What is carnality? According to the dictionary, it means to have the nature and characteristics of the flesh (or more simply, it means “fleshly”). Sometimes it refers to the whole material part of man (1 Corinthians 15:39; Hebrews 5:7), and based on this meaning, carnal … More
Up to this point, Paul has been talking about two kinds of people in the world: those who are natural (unsaved) and those who are spiritual (saved). Now he says there are two kinds of saved people: those who are mature and those who are immature, which he calls carnal (vv. 1-4). The Corinthian Christians, who should be spiritual, were carnal and because of this, they were not able to understand the things of God. The fact that there were among them people who were filled with envying, strife and divisions was proof that they were carnal. Paul referred to them as “brethren” and babes in Christ (v.1). They were truly saved but still allowing the old nature to control them.
It may be difficult to determine a believer’s spiritual maturity, unless you discover what kind of “diet” he enjoys. The “babe in Christ” lives on “Bible stories” and not Bible doctrines. If he is not hungry for the Word of God, he is either spiritually dead (not saved) or he is spiritually sick (carnal). The church is pictured as a field that ought to bear fruit (vv. 5-9). The task of the ministry is the sowing of the seed, the cultivating of the soil, the watering of the plants and the harvesting of the fruit. While men can be used to plant and cultivate things, only God can make things grow.
Carnal Christians are controlled by their own desires, while mature believers are in tune with God’s desires. The question for me to ask myself is, how much influence do my desires have on my life?
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.
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I Corinthians 1:1-9Greetings and Thanksgiving
I Corinthians 1:10-17Divisions in the Church
I Corinthians 1:18-25The Message of the Cross
I Corinthians 1:26-31Glory Only in the Lord
I Corinthians 2:1-5Sharing the Gospel
I Corinthians 2:6-9How to Have Spiritual Wisdom
I Corinthians 2:10-16Bible Doctrine Steers the Spiritual Ship
I Corinthians 3:1-9The Diet of a Growing Christian
I Corinthians 3:10-15The Foundation of a Christian Life
I Corinthians 3:16-23Avoid Worldly Wisdom
I Corinthians 4:1-5Whose opinion really matters?
I Corinthians 4:6-13God is looking for genuine humility
I Corinthians 4:14-21Discipline in Love
I Corinthians 5:1-13Immorality Must Be judged
I Corinthians 6:1-11Don’t Sue the Brethren
I Corinthians 6:12-20Stay Sexually Pure