Walking as Men
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3)
The actions and attitudes of the saved brethren in Corinth seemed natural and normal to them. They were not deliberately setting their will to be envious, to strive, to divide. Notice the significance of the “yet.” The man of God tells them that they are “yet carnal.” They were carnal when they were children, before they sinned with accountability. They were carnal when they were sinners. And they were “yet carnal” when they had been forgiven and the nature of Christ had been implanted in them. How did this “yet carnal” manifest itself? “Are ye not carnal and walk as men?”
This is the nature of unbelief in men. It doubts the realities that are in God. “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) Note the definite conclusion of our Lord. “With men it is impossible.” Why? Because they are men and are walking as men. “Well,” says the man walking as a man, “how can it be otherwise? I don’t see how it can be otherwise.” With men, the spirit of skepticism is justified in doubting, but not with God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Is it possible for men to not walk as men? Nicodemus (who was yet carnal) said, “How can these things be?” (John 3:9) The official in Samaria, who heard the prophecy of the man of God concerning the relief of the famine, could not imagine, could not grasp, the enormity of such a change, and he said “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” (2 Kings 7:2) He was rebuked for his unbelief. He was told, “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” He was walking as a man. That was his crime.
But is it possible to not walk as men? “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31) Now this is certainly the experience of one who was enabled to reach out and grasp the ways of God through faith. Peter did not grasp them firmly enough to walk without wavering, but he did grasp the promise enough to not walk as men. “He walked on the water to go to Jesus.” This is a wonderful thing! This is our privilege. At Thy command, O Lord, we would come to You, walking on the water, sustained by Thee. But to successfully walk on the water continually, we must trust Him to help us to keep our eyes on Him and to help us to ignore the wind and waves. Let us absorb the lesson. It is possible for us to live, “lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1 Timothy 2:8) Note the power of these words: “without… doubting.” “Neither be ye of doubtful mind.” (Luke 12:29)
The first step to walking in faith in God is to renounce your unbelief. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12) Our part is to forsake, to abhor, to condemn the natural unbelief of the nature of wrath and doubting within us. When this is done, when we have been afflicted to the extent that we mourn and weep, as we read in James 4:9, then we will be inspired to believe the promises of God for a purified heart. We will then count Him faithful who promised. But until this happens, the promises of God will seem remote and vague, and we will continue to be plagued with a double-mindedness that frustrates the Holy Ghost in our case. When we do not believe, then we cannot “labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:11)
“If thou wilt know the fountain deep
Of sweet unbroken rest,
The rest of faith thy soul shall keep—
He that believes is ever blest.
“The gift of faith no limit knows
Save God’s unbounded Word;
It triumphs o’er its giant foes
And glorifies the blessed Lord.
“Stay not in feeble unbelief
When God commands be strong;
Be strong in Him, the Word believe,
And shout the overcomer’s song.
“I can do all in Jesus’ name,
Thus sings the faith of God;
It sings, and hills of trouble flee;
It rides triumphant on the flood.”*
There is no exaggeration in these words. They that have entered into rest have found that they are so. But in those who have not entered into that rest, who have given place to wrath and doubting (i.e., frustration and skepticism); they see no difference between those who are wholly sanctified and those who are not. If I walk as men, I see things in a fleshly way. The unsanctified have trials; the sanctified have trials. The unsanctified read the Bible and obtain inspiration from the same, as do the wholly sanctified. That there is an experience in God that transforms the everyday things of life into a higher plane of living is a vision that is mostly hidden from the yet carnal. Such scriptures as, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28) and “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)—these are a mystery to those who walk as men. Those who hold a higher experience before them as regarded as dangerously spiritually ambitious. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 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.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2) It does not seem to the carnal that they are unspiritual. They do not comprehend that they are not able to bear the meat of the Word. This, too, is part of the meaning of walking as men. “Ye were not able to bear it.” “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)