As I was reading a lesson on “Satan and How He Operates” that was put together by my sister Beverley Holzkamper, I noticed that all the information given fit the spirit of carnality, the energy force of the unconverted man.
I thought of Peter, when Christ said to him, “Get thee behind me satan.” Peter was encouraging Christ against his purpose, he was being an adversary. Peter was not converted, for after this time Christ told him (Luke 22:32)“…when you are converted, strengthen thy brethren.” In Luke 9:54-56, when Christ was not received by the Samaritans, his disciples said, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” The Holy Spirit had not come into them yet and they were seeing the situation through their own carnal understanding.
Carnality is animalistic, unregenerate, and unable to produce life. Satan is an opponent, an adversary, the accuser, and also called the devil. An adversary can be someone that is working against Christ, but it can also be someone working against evil. It is a force that is opposite of another force.
The Holy Spirit is Life and stimulates to life and is able to produce life. The Holy Spirit includes the expression and functions of the God Yahweh.
Christ said to those Jews which believed on him, “If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). But these Jews felt like they were already free, because they were of Abraham’s seed (John 8:37). Christ explained to them that his word had no place in their hearts and went on to say (John 8:44), “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Now this seems like pretty harsh words in the minds of those who see the devil as an entity, especially since Christ was speaking to the Jews that believed on him. These people, like all other people, were created by the Creator of the world. There was no other force capable of producing life than that of the God Yahweh for he was the creator of the “whole” world. But if we recognize the carnal mind as an adversary, a devil, a satan, then we can see why Christ brought their sins and lack of knowledge to their attention; why he said, “If you continue in my word.” As long as they were not free from ignorance, they were not of his substance; they were products of their own carnal reasoning.
James1:14-15 tells us that “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” There is no mention here of an outside entity named satan that is responsible for the condition of the carnal man. He continued, saying, “Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”
To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against the living God, it is an adversary against God: for it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please him (Rom. 8:6-8).
These believing Jews had to be born again to have the nature of the Holy Spirit. This is why Christ said to Nicodemus, in John 3:5-7, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again.” These Jews were functioning with their five senses and did not have spiritual ears to hear the Spirit. They were created but not born again of the Spirit. “Flesh” is the term used to identify the human nature, the beastly nature, the nature that is controlled by the five senses.
Carnality is an adversary of God (Yahweh), it is satan. Carnality sets on the throne (in the rulership position) of the house of those who have “not” been reborn of the Spirit. Carnality was that darkness that was upon the face of the deep that we read about in Genesis 1:2.
In 1 Cor. 3:3, Paul said, “For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men [human, mortal, worldly, temporal]?” His ministry was to not only give them the milk of the word; he wanted them to receive the meat of the word. These people did not have ears to hear the Spirit; they were not born from above, they needed a born again experience.
If we are born of the Spirit, then the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, our weapons are mighty through Christ and able to pull down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons are love, gentleness, wisdom, kindness, etc.
Carnality is an adversary to Truth. Carnality stimulates and strengthens the unconverted to support carnal ideas. Those who are controlled by their carnal minds put out great effort to support those who are like minded. Carnality is blindness. The carnal mind has never abode in the truth and cannot, because it opposes the truth. The carnal mind judges according to the five senses instead of by the Holy Spirit, which is the power of the Anointing that dwells in the converted. Carnality parades around as an angel of light. The carnal mind imagines it to be a messenger of truth, but in reality it is deceived and therefore deceives others.
2 Cor. 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan (carnality) himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Let me paraphrase this, “…such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ, and it’s no wonder because it is cause and effect. It’s the principle of carnality to think it is a messenger of truth; therefore, if you are carnal minded your actions will show it.”
In John8:34, Christ said, “Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.” Notice, it doesn’t say that one who sins is the servant of a force separate from himself and ultimately not responsible.
In Romans6:16, Paul writes, “Know ye not, that to whom (that, which, what) you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Carnality whether in the body or out of the body is a tempter to the unconverted to do those things that are wrong and forbidden. It is as a restless lion that is constantly on the move looking for someone to take power over. It centers around “self” so confident that it attacks those who are led by the Holy Spirit. It demands judgment to be made by the five senses and the beastly nature.
Carnality “is” the beastly nature. Many people are powerless to overcome their beastly nature because they do not connect that nature to themselves. Because they do not take the responsibility to overcome sin, they take no control over their actions or emotions, and they give in to their pernicious ways and bad habits. Because their minds have been so overtaken by the spirit of carnality, they do not see the need for deliverance. They know they have a Savior, but he only has the power to save them from the consequences of sin after death.
First Peter 5:7-10 instructs the believer: “Cast all your care upon him (Love, Life, Righteousness); for he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about (is occupied with), seeking whom he may devour: resist the adversary, be steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions (influences) are accomplished ‘in’ your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory (made glorious) by Christ Jesus (the Anointed Savior), after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect (repair, adjust), stablish (to turn determinedly in a different direction), strengthen, settle you (make single minded so you are not the adversary sometimes).”
Carnality is the god of this world. It is the prince of the power of the air. It is an energy force; like a magnet, it draws likeminded people to it; therefore, carnality is their god. This force is powerful enough to go out and strengthen, or reinforce, those in its path. It creates worldly pleasures to stimulate the desires of the flesh. The carnal minded recreate their corrupt imaginations so those who are not born of the Holy Spirit can be entertained by them and pulled away from the Holy Spirit by the lust of their flesh.
The carnal mind imprisons the “created,” those who have not been born from above. Yahweh has been the blame many times for the work of carnality, because carnal minded people are not willing to recognize that they have been given dominion over their own lives. As they believe so shall it be. They are known by their fruit, and from the abundance of their hearts/minds their mouths speak; they have the creative word.
The apostle Paul stated that, “If our gospel is hid, it is hid to those who are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of our Heavenly Father, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
Ephesians 2:2-3, says, “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit (mental disposition) that now works in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath [a reaching forth, excitement of the mind], even as others.”
The carnal man must put on the mind of Christ (the Anointing), he must be born again. Mankind must be transformed by the renewing of his mind by the washing of the water by the Word into the image of the Father.
Philippians 2:5-6, says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in the Anointed Savior [Christ Jesus]: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:…”
Paul said, in Romans 12:1-3 “…be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Yahweh.”
When we read James chapter four, we read of “submitting” to Righteousness and “resisting” the devil (the energy force of the carnal mind), and in so doing that force vanishes away. (The words “he will flee” is from one word that means “vanish.”) If we draw close to Truth, Righteousness, and Love, then Truth, Righteousness, and Love, will draw close to us.
Sinners are commanded to cleanse their hands and purify their hearts. They were called double minded. They, like many people today, could not accept the idea that the Savior could truly save them from their sins while they were in the world. They did not believe that they could be in the world but not of the world.
Paul, in Ephesians 4:17-19, commanded the believers, saying, “Don’t walk as unbelievers, for they walk in the vanity of ‘their mind.’ They have their understanding darkened, and are alienated from Life, from the Spirit of Righteousness, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. They feel no shame or guilt, because they have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
Paul continues, saying, “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus (Savior). You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God (your heavenly Father) in true righteousness and holiness.” (This paragraph is taken from New International Version.)
The power of the “new man” (the spiritual man) surpasses the power of the “old man” (the carnal man) which is satan, the adversary of Yahweh.
“When this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory!’” (1 Cor. 15:54)