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Carnal Mind Verses Spiritual Mind

Updated on June 13, 2018
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Betty has been studying the Bible for over 17 years. She has been sharing her personal studies since 2005


Carnal Vs. Spirital
Carnal Vs. Spirital | Source

Carnal mind defined

In order to examine a specific subject, it's best to have the subject defined clearly. One example of a verse that uses the words, "carnal mind,' comes from the book of Romans.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:7

Strong's Concordance defines the word "carnal," from the exact verse above as:

Heb Strong: H1320H3894H7607

    1. 1) flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts
    1. 2) the body
    1. 2a) the body of a man
    1. 2b) used of natural or physical origin, generation or relationship
    1. 2b1) born of natural generation
    1. 2c) the sensuous nature of man, "the animal nature"
    1. 2c1) without any suggestion of depravity
    1. 2c2) the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin
    1. 2c3) the physical nature of man as subject to suffering
    1. 3) a living creature (because possessed of a body of flesh) whether man or beast
    1. 4) the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God

Each of the definitions above give a very clear pictures of what the word "carnal," means.

More about the carnal mind

Paul wrote about the circumcision that is not a natural circumcision, but a circumcision of the heart.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8

Can Christians be carnally minded?

Paul answered this question when he asked a church of believers, the Corinth's, this:

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Corinthians 3:3

In the very same passage Paul took this beyond the carnality involved with "envy and strife. He continued by saying:

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:4

Paul most certainly would use this same response in dealing with many of the churches today. While many go into strife based on denominational differences, and say, "I am Catholic, or I am Baptist," they are associating themselves more with the denominational teachings than they are with Christ, who died for us. Ministers do plant, and they also water, but in the end it is always God who gives the increase. Just as the Apostle Paul said.

Were there several denominations when Paul built the churches?

The clear and biblical answer is, no.

All of the original churches were taught the same things. There were different churches but the exact same doctrine was taught in all of them.

Maturing in Christ

Growing and maturing
Growing and maturing | Source

Paul speaks about his own walk and maturing in Christ

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:8-10

In this passage, Paul began by speaking about the, "excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus," and being found in Him not having his own righteousness, the excellency gained through faith in Him. Paul continues by saying:

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:11

The Apostle Paul did not say that he had won the race until the time of his death when he said this:

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-0

Once the Apostle Paul began pressing into a living relationship in Christ Jesus, he continued, just as Jesus instructed all of us to do, when He said, "If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 | Source

How to walk in the light

We know that it is impossible for a carnal mind to be subject to the laws of God, it simply cannot happen. But God sent His only son to make a way so that we could be in direct fellowship with God in Christ Jesus.

Nicodemus came to Jesus one night to talk with Him, and they discussed this very subject.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:3-6

Nicodemus did not comprehend what Jesus was saying, and Jesus questioned him, "You are a teacher over Israel and you don't know these things?" After Jesus spoke in more detail on the subject, he concluded his conversation by saying,

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? John 3:12

There is truly a difference between saying, "I believe," and actually believing God's word and truth.

There is a call that has been going out into all the world since the moment Jesus said:

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

This unity in Christ is the very reason that a person must be born again. We can't know the things that God has for us without Christ, which is the very reason we are instructed to abide in Him. Jesus called us "disciples," if we continue in His word,' after we have accepted Him into our hearts and lives.

The promise that Jesus gave to each of us is:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Seeking through prayerful study

"Study to show yourself approved, a workman who shall not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
"Study to show yourself approved, a workman who shall not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." | Source

Seeking the truth in Christ Jesus

Before we can even begin to see the truth in Jesus as we prayerfully study His word, we must accept Him and believe with all hearts that He is our Lord and savior.

This is when the maturing begins, this is the start of a life that is dedicated to living, abiding, and walking in Christ. We must grow and mature. How can a person even begin to walk in God's truth if he or she doesn't understand it? We are so blessed to have the promise that if we seek, we will find, and if we knock, the door will be opened, if we are in Christ Jesus.

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1 Peter 2:1-2

The Apostle Paul told the Galatians who the real teacher is, and there is no replacement for this true and living instruction that we have in Christ.

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: Ephesians 4:21


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