This Sunday we will hear the apostle Paul address the Corinthian Christians not as spiritual people, but as "people of the flesh" (1 Cor. 3:1). Lamentably, Paul's words here have been wrongly used by Christian teachers to identify two types of Christians, "spiritual" and "carnal." These teachers understand spiritual Christians to be true Christians who allow Christ to rule over their lives as Lord, and thus carnal Christians are true Christians who do not allow Christ to rule over their lives as Lord. From this perspective a carnal Christian believes the gospel and is saved, but does not experience transformation. For many reasons this way of thinking is terribly misguided. The Bible simply does not allow for the idea of "carnal," untransformed Christians.
On the contrary, all new Christians receive new hearts (Ez. 11:19), new minds (1 Cor. 2:16), new reasons to live, worship and obey (Rom. 12:1-2), and on the whole they become new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). In other words, you cannot be saved for eternal life in God's presence without a corresponding love for God and his glorious righteousness. While no Christian is ever perfect in their love and obedience to God in this life, we must also say that no one is ever a Christian who never loves and obeys God. To think of two categories of Christians (carnal and spiritual) does violence to the beautiful biblical truths of regeneration and sanctification.
Paul addresses the Corinthians to remind them of the true spiritual reality that they in fact own... and friends, may we be likewise reminded of the same. We are indeed new creations. We have God's Spirit. We have the very mind of Christ. Therefore, may we live and love accordingly. Below, Augustine speaks this truth profoundly well and his words are worthy of careful reflection.