Revisiting the Issue of Sin
by Fred Pruitt
This below is a little back and forth with our good friend, Marian Berry of Bowie, Maryland, on a subject that comes up all the time – “sin in the believer.”
Question: Fred, We read and looked up many scriptures in regards to your first writing on “Freedom in Love: Love in Freedom, cannot recall the title but we did not finish the first part so we will pick up on Sunday. One lady asked where does “sin” begin, in the heart or the mind because she was taught it begins in the heart!!! We had a lively discussion and said we would meditate and look up scripture and wait for the HS to give us understanding where “sin” begins in the born again child of God. Fred maybe I should pay more attention to sin but honestly I am not sin conscious, should I be? I have not taken the time to go through your writings that may or may not address this question, but I will this week. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Simply yours, Marian
Thank you for writing again and passing along that question to me. First of all, I’m with you, I don’t pay much attention to “sin.” It is neither my concern nor rarely the object of conscious thought, as far as my own “state” in the Lord is concerned. It used to be years ago, but not anymore.
I think you already know the answer for yourself, and probably the great majority of the writings on my blog speak to it one way or another. My attitude toward the issue is something akin to “let us leave the elementary things …” (Heb 5:12-14; 6:1-3). From the perspective of heaven inwardly, out of which we live as believers in Jesus, we live and move and have our being in Christ, Who Himself is our Righteousness, Sanctification, Wisdom, Power, Love and many other things.
His Word in us is certain of fulfillment, because His promises are not yes and no, but in Jesus Christ only YES – “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor 1:20). That simply means that God is not fickle; what He has promised, we can be certain He performs! And we believe He performs them in us!
Isn’t that last phrase amazing? “Unto the glory of God by us.” What can that mean? It is an incredible thing, another clear word of our sonship and favor of God. He is saying that we are the proof of the pudding regarding the validity of His Promises! Just as Paul told them a little later in the same epistle – “You are the letter of Christ written in your hearts.” He is saying that all His Promises which we have received by faith grow up into fruition in Him, which results in the glory coming out of US, for the glory of God! God puts Himself on display, by presenting His Sons to the Universe. Like any parent would be, He is proud of His Kids!
Of course this is something we do not accomplish ourselves – how could we? It is the miracle of the Spirit, the One Who testifies of Christ in us, Who does these things. It is walking in the Spirit, which makes no provision for and cancels out manifesting the works of the flesh. It is walking in the Light, in Whom we have arisen and learned to shine in His Shining.
Living in the light cancels out living in the darkness. One cannot do both. Therefore, through Christ we realize that we live in God only, and nothing can harm us, and if it seems we are or have been harmed, we find our bruisings to be perfect in His bruising, and know, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:17), as well as the fact that we are always, “bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor 4:10,11).
So that is why I do not talk much about sin, except the basics now and then when it is necessary. Sin and its effects in humanity and the cosmos in general were dealt with by the “Lamb slain from the foundations of the earth,” dwelling in the midst of the Throne in heaven, and on earth Sin and its effects were dealt with and taken away by that Same Lamb in Heaven, having come down from Heaven as the Son of Man, the Man Whom John the Baptist said was “the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” – Jesus of Nazareth, Whom God has named both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36).
But the reason I do talk about it now and then when necessary, is that we all start out in sin consciousness one way or the other. It is the common experience of all humanity. Good and evil. “Wise as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Without knowing it, the entire world is under a sin consciousness. People think it is all about sinful deeds, and some will go further and add sinful thoughts or attitudes. The people of the “world” can only think this way, because it is the nature of sin consciousness to think this way.
Of course when speaking of the secular world, which does not know the Spirit, we see that in our time the prevailing culture in most of the “developed” world has become more and more secular in thought and practice. Because of that, for most people in modern society, sin is a non-issue, primarily since they no longer believe in it – in such a thing called “sin.” But it does not really matter whether one believes in “sin” or not. Even though many do not believe that “sin” is a viable concept in our modern secular society, nonetheless we are all trapped in the land of good and evil, judging and accusing each other for the good or evil things everyone does. There is no grace in the world; it knows it not, and because of that the judgments of men are harsh, compassion-less and unforgiving. And there is no escape from the “world of good and evil,” by anything we can do, until one way or the other we are delivered or rescued. We have no hope any other way.
As a child growing up in the deep US South, the Bible belt, I can remember conversations with other kids regarding what things were sins. These were my pre-teen days, and like most pre-teens, we all echoed whatever we had heard from our families or at our churches. Everybody had different ideas about which things were sins. Oh, everybody agreed on the obvious stuff, murder, thievery, lying, etc. (We didn’t know about sex back then.) It was the debatable things we would argue about – drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes (nobody in my crowd had heard of pot in those days), church attendance, stuff like that. And cursing. I remember a classmate in the 6th grade, whose dad was the captain of the local Salvation Army, telling a number of us we were going to hell because he heard us “cussing” on the playground. As for my family, we were intermittent church-goers all through my childhood until I became a teenager, but we were definitely in the “drinking, cussing and smoking are not sins” camp. I had no doubt about that whatsoever.
That’s cute children’s mentality, but unfortunately, for a vast number of grown-up believers, doing or not doing those “things” are to them what it is all about. One thing from those days I cannot remember hearing, is anyone mentioning we were saved by grace, much less that we lived in and by grace in our ensuing Christian lives. It was all about the things one did.
However, that thinking is false and distracts us from the real issue. The pervading sin consciousness, which is not of the Lord but of the devil, that controls the whole world (1 Jn 5:19; Eph 6:12), is the illusion of independent self – self-effort, self-glory, self-acquiring, self-responsibility, self-attainment, self-focus. I could go on, but I make my point.
What worked out from this false self-consciousness, was the idea that we, as human beings, were powers unto ourselves, tending either to good or to evil. That false consciousness, along with the deception of outward-only sight, where we can only view the outside appearances of a thing, caused the whole human race to become judges, each judging all others for things for which all are guilty, except for the Supreme Judge who sits above all others who is guilty of none of the charges – our own inviolable selves!
That was the result of Adam’s Fall, and in all humanity since. We each became little independent separated mindsets, trying to be something which we can never be. Trying to be equal to God as a separate god unto itself, despite what outer trappings it wears. THIS is Mystery Babylon that deceives the whole world. It is the root of sin, opened in the eternal by Lucifer, and passed on to all of us when we were children of wrath, under the domination of the “prince of the power of the air.” (Eph 2:2,3). It was his lusts we did, though we thought they were independently our own. That is the subtlety of the enemy and the deception of the lie.
When we think of sin and evil, we think of awful things like violence, sexual stuff, oppression, war, greed, hatred, etc. But that is the sleight-of-hand of the devil, because often much more devious and greater evil masquerades as very very good. That kind of consciousness (wanting to be good) is under greater danger of being deceived in itself, because it can be bound so tightly into believing in its own inherent goodness. It would even be surprised to find God displeased with it! But then, as in Cain, when found out, its “good” facade devolves quickly into rage just Cain did, who murdered his brother Abel/Christ out of pride and envy.
Whereas those caught on the “openly wicked” side, often know their state and would escape it if they had a way. Which is why in the gospels Jesus attracted the poor, the sick, the harlots and publicans – the untouchables! Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that the whores and publicans would go into the kingdom before they would! Those were harsh words for the scribes and Pharisees, and they eventually drove them to engineer His death, thus proving everything Jesus told them about themselves.
Just like Cain’s attitudes and actions proved the Lord’s point in not accepting Cain’s sacrifice of self-effort. What did the Lord tell Cain that day?
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen 4:7 NASB).
This is something interesting that is thrown into the story at this point. Basically this verse is saying that sin lies in wait to get us, it desires us like a lover desires to possess its partner, but “but you must master it.” That is what the Lord said to Cain just before he went to have a talk with his brother. His “commission” from the Lord was that he was to “master” sin. Then the next verse goes on to say:
“Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Gen 4:8).
Cain is the first precursor of the Law. We might even go so far as to say, that Cain is the father of legalism! Approaching God through self-merit. Not only that, but right here the 4th chapter of the whole Bible, is Romans 7 in a hidden way! First, just as Paul did in Romans 7, we can see that “sin” is not something that IS Cain – it is an invader, not part of his God-made humanity. It lies “crouching at the door.” That is what Paul said, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Rom 7:17).
(I have a more detailed writing on Romans 7, that goes into this much more deeply than I can here. It is in my book, The Axe Laid to the Root, which you probably have. If not, you can order a printed book from the publisher through my blog, or download the free PDF file to your own computer. I recommend going over the chapters on Romans 7, because as I said, I am not going to go much further with it here. Info on book: https://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/the-axe-laid-to-the-root/)
The second Romans 7 issue it so clearly reveals, is that the Law fails, because self-effort fails. Cain may have left that encounter with the Lord on the upbeat, believing he could “master the sin.” As when Paul determined to stop his inner possessive covetousness, by the Law that says, “Thou shalt not covet.” Just as the “law” to Cain was, “Thou shalt master the sin.” And just like with Paul when it stirred up his covetousness even more by trying to defeat or “master it,” Cain’s efforts at mastering the sin were no more successful than were Paul’s. The “Law” seemed to have the opposite effect from what one would have expected. Instead of empowering us to “do” the commandment, it slew us, because we only became aware of our own slavery to it, and sin seemed to master us, instead of us, mastering “it.”
Some might ask, but isn’t God all about grace? Why would He tell Cain that he must master the sin? It is the whole reason why the Law came in the first place. Let us understand, the Law doesn’t come from the devil. It comes from God. Paul says it came to the Israelites by angelic mediators, not via the Lord God Himself. But even through mediators, if they are sent by Him, it is He doing it! Paul even tells us in the same Romans 7, “The law is holy.” It is God’s law!
Well, how does that go with grace then? The Law is our first encounter with the God of grace. It is grace in its Law form. The Law has one purpose – to break the deceptive consciousness of independent self in us, all of us, which has blinded us to Christ “in us.” Independent self says, “I can do it.” The Law says, “Very well, then, give it your best shot, and I will find you guilty every time, because I am the Law, and that is what I do, and all I will ever do!”
Why is that? Because approaching God through the Law is approaching God after the flesh. It is humanity saying, “Just give us the commandments, and we’ll do them.” Just like the Israelites in the desert who in unison told Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” It is just self-effort, that’s all, but at that point we do not know anything else.
How many of us in our beginning days in Christ signed up for every Bible study, seminar, conference, read every book, went to whatever came to town or nearby, seeking the things we could “do” to make our Christian life, our whole life, work? Nobody escapes coming through that door, or precious few anyway. It is less a product of “religion” or “tradition,” than it is the natural place we would turn until we are divested of our separated consciousness in Christ. We only know self-effort. Even the vast majority of the visible Church do not know self-effort is the culprit in us, which is why by and large it preaches a mixed message. They cannot pass on what they do not know. And they cannot know until it is opened up to them by the Spirit. Like it happened in each of us Who the Spirit has already brought through. It is pure miracle, out of the depths of Heaven!
But back to our point. We all start in grace, salvation by grace through faith, but grace seems to go out the window as we become convinced that we need to earnestly strive and strive and strive to bring forth God’s kingdom within ourselves, because somebody convinces us, another person or the tempter, that God expects this of us. Now that “idea” in and of itself is not wrong. It is heading in the right direction, albeit under false pretenses. We cannot deny that there is a time and times of striving in the things of the Spirit. There are major events and times in all our lives that bring that striving out of us. It is God-striving, the Spirit striving in us, and I am not talking about that kind of striving.
The striving I am talking about is striving according to the flesh, in the thinking that the striving itself, will bring out spiritual things. God will see our “striving for His sake,” and reward us by opening up the windows of heaven for us … we think.
“If I do this and that, God will do this and that,” is the way we think. But it is a false self, though we are not aware of it, most of us anyway, that makes that deduction. Trapped in the lie of independence, it can only be for it a “tit-for-tat” world, and why should “relating to” God be any different, asks the person who is trapped?
But the scripture says, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom 8:8). Is this God being exclusive, or “prejudiced” against “the flesh?” No, the Law comes to destroy the flesh (independent self consciousness)! Or at least to put it in its place while in this life. The reason we cannot “please God” while “in the flesh,” is simply that we are not “in God” as long as we are in that flesh consciousness. We are “in ourselves.” Oh, God is still All in all in us, over all, through all and in all. But we are blocked from that sight as long as we are in a flesh consciousness.
It’s like sitting in a seat on an airplane while they’re showing a movie. If you buy their headset or bring your own, you can watch the movie and hear the dialogue. Without the headphones, you can see the images but why bother, since we cannot know what is going on anyway. It isn’t the movie’s fault whether we hear it or not. It is simply a case of having or not having the right equipment.
The “right equipment” in our case is suffering the loss of that false consciousness, it having been fixedly replaced within us by the true consciousness of Christ in us! In that right true consciousness of Christ, Christ is the “end” or “fulfillment” of the Law in everyone of us, and as Romans 7 also tells us, from now on we are “dead to the Law.”
Through the Cross of Jesus Christ, every accusation of the Law toward us has been met and answered in the undeniable righteousness of Christ Who dwells in Heaven within us. By that intercession of the Cross and His subsequent resurrection and ascension, the Law no longer has a case by which it may prosecute us, nor will it ever again. When we move out of the Law’s domain, the flesh, we move into Christ’s domain, which is the Spirit. We cannot dwell in both because no one can have two masters.
Now I guess I better get to your specific questions, or try to anyway. When I read that your friend had been taught that “sin” begins in the hearts of believers born of the Spirit, I had to wince in pain and remembrance. My first church taught that I had a wicked heart, even in Christ, and that had me trapped me in abject fear or a long time.
But as I said in the beginning of this, the Light is shining now, and I know that my heart is Christ in me, where He “dwells in my heart by faith,” and that long ago He replaced that wicked heart with His own heart of love. (Eph 3:17)
I have learned since that this is the center of ourselves, where our inner consciousness is fixed by the Spirit within us, and that it is a place where only Light exists, and no darkness at all, nor can the darkness penetrate it or comprehend it. It is our innermost being, our “Most Holy Place,” where in truth each of us are indwelt by the Shekinah in our spirits. But unlike that former tabernacle, where there was a veil between God and the people, and only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place once per year, through Jesus Christ our eternal High Priest who ever lives in intercession for us, the way is completely thrown open to us all:
“But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:16-18).
That is where I put my focus now. In the old times, before I knew He was my eternal Upholder, my focus was on myself, striving to “get closer” to Him. The natural place that focus explored was my own inner attitudes and outer deeds, seeing myself after the flesh, and finding that I came up short. Looking at myself, that is all I could ever see, because I, in myself, have no capacity to bring forth God’s righteousness or anything else of God. I did not know that in the beginning, however, and somehow thought I could find a key, and seek enough, study enough, pray enough, to break through and fulfill Jesus’ Word, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” (Matt 11:12).
In my babyhood, I didn’t really catch what Jesus was saying by that. I just saw the fervency of it, the “pressing through” demanded of it, the no-holds-barred approach to storming heaven until it rained with the rain of the Spirit. I thought that sounded pretty good, and I gave it my all, expecting the results I expected – even in some distant day. And I will have to say, those results have come, but not so much as a direct answer to or outcome of that long-ago fervency, but by what I learned through the failure of that fervency.
I didn’t catch it at the time, that Jesus was declaring that approach to heaven to be, from then on out, a thing of the past. John the Baptist was the last prophet under the Law. “All the Law and prophets prophesied until John.” His ministry and exhortation is epitomized by “taking the kingdom of heaven by force.” It is the ultimate dedication to the Law, to strive with ultimate striving until we “take the kingdom by force,” because we believe God expects that of us and will not give us the kingdom unless we do it.
But Jesus’ Word about the kingdom He brought was this: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32). His desire, His pleasure, is “ to giveyou the kingdom.”
Give! He GIVES IT! If His pleasure is to “give” us the kingdom, there is no reason to “storm heaven!” John the Baptist, being the final prophet of the Old Covenant and the First Messenger of the New, spoke in law terms, in separated terms, in sin terms, because he was speaking to people of separated consciousness and he had to speak to them on the level they could understand.
Everything in the Law has to do with separation and self-effort, about watching our deeds or our words or thoughts. Under the Law we are always caught short, because it always finds us guilty. If not for one thing then another. It is endless. This is the kind of mentality we run into all the time, that says, “I sin every day.” And we are mercilessly told over and over by the enemy that we are always falling short, far short, and never will succeed in Christ.
But that is only because we have not known “the new and living way,” (Heb 10:20), whereby we “enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb 10:19). We come in by the righteousness of Another!
Now we say that we know that, but do we really? If we still think we have to fulfill certain things which are “our part,” so that God will do His part, and shower us with blessings or give us the kingdom, etc., we are still under the Law. Listen to this: being under the Law means simply that we are out to establish our own righteousness. If I do these things, God will consider me righteous. That is the sin of Cain, and so many believers have yet to see it!
We have NO righteousness of our own! None whatsoever. Not even a little bit. God invests His Righteousness only in the Son. Therefore if anyone is righteous, He is righteous in the Son because righteousness does not occur except in the Son, and in those who are His, who do not profess their own righteousness in any way, but receive and live out of His Righteousness.
God has done this wondrous thing, which is very hard to believe because it has an appearance that is often veiled to the natural mind of man, but in those who do believe, it shines like the sun at high noon. It is the most wonderful verse out of several also wonderful, in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5. It is the 21st verse, one of the most important, and least believed, promises the Spirit has sprinkled all throughout the scriptures.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Now, all that I have said above leads to this point. We do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, if we are in Christ. That is our “normal” state. He who is Christ’s is one spirit with Him, and He who is Christ’s lives in the Spirit and by the Spirit. (1 Cor 6:17; Rom 8:9).
Our “conversation,” meaning everything from our personal conduct to the government by which we are governed, is in Heaven and pouring out of Heaven in us, as rivers of Living Water. (Phil 3:20; John 7:38). We are Spirit people, faith people, heavenly people, and we do not give “place” to sin, because those things are bound and cannot come into the kingdom where we now live.
Therefore, I do not give seminars or teachings on “how” a believer can or does sin. Rather, I concentrate on sharing the Truth of Who each believer in Christ is, i.e., Christ in us, not I but Christ, and talk righteousness talk, not “you better be careful” sin talk. We have had about 1900 years of that, and enough is enough. Let’s get off the negative and look to the positive!
I liken what I am saying to driving on a trip on the Interstate. While in the back of my mind at all times there is an awareness, which keeps me on my toes, that an accident can occur, I don’t dwell on it. Instead, I am destination-minded, and enjoying the “now” of the trip minded, but not living constantly in fear I am going to get into a crack-up. I probably would never leave on a trip if I thought I would probably have an accident, and that is the condition of so many believers who are so afraid of sinning, it makes them inert. Fear paralyzes. Faith moves us out!
It is a sad and unfortunate state of affairs, that the majority of evangelical churches and teachings, teach us fear instead of faith, dwelling on what might or could happen, instead of the Living Truth of Christ in which we live and is truth in the now. There is nothing that has any power to withstand Christ, and His Light turned on in us, becomes the “word which we have hidden in our hearts, that we might not sin against Thee.” (Ps 119:11).
When I first meditated in that scripture back in my beginning days, I thought what most of us thought. Get the Bible into myself! Stuff that sucker in there! Eat it, devour it, learn it, obey it, seek its counsel, etc. That, as I saw it, was the key to “not sinning” against God.
But this is one of those wonderful places where the gospel of grace is hidden in the Law. When I passed from my Old Testament precept-upon-precept way of thinking, limiting the “word” to the written word we call the scriptures, the scripture remains the same but the meaning is FAR MORE GLORIOUS!!!!
“Thy Word” – that is a “Who,” not a “what.” The Word of God is the Son. He is the Only Word of God. So now, instead of the outer law to which the psalmist was giving homage, we are now Living out of the True Word, Christ IN us, and He CAUSES US to walk in His ways! Here the word of the prophet Ezekiel:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh,
and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes,
and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land
that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ez 36:26-28).
That is the Promise of the New Covenant. He writes the new Law in our hearts and minds, and this new law is not precepts, rules and regulations, but instead it is the Living Law of Divine Love, through the Divine Person Who has taken up an abode in us.
We come to the place where we do not talk sin talk anymore, because the Lamb has taken it away, and in Him, “the prince of this world comes, but he has nothing in us.” (John 14:30). What does that mean? It means that the tempter comes, but through faith we leave him no place of entry. However, it is not we who do it, but He Who keeps Israel Who does it, the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
“My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper:
the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Ps 121:2-8).
So for people who want to know how sin happens, or what we could do to keep ourselves from it, the answer is, He does it. He keeps us when we entrust ourselves to His keeping. It is that simple.
Jesus put it like this: “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19). And also this: “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10c).
I will conclude with saying something brief about the passages in James, that from a practical viewpoint, give us the “mechanics” of temptation and sinning. They are two passages:
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14,15)
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:23-25).
First, let us understand that temptation is a constant. We are constantly drawn away in our attention to this or that. There is only one goal from the tempter in all his temptations of us. To destroy our faith, to convince us our faith is false or non-existent, or that we are believing for a false hope. If he severs the faith-lifeline, theoretically he could move back in and take over the store again! He really cannot do that, but he causes us fear in considering that he might.
In saying that temptation is constant, we are also saying that victory, not sin, is constant. Now it is very important to know the difference between temptation and sin. Temptation entices us one way or another to want or desire or to do something that would cause us to forget Who we are, like the man who looked into the mirror of himself, finding himself lacking because he is not a doer, but a hearer of the word only. James very succinctly says, that when the enticement conceives, that is, when we have said, “I do,” or, “I will” to it, that is the moment of conception, and sin follows. Temptations come; they entice, but they do not have power over us and temptation is NOT sin. If however, we “forget what manner of man we are,” since we are now those who live by the “Royal Law of Liberty,” James’ phrase for living in the union, that is where temptation can consummate into sin, which is, in its simplest terms, unbelief – and specifically unbelief in the Son. It isn’t permanent, just a case of temporary amnesia, but it can be a pretty good fall if we are tripped up. What trips us up is not the “sin thing” (deed, thought, feeling, desire, etc.), but self-effort! Once we come to understand and reject self-effort, it still hangs around trying to get back to its former place of prominence. So it’s really a forgetting of Who we are, falling back onto self-effort temporarily, and down we go for a little spill. (I always liked what NPG used to say about that – Quick down, quick up! Don’t bother about it, just go on in the Lord. The Spirit will do any dusting we need, we can be certain of that.
However, we are not dismayed or discouraged. It is actually quite educational! The “mechanics” of this sound pretty simple really: just remember Who you are and believe that at all times. But there again self-effort comes into play. Even though we KNOW the mechanics, we cannot of ourselves “work” them, and therefore there is not one thing we can do, in and of ourselves, to keep ourselves from sin. Nothing. No amount of will-power, no amount of study or prayer, nothing. We simply cannot keep ourselves, period!
But He does! After all, He is the Faithful one, not us! So we trust Him to do it, to keep us from sin and cause us to walk in righteousness and love, and we walk off freely rejoicing, always knowing, “The Son does nothing of Himself …. the Father that dwells in me, He does the works!”
He Himself is the Way, and the only Way!
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Even so, “Come Lord Jesus!” Maranatha!