You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? -1 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV)
We all know them: card-carrying, cross-wearing Christians. But their actions and words don’t seem to show the fruit of the Spirit they profess to dwell within.
They are carnal Christians.
A carnal Christian may have, at one time, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and then strayed far from His intended path. They have hard, unteachable hearts, clinging to self and earthly desires. They are unrepentant in their ways, doing and saying whatever they please, saying that God will understand and forgive them. Selfish motives can be supported with selectively chosen bible verses.
In many ways, carnal believers are, from all appearances, no different than unbelievers–except that by publicly professing Christ, they only make it even harder for true believers who want to spread the Good News. Carnal believers make it seem to the world that accepting Christ is either a “get out of Hell free” card, or that there isn’t a God.
Note: All believers are carnal, but when true believers stumble, they are not gone for too long before the conviction of the Spirit is too much to bear, and Jesus once again reigns over all in their lives. For carnal believers, Jesus takes a back seat to the world, and to self.
The question that arises would be: is the person a carnal believer, or one who was never saved in the first place?
By accepting Jesus in your heart, He performs a transforming work in you, where you die to self and let Him command your heart, mind, and soul. And by doing so, each step you take sheds another part of you to reveal the image of Christ.
If you know of a carnal believer, pray for them to be led back to Christ. If they are an unbeliever, pray that they come to know Christ. And for ourselves, pray that our hearts listen when He calls…when He warns…and when He tells us what we need to do for His glory. For true believers, it’s all about Him!