Earlier, we discussed what is carnal Christianity, why does it exist, and what contributes to someone being a carnal Christian?
Now, we’re going to look at how some of the consequences of carnal Christianity express themselves:
⯈ The person is not saved in this condition (Romans 8:6-8; Revelation 3:16).
⯈ God’s love — the agape love — isn’t in the person (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22); they are completely dependent on their human love; the lust of the flesh isn’t broken (Galatians 5:16).
⯈ The person hasn’t been strengthened with power through His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).
⯈ Christ doesn’t live in this person (1 John 3:24; Ephesians 3:16,17).
⯈ The person hasn’t received the power to witness for Christ (Acts 1:8).
⯈ The person acts in a human way (1 Corinthians 3:3) which can easily cause rivalries and tensions.
⯈ As a rule, it is harder for this person to accept admonition.
⯈ Their prayer life may be inadequate.
⯈ The person only has human abilities to forgive and not bear a grudge.
⯈ The person doesn’t experience a fundamental change of character (2 Corinthians 5:17).
⯈ What Jesus accomplished is only theory; it hasn’t come alive for him (Romans 8:1-4).
The carnal Christian acts at times like a natural man. Paul says: “are you not carnal and behaving like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:3). Other times his actions are like those of the spiritual person, although he lives by his own power and abilities and seems very pious.
On the other hand, the spiritual Christian experiences the fullness of God:
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21 emphasis added)
Effects of Carnal Christianity
I am sorry for the losses in my family and in the churches where I worked as a pastor as a result of my lack of the Holy Spirit. It is also true in this area that we can lead no one further than we are ourselves. We also need to realize that personal deficiencies in the Holy Spirit in an individual person, in a family and in a church adds up and multiplies.
Children and Youth
Carnal Christianity is a breeding ground for a liberal Christian life. People ignorantly try with good intentions to do what they can’t do and then search for a way out. Is this the reason we are losing so many of our youth? Have we in ignorance or for other reasons set an example for our children and young people of carnal Christianity? As a result, did they become carnal Christians and hence have to struggle with discouragement? Is this the reason why many don’t take it very seriously or don’t come to church anymore or have left the church?
Not long ago an older brother told his church: “There is a reason for the problems we have today in our own lives and in the lives of our youth: the older generation has failed to understand the working of the Holy Spirit and to be filled by Him.”1
In the book Christ’s Object Lessons we read: “Many who listen to the preaching of the word of God make it the subject of criticism at home … Often these things are spoken by parents in the hearing of their own children… Thus in the homes of professed (carnal) Christians many youth are educated to be infidels.”2
May I remind you again of the consequence of lukewarmness (an incomplete surrender to Christ): “Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels: for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.”3
However, if we live spiritually, we can show our children how to have God’s power and help. Ellen White says something really amazing: “Teach your children that it is their privilege to receive every day the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Let Christ find you His helping hand to carry out His purposes. By prayer you may gain an experience that will make your ministry for your children a perfect success.”4
We taught our sons to pray. But did we teach them to pray daily for the Holy Spirit? Or didn’t we know that ourselves? At that time my wife and I didn’t know it. I am thankful that God overlooked this time where we lacked knowledge. But as a consequence how much loss occurred?
What wonderful children spiritual parents will have when they daily commit themselves to Jesus and pray for the Holy Spirit.
Call to Action
Will you pray daily for the Holy Spirit? Will you share this call to action with others and the blessings you've received by praying daily for the Holy Spirit?
The above is an excerpt from Steps to Personal Revival.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Garrie F. Williams, Erfülltsein vom Heiligen Geist – Wie erfahren wir das? (Lüneburg 2007), S. 8
- Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1900), 45-46.
- EGW Letter 44, 1903, quoted in Adventist Bible Commentary, vol.7, p.963 on Revelation 3:15-16
- Ellen G. White, Child Guidance (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1954), 69.