Often, we hear of those who claim to be saved, living in fornication, drunkenness, adultery and even continued idolatry. Many suggest that these are "Carnal Christians” who are truly saved, but simply engaging in sin and carnality.
This term finds its origin in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians; but is this the type of behavior he was really referring to when he called them carnal?
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 FOR ARE YE NOT YET CARNAL: for whereas there is among you ENVYING, AND STRIFE, AND DIVISIONS, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
We see here that what he was actually condemning as carnal, was their envying, strife and divisive behavior. It was their immature, and unloving attitudes toward each other in their debates about who was better- Paul or Apollos.
That all seems like almost a small thing compared to what we excuse as carnal today. Now, we know that there was also fornication reported within the Corinthian church; but this was not simply labeled carnal. This is what Paul said about those types of things:
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
These Christians, according to Paul were puffed up believing they were showing great love and kindness in tolerating this fornication. Paul told them:
1 Corinthians 5:6 YOUR GLORYING IS NOT GOOD. Know ye not that A LITTLE LEAVEN LEAVENETH THE WHOLE LUMP?
7 PURGE OUT therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Paul told them that this was not to be tolerated within the Church by one who is called a brother in Christ. This was for not only the good of the church, but also for the good of the one involved in fornication.
He goes on to tell them the fate of such as live the way we call carnal today.
1 Corinthians 6:9 KNOW YE NOT THAT THE UNRIGHTEOUS SHAL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 NOR THIEVES, NOR COVETOUS, NOR DRUNKARDS, NOR REVILERS, NOR EXTORTIONERS SHALL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Paul then reminds them of their own pasts, and how that they are no longer what they once were if they are now Christians.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
It has become so common these days to hear that since it is unbelief that brings the wrath of God upon man and sends him to hell, that unbelief is the only sin that needs to be repented of'. It is taught that repentance has nothing to do with sins, but only one sin- unbelief.
I have even heard many state that the first sin committed by Adam was unbelief. They argue that the reason Adam sinned was because he did not believe God’s word when he said “thou shalt surely die”- thus the problem even then, was unbelief.
This certainly seems to be a logical conclusion. The problem is that it begins with a false premise. It is NOT the sin of unbelief that brought the wrath of God upon man. According to God’s word, it was Adam’s disobedience.
Romans 5:19 “For as by one man's DISOBEDIENCE many were made sinners…”(emphasis mine)
Remember- Adam was NOT deceived, but willingly chose to disobey. He did NOT dis-believe God, or his promises, as Eve did when she was deceived by the serpent. Adam CHOSE to disobey the one and only law given by God.
1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: FOR SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.” (emphasis mine)
It was this disobedience that was sin. Had God not told them and established that this was the one thing they were not allowed to do, it would not have been sin and would not have been imputed to them.
Romans 5:13 “… but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Through Adam’s sin of disobedience, “…death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)
Our condemnation to death as sinners was secured by Adam’s sin, not through unbelief.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.
For us to believe that God’s wrath came upon us because of unbelief, we would also have to rewrite or simply ignore many other scriptures.
Ephesians 5:3 “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for BECAUSE OF THESE THINGS (not unbelief) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of DISOBEDIENCE.” (emphasis mine)
Colossians 3:6 “For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of DISOBEDIENCE:” (emphasis mine)
Romans 3:23 For all have SINNED,(missed the mark) and come short of the glory of God; (emphasis mine)
If repentance has nothing to do with sins, then how is it that God’s word declares that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? By the law is the knowledge of sin- not of unbelief.
Certainly, if we do not believe in Christ, we will continue in our condemnation and face God’s wrath, but unbelief is not the only sin we are to repent of. It is the whole of our sin.
Revelation 21:8 “ But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
We are condemned because of the sin that dwells within us. We have a sin nature (NOT an unbelief nature) that causes us to sin against God.
To turn from unbelief to belief is simply to believe, or to have faith in. That is the definition of faith, NOT repentance.
To repent means to change our mind about our sins and idolatry and see it as God does (filthy and wicked). It is to have a genuine sorrow for our sin, as well as a desire to turn from it and to be reconciled to God.
Paul preached “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Why? Because we repent of our sin against God- our transgression of his laws, rebellion, willful disobedience, and idolatry, …etc.
Then we place our faith in Christ - the propitiation for our sin against God. It is what Christ did that satisfies the debt we owe to God for our sin, not for our unbelief.
Proponents of this false doctrine will also claim that because John 16:8 (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin…”) The use of the word sin- singular, means one sin- the sin of unbelief; but what does sin really mean?
Sin- The KJV translates Strong's G266 in the following manner: sin (172x), sinful (1x), offense (1x).
equivalent to 264 to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God, violate God's law, sin, that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act, collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many.
To sin is to miss the mark- to fall short of God’s glory because of our wrong doing or violation of God’s law.
How do we even think that we can reach out and receive the precious gift of salvation God offers if we are running the other direction in our continued sin and rebellion? It is our sinfulness that must be repented of, not only our unbelief.
It is sin that hardens our hearts and prevents belief. The word of faith cannot penetrate or take root in the heart that is hardened in sin. That is why it is so necessary to preach repentance from sin, to plow up the soil of the hard heart.
Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Repentance does not save us but helps to prepare a broken and contrite heart which is then able to believe in the Savior He has provided.
Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a CONTRITE heart.
Psalms 119:155 “Salvation is FAR from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.”(emphasis mine)
To deceive people into believing that they can continue in their sin and rebellion against God and merely “accept” Jesus is to deceive them right out of salvation.
None of us know how many days we have left here on earth. We may live many more years, or just one more day.
One thing we do know is that we will all give account one day to God for our sins. Since God cannot look upon sin; His demand is perfect righteousness.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We have all willingly chosen to sin against God. We have all come short of His perfect righteousness. Not one of us is righteous.
No matter how we try to live righteously or offer works of righteousness to God, we simply cannot erase the sin that is ever-present within us.
Even the works that we do are tainted by our sin and unacceptable to God.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
God calls us to repent of our sin against Him. To repent means to see our sin as God does (filthy and wicked) and to have a genuine sorrow for our sin, as well as a desire to turn from it and to be reconciled to God.
Repentance does not save us but helps to prepare a broken and contrite heart which is then able to believe in the Savior He has provided.
Psalms 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
When we repent and recognize our inability to make ourselves righteous through our own works, it becomes clear that we need something else to cover our sins.
According to God’s word, without the sacrifice of blood, there is NO forgiveness of sin.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
There is only one person who ever willingly shed His own sinless blood for the forgiveness of our sins. That is God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, the lamb without spot or blemish.
John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Only by the shedding of His own righteous blood can our sins be covered.
When we place our faith in Jesus, His righteousness is credited to our account. Because of what He has done, God can then see us as righteous, even though we are not.
Not only that, but Jesus promises that when we pray according to God’s will, in His (Jesus’) name, God will hear and answer our prayers.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
John 14:13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
John 16:26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Today is the day to repent and trust in the name of Christ alone to save you from your sins and reconcile you to God once for all.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
1 Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
All scripture taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Bolding in any quotation indicates emphasis by the compiler.
Download and print PDF version for free as 8 1/2 x 11 tri-fold tract repentance_toward_god.pdf
I have to say that it was never my dream to become a writer, but when the Lord puts a message on your heart and it burns inside of you, it just has to come out.
When I was saved, it was such a dramatic, life-changing event. God truly opened my eyes to not only his glorious gospel, but also to all the lost souls in need of the same conversion. So I sought out all the teaching I could find to help me share the gospel with others. As I eagerly began to lead people through the sinner’s prayer, (as I had been taught) it quickly became obvious that they were not experiencing the same life changing salvation that I had had.
Not only did most of our converts not come to Church or get baptized as a testimony of their faith in Christ; but they also did not become new creatures. Instead, they continued to live in their sin and rebellion against God, still blind and in the dark. Something was terribly wrong.
The answer, I found was not in a new method, but in the truth of God’s word if we’re willing to hear it. Matthew 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Sadly, we as Bible-believing Christians have put our own traditions and teachings of men above the word of God when it comes to Evangelism. No longer do we look to the law of God as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. No longer do we preach the fear of the Lord and genuine repentance of sin, but merely accept to Jesus. We invite the proud and rebellious, who have no desire to be reconciled to God or to turn from their sin, to simply ask Jesus into their hearts, and then we seal them with a prayer (rather than the Holy Spirit), assure them of salvation and leave them two-fold more children of hell than they were before.
We may be able to fool others with our false converts, but God knows the truth, and will judge our works. We should be ashamed of such gross negligence, especially when it comes to children- quite often someone else’s children.
Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
I’d like to share my testimony to help illustrate some of the stumbling blocks that I had in coming to salvation:
As a child, growing up in the Catholic Church, I believed in Jesus. I believed that he was the sinless son of God who died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day and was seated at the right hand of the Father. I even believed that he would come again someday to judge the world. I was not however, saved.
Why not? Because although I believed and trusted in Christ, I also trusted in my works to pay for the sins that I was unwilling to repent of. I was so deceived by sin, false religion and my own self-righteousness that I did not even really believe that I was separated from God. The truth was, I didn't really need a Savior, because I didn't really think I was that bad. I thought I was doing alright on my own.
"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17).
As a young adult, I learned that you must be born again. It was around that time that I was led through a sinner's prayer by a well-meaning Christian. I was told that as long as I really meant that prayer that I was saved. Well, I certainly did mean that prayer- just as much as I meant the Hail Mary's and Our Father's I prayed regularly. I was not however, saved.
It wasn't until well into my adult life, that I finally became convicted by the Holy Spirit of God for my sins. I knew then that I was not alright on my own. I honestly feared that if Christ came back and found me where I was in my life, that I was in big trouble.
At that point I knew I needed to do something to repair my standing with God, but what? My husband and I began visiting Churches, looking for the answer. We finally settled on a Fundamental, Independent Baptist Church, where we found that answer. By then, I was well aware of my sin and inability to free myself from it. I knew that I deserved God's punishment and quickly learned that there was nothing I could do to pay for my sins on my own because they just kept piling up. It was then that I heard the truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ paid it all, that he did for me what I could not do for myself.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That precious verse was the final piece of the puzzle for me. That was what I needed to understand in order to truly believe in Christ alone as my Savior. For me, repentance included not only turning from sin, but also turning from dead works and false beliefs. Trusting in Christ without repentance toward God is not really trusting in Christ at all.
Salvation is indeed simple once we truly understand our lost condition as sinners condemned by a holy and just God. The essential difficulty in coming to salvation is not in merely accepting Jesus or even believing the facts of what he has done. It is in believing that we truly need a Savior.
I pray that Why Are We Losing the Kids? will be a blessing and a message of truth to those who are willing to hear it.
i invite your sincere questions and comments, and will do my best to answer according to God's word. While i do not claim to be without error; I will try to be as true to His word as I know.
is a Fundamental, Bible Believing Christian with a passion for His word and a desire to earnestly contend for the faith.