Curtailing the Carnal Nature

Though we come to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we still make decisions daily to curtail the carnal nature. In the gospel we have the witness to the truth, but it’s our daily decisions to live in that witness. This means being a Christian is in action, actually doing what the word of God calls us to do in interactions with other people.

Being a Christian isn’t about adhering to the faith system of a religion. It isn’t about name. It isn’t claiming forgiveness and blessing through the merits of Christ while we live as we choose. It is bringing our nature under the lordship of Christ and obeying his word, or better, following his life and example.

Paul often outlines the characteristics of the carnal nature: these are actions inspired by jealousy, fear, suspicion, vengeance, competition, divisions… on and on they go. We must cut these things off as motivators in how we treat other people. Instead we respond to people with genuine faith, love, cooperation, and we seek their good above our own. We think and act for their wellbeing. This is Christian life.

This relates to people outside our church, or even outside our faith. We are called to respect all people, of whatever group. This cuts off all forms of violence, anger, betrayal, and calls us to repay good for evil to everyone.

So let’s respond in our world as Christians. We say we might lose if we do that. No at all. We gain the kingdom, for none of these non-Spirit reformed life styles will inherit the kingdom. We cut off what is least valuable, to gain what is most valuable, not allowing the values of this world deceive us.

In a dark world God is calling people who will follow and shine his light. It isn’t easy. It isn’t as simple as just being inspired by a message. It is a daily decision when it’s tough, to say no to ungodly behaviour and yes to the Spirit way of life: which is to love our neighbour and enemy and to do them good. It is building a cooperative rather than a divided society. It is overcoming through good. This is Christian faith in genuine action.