Doctrine of Spirituality & Carnality

July 23, 2010

Doctrine of Spirituality & Carnality

I. Introduction & Definition
A. Spirituality is a sphere in which the believer functions under the controlling influence
(guidance, teaching, and power) of God the Holy Spirit.
B. Carnality is a sphere in which the believer volitionally functions under the controlling
influence (guidance, teaching, and power) of the Old Sin Nature.
C. These spheres are absolute, and mutually exclusive. Every believer is either spiritual or carnal
at any given moment in time.
II. Second Introduction: The Walk
A. Spirituality and carnality are both “walks” that must be volitionally chosen by every believer
every moment of every day.
1. περιπατέω #4043: to walk. fig. to conduct oneself or behave in a particular manner; to live.
Physically, walking is one of the best forms of exercise, it works more muscles than any other activity, it develops circulation, improves
breathing, supports regular elimation of waste, strengthens the heart. Thus, spiritual walking works all the spiritual skills, the “muscles”
of the spiritual life, increases circulation of doctrine in the soul, improves the application of Bible doctrine, eliminates the waste of
Human Viewpoint (HVP) in the soul as it is replaced by Divine Viewpoint (DVP) in the soul, and edifies or “strengthens” the soul
through the construction of the soul-fortress which protects and defends the soul from the outside pressure of adversity and prosperity.1
2. στοιχέω #4748: to walk in a straight line, march in step.
3. .ρθοποδέω #3716: walk straight, upright.
4. πορεύοµαι #4198: to walk, go about one’s daily activities, to live.
B. The Dative of Sphere: Walking in the day (Rom. 13:13), or walking in light (1 Jn. 1:7) st is the
antithesis of walking in darkness (1 Jn. 1:6) st .
1. Walking properly in the day is the believer’s volitional act of “putting on” the Lord Jesus Christ. By so doing,
a believer preempts the flesh before any lustful temptation can come (Rom. 13:13,14).
2. The believer can volitionally walk in either light or darkness, but it is the walk in light that imitates Christ
(1 Jn. 1:6,7) st .
C. The Dative of Means: Walking by faith (2 Cor. 5:7) nd , by means of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16,25).
D. The Accusative: The Walk according to spirit (and not flesh) (Rom. 8:4), according to love
(Rom. 14:15), and not according to the course of this world (Eph. 2:2), like mere men (1 Cor. 3:3) st .
III. Development & Application
A. The believer who walks in carnality is no more capable of learning the Word of God, and
growing in grace and knowledge than the unbeliever (1 Cor. 3:1-4) st .
1. Paul was unable to speak to the Corinthians as spiritual men (.ς πνευµατικο.ς), but was obliged to address
them as carnal men (.ς σαρκίνοις).
2. The progression from milk to solid food (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14) st requires the believer to remain in
fellowship for the purpose of learning the Word of God.
B. Within every believer are two competing desires, in opposition to one another (Gal. 5:16-26).
1. Every believer who volitionally chooses to conduct their lives under the controlling influence (guidance,
teaching, & power) of God the Holy Spirit will not submit to the controlling influence (guidance, teaching, &
power) of the Old Sin Nature (Gal. 5:16).
2. These two competing operating systems are mutually exclusive (Gal. 5:17).
Live by
3. The two competing operating systems have contrasting manifestations or fruit.
a. The expressions of the Old Sin Nature (Gal. 5:19-21).
b. The fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23).
4. Living by the Spirit is our positional sanctification (top circle), walking by the
Spirit is our experiencial sanctification (bottom circle) (Gal. 5:25). Walk by
1 “The Doctrine of Walking.” Pastor Robby Dean, Preston City Bible Church, Preston, CT.
Austin Bible Church Pastor Bob Bolender Page 1 of 2
C. Paul wrote of that inner battle and described his own struggles (Rom. 7:1-25; 8:1-8).
1. The believer in Christ walks in the newness of life—free from sin, and free from Law, which could only
condemn us in our sin (Rom. 7:1-13).
2. Mosaic Law was a spiritual (πνευµατικός #4152) standard that the human spirit could recognize, but not live
up to perfectly because of the sin dwelling within (. ο.κο.σα .ν .µο. .µαρτία).
3. This passage does not describe the unbeliever who is born under bondage to sin, but a believer who is sold
(πιπράσκω #4097) into bondage to sin.
a. The believer has a spirit that is willing, but also a Sin Nature (flesh) that is weak (Matt. 26:41).
b. Having volitionally submitted his will to the Old Sin Nature, the believer finds himself doing that which
his spirit knows to be wrong (Rom. 7:19).
c. The battlefield of the soul is where each believer must volitionally submit his will to the Holy Spirit, or
else he will be taken captive by the Old Sin Nature and plunged into the walk of darkness (Rom. 7:23).
d. This war will continue to be waged until we are removed from our physical bodies (Rom. 7:24).
e. Believers have the privilege and blessing to walk according to the Holy Spirit, and walk in the light for
the pleasure of God the Father (Rom. 8:1-8).
f. Believers are either operationally alive or dead, depending on which power system we volitionally
choose to operate under (Rom. 8:12-17).
D. Sin entangles the believer, and hinders them from running their race (Heb. 12:1,2).
1. Believers must lay aside every encumbrance. These circumstances and details of life are not necessarily
sinful in themselves, but they do distract us from our race.
2. Believers must lay aside sin. Failure to do so will result in the easy entanglement.
E. The carnal mind can delude the believer into a legalistic system of works which has no value
against carnal activity (Col. 2:18-23).
1. Functioning in carnality results in forfeiture of eternal reward (Col. 2:18).
2. The legalist loses sight of Christ as he misplaces the priority upon non-issues (Col. 2:19-21).
3. Such “religion” is man-made and worthless (Col. 2:22,23).
4. Rather than being an escape from carnality, it becomes a trap into more carnality (2 Pet. 2:18) nd .
F. Every believer should endeavor to be “under the influence” at all times (Eph. 5:18).
Note: this means we are to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, teaching, & empowerment.
1. This is how we walk the “walk of wisdom” (Eph. 5:15).
2. This is how we redeem the time (Eph. 5:16).
3. This is how we understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17).
4. This empowers us to edify others, give thanks to God, and be subject to one another (Eph. 5:19-21).
G. The filling of the Holy Spirit is what empowers believers to have fellowship with the Father
and with the Son, and through that fellowship, to have fellowship with one another
(1 Jn. 1:1-10) st .
1. All κοινωνία #2842 fellowship is grounded in the κοινωνία of the Father and the Son (1 Jn. 1:3) st .
2. Fellowship = walking in the light, practicing the Truth (1 Jn. 1:6,7) st .
3. Denial of the Old Sin Nature is self-deception and destructive to the believer’s faith (1 Jn. 1:8) st .
4. Since all our sins have been eternally forgiven when God established our relationship (Col. 1:14), every
confession of personal sin produces temporal forgiveness when God restores our fellowship (1 Jn. 1:9) st .