Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV)
Carnality is the great enemy of Christianity. Carnality exists when Christians conduct themselves in a way devoid of basic brotherly-love. It is hard to fathom how a group of saints could basically be arguing over who was “the most spiritual” and yet act as carnal as did the Corinthians.
Paul told the Thessalonians, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJV) Although the Corinthians were taught of the Spirit of God to express brotherly-love, they completely misunderstood the true nature of being spiritual. To be truly spiritual is to be Christ-like. That is to say, to do what Christ would do if He were you. It is to love your neighbor as yourself.
“I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas, etc.,” were just a few of their symptoms of carnality. Add to that misuse of the gifts of the Spirit; taking each other to court, and fornication not even seen among sinners, and there was a recipe for a disaster that threatened to make a total mockery of Christ. These people were behaving as bad or worse than full-blown sinners and they needed to be dealt with.
Paul used the strongest of terms to plead with the Corinthians for unity of mind and of judgment. A cursory reading of the epistle demonstrates that though they believed they were spiritual, they were actually carnal. Getting carnal people to see that they are carnal can be difficult; especially if they don’t handle correction or advice well. Carnal simply means “fleshly.” They act in discord of God’s will and word. They are behaving contrary to what we are taught by Christ. In fact, the Corinthians had backslidden to the point that Paul could not speak to them as spiritual people. (1 Cor. 3:1) He had to use carnal (non-spiritual) illustrations as he would use with sinful men.
Had Paul not written 1 Corinthians the church at Corinth may have normalized bad behavior. Paul knew that he could not allow this to happen. The way some of the saints were treating each other was utterly unacceptable. Imagine being in an environment where cliques had formed that excluded other members of the church from their circle of love — as if doing so was an acceptable Christian behavior. They had defrauded each other of the love they owed one another. (Romans 13:8). This kind of high-handed carnality had to be dealt with swiftly.
Sadly, there are people who exist within the churches who withhold love as if it’s their right. They selectively fellowship with the saints. For example, they will walk past three people they don’t like in a meeting — to go greet one of their friends… and may even snub their friend’s spouse because they don’t like them either. Having rejected the plea to be perfectly joined together in the same mind, these type people have divided whole families by loving the one and not the other… by embracing one and rejecting the other. They are carnal agents of the enemy meant to bring total chaos and division within the churches and families.
One of the main reasons people leave churches is because of cliques. What happens? The pastor and leaders wonder why the church seems to be dead and not growing — or why there seems to be so much drama. Could it be that behind the scenes there are people causing offenses and are running people off? That simply means causing them to feel unloved, unwanted, or unwelcome. It could be a hateful grudge or anything causing it, but the results are the same… a division takes place and usually the offended leaves or moves one step closer to the door.
In some cases everyone knows who the trouble-makers are, but they are either silent or will defend them. Amazing! Understand that not everyone wants to be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. They don’t care that what they are doing is sinful. They have their excuses for doing it. Usually that excuse deals with something the person has done in the past or they simply don’t like their looks. They dislike a person and don’t even know why. this ought never to be found in the churches of God. Sadly, it is all too common.
If we were talking about junior high school that would be one matter; but we’re not. Behavior such as children exhibit in school has no place in the kingdom of God. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together (…). Paul put the Corinthians on notice. He revealed their carnal behaviors and attitudes towards one another and expected them to repent.
Unity Begins with the Word of Repentance
Until the carnal mind is dealt with there can be no unity. Unity must be gained through a call to return to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in all walks of our lives. Jesus said we are to love one another and to even love our enemies. He leaves no room or excuse for treating one person with love and another person with neglect or contempt. God’s will is that we love one another with a pure heart fervently. He wants it to be genuine love. This is the only hope. The alternative is complete discord and chaos. We can keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of perfectness; but we must determine we are going to live spiritual lives and avoid the carnalattitudes that put the church at Corinth at risk.