Two Common Misunderstandings
As with Paul, so now our proclamation of the Gospel once delivered to the saints is open to misinterpretation. Paul acknowledged one such problem: As we be slanderously reported, and some affirm that we say, Let us do evil that good may come.We also have questions such as: If we are expressers of Christ, like branch to vine, who then sins? and, Do we still sin?
The Who and the When of Sin
The answer is the simple fact that our relationship is a union (1 Cor 6:17). The human spirit, which is our human I am, with soul and body as clothing (Heb 4:12), is created free, as is God Himself. While in this Satanfilled world (1 Jn 5:19), we are wide open to continuous solicitation to forget our Christ-union (2 Pet 1:9). In a forgetfulness of that union, we can be drawn back by temptation (Ja. 1:14) through our soul-body faculties (flesh), into the lie of independent self.
We may imagine that our human I could resist the temptation. That at once puts us back into the bluff of Satans power in the form of a deceived independent self, which is really his self-for-self. Then we may vainly struggle, as the law (to which we have become dead in Christ Rom 7:4) again gets at us. We are certainly under condemnation (from which we have been permanently freedRom 8:1), and probably yield to temptation. It is our Iour human Spirit-Iwhich does any such yielding and consenting, and our human Spirit-I has sinned.
We have been caught into that temporary adultery of James 4:4 and 1:15an adultery which is a temporary affair in modern terms, but not a broken Christ-marriage. And then we return by the grace route of 1 John 1:9. We confess (admit) our sin to God and receive the blessed reality of forgiveness through Christ: the removal of even any sense of guilt. We are not only forgiven, but cleansed from all unrighteousness.
We Retain Freedom
So, when we come to know who we areChrist in us and as us, i.e. Christ in our formswe retain freedom in this tempting world and may temporarily respond negatively from our Spirit-I. (The soul, with its feelings and reasons, is merely the clothing of our spirit, which alone is the real I.) Thus, our Spirit-I gives any consent, which is the committing of a sin.
This is precisely what confronted Jesus Himself as Second Man, both in the Mount of Temptation for forty days and all through His human years. There was even a final, desperate pull on Him to escape the Cross: If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: but not as I will, but as thou willest. So the Scripture says He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:15).
Therefore, temptation and trials of all kinds are not sin and do continue constantly in our earthly life. We know that one day temptation will disappear forever (Ja. 1:12). But now we use all such temptations as good practice for the replacement of unbelief by faith (Ja. 1:2, 3 & Jn. 20:27- 29). There is no condemnation in temptation, any more than there was with our perfect Jesus.
Sin, though occasional with us, is possible and actual when we give deliberate consent to temptation from our Spirit-I center. But then, thank God, if there is sinning, there is cleansing.
Evil: Outcome of Free Choice
Another misunderstanding grows out of our bold statement, on full Biblical authority, that God means evil. Illustrations may be found in Gen. 50:20, Acts 2:23 & 4:27, 28, and many other like passages. Romans 9, until fully understood with the following tenth chapter, raises the same kind of question. What we mean, of course, is that evil is a misuse of the self, which stands between its two potentials (as with the two trees in the Garden of Eden).
God, in His eternal freedom, desired and eternally brought into Two Common Misunderstandings continued from page 19 being His only-begotten Son. Thus, His Personhood became the expression of total other-love, in place of self-love. When Paul said in Titus 1:2 that God cannot lie, he shed light on what it means to be totally for others.
So then, God created us as persons, like Himself. And we can be persons only by freely yielding ourselves as expressers, either of that self-for-self nature which He never was, or of that self-for-others nature which He eternally IS. Lucifer-Satan, who chose to be a self-for-self, took possession of all of us humans with his fallen nature, by the free choice of our first parents.
Therefore, God determines what freedom produces, first in Lucifer, and then in us (as indwelt by Lucifer), and He means the effects. In His foreknowledge, God knows which way we will go; but He never touches our freedom of choosing the way.
Thus, Scripture says that God hardened Pharaohs heart (Rom. 9:17, 18), for the hardening was the inevitable effect of Pharaohs persistent free choice. Negative choosing must also lead to damnation for those who reject all appeals of grace and continue to love darkness rather than light, for their deeds are evil (Jn. 3:19).
Therefore, in no sense does Gods meaning evil indicate that He is responsible for it, beyond the fact that it is the necessary outcome of the choice of opposites, which is inherent in free personhoodGods and mans.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 21 No 3
- Speaking The Word of Faith
- Editor’s Note
- A Miracle of Small Stones
- A Vision For Zerubbabel
- Tape Talk
- Modern Man and the Ultimate Question
- Two Common Misunderstandings
- Living in the Promised Land
- BIBLE STUDY: Sin, Satan, and the Flesh
- School Days
- To Think About
- Powerless over Alcohol and Life: Step 10
- Letters From Norman
- A Priceless Inheritance
- Words To Live By
- The Laugh of Faith Part 1