Escaping Sin Consciousness
By Fred Pruitt
Yesterday as I sat down to write you, I took my “standard” course and began to answer you from a knowledge or “scriptural” viewpoint, hoping to share certain “truths” with you that would hopefully give you some enlightenment on this most basic of subjects. Then I was interrupted by life at home that needed tending and didn’t get back to this until this morning. During that time the Spirit gave me a new emphasis for you.
Don’t misunderstand, I want you to know with certainty how we find the basis for everything we say in the scriptures, and I am giving you that I believe. However, at the same time I see your dilemma and know from YEARS of experience with literally hundreds of people, that understanding of “doctrine” comes after faith, not before.
For a comprehensive overlook on this whole subject of “sinning,” etc., I want to recommend you read my book, The Axe Laid to the Root. You can get it free as a pdf file on my blog, or get it one of the other ways listed. That book was written as a response to a lady who came to one of our meetings in Atlanta GA in 2007, who asked (it was more like a statement), “Isn’t it true that we must all inevitably sin?” Sounds like a familiar statement, which is believed probably by the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians.
But the Bible never says that anywhere in the New Testament. In fact, it says the opposite when you get right down to it. Paul stated that categorically in Romans 6: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? … Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin … For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
Sure, there are other verses in that same chapter to take into consideration, as well as Romans 7 coming after, but the ones I quoted above are the core understanding of who we are in Christ, and He in us. The Spirit wraps up the subject very tidily in Romans 8, but cleverly put Romans 7, where Paul speaks of himself as defeated by sin, between the enlightenment of Romans 6 and the fulfillment of Romans 8.
Just like the children of Israel left slavery in Egypt and were headed for the Promised Land. They did not know that in the middle of that wasteland they would come to the Mountain of God, Sinai, where they would be given the Law of God by which they were to order their lives.
Why? They were still flesh-minded. Even though they had been “saved” by the blood of the Passover Lamb and had smeared His blood on their doorways, even though they had been as if “baptized” in the Red Sea, even though the Spirit of God led them by day and by night, even though they had experienced miraculous water from a rock and “manna” appearing on the ground every morning when they woke up, they still did not see.
They were all about themselves. Only a few “knew” the Lord in the Spirit. All they could see were the miracles as outer events, marvelous to behold I am certain, but by and large they missed the One Who created and performed all the events. It’s easy to see the truth of what I am saying by seeing how quickly they gave up trusting Moses when he ascended Sinai the first time. And how quickly they reverted back to who they had been in Egypt. Idol worship must have entered the Hebrew camp in the 400 years between Joseph and Moses, so I do not think it “just happened,” but that quite a few may have bowed to the calf while in Egypt. Had the Lord truly been their God they would never have made Aaron make them a golden calf. But as the story further shows, they had become completely fleshy and sensual. The story seems to indicate a sort of big orgy going on, which perhaps was why so many were tantalized by and drawn to the worship of the calf.
And that is why the mind set on the flesh always has a confrontation with the Law. Let’s understand, the condition of the children of Israel in the wilderness did not disqualify them from being the children of God and in His care. The Law is educational, and meant to bring us up short in ourselves and ultimately reveal the sin of sins, self-reliant-self-responsible-self-capable-self-centered-self in us, as the Spirit uses it in our lives as He did with Paul in his “Romans 7.”
The law’s purpose is not primarily to get rid of “sins.” Quite the contrary, the law only reveals sin or sins but has no fixing ability whatsoever. It only offers good or bad consequences. However, it plays an important role in taking us into our fulness in Christ, not by the gradual stripping away of “sins” from our lives in a “process” of sanctification so that we become “more and more” Christ-like, but rather the Spirit-given recognition by faith of the triumph of the “mind set on the Spirit” over the “mind set on the flesh.”
And that is when we realize our union and state of grace in which we live. We absolutely must shed the notion that we are somehow separate beings “apart” from God, with us over here and Him over there, and that it is by my performance from my separate place across from Him over there, that either pleases Him and He blesses me, or displeases Him and He chastises me. That was my unconscious concept of God for years. The Eternally Displeased! That God is like the Eternal Hall Monitor back in school days, ready to write you demerits for bad conduct and frothing at the mouth to point out all your glaring faults, weaknesses, failures and fakery. So many Christians believe “that” is how their God is. I used to, also. I know they do it in ignorance so they are covered in His Blood and showered with His grace, but the real truth is that the “Hall Monitor God” is actually the disguise of the Accuser of the brethren.
Alright then, if we are not “apart” from Him with us over here and Him over there, what is the true nature of our existence? The true state of our existence is heaven within us, where God actually IS. Oh – He’s “out there,” too, manifesting every bit of that stuff I see, hear, smell, feel or think, but I only find my rest when I find it in Him in me. That is where I begin to see He is in me in His heaven and that it is out of this heaven within, which is truly heaven, my life flows now.
My life did not used to flow out of heaven. I was hooked up to the wrong outflow valve for a while. But when Christ came into me, I was unhooked from that wrong pipe and hooked back into the True Pipe, out of which flows living water. Being in this new land, new country, where all things are new and all things manifest and demonstrate Christ, has nothing to do with sin and sinning. It only has to do with the “fixing” of our faith. Sin and sins were dealt with at the Cross. We leave them there by recognizing that we are “Christ-conscious” and not “sin-conscious,” because we always reflect that of which we are the most conscious.
To be Christ-conscious means we are living in faith in the truth of Galatians 2:20 (and others), that since we “died with Him” in His Cross, still we live, but it is not us who live now, but Christ in us (Christ joined to us), and we taking as a fixed truth that He is ordering our lives and being the “us” in us and yet it is you and me. As Jesus said we may also say, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30).
It is Paul’s stated goal for each of us:
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Col 1:27-28).
I cannot say it any plainer.
“Sin-conscious” simply means sin and sinning are uppermost in our minds, either to do or not do. That is, whether one’s preoccupation is to commit various sins, or one’s preoccupation is to NOT commit various sins, at bottom both of those preoccupations are “sin consciousness.” People who suffer from sin-consciousness believe they are being “holy” to learn all they can about sin, and to ever be vigilant, on guard, against it, because it lurks around every corner, waiting to pounce on us if we let our guard down for even a moment. I’ve done that.
It’s a heck of a way to live, because so much of it is driven by fear. The reason we are driven by fear is because in our sin-consciousness, we cannot be living in Christ-consciousness. We are in the darkness created by our own false sense of self mentioned above, which comes from the inner blasphemy of self-reliance and independence. That is what the Law finally exposed to Paul in Romans 7 when he wrote: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom 7:21). There it is, rather anticlimactic perhaps that it’s not bigger and meaner looking, but that one little personal pronoun “I” in that verse, is the culprit, the bugaboo, the deceit of the deceiver in that seemingly innocuous usage of that one-letter word, echoing Isaiah 14:12-14.
But we have no need for fear. Why should I fear anything in Christ?
Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.”
Sing with me ….