The Carnal Christian?

I have continued my reading in the book The Trellis and the Vine where Colin Marshall and Tony Payne emphasize Jesus’ clear call to discipleship for every believer. “At the most basic level, the Bible says that Jesus doesn’t have two classes of disciple: those who abandon their lives to his service and those who don’t. The call to discipleship is the same for all. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it (Mark 8:34-35). There are not two sorts of disciples – the inner core who really serve Jesus and his gospel, and the rest who don’t. To be a disciple is to be a slave of Christ and to confess his name openly before others: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before me, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).” There is a school of thought that teaches that there are two kinds of Christians – the spiritual and the carnal. The carnal Christian is the one who still has “the self” on the throne in place of Christ. What that means is that they want to be forgiven of their sins, but they don’t want Christ to run their life. Now, let me just say up front that every Christian is carnal in the sense that we all battle the flesh and there is still sin in our lives. Every time that we sin, we are in a state of carnality, but this is not a permanent state for the believer like it is for the unbeliever. We will fight sin until the day we reach heaven to be with the Lord, but when we live in the power of the Spirit, we are rightly to be called a Spiritual Christian. A Spiritual Christian, though they are not perfect, operates under the power of the Holy Spirit and is constantly seeking to renounce sin and live in righteousness. What I am arguing is that this is the only type of Christian there is. To accept Christ as “Savior” but not as Lord is, in fact, to reject Him. A Christian that is not a disciple is not really a Christian at all. If Christ is not in charge of your life, then your fleshly nature is and thus, the Spirit of God is not living in you. Around 20-25 years ago, there was a debate over this issue that came to be known as the Lordship Salvation controversy. There might have been a debate, but the scriptures are clear – you are either Christ’s or you are not. There is no middle ground (Revelation 3:15) because it is impossible to “accept” Christ and for Him to not be “Lord” of your life.

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