Spiritual, Natural, or Carnal?

1 Corinthians 2-3

First Corinthians 2 and 3 describe three classes of people.  There is the natural man, who “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” (2:14).  There is the spiritual man, who “judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (2:15).  And there is the carnal man, who is a “babe in Christ” (3:1).  Friend, you may be a natural person, a spiritual person, or a carnal person.  But you are one of these three.  I want you to understand which of the three you are.

The natural man does what comes naturally.  He was born into a natural world.  He has only the first birth.  He hasn’t experienced the second birth.  He is blind to a spiritual world.  He can appreciate church things, but he can’t appreciate spiritual things.  A spiritual message just rolls off his back.  And he is bound to a material world.  He has no capacity for fellowship with God.  He lives a good dog’s life.  He just wants something to eat, a warm place to sleep, a little affection, and a bit of achievement.

The spiritual man does what comes supernaturally.  He lives by the Spirit.  He’s been born from above.  He’s been invaded by the Holy Spirit.  You see, Christianity isn’t believing something.  It’s receiving Someone, and the spiritual man has received our dear Savior.  He’s not just a nice character.  He’s a new creature.  The spiritual man learns from the Spirit of God and he is liberated by the Spirit.  He freely discerns.  He sees things in proper perspective.  And he is “rightly judged by no one,” that is, the unsaved world can’t understand what makes him tick.

The carnal man does what comes unnaturally.  This guy is deformed.  He is saved, but he is defeated.  He has too much of the supernatural in him to be natural and too much of the natural in him to be supernatural.  So he is just unnatural.  And that’s the average church member.  He is dependent.  He hasn’t matured.  He drinks milk but won’t touch real meat.  And he is divisive.  He gathers around a favorite preacher or institution or denomination, but he doesn’t cling to Jesus Christ.

Friend, are you a natural man, blind to the spiritual world, never been born again?  Are you a spiritual man, led and liberated by the Spirit?  Or are you a carnal person, one who is deformed, dependent, divisive?  Which are you?  Perhaps it’s time to take inventory.

—Adrian Rogers, taken from The Adrian Rogers Legacy Bible