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Description: This talk clarifies what it means to be a carnal Christian. Then it looks at the two steps it takes to be delivered from carnality.
The Spiritual Life #7
Deliverance From Carnality
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We talked about three or four Sundays ago about sin after conversion and how you dealt with sin
after conversion. We said that sin occurred after conversion because of carnality. We talked then
about the carnal Christian. This Sunday I would like to at least introduce the subject of
deliverance from carnality. So that is where the study tonight fits into the series.
I would just remind you of the words used in scripture that we translate as “carnal”. You find them
in Romans 7:14. It’s Paul speaking of his defeated experience. He says, “We know that the law is
spiritual.” The word he uses there is “pneumatikos” which means “spiritual”. Then he says, “but I am
carnal” and the word he uses is “sarkinos”. Those two words occur again in 1 Corinthians 3:1. “But
I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, (that’s pneumatikos) but as men of the flesh”,
or the King James version translates it as “carnal men”.
A pneumatikos man or woman in God is one that lives inside out. A sarkinos or carnal man or woman in
God is one that lives outside in. A spiritual man or woman of God is one that lives from the spirit
out. A sarkinos man or woman or God is one who lives from the flesh or from the body in. Now those
distinctions might be easier to see if I just remind you of the situation that God established when
he created us.
The Father made us in his own image. He made us with three levels in our personality. The body, the
soul (mind, emotions and will) and then inside is the spiritual part of us. The body is what relates
to the world. The soul is where we relate to ourselves. You can think what you are thinking. And
then the spirit is the part of us that relates to God.
It was the Father’s will that we would relate to him in open friendship. Because we walked with him,
his spirit that governs him with all the inner qualities that it has would come through. The Holy
Spirit would come through our spirit, through our souls, then our bodies and express his will to the
world. That was his will. As his Spirit passed through us his Spirit would automatically make us
like himself. So we were like him outwardly in that we had the capacities to be like him but
inwardly we could only become like him if we allowed his life to flow through us.
We rebelled against that whole idea. We said that we wanted to be like God but not so that we could
have fellowship with him. We just wanted to be like God. We wanted to have our own way. We wanted to
have God’s powers. So we rebelled against the whole idea of depending on him in friendship, or
receiving his Spirit into us.
We lost all sense of importance in the world. We lost our sense of identity. We lost the sense of
who we were. We wondered why we were here. We were like Cain or like Abel. We found ourselves with
the mark of Cain on our foreheads. We moved as aliens in the world. And many of us still have
identity crises and don’t quite know where we fit in.
We lost all sense of significance — that sense that anyone was looking out after us. We lost all
sense of security and all sense of happiness. And so we had to try to start getting those things
from the world. We rebelled against God, our spirits died, he removed his Holy Spirit from us and we
lived purely from the world. Our whole aim was to get the enjoyment, the security, and significance
that we should have received from him, from the world and other people. That’s the picture of a
fallen man or woman. And God was unable to give us his Holy Spirit again because we had these
reversed, perverse personalities.
We would get up in the morning on a cloudy, rainy day and God would want to give us a sense of his
joy, a sense that behind the clouds was a beautiful bright place where he lived and where all the
angels rejoiced with him. We would try to think that and feel that. We would try to feel it but the
whole personality was overwhelmed by the eyes seeing the gray clouds and the ears hearing the rain
outside. The whole body took in the information from the outside and was so used to being overcome
by the world and by people outside it that it dominated the life. And so it was impossible to
receive his Spirit into us.
Our personalities became more and more perverted, more and more ground into that kind of function
and direction until it was impossible for God to give us the Holy Spirit. He knew, “If I give these
people the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit has powers of eternity. He has powers of infinite ability to
transcend space at great speeds. If I give my Holy Spirit to these people with their in-turned,
perverted, egotistical personalities they will destroy my whole universe. And so the Father was
unable to make the Holy Spirit available to us unless he found a solution to this perverted
You remember that’s what he did in Jesus. In a cosmic miracle he put us into Jesus and destroyed us.
Our old self was crucified with Christ and all that personality was destroyed. It’s in that sense
that Jesus died for us. That’s what the Bible means when it says, “And God commends his love towards
us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He died for us in that he allowed our old
selfish personalities to be destroyed in him so that God having found the antidote to self could
make available the Holy Spirit. Of course the Father then made the Holy Spirit available to us.
The response he asks from us is to repent and to believe. He says, “Stop living inwards like that
and repent. Turn from that, convert, and turn completely around. Turn from that inward life. Turn
from that “sarkinos” life and begin to live the life that I planned for you which is the life of the
Spirit moving out through you.”
Many of us have heard that word, repent and believe the gospel and we believed the gospel. We
believed that God had done something in Jesus that enabled us to make his life available to us and
we accepted that. And the Holy Spirit showed us some ways in which we were living in the way that
God did not want us to and we repented of those ways. Then His Holy Spirit moved into our spirits
and we became alive to him and we were regenerated. That’s what the New Birth is.
Then it wasn’t long before the Holy Spirit began to show us, “The only reason I’ve come into you is
so that I might move through you and live through you. You’ve been getting your significance from
men for years. Do you see that your old self and your love of reputation before men was crucified
with Christ. Just as Jesus had to die to what his mother Mary thought of him, just as he had to die
to what the Roman soldiers thought of him, what the Jews thought of him, what his peers in his own
village thought of him, so you were crucified with Him.”
God destroyed all the opinion that men have of you and all the importance of that opinion to you.
Now, that’s why you were crucified with Christ — that you might depend on God’s opinion alone and
so that his Spirit might begin to move out in love.
God saw that often he would try to get you to love somebody in the office. He would try to get you
to love a boss or a colleague. But he would be unable to get you to love them because you were so
bound up with, “What will they think of me?” You were so bound up with yourself, with your
reputation and their opinion of you that you couldn’t love them. You became a men pleaser to them
instead of someone who could express God’s love to them. The Father knew that unless you have that
crucified in Christ His Spirit is never going to get through to that person. So the Holy Spirit
began to tell you that. He began to whisper to you things about your reputation. He began to show
you ways in which you’ve been crucified with his Son. He began to show you that He had given you his
Spirit so that it might get out through you. Now the reason it can’t get out through you is because
you’re still wrought up with the happiness that you can get from your friends.
Often on a sunny Sunday afternoon my Spirit wants in you to go and visit an old lady in a nursing
home. My Spirit wants you to go out and has often spoken to you to go and help so and so. They’re
lonely and you haven’t contacted them for months. But you are so wrought up with getting happiness
on that sunny Sunday afternoon when someone invites you out swimming or boating immediately you go.
And the Holy Spirit says to you, “Now look. I want to use you. But until you die to the happiness
that you get from other people I cannot use you. You are going to continually frustrate me. Now I
didn’t come inside to be a prisoner. I don’t want to be back in that place where you put me in a
casket. I want to get out through your life.”
The Holy Spirit begins to speak those things to many of us who are Christians. Many of us begin to
resist with our wills. Instead of moving on into what we have already started we begin to abort our
New Birth. Now we are actually born of God, children of God, babes in Christ but we begin the
process of abortion. Or if you like, we begin to stop the conversion because converting is turning
right around. Converting means you were moving that way but now you turn around and move the other
way. That’s what converting means – to turn around.
Here’s what you do when you become a carnal Christian. The Holy Spirit is saying to you, “Now
complete the turning around.” You are turning around and he says, “Now it will mean going this way.”
And then you stop the turning around. But actually you can’t stop the turning around. You either
turn around more towards God or you actually begin to turn back to self. You can see that. You
either begin to live more and more in His Holy Spirit or you begin to depend more and more on the
world and other people. That’s the moment when you become carnal.
Carnality is not so much how many sins does John commit as against how many sins does Sandra commit.
It isn’t a matter of counting outward actions. It’s a matter of how are you responding to the
directions that the Holy Spirit is giving you. That’s why the Bible says that the spiritual man is
judged by no one. Only a man or woman themselves can tell how they are responding to the Holy
If you wanted to ask me when does carnality begin, it begins when the will first resists the Holy
Spirit’s direction that you are to depend completely on the Holy Spirit and not on people or outward
life. It’s at that moment when resistance to God’s will is first expressed in your will that you
begin to be carnal. Do you see that you couldn’t look at two Christians and tell which one is carnal
and which one is not. You really can’t. It depends totally on the amount of light that each one has
We ourselves become carnal the moment we begin to resist God’s will and turn back into this life.
When that happens what we do is what we are told not to do in Ephesians 4:30. “And do not grieve the
Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” You were sealed with the
Holy Spirit and you had marks of the Holy Spirit when you were born of God. You had a desire to
witness to other people, to read the Bible and pray. You were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The sign
of those things inside you was part of that seal. God says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” When
you begin to resist his guidance into a full crucifixion then you begin to grieve the Holy Spirit.
Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:14. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one
has died for all; therefore all have died.” This is the contract and it had small print. You signed
your name right here with the large print. You said, “Lord I know that you died for me. I know
because you have died for me that my Father can give me the Holy Spirit and I can receive his life
into me. I’m for that. That is the kind of bargain that I like.”
Then the Holy Spirit came along and said, “But do you know why your Father was prepared to give you
the Holy Spirit? It was because when Jesus died, you died with that perverted personality of yours.”
When the Holy Spirit came into you it was not to be a prisoner but so that he would be able to
reverse the whole direction of your life.
The Holy Spirit begins to point out to us the small print. He enlarges it with his magnifying glass.
And we don’t like the sound. The little maid comes and says, “Aren’t you one of the Galileans?” And
we say, “No, I’m not. I never knew the man.” Or, we say to the Father, “Could my brother sit on your
right hand and me on your left?” We begin to be concerned with avoiding this business of dying.
Loved ones, the whole purpose of Jesus dying at all was so that we would be absolutely rectified in
Him. Our whole personality would be reversed and we would take on the right direction that God had
originally intended. When we begin to resist that what we are saying to God is, “So far but no
further.” Of course we are rejecting his whole plan. That’s the only reason Jesus died. Jesus didn’t
die so that the Holy Spirit would be a prisoner in us. Jesus died so that the Holy Spirit would come
into us and govern our whole life. Jesus didn’t die so that we would continue to live off the world
and people. He didn’t die so that we would continue to get our security, significance and happiness
from people. He died so that we would depend on him for all of that.
We are in the same position as is outlined in Matthew 13:22. It’s the parable that Jesus told of the
sower and the seed. “As for what was sown among thorns, (and these are the carnal Christians) this
is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and
it proves unfruitful.” So a carnal Christian is one who looks around at the world, sees that he
wants to still make it among his peers, wants to make good money, have a good home, wants to have
things that Jesus didn’t have and yet wants to be a child of God as well. That presses in upon him
or her and they settle, “I want both.” They are then in an impossible position because you can’t
serve God and mammon.
What in fact happens is that they begin to die inside. And the signs of death are obvious to them.
When they first received Jesus they actually had power over sin. In the early days it was
magnificent. They just obeyed God. They could say with all their hearts, “Whosoever is born of God
does not commit sin. I don’t want to because I am so taken up with my Lord. Whatever he wants I
In the early days their first love was filled with victory over sin. Now they begin to fall back
into the position that Paul used to describe a Jew under the law. That Jew said, “The good that I
would I cannot do and the evil that I hate is what I do.” And so a carnal Christian first of all
begins to have trouble inside. He begins to feel anger inside where he never felt it after Jesus
came in because Jesus cleared out the anger. He didn’t feel envious before because he was taken up
with his love of the Lord. He didn’t feel worry before because he was absolutely confident that
Jesus would take care of all things. His heart was clean and clear. But now he begins to feel these
things within. He doesn’t do them outwardly because he has enough power of the Holy Spirit to keep
him in obedience outwardly and to abide by the truth that “whosoever is born of God does not commit
sin.” But as he moves more and more against God’s will, as he more and more resists dying with
Christ and being crucified to the world, so these things get the upper hand.
It’s like if somebody that you wanted to impress came in to visit you and they don’t like dogs. They
have an allergy to dogs and you have a huge Alsatian. You have a huge wooden chest and you put him
in it. Then you sit on it and talk away while jumping up from time to time because the dog is trying
to get out. You try to hold it down but gradually you get worn out. You can’t hold the anger in
anymore and you can’t hold the envy in anymore or the jealousy. It begins to shoot out in sarcastic
remarks, in critical remarks. You begin to lose even the outward victory that you had as a child of
God. Of course it’s then that you begin to have trouble with sin after conversion.
There’s no mystery about how to be delivered from carnality. There really isn’t. There’s no mystery.
Jesus’ parents lost him on the way from the feast in Jerusalem. Do you remember that? They were
coming back from the feast and they found he was no longer in the company. What did they do? They
went back to where they lost him and found him in the temple. That’s what you do.
If you find now that you are a carnal Christian and you do have some of the marks and the works of
the flesh inside you; that you do experience envy and jealousy and pride, you do experience bad
temper or a critical spirit or fear of what other people will think of you, then go back to where
you left the Spirit of Jesus. Somewhere back in your life you have grieved the Holy Spirit.
Somewhere he showed you a way that was the Calvary road and you said, “No” to him. That’s the first
step. Go back to that place.
The way to do that is two fold. First of all look at reality on the Cross and secondly look to the
Holy Spirit. The first step is look to the reality of the Cross which is in Romans 6:11, then look
to the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:13. Let’s look at Romans 6:11. “So you also must consider
yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ” If you’re a child of God it’s because
you have accepted your place in Jesus. If you are in Jesus you’re on the cross and you were
crucified. Satan will try to get you to look to your experiences. But you get angry, you get
envious, you get jealous. You’re not crucified. Don’t yield to that deception. That’s how Satan
persuaded so many of the monastic orders to try to crucify themselves by masochism. No. Look to what
is a fact. You were crucified with Christ.
God says it again in Galatians 5:24. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the
flesh.” It’s already been crucified. Stand on that ground. Don’t stand on any other ground. The
problem of carnality is not primarily of morality. It’s a spiritual problem. It’s a problem of you
accepting what has already happened to you in Jesus. It’s you believing a lie that you were not
crucified with Christ. It’s you believing that you’re still alive and can do what you want with your
So the first step in deliverance from carnality is to get back to that FACT of the cross and to look
at that cross to say, “Lord I believe that I was crucified with Christ. I believe that I’m as dead
now as Gus Young is dead. I’m as dead now as Rick Olander is dead now. I’m as dead now and with you
as Bill Wallace is dead now and with you. I have been crucified with you, Lord Jesus. I know that
and Lord I know that I don’t have to crucify myself. I know that that’s a fact. I have been included
in your death with you.
Loved ones, it’s a matter of living with Jesus and dying with Jesus. So God wants you to fix your
mind on that fact. That’s where you start. You look not at your own experience but you look at Jesus
and you get caught up again with him. You say, “Lord Jesus, as you bore those people jibing at you
and mocking you, you were at peace. I was in you and with you. As I look down upon them through
your eyes I see them jeering at me. I see them making a fool of me and mocking me. Lord. I’d rather
be with you on this cross dying like this than the king of the whole world.”
So it’s coming together with your dear Savior again and seeing the reality of yourself in Him, not
seeing all the difficulty of what the people in your office think of you or what your friends think
of you. It’s concentrating on Jesus and setting your mind on the fact that you HAVE been crucified
with Him. In order not to be crucified with him you have to believe a lie and you have to live a lie
for 70 or 80 years here on earth.
Loved ones, the first step in deliverance from carnality is fixing your thoughts on that fact that
whether you like it or not all of us who belong to Christ Jesus have already crucified the flesh. We
actually are living a lie if we pretend that we are depending on other people’s opinions because we
have been already included with him. Our personality has already been reversed. Do you see that
there is actually no reason why anybody cannot stop any habit that they want to stop? The habit is
there due to the fact that their personality is addicted to the world and to people for their
security and significance and happiness. But that has been destroyed so actually there is no
addiction. And it’s Satan that persuades you that there is still an addiction when actually there
Norman Vincent Peale (writer of “The Power of Positive Thinking”) does have something, in that
actually the whole work has already been done and all you have to do is say, “I accept it. Yes I
do.” Now the weakness of the power of positive thinking is that there is a tendency to teach that by
the very power of the positive thinking itself you are free. Where of course it is Jesus’ death that
frees you. But there is real truth in that fact that actually all you have to do is believe.
It is fact that your personality has already been crucified with Christ and any addiction you have
to any habit at all: a habit of unclean thoughts, a habit of envy, a habit of inferiority, or a
habit of depending on people for your respect and for your position, that personality has been
crucified with Christ. Actually you are in the mess you are (if you are in a mess) simply because
you believe Satan’s lie that you are still alive and it is very important what your boss thinks of
you. It’s actually a lie. You have been crucified with Christ and it doesn’t matter what he thinks
of you. He has no power at all over your future.
So in a real sense the place to begin is at the Cross, at the fact that all of us were in Christ
Jesus and belong to him have already crucified the flesh. We simply consider ourselves dead indeed
unto sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. “Logidzesthe” is the Greek word for consider. It means
treat yourself as really dead. That’s where the rub comes in for some of us. The Holy Spirit begins
to show you, “Now if you are really dead, the time when you strike back at that sarcastic person in
the office (and you know your mind is better than theirs and you can walk rings around them in
repartee) is the moment you have to give up. You have to die to your right to strike back at them.
You have to take your place in Jesus and ‘as a lamb before the shearers is dumb so opened he not his
mouth’, so you have not to open your mouth.”
Now, are you willing to treat yourself as being as really dead as that? Are you willing to appear
rather a fool when you could quite well answer them back and could put them right back in their
place? Are you prepared to be regarded as less able than they are and to be regarded as much as a
fool as Jesus was on Calvary?
The Holy Spirit will choose instances that apply exactly to your life. They will deal just with the
self and the carnal attitudes that rule your life. He’ll pick just the right ones. Then he’ll say,
“Now are you prepared to “logidzesthe” and treat yourself as really dead to sin and alive to God. So
you see it’s not just a matter of the mind, it’s actually the will. You can play mind games as much
as you want up here in your head, but if the will is saying, “No, I am not prepared to put myself in
that position”, then you can go no further in a deliverance.
The second step is in Romans 8:13. There is only one way by which you can make this death real in
you. It certainly isn’t by your own power. Romans 8: 13, “For if you live according to the flesh
you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” That’s
the power. It’s by the Spirit. That’s how you put to death the deeds of the body. It is a constant
experience of deliverance.
Having settled with the Father “I’m willing”, and reached the ground of your heart (the Holy Spirit
will get you down to that level where you are willing and then he’ll reveal a whole other level that
you never saw before. He’ll take you down and down. When he gets you to the ground of your heart —
which is probably just the first five of five million things that he’s going to ask you to do in the
future — but when he gets you to the fifth one and you say “Yes”, then the only way for the death
and resurrection of Jesus to be made real in you day by day is by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s
by the power of the Holy Spirit that you put to death the deeds of the body. The next day when you
get up after taking this position, you don’t walk out to work saying, “I’m not going to be angry,
I’m not going to be angry, I’m not going to be angry. I’m patient, I’m patient, I’m patient.”
That’s by the power of the mind. You don’t try to hold the stuff down. That’s by suppression. You
say, “Holy Spirit, blessed Spirit, you alone can make Jesus’ death real in me. Holy Spirit, I won’t
move a step without you.”
Loved ones, it’s hard to explain to you the total dependence on the Holy Spirit that will alone
bring the meaning and the truth and the power of Jesus’ death into your life. Even as I use words
here I realize that it’s impossible to do it. I think of Jim Stemphley if he is here tonight and
battling the old eye business. I know that when he comes into a strange room he really has to move
on one of our arms. It’s like that. It’s that kind of absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit. It’s a
realization that you have no power to get rid of this carnality yourself. You have no power to make
the death of Jesus real in you. The Holy Spirit alone can do it.
You hang upon it. You lean upon it. It’s like Jacob at Peniel. When his thigh joint was put out of
place he limped for the rest of his life. That’s what it’s like. It’s limping upon the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a crutch that you lean on and that’s the only way you can walk. It’s an absolute
conviction that you cannot make the death of Jesus real in your life for one moment. Only the Holy
Spirit can. He alone can bring the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection into you day by day. And
it is a day-to-day experience.
The trend to live from the world and people is continually there. It’s simply that it’s rendered
inoperative by your absolute dependence upon the Holy Spirit. It’s as if God holds the old self on
the Cross as long as you fix your attention on what God has done for you in Christ and fix your will
on the Holy Spirit moment by moment. It’s again trust and obey. We believe “I have been crucified
with Christ” and it’s obey the Holy Spirit moment by moment.
As you do that God “renders inoperative” that body of sin. That’s what Romans 6:6 states, “We know
that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed.” The “sinful
body” is better-translated “the body of sin”. What it means is the body you see was one that was the
instrument of sin. It was dominated by sin so it was the body that belonged to sin. That perverted
personality that was reversed continually is rendered inoperative. “Katargethe” is the Greek word.
It really means is “rendered inoperative”. The flesh is always here. The body is always here. But it
is rendered inoperative. It is held on the Cross by the power of the Holy Spirit. As you fix your
belief on what God has done for you in Jesus and are willing for that, then day-by-day as you submit
to the Holy Spirit he gives you a clean heart. A clean heart enables you to sense that you are
absolutely pure inside and that you really do want what God wants.
He begins to give you forewarning of temptation before you meet them. It’s as if you have clean,
clear eyes. Before you were like that blind man that was healed. Jesus said, “Can you see?” He said,
“I can see men as trees walking.” But now the Holy Spirit touches you the second time. God touches
you a second time and you can see clearly. You can see everything clearly. You can see the whole
spiritual world before you clearly. You can see exactly how Satan is maneuvering. You can see
exactly how other people are maneuvering. Somehow the walk becomes simple and victorious. At last
you feel clean and pure. At last it’s possible to live from above. And the Holy Spirit fills you
with himself. That’s what it means to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then he fills you because you are letting him run your whole life. He is able not only to fill your
spirit but your soul and your body and he continues to increasingly fill you. From then on the new
life he gives you is just a matter of new knowledge and you just walk on into it. I would want to go
on record yet again with more joy than I could possible express that as George Muller said, “There
came a day when I died to sin and I died to self.” I have to witness also that there came a day when
I died to sin and I died to self. My life has never been the same and that was about fourteen years
ago. Then I entered into real Christianity. Then I entered into what God promised in the Bible
where, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This happened only after I came
into a second conviction of sin in my own life and began to deal with the Cross and the Holy Spirit
in this way.
Now would you like to ask questions?
Q. How can we be perfect?
A: I have to go back to Jesus’ words. “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” I
have to defend that word even though I know it’s a booby trap if ever there was one. I have to go
along with the word that Jesus did say, “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
Now I believe that there is a clear definition that would help us. There are two words used in Greek
for perfect. One emphasizes perfection, as a rose bud is perfect. A rose bud is perfect, yet it
isn’t a fully-grown rose. But it is perfect at its stage. Now it seems to me that that’s the word
that Jesus uses. It’s the word that Paul uses when he says, “Let as many of us as be perfect.” And
so perfection means are you fulfilling the purpose for which you were made. Is this pen perfect for
flying? No. But it is perfect for writing. So it’s perfect for the purpose for which it is made. So
we can be perfect for the purpose for which we were made here on earth, which is to obey Jesus and
to express his life to the world.
Then Paul says, “Let us press on.” And it’s so often defined as on to perfection. It’s the Greek
word that means maturity. So, it means onto a fully-grown rose. In other words perfection that we
can have in this life is purity. But all through our life we will be pressing on to maturity.
I will spend the rest of the next three years talking about maturity. What we are doing here is
saying, “Yes, Holy Spirit you can work through my personality and redeem it all and reroute it and
remold it completely in God’s image. Then the Holy Spirit takes us at our word and he begins to
work. That’s what I regard as walking in the spirit or bringing the soul under complete control of
the spirit and that is maturity.
But I would have to ask you to back against the great movement of Christendom in the past years
which I think has been motivated by Satan. We have been ashamed of the word perfect. I think that
there is a sense in which we are to be perfect. That is Christian perfection and that is purity. It
is conscience obedience to God.
Q: Is it wrong to judge others?
A: Brother, the real issue is in what sense must you “judge not that you be not judged” and in what
sense must you test the spirits because obviously there is clear commandment to judge spirits and to
discern. I would put it on that level. I would say that there is a critical spirit that is
motivated primarily by self’s desire to build itself up by tearing down others. That is more what I
would call condemnation. It is not only judging people but it was putting them under you for your
Then there is a judging of spirits that God asks us to do so that we will not get involved in wrong
spiritual life. That is the same as the judging that I’m involved in day after day when I judge how
well the shoe shop is going or how well our costing in the restaurant is going. It seems to me that
kind of judging God expects us to do. It’s the only way our minds can be used to bring things more
and more into his order. I would make the distinction between judging in order to build myself up by
tearing others down (which is sinful judging) and judging in order to maintain my own life in God’s
will or to bring a life further into God’s will.
Q: Doesn’t our intuition influence our mind?
A: I agree with you that not only is there a sense in which we must let the intuition of our
spirits be reflected by our minds but there is also a sense in which the mind itself has to be
cleaned and formed and renewed so that that will take place. And there is also a sense in which you
mentioned in which the mind can actually aide the spirit. So I agree.
Q: Isn’t discernment different from judging?
A: Barb says the Greek word in that phrase “discern the spirits” means discern and not judge so why
would I use judge? I think I used it Barb because I saw one translation that used judge and I
remember seeing that that was one way in which you could bring out the fact that there were two
kinds of judging even mentioned in scripture. I don’t have the Greek dictionary so I won’t fight you
on the meaning. I’m happy with what you are saying that discern is the better translation in regard
Q: Doesn’t the Bible say that judging is wrong?
A: Barb is referring to the verses that I used, “judge not that ye be not judged” and “judge the
spirits”. And I think what you’d love to find even in this English translation does not make a
confusion but already a brother brought up a few Sundays ago the fact that the Bible does say,
“anyone who is angry with his brother is guilty of judgment.” And yet it does say, “Be angry and sin
not.” So you cannot have clear definitions just through the English words themselves. You have to
interpret them in light of context and in the light of the original Greek. I don’t think you could
go right through scripture and find that the word judge was never used in a good way. “He judged
Israel.” There it is. So all the judges that operated in Israel in early days were judging between
two plaintiffs. So I think you’d have to face the fact that there is the right kind of judging and a
wrong kind of judging. There is a right kind of anger and a wrong kind of anger.
Let’s pray. Lord, we would pray that you’ll make us a fragrance of life to life. Lord Jesus, thank
you that it’s not through all our expositions and explanations but it’s through our love of you, our
real intimate respect for you, desire for you and hunger for you. Lord thank you that you’ve
promised that those people are blessed who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be
filled. We thank you that your promise is sure.
Holy Spirit, I would trust you to enable anyone who is experiencing carnality to see that there is a
way out. There is a deliverance that is instantaneous. It can be theirs because it’s entered into by
faith, which is simply belief and obedience. And Lord we thank you that we are able to believe that
we were crucified with you and therefore have no more call on anybody, no more right to expect
anybody to give us anything or to expect the world to give us anything. And then we can obey you
Holy Spirit as our Lord and Master, day-by-day and moment-by-moment and experience the miraculous
resurrection of Jesus and live on the other side of Calvary. Thank you Lord. Now the grace of our
Lord Jesus, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and