WHAT MANNER OF MAN ARE YOU
In the Bible Paul speaks about:
The Natural Man The Carnal Man The Spiritual Man
Let’s look carefully at these three men to see which one we are, and what we can do about it.
The Natural Man
The natural man is one who has never yet passed out of death into life. He has never been born- again. He’s never been recreated. He’s never become a new creature in Christ Jesus.
This natural unspiritual man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for he cannot know them. The things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to him.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Another translation says; “because they are spiritually understood.”
The things of God and spiritual things are spiritually understood. You cannot understand them with your mind.
If you understood the things of God and spiritual things with your mind, then the natural man could understand them.
But you don’t understand it with your mind. You discern them, or understand them with your spirit.
That is why when we were not born again, we could never understand the Bible when we read it; it’s because our spirit was not recreated with the life of God. We could not understand it with our spirit.
The Bible is of the Spirit of God. It is not natural human knowledge. Holy men of old wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God.
That is why we should pray the following prayer on a daily basis:
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you [me] the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your [my] understanding being enlightened; that you [I] may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us [me] who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…
You see, all the knowledge the natural man has is received through his five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. His mind is actually governed by his senses.
This is what we call sense knowledge. The only knowledge that he possesses is what he has received through his five physical senses. And this natural man relies on his senses to govern his life.
But born-again believers have a knowledge that is above the flesh, above the senses. This is what we call revelation knowledge.
This knowledge is revealed to us in the Word of God. It’s above the natural.
The Bible brings you a revelation or reveals knowledge to you, which your physical senses could not grasp. You cannot understand it even after revelation comes but thank God it’s there.
It is very important for every believer to understand the difference between sense knowledge and revelation knowledge.
Simon Peter found out that Jesus was the Christ not through sense knowledge but through revelation knowledge.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”
Flesh and blood [sense knowledge] has not revealed this to you but My Father [revelation knowledge] who is in heaven.
This knowledge came from heaven. This knowledge is above the natural. This knowledge is from above.
Many religious people are not revelation knowledge people but sense knowledge people. It’s all in their minds. They are governed by their physical senses. This leads them to repudiate revelation knowledge, or to give it second place in their lives.
Someone said, “What you not up on, you down on.” The natural man, who has not been born again, is not up on spiritual things. He does not know anything about them, so he is down on them.
The following scriptures are a picture of us before we got saved and it’s a picture of everybody who is not now saved. This was our natural walk and this is their natural walk now.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh – who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
They are without hope, Hopeless. They are without God, Godless. Hopeless and Godless.
So this is the picture of the natural man but thank God there is a way. There’s a way out. There’s a way to God and Jesus is that way. Jesus said, “I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life”.
The Carnal Man
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
So who is this carnal man? He is the babe in Christ. Not a newborn babe because Paul said to the Corinthians that they should have been beyond where they were in their spiritual development.
The Hebrew Christians were in the same place.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
So we see that both the Corinthians and the Hebrew Christians should have been beyond where they were spiritually. They were not able to receive more spiritually.
That is why we always have to discern who we are talking to because some people are not able to receive what we are saying.
And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it.
Some people are not able to hear certain truths yet because they need to develop and grow spiritually.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is written to born- again, Spirit-filled believers, even to a church which had all the spiritual gifts operating in it.
But the Bible says they were carnal. Another translation for the word carnal is “Fleshly”. It really means a person who is governed by his physical senses. Someone who is governed by his flesh.
Though he is born-again and a new creature, he walks after the order of natural men. He is allowing his mind and his flesh to dictate his actions instead of allowing his spirit to govern him.
When you operate in the flesh, acting in strife, envy and division you are acting and behaving like mere men. That means people who are not born again.
So you are born again. You have the Spirit of God in you, but when you allow your flesh to dominate your spirit. When you operate in strife and fighting and quarrelling and envy, you will come to the place where you will live just like someone who is not born again. You become like a natural man.
And a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God because it is foolishness unto him. The things of God will be foolishness to you.
You will be ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth. And what you have learned you will forget because you are not walking in love but in strife.
That is why Paul says that he had to feed them with milk again instead of solid food because they were not able to hear and receive greater revelation as a result of strife and divisions.
Every now and then, you run into baby Christians who have never grown spiritually but it’s amazing to see how they think they are so spiritual yet they live in the flesh or in the senses.
Carnal Christians have not learned the love law or the love walk. When you love one another you won’t walk in envy and strife and jealousy and division. When you are spiritual you learn that.
But thank God we can grow out of the carnality stage and grow into the spiritual man that God desires for all of us.
As we yield to the Love of God, as we walk in the Word of God instead of the flesh, we will grow. We will develop. We will operate on a higher level. We will begin to enjoy the privileges and spiritual blessings that belong to us in Christ.
We will stop eating crackers and cheese and start enjoying the full buffet prepared at our Father’s table of abundance.
God will begin to use us to bring others to that place of spiritual development. We will begin to teach others what we have learned because now we see it working in our lives.
The Spiritual Man
Who is this spiritual man? What are his characteristics?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
The spiritual man is the person who has allowed his life to be ruled and governed by the Word of God. The spiritual man is one who knows what belongs to him in Christ Jesus and takes advantage of it.
The spiritual man is the one who knows who he is in Christ and who Christ is in him and has developed an intimate relationship with the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual people know they are already empowered to be successful. They are people who feed regularly on the Word of God and take advantage of the promises of God in the Word. He is one who has saturated himself in love, the love of God.
The spiritual man is the one who has come to know the Father in reality. [For further study on who the Father is, go through lesson 2].
The spiritual man comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ in His great ministry at the right hand of the Father. Do you realize that Jesus is still working on our behalf at the right hand of the Father?
Many know Him as Saviour but we need to grow up and know Him as Our High Priest.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus is able to identify with our weaknesses and struggles. He is gentle and understanding when we come to Him.
We grow by knowing Him as Our Advocate.
1 John 2:1
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Jesus is our Advocate. He’s our lawyer. He pleads our case. He defends us. When we miss it and fall into sin, Jesus our Advocate speaks up for us. He’s blood still speaks for us.
We grow by knowing Him as Our Intercessor.
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Jesus is not condemning us. Jesus is praying for us.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
We grow by knowing Him as Shepherd.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. [I shall not lack]
Jesus our Shepherd feeds us; guides us and shields us.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
The spiritual man has come to know the blessed intimacy of the Holy Spirit as He is unveiled in the Word.
Get acquainted with the Holy Spirit through the Word. When you know what the Word says about Him, then you will know what He’ll do.
You will know how He manifests Himself and you will know how to yield to Him. You will be able to walk with Him and see yourself grow spiritually.
John 14:16 Amplified
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby, that He may remain with you forever.
He remains with you forever, He doesn’t leave you when you sin, when you make a mistake. He remains with you forever.
The Holy Spirit is Our Comforter
The Holy Spirit is Our Counsellor
The Holy Spirit is Our Helper
The Holy Spirit is Our Intercessor
The Holy Spirit is Our Advocate
The Holy Spirit is Our Strengthener
The Holy Spirit is Our Standby
And He lives in us.
The Holy Spirit is also Our Teacher.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The Holy Spirit also invites us to go into the deep things of God. He is willing to teach us and show us the things of God that belong to us.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
You must believe and keep on believing that God has great things prepared for you, things that your natural mind cannot comprehend. Things that are exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or think or even imagine.
But in order for you to experience these great things, means that you will have to take the path that God has prepared ahead of time for you.
Ephesians 2:10 Amplified
For we are God’s own handiwork [His workmanship], recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined [planned beforehand] for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
God has prepared a good life for us but we will only live that good life if we take the path, if we choose the path that He has prepared ahead of time for us.
1 Corinthians 2:10
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
God reveals those great things that He has prepared for you by His Spirit. The things that your eye has not seen, your ear has not heard, nor have entered into your heart. God reveals them to you by His Holy Spirit.
That is why it is so important for us to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. It’s important for us to listen to His leading and obey His promptings regardless of how silly it might look.
The Holy Spirit is smarter than we are and He sees the whole picture. Learn to obey Him quickly. Follow His leading. Fellowship and commune with Him. Learn to spend time with Him. Tune into Him. You get to know His voice when you spend time fellowshipping with Him.
2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Learn to invite Him in. Learn to open the door of your heart to Him. The Holy Spirit will come in and dine and fellowship with us.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Jesus loves to spend time with us. The Holy Spirit loves to fellowship with us.
Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11-13
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The Holy Spirit has been sent to teach us the Word of God.
When we Respect Him, we will then Recognize Him and we will be able to Respond to Him. (RRR)
1 John 2:20
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
1 John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
This does not mean that we do not need teachers in the body of Christ to teach us the Word of God but that the Holy Spirit in us will teach us right from wrong. He will protect us from being deceived and from being led astray. He will teach us what we need to know on a daily basis.
All these spiritual blessings that belong to us are unveiled and revealed to us by the aid and the energy of the Spirit of God Himself.
So begin to find out who you are in Christ. Learn who Christ is in you. Allow the Word of God to govern your life instead of your mind and flesh governing you.
Begin to take advantage of the spiritual blessings that belong to you in Christ.
A Word of Encouragement
Let me encourage you. We are all still a work in progress. God is not done with us. We are still being conformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
Don’t become discouraged because you don’t become a full grown Christian overnight. You never became a full grown human overnight.
But keep growing. Keep learning. Stay open. Stay teachable. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring correction into your life.
Be quick to confess any error quickly. Be quick to make right with others. Keep yourself in the Love of God on a daily basis.
You will grow spiritually and become mature in God.
Holy Spirit I am so grateful that You are my Comforter, my Counselor, my Helper, my Intercessor, my Advocate, my Strengthener and Standby.
Thank You God for revealing the things that You have prepared for me by your Spirit. The Spirit of God is causing me to know the things that God has freely given to me.
These things that the Holy Spirit reveals to me, I also speak them. I also speak the things that the Holy Spirit teaches me. I’m not a natural man. I am a spiritual man who receives the things of the Spirit of God.
It is not foolishness unto me but its wisdom unto me. I know them because they are spiritually discerned. I know and understand the mind, the counsels and purposes of the Lord because I have the mind of Christ. I do hold the thoughts, the feelings and the purposes of God’s heart.
Thank you Holy Spirit for teaching me all things. Thank you for teaching me how to profit and leading me in the way I should go.
I am born of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God leads me. He is leading me now. The Holy Spirit will rise big in me today. He will give illumination to my mind. He will give direction to my spirit.
I am always at the right place at the right time because I am led by the Spirit of God. Holy Spirit, I Respect You, I Recognize You and I will Respond to You.
In Jesus Name
[John 14:16 Amp; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; John 14:26; Isaiah 48:16-18]
Ps. Lester Holland