Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between an Apostate and a Carnal Christian. Only God knows for sure if someone is a Believer or an Unbeliever (John 3:16-18). Since eternal security is a fact of Scripture, the Carnal Christian is still saved.
Carnal literally means “fleshly.” Paul considers fleshly Believers saved, because he calls them brethren, but he describes them as “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 3:15; John 10: 28; Romans 8: 37-39; 1 John 5:13).
No one is without sin except Jesus (1 John 1:8-9). Authentic Christians may fall into temptation and sin. However, Carnal Christians sin regularly and actually disregard many of God’s precepts.
Those who continue to live in rebellion to God’s Word will justify their fleshly, unscriptural behavior and try to entice others to join them in their sin. They hang out at bars, and sometimes even use drugs, steal, etc.
Some are mean and inconsiderate. They cuss, watch R- and X-rated movies, covet worldly goods, gossip and may even be unfaithful to their mate.
If we hang around with carnal Christians or the unsaved who profess to be saved, we may be swayed to partake in their sin (Genesis 39:7-12; Psalm 26:5, 50:18; Proverbs 1:10, 4:23, 6:27, 13:20, 16:29, 22:3; Matthew 5:8; 6:13; 18:8,9; Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Timothy 6:21; 1 Peter 4:3,4;).
Carnal Christians continually receive correction and discipline from our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12: 5-11). We gradually lay down our sin and become more like Jesus.
Apostates are those who were convicted of their sin, prayed for salvation, but continue to pursue a sinful lifestyle. Nothing really changes in their life. They tasted the things of God and decided the price was too high.
Apostates may pursue religious activities, but they are never committed or serious in their walk with God. They eventually walk away entirely and renounce God.
God is attempting to direct us all to repentance from our dead works (Hebrews 6:1). He constantly calls the unsaved to believe in Him and to totally surrender their life to Him (John 3:16 -17).
Father God, please search my heart and know me. Try me and see if there is any wicked way in me. Then, lead me in Your everlasting way (Psalm 139:23). You call us to rise up to live as examples of a Believer (1 Timothy 4:12) and to be teachers of the solid food of Your Word (Heb. 5:12-14). Help us to be models of Your Truth to unbelievers and Carnal Christians, so they will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16).
As Authentic Christians, remind us to treat unsaved people and Carnal Christians with Your love and nurture; but not to hang out with them on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:26; Luke 8:5; Jeremiah 5:23). Remind us that Your Word exhorts those of us who are spiritual to gently exhort those who are walking in ungodly behavior by lovingly sharing Your truth with them (Galatians 6:1).
Thought for the Day:
God wants us to allow Him to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 12:1-2); as we surrender our life to Him, we will exhibit more spirituality and less carnality through the sanctifying process of His Holy Spirit within us.