1 Corinthians1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS, CALLED (to be) SAINTS, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
1 Corinthians 3:3 FOR YE ARE YET CARNAL: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Paul is writing to the Christians at Corinth, a city filled with immorality, known for its excess and sexual license. It seems like the least likely place for Christianity to be established but the Gospel was preached and believed there. As you read the text in First Corinthians 1:2 you will note that the KJV translators added the words “to be” translating it as “called to be saints” but it is not in the original manuscripts.
We are saints, holy ones now in Christ by the grace of God not our merits. He describes the believers there as saints, holy ones, set apart ones in the second verse yet in 1 Corinthians 3:3 he calls them carnal or fleshly. How can they be holy ones in one verse and then carnal ones in another verse? It is because in one verse he is describing their position in Christ, their spiritual standing by virtue of Jesus work given them by the grace of God. In the second verse listed (1Cor. 3:3) they are called carnal because he is describing their very low actual spiritual condition and practices. Both were the truth, one a positional truth the other a conditional truth. Having been called saints (positionally) we are supposed to act like it (conditionally or in practice).
It is extremely important to recognize the truths in the bible that reveal both sides of truth. Positional truth describes what Jesus has already done for us that is ours by the grace of God. Our condition in the natural every day practices of our walk may or may not reflect that. Positional truth describes the work that is already done and our focus upon it is to affect our every day practice or walk. Our response at any one moment in time may be good or it may be bad. We may measure up to it or we may fall short of it. We are to keep our eyes on it and set our affections on things above as Colossians 3:2.
A false message of grace has people only looking on the positional truth side of things and because it is already done they conclude there is no response to it, no obedience required, no works to be done. This is not true grace. Grace is the faithful work of God for man out which should come the faithful work of man for God. The Corinthians were made holy and sanctified in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30) but needed to raise their walk up to the level of His work.