Spiritual or Carnal
A great many believers who were a part of the church at Corinth were living in carnality. This church was in spiritual chaos, and these believers were out of control. There were moral problems, divisions, backbiting, adultery, fornication and drunkenness. The majority of these believers were living in a carnal state. The Apostle Paul will address these issues, but even before he does, in the very first chapter of 1 Corinthians he states:
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,
6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you,
7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 8 states that these fleshly carnal believers will be proclaimed blameless in the day of Christ (rapture of the church). Verse 9 backs up verse 8 by stating that God will be faithful to all those who are in Christ. This promise from God is not predicated upon any works that these believers might have done in the past, or do in the future. Rather it is predicated fully upon the faithfulness of God.
The question therefore is, can a true believer fall into carnality and remain in it until they die?
Many of the believers in the church at Corinth, were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (see 1 Corinthians 11:18-22),
1 Corinthians 11:27-30 says:
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
Verse 27-30 makes it clear as to what condition these believers were in when they partook of the Lord’s Supper. Many were in carnality, and God dealt with it by allowing many of them to become weak, sick, and in some cases even die in their carnal condition. So yes, I believe that a true believer in Christ can fall into carnality and remain there until the time of his or her death, or until the rapture of the church occurs. There is actually only two conditions that a believer can ever be in. Either they or spiritual and are in fellowship with God, or they are carnal and are living under the control of the flesh.
CONDITIONS FOR SPIRITUALITY
There is no middle ground. In order for a believer to be spiritual, he or she must be consistently living under the power and control of the Holy Spirit. Our flesh (sin nature), is always in opposition to the things of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:17 says:
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
There is only one way to have victory over the flesh.
Galatians 5:16 says:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
In order to walk by the Spirit, we must first be filled by the Spirit (see Ephesians 5:17-18), When we are filled by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit then takes control of our lives, and will bring daily victory to us, over the power of the flesh.
Therefore, anyone who is not living under the control of the Holy Spirit, is therefore living under the control of the flesh, and is living a life of carnality. Also, one does not have to be involved with immoral or gross sins in order to find themselves in carnality. Most believers who put aside God’s word during the week and only pick it up when they are walking out the door to go to church on Sunday morning, are living a life of carnality (no matter how nice they may be).
Only a consistent daily Spirit filled walk with God will keep the believer spiritual and in fellowship with God. However this has nothing to do with the believer’s eternal security. The believer in Jesus Christ will be found blameless at the time of the rapture (see Romans 8:38-39), no matter what spiritual condition he or she may be living in at that time