The Carnal Christian – Galatians 5:16-26
Thank you for joining me for Word Study Wednesday as we take another look at our study on “The Carnal Christian”. Today we will examine the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit according to Galatians 5:16-25. We learned last week that walking in the flesh or being carnal is a choice. Many believers walk in the flesh because they want to, but others walk in the flesh because they don’t realize there is a better way. You might be scared to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, but this fear comes from the devil. He does not want you to experience peace nor does he want you to have the power that the disciples had when they preached and witnessed. He wants to keep you ignorant in the bondage of sin.
Read Galatians 5:16-26
In verse 16 we read, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. A believer does not have to live a life of sin and bondage. In Galatians 5:1, Paul tells us that Christ set us free from the yoke of sin. A Christian can live a victorious life of love, joy and peace when walking in the Spirit. If a Christian chooses to walk in the flesh, he/she will experience strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger and other sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21. When we walk in the flesh, we can’t experience the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.
In verses 17-18, we learn that the flesh and the Spirit are in opposition to one another. Every believer has this struggle going on inside. The flesh is the old sinful nature that each person is born with. A lost person is in bondage to this sin nature, but a believer has been set free by Jesus Christ. We do not have to allow the sinful nature to take over our lives. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must first learn to be led by the Spirit. To do this, we must choose to obey the Holy Spirit in all areas of our lives.
Deeds of the Flesh
Many people have a difficult time allowing the Holy Spirit to control, because sin stands in the way. We want to be in control, rather than allow the Holy Spirit be in control. Let’s take a closer look at the deeds of the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 1 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV).
A Carnal Christian will commit many of these sins, but according to verse 21 if you practice these on a daily basis you are not saved. A true believer in Jesus Christ cannot live a sinful lifestyle all the time, because he/she has been set free from the sinful nature. It no longer controls you and your desire to sin should be gone. If you have a desire to commit these sins on a daily basis or you struggle with sin so much that it controls you, then you need to ask the Holy Spirit if you are truly saved.
If you believe you are a Carnal Christian, then take a look at Sin List from A-Z. Confess every sin that you have committed on this sheet to the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead your life and fill you. You should now feel the love, joy and peace of being filled. If not, then ask the Lord if there is anyone you need to go to and make it right. When I went through my sin list the first time, I had to go to my husband, parents and a friend and make amends with them. This is called restitution, which is commanded in Matthew 5:23-24.
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV).
You Have a Choice
Now that you have learned the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit, you have a choice to make. You can walk in the flesh or be led by the Spirit. If you choose to walk in the Spirit, you will experience the fruit of the Spirit in your life. You will have love, joy and peace even when going through a trial. Because of these joyous results, you will never want to go back to living out your fleshly desires. You will also be free from the guilt, depression and shame caused by sin. Joshua chose to serve the Lord, will you?
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:15 (NKJV).
To learn more about being filled with the Holy Spirit, take a look at these posts:
4 Steps to Being Filled With the Holy Spirit
10 Bible Verses on Evidence of Filling of the Holy Spirit
10 Bible Verses on the Works of the Holy Spirit
9 Favorite Books on the Filling of Holy Spirit
What a wonderful word study and examination of the carnal Christian described in Galatians! It’s true that as Christians we forget that we have been freed from the bondage sin holds, and have the opportunity to live in freedom from bad choices and a bad lifestyle. Too often we don’t fully claim hold of that gift and promise. Thank you for your insight!
Thank you for your kind comments. I feel that many Christians in America are living unnecessarily in the bondage of sin because they don’t understand that they are free. Hopefully, that will change if we continue to pray for Revival and Spiritual Awakening.
I am with you in the grieving realization that many in the Church today are living unnecessarily in bondage to sin, even being taught by pastors that they should expect to sin. Something that I am encouraging people in is to read the scriptures that teach us about true grace, righteousness, and holiness, and not to resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit, who comes to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment; the scripture tells us that we overcome by faith, and that faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by the word of God. I feel that many Christians, as I once also was, are in bondage because they’ve heard a false gospel that has the appearance of godliness, but denies its power, and they, therefore, do not have the faith to overcome.
Anyway, thanks for posting- I pray that the LORD will pour out His grace on us that we might understand they manifold word of God and be bold in the grace, mercy, and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ to proclaim the truth in this present and wicked age that we live in, amen!
I totally agree with you. We need for the Lord to send evangelists to preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2).