Independent Self, Not Religion, Is the Problem

Independent Self, Not Religion, Is The Problem

By Fred Pruitt

Penetrating to the root — It is the definition of sin that needs updating for all of us. People think “sin” is stuff we do or don’t do, evil deeds or lack of good deeds, etc. But sin is from a spiritual source and that is what makes it sin. That is why I could say I do not see you in error the other night because you are not OF the spirit of error. We are OF whatever spirit that drives us. So a man’s works may be “good works” but his spirit is held captive by the spirit of error and so, while we do not repudiate good works from anyone, we also may recognize the source of good works may be the spirit of sin. So sin is the “sin spirit.” Righteousness, conversely, is the “righteousness spirit” within us. Bottom line, both “spirits” are spirit persons and each person is the originator of sin or righteousness. This is VITAL. It is the reason why we cannot just change our deeds or gain “knowledge” to attain salvation: first, because “salvation” is not “something” but SOMEONE (Christ), and secondly because it is impossible for us to do it except He does it in us.

That is why many other world spiritual philosophies, though they may have many beautiful and wonderful truths in them, cannot gain the kingdom of heaven for us, because for many it is merely a matter of making our way out of ignorance (which is their reason for the state of man) through good works, e.g., the 8-fold path to becoming Buddha, or “enlightened one.” All humanistic philosophies, gnosticism, etc. have this as their basis. Our problem, they say, is simply ignorance, i.e., we just don’t know our own innate “goodness” and if we know it we can live from it.

Many Christians accuse us of saying this, but miss that it is ONLY through the Cross and the shed blood and broken body of Jesus that this is made available to us, and then by His resurrection through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us.

So deliverance from “sin” is not just a change of deeds, but a change of persons within us, from Satan to Christ. The religious mind, whether “Christian” or some other, doesn’t really grasp this, and therefore tries to attain salvation or being “pleasing” to God by ordering our lives according to set patterns and certain deeds, and therefore fails, and often creates the very thing it seeks to avoid, self-righteousness rather than the righteousness which is God’s alone but which he imputes to us in the Son.

So I think it important to penetrate to the ultimate root, rather than just “religion.” This sort of “religion” is a symptom of the problem, but not the problem itself. The problem itself is the lie in all of humanity, “independent self mindedness,” which is the chief lie, but a lie which is real to us until it is destroyed by the Light of Christ Who Himself brings it to nothing when He shines in us. But it is a lie which at some point we must become conscious so that in our consciousness or understanding we see that it is departed from us and in fact never was the case. We were never independent selves doing our own thing, but were always either a container of wrath or mercy, a temple indwelt by an idol-god or now the temple of Christ through the Holy SPirit.

So we always go for the root, not just the stem, when getting out the weeds! “The axe is laid to the root of the tree,” said John the Baptist, and He was speaking of the Redeemer who had come to cut out the root — Satan — who had hidden himself everywhere — in the religious mind, in the good works of man, as well as in the blatantly evil things — even making mankind believe that he doesn’t exist at all, that it’s a silly thing to believe in — thus making US the responsible parties (we are responsible in our cooperation but not in its origins), as evil always does, shifts the blame to someone else while proclaiming its own good intentions. Like the serpent in the Garden who seemed to be a “friend” to Eve, giving her some much needed advice to help her become “wise as gods, by implying the Lord God was holding out on her, and then subtly undermining the clear Word Eve well knew, “Ye shall not surely die.”

Again, religion, legalism, moralism, ethics, humanism, aren’t the problems per se, but the spirit behind them and the lie that fuels it — independent self, i.e., we are only ourselves alone and we can add to or improve ourselves to become “wise as gods.” That IS religion, moralism, ethics, or legalism in a nutshell, but we must penetrate to the bottom and find the snake hissing there. Shining the light of Christ in us and ONLY CHRIST IN US, he slithers away as fast as he can to any hiding place he can find, which is where anyone will believe his lies.

But Christ has overcome Him fully, and this foul snake has no more place in us, and we can now say, as did Jesus, “the prince of this world comes, but he has nothing in me.”

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See also: The Heart of the Matter

See also: The Real Purpose of Law vs. Grace

26 thoughts on “Independent Self, Not Religion, Is the Problem

  1. The “selflife” and the Satanic spirit are in unconscious affinity. However polished the former-it may shine with the culture of the ages and bear the religious glow of the best in natural religions-it is still “self,” it is still “flesh-life.” It has the curse of God upon it. It has the smell of infernal associations about it. It stinks. “The carnal mind is enmity with God” (Rom. viii.). It hates Him while it pretends to love Him. Where “self-life” dominates, be the religious professions what they may, Satan finds plenty of ground on which to work.~ F.J. Huegel

    I had just finised reading this chapter in his book when I clicked on your article…I thought it would go well with what you said. Thanks Fred I enjoy your writtings.

  2. That’s why it is written in acts 4:12

    Acts 4:12
    Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

  3. Fred, you said ‘So deliverance from “sin” is not just a change of deeds, but a change of persons within us’…

    Yes, this is it, is the ‘heart’ of the whole matter indeed. Now, if I could only once and for all enter into my sepulchre (of self efforts) then I could enter into His finished work, into that seventh day from where He is (now) resting. But ‘I’ am dead, so I must be there already somehow, but I ‘feel’ (the just shall live by faith, not by sight, not by the sense life) so ‘alive’ to me, to my old self and nature at times, what to do with this quandary? This duality? Its perplexing at times.

    Finally, knowing that ‘the spirit of Christ was in the prophets’ (1 Pet 1:11), I hEAR Christ in Habakkuk’s revealing words in chapter 2 verse 20 saying:

    “BUT THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (us) LET ALL THE ‘EARTH’ (meaning my lower, inherited, adamic life form and various sense life emotions that demand to be heard, that scream at me daily) BE SILENT (as dead men) BEFORE HIM’.

    Yes, as you said, I am ‘delivered from sin’ by the One who lives/rules/reigns within. Blessings

    • John, yes indeed, the Lord is in His Holy Temple, and all the earth (you and me) is silent before Him!

      Now I would just say this about what you wrote, mentioning duality. First of all, are you sure you really know what your old nature was? What your old self was? It was never just you. It was the spirit of error in you. The trick he played on our minds and consciousness, was deceiving us with the delusion that we were separate selves all by ourselves. So it was two things, this old nature. First, it is the spirit of error/sin, which has been thrown out of us in the death of Jesus. That is the absolute bottom of the issue. It was never us, because even as we are Christ as us now, so were we Satan-as-us before. He ruled our lives from within us, obscuring the light of Christ which is also in every human being. And second, that the effect of this change of inner government is separation, an illusory independent self, self-reliant, self-responsible, false god of a self which we all are, and we worship ourselves, though this false image of us we all worship is really the mask behind which is the evil one. That is the old nature.

      But that old nature is nullified once for all in the Cross, but to activate it for ourselves we have to attach our faith to Christ. Entering the kingdom is a change of inner ownership, inner driver, inner light (false or true). We were formerly slaves to sin — the evil one, but now we are slave of righteousness — the righteous One. This becomes our immediate state when Christ enters us and kicks the old tenant out — one with Christ within us, bathed with Christ, baptized with the Spirit, access to the Father.

      What you have to see and believe often against appearances is that now that the new nature has come, the new indweller, He has taken occupancy of the whole house, which He now owns and lives in. He makes the decisions regarding anything to do with the house. He improves it, paints it, etc., or leaves it like it is, at His own discretion.

      Now this existence that we are manifests Spirit in this world by our souls and bodies. But they are no longer our own; we cannot control them now, anymore than we could not control them in our former life. Another controlled them then. Now another has them in His hand and uses our souls and bodies according to His will, and we finally must come to a point where we see He has every part of us, and uses it and manifests Himself through and as you. So when you believe God to that extent, that you and He are simply One, and that when you walk it is He walking. That seems basic but it’s the whole thing.

      I understand the struggle you are in, but what proves that you are driven not by a resurfaced old nature, but a love-outgoing new nature, is the fact, not that you have changed outside or become better somehow, but that you are willing in the deepest sense of you to be Who you really are.

      You see, we cannot bring forth the works and life of God. After all our strivings, we one day realize only He can do it. We are willing for it, but we cannot make our visions and dreams happen. We seem to be the opposite of what we desire.

      And that is what Paul describes in Romans 7. “For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (7:18). That is the crux of the matter, to come to the realization that you want to do God’s will, and that you are willing to do God’s will, is the great denouement, the greatest climax of our lives, because this is the innermost bastion where God has come to dwell, and it is good for us to know it. The will is the central driver, our spirit will, where we inwardly “know” God, and as no man can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ but by the Holy Ghost, likewise can no man say ‘he delights in the law of God in the inner man’ except also by the Holy Ghost. It means that at the heart of things, your innermost desire that is driving all of this strife and duality, is this inner willingness God has graced you with, that you are ready to receive Him in His totality in your life. Because coincidental with that inner revelation that you have found “no good thing dwells in me,” and notice, Paul does not say something evil dwells in him, but “no good thing,” or, in other words, simultaneous with our discovery of Him as our total we are also graced to know “I can of mine own self do nothing,” and “there is none good, save God.” All our goodness flushes down the toilet.

      The struggle you are in right now is indicative of the fact that you are on the right path, because the Lord takes everybody this way who hear it. So then be joyful! The struggle is that you might finally see the truth of what you have believed, because we are not left there in that “O wretched man” state. It was the Spirit who brought you there, and He will bring you out. To come out is to realize there is no duality, I am two who are one, but I am never again the old. I am fixed in the new. “O God, my heart is fixed,” cried the psalmist.

      So just stay where you are and move when the Spirit makes you move. There is light ahead. There is a day when you come into the Light. You’re in it now, but it might seem like you’re in an jet flying to another city. As you approach the city the pilot turns on the seatbelt signs and you begin to descend. There is an overcast sky so you can see nothing below. It is all just gray or white. You trust what the pilot is doing (with fingers crossed sometimes) so you’re not worried. You know there is a city down there even though you haven’t seen it yet.

      And then suddenly you burst through the cloud layer and the city suddenly just shows up. It had always been there, and you had believed it was always there, but for a time the cloud fogged up the view. But when you fly under the clouds, there it is.

      So see that day in yourself, Craig. See that the day has come now. That is faith. The city is there. It is shining resplendent in the sun. You are walking in it now. Open your eyes, brother, it is all around you. You won’t see it with your flesh eyes. It is invisible to the flesh. But the wholeness is in plain view. You have the eyes to see.

      Thanks for the comments!


      • Thanks Fred for elaborating further, I appreciate your deeper insights and the time you kindly took. Blessings, JC

  4. Once again, Fred, He graced you with another version of His Words as you stand before men . . . “you are willing in the deepest sense of you to be Who you really are.” Thanks, guy.

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