You Are Yet Carnal

1Corinthians 3:1-3 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 you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? 

‘Carnal’ [Greek: sarkinos] fleshly; natural; human (3:1-4; 9:11; 2Cor. 10:4; Rom. 7:14; 15:27; Heb. 7:16). Here it is the natural man acting in contrast to the spiritual man – living in the babyhood of Christian faith. Paul classes envying, strife, and divisions over preachers as carnality (3:3-4). It is perfectly natural and sinless carnality to have a preference in teachers; but when it gets to the point of envying, strife, and division it becomes sinful carnality. All carnality is not sinful. It is only natural to have preferences, to eat food, to sleep, and do many other normal things which in their moderation do not break the law of God. They become sinful carnality when carried to the point of breaking the law of God (1Jn. 3:4).

‘Babes in Christ’ – this term is used to describe the beginning stage of Christian living and that of living more in the natural than in the spiritual life.

‘Milk’ – a figurative statement of teaching the first principles of Christianity and the more simple truths of the faith (Heb. 5:11-14; 6:1).

‘Meat’ – this is figurative of stronger gospel truths and doctrines for those who advance as Christians (Heb. 5:11-14; 6:1).

‘Envying, and strife, and divisions’ – three sources of sin: Thoughts: envying, state of the soul; words: strife, contention in words and deeds: divisions, sin in conduct. The envying led to strife and evil speaking, and that led to divisions and fixed parties.

Envyings [Greek: phthonoi] Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most base of all degrading and disgraceful passions (Gal. 5:21; Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 4:5; 1Pet. 2:1).

Strife [Greek: eritheia] Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavour to equal or payback in kind the wrongs were done to one (Gal. 5:20; Rom. 2:8; 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 1:16; 2:3; Jas. 3:14, 16).

Seditions [Greek: dichostasia] Popular disorder; causing divisions; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place. (Gal. 5:20 Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 3:3).

Who Is Wise?

James 3:13-18 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. 

One who can bridle his own tongue and is qualified to teach others are seen in the Word as a wise man. True wisdom is always accompanied with meekness and gentleness. Scholars however are sometimes proud, overbearing, and disdainful. Such men have education, but not true wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and strife in your heart – someone always seeking recognition and are quick to argue to prove your point, you don’t have true wisdom. Even if you defend religion, you are false in your profession and lie against the truth.

There are eight characteristics of false wisdom mentioned: Bitter envying, strife in the heart (v14, 16), glory in profession (v14), earthly-minded, having only this life in view, sensual, living only to satisfy the animal appetites, devilish, inspired by demons (v15), living in constant confusion and every evil work (v16).

And eight characteristics of divine wisdom mentioned: to be pure – chaste, holy and clean; peaceable (Heb. 12:14); gentle – meek, modest, and kind; easily entreated – not stubborn or obstinate, but yielding to others. To be full of mercy – always forgiving and performing acts of kindness; full of good fruits; without partiality – having no respect of persons (Jas. 2:1-10); without hypocrisy – open, honest, genuine, and true.

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace refers to those living in right-standing with God that will always abide in His peace no matter what your circumstances are (John 14:27; Php 4:7).

Be Slow to Speak/Wrath

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 

The wrath of man cannot work the righteousness that God requires. For example, no zeal of doing anything out of anger can be justified before a just God. Therefore, we have been given two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

One of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger (Psa. 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13) and we are warned that a wrathful man stirs up strife: but he that is slow to anger appease strife and that he that is slow to anger is better than the might, and he that rule his spirit than he that takes a city (Pro. 15:18; 16:32). The usage of the tongue is the one thing we are warned of the most in the Word of God and something we should all be sufficiently aware of (See Pro. 18: 7; 20-21; 1Pet. 3:10; Jam. 1:26; 3:1-12).

Works of the Flesh

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, ….. they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Gal. 5:19a … 21b

No man who commits the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 will ever inherit the kingdom of God unless he confesses and puts them out of his life.  These are called the works of the flesh and are given in contrast of the fruit of the Spirit that we receive as we are washed, sanctified and are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

These sins can be classified in four divisions, the four sins of lust: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness, Gal. 5:19 the two sins of impiety and superstition: idolatry and witchcraft, Gal. 5:20 the nine sins of temper: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings and murders, Gal. 5:20-21 and the two sins of the appetite: drunkenness and revellings. Gal. 5:21 Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Greek: moicheia (GSN-<G3430>), unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married. Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Jn. 8:3 Note the related Greek: verbs, moichao (GSN-<G3429>) Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12 and moicheuo (GSN-<G3431>). Mt. 5:27-28; 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Lk. 16:18; 18:20; Jn. 8:4; Rom. 2:22; 13:9; Jas. 2:11; Rev. 2:22
  2. Greek: porneia (GSN-<G4202>), same as adultery above besides all manner of other unlawful relations.
  3. Greek: akatharsia (GSN-<G167>), whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion Mt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Th. 2:3; 4:7; 2Pet. 2
  4. Greek: aselgeia (GSN-<G766>), licentiousness, lustfulness, unchastity, and lewdness. Translated “lasciviousness” Mk. 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4 “wantonness” Rom. 13:13; 2Pet 2:18 and “filthy”. 2Pet. 2:7 Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians, so that lasciviousness may not be committed.
  5. Greek: eidololatreia (GSN-<G1495>), image-worship. 1Cor. 10:14; Col. 3:5; 1Pet. 4:3 Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart. Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5
  6. Greek: pharmakeia (GSN-<G5331>), sorcery, practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one by means of drugs and potions of various kinds. Rev. 9:21; 18:23 Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death, or to bring good, health, love and other blessings.
  7. Greek: echthra (GSN-<G2189>), enmity Lk. 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4 and hatred. Bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone.
  8. Greek: eris (GSN-<G2054>). Rom. 1:29 Dissensions, discord, quarreling, debating; and disputes.
  9. Greek: zeloi (GSN-<G2205>), envies, jealousies; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and out do others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Translated “zeal” Jn. 2:17; Rom. 10:2; 2Cor. 7:11; 9:2; Php. 3:6; Col. 4:13 “fervent mind” 2Cor. 7:7 “envy” Acts 13:45; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 12:20; Jas. 3:14-15 “jealousy” 2Cor. 11:2 “indignation” Acts 5:17; Heb. 10:27 and “emulation”.
  10. Greek: thumos (GSN-<G2372>), “wrath” Lk. 4:28; Acts 19:28; 2Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Heb. 11:27; Rev. 12:12; 14:8,10,19; 15:1,7; 16:1; 18:3 “indignation” Rom. 2:8 and “fierceness”. Rev. 16:19; 19:15 Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger.
  11. Greek: eritheia (GSN-<G2052>), “strife” 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 2:3; Jas. 3:14,16 “contention”. Php. 1:16; Rom. 2:8 Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavor to equal or pay back in kind the wrongs done to one.
  12. Greek: dichostasia (GSN-<G1370>), “divisions” Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 3:3 “seditions, parties, and factions”. Popular disorder; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
  13. Greek: hairesis (GSN-<G139>), a choosing, hence, a sect Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22 and heresy. Acts 24:14; 1Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2Pet. 2:1
  14. Greek: phthonoi (GSN-<G5355>) Mt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 4:5; 1Pet. 2:1 Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most base of all degrading and disgraceful passions.
  15. Greek: phonoi (GSN-<G5408>) Mt. 15:18 to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred. 1Jn. 3:15
  16. Greek: methai (GSN-<G3178>) Lk. 21:34; Rom. 13:13 Drinking, living intoxicated; a slave to drink; drinking bouts.
  17. Greek: komoi (GSN-<G2970>) 1Pet. 4:3 rioting. Rom. 13:13 Lascivious and boisterous feastings, with obscene music, and other sinful activities; pleasures; carousing.

Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Cor. 6:9-11 KJV

I choose to live a life wherein I die to the self and the works of the flesh and I choose to live in the Spirit and in Truth and not to give in to worldly or fleshly lusts. I choose to serve Christ Jesus! Amen