Tuesday, February 7, 2012

109. - The Carnal Nature

109.0 - From The Scripture: In the Bible, Paul describes the human condition in this way in Romans, chapter 7, where he says, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

"If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

"I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
109.1 - The Big In-Between:

What Paul is describing here is the condition that exists in the believer between the time that we are converted and the time when we are merged with the Living Christ through the Baptism of the Spirit.

This is a time when, with our conscious mind, we have made the decision to follow Christ. But, in our subconscious mind, where the "fleshly drives" exist, the issue of Christ rule or self rule remains unsettled.

So, by these strong, subconscious motives the believer is pushed off track, as Paul describes. The disciple can see the "high road" and reach for it with the conscious mind; but, these powerful subconscious impulses push him or her away from the faith path and toward the base path.

109.2 - The Flesh: Before we go further with this thought, let's consider more carefully what Paul calls "the flesh." The flesh can be accurately understood as simply a body of selfish appetites. They are essentially just a part of the subconscious sin instinct or motive.

They are in one way like the physical appetites that we are familiar with. Specifically, like the physical appetites, the fleshly appetites are also a motive to move us to some action. However, in the case of the fleshly appetites, they always move us to act in a self-centered manner, which puts us at odds with God.

109.3 - The Carnal Mind: These appetites are at the heart of what the Bible calls the "carnal mind." The Bible says of this mind that, "...the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

The carnal mind is that subconscious "sin mindset" that insists on being self-determined, doing what it wants to, even if that is displeasing to God. That is why the Bible says that this mind "cannot please God." It cannot please God, because it is forever bent on pleasing itself.

109.4 - The Outflow: So, as Paul describes in the verses above, the godly thing that we consciously want to do, we don't do. And the thing that we make a conscious decision not to do, that is the very thing we do. Why? Because the subconscious, carnal mind, driven by completely self-centered appetites, chooses always to pursue its own pleasure, rather than Gods.

Thus, we are all plagued with this evil "subconscious twin." And we are defeated daily by this carnal villain until he or she is arrested by the power of the Living Christ.

So, in a sense, there are really two people involved in the decision of whether or not to surrender our influence to the God. The first, of course, is the conscious person and the second is the subconscious person. The first is able to surrender to Christ at conversion, but the latter, the subconscious person, will never surrender. The carnal man must be overpowered and arrested by the by the power of the Living Christ as He comes to dwell within the believer through the Spiritual Baptism.