Summary: What is a carnal Christian? The word “carnal” is translated from the Greek word sarkikos, which means fleshly.” Here in the text, Paul is addressing the Corinthian church and he describes them as being carnal minded or having a fleshly yearnings.
“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”
What is a carnal Christian? The word “carnal” is translated from the Greek word sarkikos, which means fleshly.” Here in the text, Paul is addressing the Corinthian church and he describes them as being carnal minded or having a fleshly yearnings. The truth is, a Christian can be carnal but he or she should not live their entire life in carnality. Of all the churches founded by the Apostle Paul, the church at Corinth just had to be the absolute worst. First of all, they were new believers; imagine an entire church filled with totally new believers? Imagine a church with no seasoned saint among them to guide them with their valuable life experiences?
And then imagine a church in which almost everyone had his or her own idea about how the church should operate. This is the very reason that a church seeking a pastor should not wait too long to find one because sooner or later someone within the body will try and take control. And when this happens you can’t easily take over the leadership of the church as a new pastor, the leadership in the church will have to be rescued.
The Corinthian church made many mistakes, eventhough they were enthused about serving the Lord, and Paul found it necessary to temper down their wild enthusiasm with godly instruction. They were “babes in Christ” not yet spiritually matured; they had not grown fully in Christ. The carnal man or woman does not know Christ or the things of God the way they should, they have to be taught.
Therefore Paul found it necessary to write two letters to this church. Note: It is said that Paul actually wrote four letters, two of which were canonicalized (1st and 2nd Corinthians), one that was non-canonical and the other written to him. Be that as it may, Paul because of his love for the church at Corinth found it necessary to explain to them the difference in being spiritual as oppose to being carnal in nature.
Paul Organizes The Corinthian Church
Paul like the other churches founded by him had a deep love for the church at Corinth. In Acts 18, there is an account of how this love affair developed. On his second mission Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth, while there is Corinth he found and grew people.
Paul organized the church of Corinth, eventhough he experienced strain and rejection he pressed on with the Word of God. He made his testimony that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. There in Corinth, he gave himself entirely to the preaching and teaching of the Word. He proclaimed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, but sadly what he preached and taught was rejected. The people opposed and blasphemed the very name of Jesus Christ. –Acts 18: 5-6
However, this did not stop Paul from witnessing about salvation through Jesus Christ although he was no longer accepted in the Synagogue. This action caused Paul to turn from the Jews to the Gentiles. There were some saved Jews but the majority reached by Paul ended up being Gentiles. When a Christian witnesses to those who totally reject the Gospel, he or she is to turn away from them but continue on with the work given to them in God’s vineyard.
As a result of Paul’s continuation Acts 18: 7 - 8 declares, “Paul left the synagogue and moved into the home of Titius Justus, a man who was a worshiper of the true God. His house was next to the synagogue. Crispus was the leader of that synagogue. He and all the people living in his house believed in the Lord Jesus. Many other people in Corinth also listened to Paul. They, too, believed and were baptized.” Many came from sinful backgrounds, Corinth was a cesspool of immorality and the nightlife but yet they came. Here in our text however, we find Paul saying to the Corinthian church with great disappointment I might add, “You are still worldly (or carnal).”
You are still enjoying the sinful life. Doesn’t this remind you of America today?
A nation founded upon godly principals, even our dollar bills contain the words, “In God we trust,” did you know that there is now an effort as quiet as it’s kept to have those words yanked off of the dollar bill? Did you know that the devil is in the details when it comes to destroying the old time religion and replacing it with the “New World Order?” Carnality has all but taken over our country—we have changed from a Christian nation to a nation with Christians in it, and it seems as if it were done overnight. And just like Paul, we who are true Christians should say to the church in America today, “You are still carnal!”