THREE TYPES OF MAN
To better understand our problem of overcoming in a world under the dominion of the demoniac kingdom, we need to know something about the three types of men mentioned in the scriptures, the natural man, the carnal man, and the spiritual man [ I Cor. 2:14-16 and 3:1-4 ] These three types live in two different realms with the carnal man living in both of them, yet not a very good citizen of either.
The natural man is the unregenerate man devoid of spiritual life. He is man without God, under the dominion and control of his five natural senses. He lives completely in the carnal [fleshly] or earthly realm. The senses of sight, smell, sound, taste, and feeling govern his life. The natural man is completely dead so far as God and righteousness are concerned. His death is the result of the curse of the law that says the soul that sinneth it shall die. He may be a fine citizen, religious, moral and upright, but he is still dead. He doesn’t need religion or reformation, he needs life. The life he needs is Christ. This is why he must be born again. Devoid of spiritual life the natural man has no capacity for the things of the Spirit. If he happens to be religious he is still dead to God and true righteousness. His religion is external with his heart unchanged. In this condition he is incapable of understanding spiritual things [ I Cor. 2:14 ]
The carnal man has received Christ into his heart but he is still to a great degree under the influence of a fleshly-dominated mind. The five natural senses still influence him greatly despite the fact that Christ has come into his life. In fact he is so influenced and controlled by his fleshly mind until he acts and thinks like the natural man at times. Being a spiritual babe, the carnal man is limited in his ability to perceive things of the spirit [ I Cor. 3:1-3, Heb. 5:12-14 ] Because of immaturity he is also more subject to the influence of demons than a spiritual man. Strife and divisions are chief characteristics of those living in this realm. The carnal man can be on the mountain top today and in the deepest valley tomorrow. Because of his immaturity he goes by his feelings more than he does the Word. However, there is a distinct difference in the natural man and the carnal Christian. Whereas the natural man is dead and cannot receive spiritual things at all, the carnal man has life and is capable of receiving and growing in the grace and knowledge of God. [ I Peter 2:1-2, 2 Peter 3:18, Eph. 4:15, Romans 12:1-2 ]
The spiritual man is one who has grown up in spiritual things and is more under the control and influence of the Spirit and Word of God than he is the flesh. His spirituality, of course, depending on the degree of growth and development. Those who are spiritual have presented their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. They have consequently been transformed by the renewing of their minds whereby they are able to know what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God [ Rom. 12:1-2 ]. It is the renewed mind of the spiritual man that enables him to discern good on one hand and evil on the other [ Heb. 5:14 ]. A common ruse or deception that Satan uses on the natural man and the carnal Christian will not work against one that is spiritual. He alone is capable of walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh [ Galatians 5:16] The spiritual man alone can say of Satan “...we are not ignorant of his devices.” [ 2 Cor. 2:11]
Our great problem is to bring men out of the carnal fleshy realm into the realm of the spiritual man. only then will they be able to overcome the flesh, the devil, and the world. Demon spirits cannot work in this realm because of the light. The spiritual man is filled with light which enables him to recognize and resist the enemy. The key to our problem cannot be found through some quick or mystical experience that suddenly puts us into some glorious realm. Don’t be deceived by those that propound this false gospel. Though many experiences come to those who walk with God it is day by day and moment by moment discipleship that counts [ John 8:31-32 ] Our problem is greatly complicated because we live in a society that understands little and cares less about spiritual things. It is an uphill battle against the tide of organized humanity that cares for and only understands the needs of the flesh man. Did you ever stop to realize that the whole world system exists for one purpose and that is to serve the natural man? The tens of thousands of patent medicines, remedies, drugs, cosmetics and what-have-you upon the shelves at a drug store are all made for the flesh man. Crops are grown, tools are made, music composed, literature written, movies and all entertainment are designed for the natural man with his five senses. Everything under the sun is either directly or indirectly catering to the carnal nature of man. Beyond question this is the most difficult obstacle in our way of overcoming Satan and his demon host. Our earthly body with its carnal nature made up of the five senses is against us. The old unregenerated Adam man with his fleshly appetite and desires is at enmity with God and righteousness [ Rom. 8:7 ]. Our minds have catered to the demands of the natural man so long they can’t think apart from the influence of the flesh. This is what Paul was talking about when he said, when I would do good, evil is present with me [ Rom. 7:21 ]. Every time you attempt to do something of a spiritual nature your carnal mind goes to work to hinder you. Notice how difficult it is to pray regularly or for very
long periods of time. Your mind is usually flooded with things you need to do when you start to pray.
The answer to our problem is a renewed mind. There can be no transformation of our lives apart from a renewed mind [ Rom. 12:1-2 ] Our actions, deeds, words and life in general are governed by our thought life. Controlled by the law of sin and death so long, our complete thought pattern must be changed [ Rom. 8:2 ] The first step in the right direction is the presentation of our bodies, the human vessel, a living sacrifice unto the Lord [ Rom. 12:1-2 ]. All of our religious effort apart from this is filthy rags in the eyes of a holy God [ Isa. 64:6 ]. There can be no spiritual progress until our wills are surrendered and God has possession of our lives. This means to be and do whatever God chooses for us [ Luke 9:23-25 ]. With this presentation of our bodies a living sacrifice the Spirit of God becomes a reality in our life. Taking the Word of God the Holy Spirit begins the work of renewing our minds that will transform our life. Through willing cooperation on our part this renewal of our minds will become a steady growth as the Lord leads us from truth to truth with such experiences as we need in between [ I Peter 2:2 ] Often we will be delivered unto death as our infinitely wise and loving Lord deems it necessary. But even in experiences such as this we must learn to rejoice knowing it is working for our good [ Rom. 8:28, I Thess. 5:18, James 1:2-4 ]. This is his way of crucifying the old Adam man that the new man Christ might be made manifest. [ 2 Cor. 4:11-12, Rom. 8:13 ]. The actual renewing of our minds is accomplished as we day by day learn God’s ways and continue in his word. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [ John 8:31-32 ]. There is a great secret here that multitudes of professing Christians have never learned. Continuing in his word is more than listening to sermons, reading the Bible or religious literature. It is more than memorizing verses of scripture and getting an intellectual grasp of doctrines.
by C. PARKER THOMAS