says that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. Interestingly,  in Romans 8, Paul is making comparisons between carnal mindedness and spiritual mindedness,  he says carnal mindedness is death; but spiritual mindedness is life, and then goes on  to identify the  “carnal mind”: that the carnal mind is enmity with God for  it is not subject to the law of God. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. What Paul is essentially saying is that,  if spiritual mindedness is that thing that springs from the spiritual man; conversely, carnal mindedness springs from the natural man, for the natural man is fleshly, carnal or given into his senses. And therefore Paul says  in Romans 8, verse 8, so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but you are not in in the flesh, but in the Spirit.

But ye are not in the flesh, which means not in the natural, affected by the senses, but by the Spirit. For the spiritual man unlike the natural man who is given over to carnality, takes information about his self and his circumstances from the Word. When the Word calls him a conqueror he believes it, completely and passionately. Even when he has all the reasons to feel defeated in the flesh, he does not , because he goes by the declaration of the Spirit over his life: which is  a declaration of victory, a promise which he holds on by faith and waits for it to manifest from the spiritual into the physical. When his situation is one of “lack”, the Spirit in him proclaims “provision”, when faced with  adversity, the spiritual man sees “opportunities to conquer”, the spiritual man is constantly deleting and replacing the information he is getting from his carnal self with that information that he gets from the Spirit. The bible, in John 6:63, says that the words God speaks they are Spirit and they are  life.

Thirdly, A believer can behave carnally.

Co 3:1-to-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?

The phrase “born-again” basically means to be re-born spiritually. To be reborn with a brand new spirit which is sealed by the Holy Spirit Himself is the prerogative of those who put their faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit which seals our brand new spirit is the pledge, proof, of  our inheritance, that we are an heir of God through Christ until the redemption of the purchased possession, which is a brand new soul and and a brand new body, purchased specifically for us by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

The new birth was promised in the old testament, Eze 36:26 & 27:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The fulfillment of this promise is what one reads in Ephesians 1:13&14:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Also, Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

From the Spirit of God springs the river of life

The born-again experience is all about releasing the river of life that flows forth from the Spirit of God, resident in us, into our souls so that it could be renewed, made new.

This renewal–making new– of our soulish realm, the mind (the will and the emotions) is completely based on our willingness to allow this river to flow into our soul. The intensity of the flow is completely dependent on us, it can either be a trickle, or a mighty deluge which will not just drench us, but everybody else, including cities and nations that come in contact with us.

The christian who behaves carnally is someone who either obstructs or narrows-down this life giving flow from the Spirit. That is why Paul says I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

He ends the verse with the question: Are ye not carnal, and walk as men? The analogy Paul uses for carnality is the natural man:

Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

The Kingdom, March 23, 2017.

 

Footnotes:

When a man accepts Jesus as his savior he doesn’t do that for the sake of religion, for if he does he has missed the point entirely. When a man accepts Jesus he does so because,  for the very first time, he has walked into somebody who calls  himself: the way, the truth and the life. And that is all the stuff life is all about. Truth is life. Take for instance the reality of spiritual warfare, if you do not know the truth as to what causes the things that you encounter on a daily basis, you are in for pain and defeat. The knowledge of the truth that you are in a battle with the unseen is vital for you to see victory in areas of your life that you constantly face defeat. If you’ve found Jesus, you have found the way to the truth, infact you’ve not just found life, but eternal life.

Gal 5:17&18 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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