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The Natural, The Carnal and The Spiritual Man

Pastor Corey Erman | July 8, 2020

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. (1Co. 2:14-15)

The Apostle Paul talks about two types of people that are led by their fleshly desires—the natural man and the carnal man. The natural man is the person who is not saved—his spirit is dead. God is a Spirit and the things about Him are spiritually discerned, the natural man cannot understand anything about God; because his spirit is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1).

The carnal man has experienced the new birth in Christ, but although his spirit has been made alive through his faith in Jesus, his life is dominated by the desires of the flesh. He does what he wants and is aimlessly led around by his feelings. He is caring more about what people think than being obedient to God’s will. This was the case with many of the Corinthians. It is also the way many Christians are living today. Look at what Paul said, “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1Co. 3:3). In other words, Paul was saying that these carnal Christians were immature and operating out of their emotions. Carnal Christians are easy to identify. They are usually stirring up strife or in strife; they are also discontent, easily offended, and lacking peace. They also might have been speaking in other tongues!

The spiritual man is a mature Christian who follows after the desires of the Spirit. He isn’t someone who just prays the sinner’s prayer and never feeds his spirit with the Word.  The spiritual man has a full time commitment to follow Christ and lets the Lord into every area of his life. He walks in integrity, humility, and peace—keeps his commitments and knows how to get along with others. His life displays the fruit of the Spirit and enjoys the favor of God.

The Spiritual man doesn’t live his life on a whim—impulsively following his fleshly desires. Instead he lives by discernment. What is the difference between feelings and discernment? Feelings are of the flesh—they are shallow and constantly subject to change. Discernment is a knowing in the spirit—something that comes from deep inside and is given to us by the Holy Spirit. So stop bowing down to your feelings. Exalt the Word over your feelings. OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SPEAK THE WORD. Eventually the Truth will override and change your feelings.