How do you know if someone is carnal or not? This question is what this post will address today as we’ll discuss the 15 traits of a carnal man that distinguish a carnal person from a spiritual Christian.
Carnality is something we all have to fight against to overcome temptations of the flesh. That’s why it’s important to recognize when we are acting carnal, so we can change our ways before they become sinful, while there is still time.
With that said, let’s look at the 15 characteristics of a carnal man that differentiates someone who is carnally minded and someone who is spiritually-minded. Let’s dive in.
Who Is A Carnal Man? Biblical Definition.
According to the bible, a carnal man is simply a person who only minds things of the flesh and has zero interest in spiritual things (Romans 8:5,6).
And since a carnal person only minds earthly things that please the flesh, spiritual things will be uninteresting to such a person as they don’t please their sinful flesh.
This is why spiritual things look like foolishness to a carnal person or natural man with a carnal mind as they are spiritually discerned. Carnal people also walk by sight and not by faith.
15 Major Characteristics Of A Carnal Person.
Below is a list of 15 characteristics of a carnal person who hasn’t yet been transformed by the renewing of their mind.
- Not Spiritually Minded.
- Has A Carnal Mind.
- Loves Conditionally.
- Pleasure Lovers.
- Holds Grudges.
- Filled With Lust.
- Contentious & Easily Angered.
- Practices Carnal Christianity.
- High Minded.
- Easily Deceived.
- Lives After The Flesh.
- Has The Old Nature.
1. Not Spiritually Minded.
One of the major characteristics of a carnal man is that they won’t mind things of the spirit or spiritual things. Instead, they only mind things that please and gratify their sinful flesh.
And this can be seen in the way carnal people live their lives who only mind things of the earth that will pass away one day and have no care for their spiritual lives nor where they will spend eternity when they die.
The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:6 that to be carnally minded is death implying that people who embrace carnality in their life are spiritually dead which is why they can’t mind spiritual things in the first place.
2. Has A Carnal Mind.
Having a carnal mind is what makes a carnal person the way they are in the first place due to their unregenerate mind through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
By definition, a carnal mind is simply a mind that only minds things of the flesh and not the spirit which is why the things of God will be foolishness to carnal people as they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).
And a carnal Christian who isn’t truly saved yet will conform to the things of this world which Romans 12:1,2 forbids anyone who claims to be a true Christian.
3. Loves Conditionally.
A carnal person who isn’t born again yet with the new nature of Christ Jesus in them will only love others conditionally especially if they are getting something in return.
The reason for this conditional love is because natural man born with the sinful Adamic nature is naturally selfish and only thinks about himself at the expense of others.
The true unconditional agape love 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 will be nowhere to be seen in a carnal person or carnal Christian who isn’t saved yet or experienced the new birth in Christ.
4. Pleasure Lovers.
Carnal people are ruthless lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Pleasure is the order of the day in such people who only want to please their flesh.
And Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3:4 that in the last days, there will be many pleasure lovers more than those who love God. This love of please is seen in many people who prefer to go to parties to going to church which they find boring by the way.
Many people nowadays prefer having fans and getting drunk at parties to going to church to listening to God’s word which will help them grow in spiritual things and provide solutions to the problems they have in their life.
5. Holds Grudges.
Unforgiveness and holding grudges against offenders are just part of who natural man is because natural man loves revenge and live by the eye for an eye and tooth for tooth principle.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:31,32 that we must not hold grudges or be bitter against those who have offended us in one way or the other but if you are a carnal person, this will be hard and impossible for you to do.
Only a spiritual person or a spiritual Christian who has the new nature of Jesus Christ and God’s grace in them will be able not to hold grudges against their offenders but for a carnal man, forgiveness and letting go isn’t an option as they love revenge.
A carnal person has little interest in what is going on with others around them, especially when it comes to their spiritual welfare as they are lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2).
When someone is self-absorbed, they will only think about benefiting themselves at the expense of others be it in friendships, relationships, church or at the place of work.
This self-absorbed nature found in someone who is carnal is a result of the sinful selfish nature that we are all born with that is only concerned about self.
7. Filled With Lust.
The lust of the flesh is just part and parcel of someone who practices carnality in their life. This carnal desire to fulfil the sinful lusts of the flesh are what dictate the life of a carnal person.
And this lust comes in many forms according to 1 John 2:16 which are, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life which will embody the life of a person with a carnal mind.
As with the lust of the flesh, it’s seen in many people and carnal Christians who indulge in fornication or sex before marriage all because they want to gratify their fleshly desires.
8. Contentious & Easily Angered.
Carnal people are contentious and easily get offended. When they feel they are being criticized, misunderstood or not appreciated, they can become easily irritated and become involved in arguments, fights and strife.
They are quick to point out the faults of others and slow to see their sins as wrong or sinful and Paul warns of such people who like to cause strife among brethren in Romans 16:17,18 that they must be avoided at all costs.
On the other hand, if you are a genuine believer who has experienced the new spiritual birth through Jesus Christ at salvation, you won’t be easily angered by little things nor will you cause strife among the brethren.
9. Practices Carnal Christianity.
A carnal man who hasn’t yet experienced the new birth in Christ will practice carnal Christianly in their Christian life which will be evident by the worldly lifestyles they live.
Someone who is a carnal Christian will behave like unbelievers and still live according to the flesh and not the spirit which is seen in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 where Paul addressed the carnal Corinthian Christians in Corinth who still acted like unbelievers.
You must remember that practising carnal Christianity won’t take you to heaven by the way because sooner or later you will backslide and fall into sin as you can’t serve two masters that are to please God and the flesh at the same time.
Being unsaved without the new birth of Jesus Christ that makes one have a spiritual mind is among the major characteristics of a carnal man.
Someone who practices carnality certainly doesn’t have a definite salvation experience in their life yet because when you truly become saved, you will no longer be carnal due to the new nature of Christ in you.
And since people who are unsaved live according to the flesh, they can’t please God according to Romans 8:8 due to the presence of the old nature of sin still present in such people which makes them carnal in the first place.
11. High Minded.
Carnal people always think highly of themselves and boast about themselves. They justify their sins by saying that everyone else is doing it too and that God will forgive them anyway because He loves them so much.
This attitude leads to a lack of remorse for sinning against God or others because they expect forgiveness. Someone who is high minded will always look down on others, too as they think they are better than others.
And the apostle Paul warns of such people in the last days in 2 Timothy 3:4 who will love pleasure more than God or anything having to do with righteousness.
It’s just a matter of fact that natural man regards his self-interests as supreme over others at any cost. He does not love others for the sake of their well-being but for what he can benefit from them.
And this selfishness and self-centeredness are seen in many relationships and friendships today where everyone is all about self and what they can milk and extract from others. Many people are lovers of themselves in these last days as Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 3:2.
For this reason, many relationships and friendships don’t last because everyone is all about what they can get from the other person and not what they can give or contribute to the betterment of the other person.
13. Easily Deceived.
Being able to be deceived so easily especially by false doctrines is among the most common characteristics of a carnal man that you will notice if someone
Since a carnal person is blind to spiritual things according to 1 Corinthians 2:14, Satan takes advantage of that ignorance and deceives such people with lies and fables that will only lead them astray.
And there are a lot of such people today in the Christian circles who are easily swept away and deceived by false doctrines which only please the flesh as they lack that spiritual mind to discern between truth and error.
14. Lives After The Flesh.
Carnal people according to their fleshly desires. They are controlled by their natural mind and cannot stand being disciplined by the Word of God and the Spirit of God (Romans 8:7).
In this world, there are two basic kinds of people: carnal and spiritual. A carnal person is the one who lives for the things of the flesh such as food, sex, money, position, power and a materialist who is committed to the things of this present evil world system.
The spiritual person lives for God and only minds spiritual things that will help them in their spiritual growth. Spiritual people due to their spiritual minds also set their afflictions on heavenly things and not earthly things which are temporal (Colossians 3:2).
15. Has The Old Nature.
Last and not least, the old nature is by far the most prominent characteristic of a carnal person and it’s this old sinful Adamic nature that makes such people be carnally minded in the first place.
If you have the old nature of sin in you, it’s automatic that you will be carnal in your ways as you haven’t yet been renewed by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that renews a person from the inside (Titus 3:5-7).
And this old nature can only be removed and replaced with the new nature of Christ that will make you spiritually minded when you become truly born again which you can be today if you want to.
Which of the above 15 characteristics of a carnal man resonated with you? Kindly let me know in the comments below along with any questions you might have concerning what you have read. Stay blessed and don’t forget to share.
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