LISTEN: What is Carnality? Part 1 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #20 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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This podcast is designed to explain what it means to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin through Jesus Christ. This podcast is primarily for non-believers and some new believers and it will help you understand what it means to be saved from hell and have a home in Heaven as well as the blessings of the abundant Christian life.

God made salvation simple. However, down through the years many people, including some preachers and other Christians, have made the matter of salvation complicated and confusing. I know from my own experience that many people would get saved if someone would sit down and share with them straightforwardly from the Bible what it really means to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. That is what I intend to do with this podcast.

Let’s start out with the Word of God. The Bible says in Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

No Old Testament priest ever functioned in this permanent way, since all were subject to death. But the permanent priesthood of Jesus gives Him the capacity to carry His saving work to completion. When the writer asserted that He is able to save completely, he continued to have in mind the salvation- inheritance first referred to in Hebrews 1:14. The readers were to hold fast to their professions of faith and to continue numbering themselves among those who come to God through Him, knowing that He can see them through every trial and difficulty right to the end of the road because He always lives to intercede for them. In saying this, the author reverted again to a truth he had already enunciated where he had invited the readers to avail themselves boldly of the mercy and grace accessible to them through Jesus’ priesthood. As they did so, they would find that their Captain and High Priest could get the job done! He could lead them victoriously into glory. In this way He saves “completely.”

Today’s quote is from Samuel Rutherford. He said: “See that you buy the field where the Pearl is; sell all, and make a purchase of salvation. Think it not easy: for it is a steep ascent to eternal glory: many are lying dead by the way, slain with security.”

Our topic today is titled “What is Carnality? (Part 1)” from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Can a born-again Christian be carnal? Or is carnality something that describes an unsaved person? Or can carnality describe both Christian and nonbeliever?

Before discussing these crucial questions, it may help to clear the air on two matters.

Some think that those who teach that Christians can be carnal also must logically conclude that some believers can go through life without ever bearing fruit of any kind. In other words, they think that the teaching about carnality includes the ideas that carnality can be lifelong and so total that carnal believers will never bear any fruit and yet be genuinely saved. But that is not true, for all believers will bear fruit, some thirty-, some sixty-, some one hundred-fold. Otherwise, they do not possess the new life.

Those who hold to the teaching that Christians can be carnal sometimes say that the lordship/discipleship/mastery view cannot include any concept of carnality. They reason that if Christ is Lord of life, then logically no carnality can coexist in that life. But obviously, committed Christians—whenever that commitment was made—disobey and become carnal (or rebellious, or backslidden, or whatever you wish to label them). Lordship advocates recognize that. Nevertheless, some who hold to a lordship position prefer to say that, although Christians can do carnal things, there is no such thing as a carnal Christian.


What is carnality? According to the Greek dictionary, the word carnal means to have the nature and characteristics of the flesh (or more simply, it means “fleshly”). What, then, is the flesh? In the Scriptures, sometimes it refers to the whole material part of man, and, based on this meaning, carnal sometimes relates to material things like money or to the opposite of our weapons of spiritual warfare. But the word fleshly also has a metaphorical sense when it refers to our disposition to sin and to oppose or omit God in our lives. The flesh is characterized by works that include lusts and passions; it can enslave; and in it is nothing good. Based on this meaning of the word flesh, to be carnal means to be characterized by things that belong to the unsaved life.

Do we have at least a tentative answer to the questions posed about carnality? If carnality refers to that disposition or life principle of the unregenerate life, then obviously an unsaved person may be said to be carnal or carnally minded. But cannot believers also exhibit those same traits? If so, then a believer can, under some circumstances, be labeled carnal. If we can first understand what carnality is, then we are in a better position to answer the question, “To whom can the term be applied?”

We will continue our discussion of this topic in our next broadcast / podcast.

As we close today, let me leave you with these words from Hebrews 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” I encourage you to not neglect the salvation and grace offered by God. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve upon Himself. Romans 5:8 says that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, please believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. It’s just that simple.

Until next time, my friend, thank God for His simple, great salvation. God bless you!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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