THE NATURE OF SIN (EXCERPT OF IT IS TIME FOR A REFORMATION OF CHRISTIAN THINKING)
From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The new covenant is not primarily a waiving of the consequences of sin. It is, rather, the God-given opportunity to climb out of the pit, to release ourselves, through God’s grace, from the chains of darkness.
God has commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Putting our material needs first, and the Kingdom of God second, is sin. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we can make the seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the highest priority of our life. We can resist the lusts of our flesh. We can be delivered from self-centeredness and enter untroubled union with God.
There are three principles that govern eternal life: living by faith in God rather than by faith in what we can see and do; behaving according to the laws of righteousness and holiness; and abiding in oneness with Christ, not as a separate individual. To violate these principles is to sin.
THE NATURE OF SIN
The Christian salvation includes the overcoming of sin through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The new covenant is not primarily a waiving of the consequences of sin. It is, rather, the God-given opportunity to climb out of the pit, to extricate ourselves through God’s grace from the chains of darkness.
All disobedience to God is sin.
God has commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are to live by faith, believing that if we choose each day to put God’s interests first, our daily needs will be provided. We are not suggesting by this that Christians should cease working, should beg for money, or should go from house to house “talking about the Lord,” taking advantage of those who do work.
Satan, the world, and our own personality counsel us to provide for our security by acquiring as much money and as many material goods as we can.
Putting our material needs first, and the Kingdom of God second, is sin. Christ enables us to put God first in our lives, when we seek His wisdom and strength. Christ empowers us to overcome Satan, the world, and our own personality, and to do the will of God. This is salvation. This is the working out in us of the new covenant.
God has commanded us to resist the sins of the flesh. We are not to be practicing moral sins, such as adultery, fornication, lying, stealing, covetousness, drunkenness. We are to lead a clean, holy life in the sight of God. We are to be holy as He is holy.
Satan, the world, and our personality invite us to seek pleasure in immorality, in the uncleanness of the flesh and spirit.
Breaking the moral laws of God is sin. Christ enables us to keep the moral laws, as we seek His assistance. This is salvation from sin.
God has commanded us to become one with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to set aside our individual ambitions and abide in restful union with Christ. We are to live in union with Him as He lives in union with the Father. We are to embrace God’s will as our own will.
Satan, the world, and our personality urge us to seek to use God for our purposes. They suggest we give Christ the keys to some of the rooms of our “house” but that we reserve the deepest springs of our being for the use of our self-love, self-centeredness, and self-will.
We are to make Christ our servant if we can. We are to seek “spiritual principles” that will enable us to manipulate God and Christ according to our pleasure and advantage.
Living our individual life apart from Christ is sin. Christ enables us to die to our first personality. He will come to us and take up His abode in us if we open the door for Him to do so. Christ will deliver us from that most terrible of fates—being independent of God.
There are three principles that govern living in eternal life:
- Living by faith in God rather than by faith in what we can see and do.
- Behaving according to the laws of righteousness and holiness.
- Abiding in oneness with Christ rather than as a separate individual.
Satan, who is the author of sin and death, seeks always to prevent us from living according to these three laws of the Kingdom of God. His motive for seeking to prevent us is that he desires that we worship him and be part of his kingdom.
Satan is a cherub who is in rebellion against God. He is attempting to build a kingdom in opposition to the Kingdom of God with himself as the center. Satan desires that his own will be done in the earth. Satan will do everything in his power to prevent us from attaining eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
The current world situation reflects the personality of Satan and gives us some idea of the fruit of following his leadership.
Our own personality reflects the influence Satan was permitted, by the first people, to exercise in the garden of Eden. Our personality strives continually to prevent our living according to the three principles of eternal life. Our corrupt personality always seeks to obtain security, pleasure, and achievement, apart from God.
Because we desire to obtain security, pleasure, and achievement, apart from God, but wish to have eternal life also, we have invented doctrines that enable us to follow our corrupt personality and yet gain eternal life.
Current Christian doctrine is a manmade attempt to follow after security, pleasure, and achievement, apart from God, during our lifetime on the earth, and yet be qualified to receive the fullness of the Divine inheritance when we die.
The Christian salvation is the overcoming, through Christ, of Satan, the world, and our own personality so we can obey the three laws of the Kingdom of God, thus becoming eligible to receive eternal life and able also to participate in the other aspects of personal transformation set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.
It is being taught that the laws of cause and effect, of sowing and reaping, are suspended when we accept Christ. Divine grace is viewed as a means of disobeying the three principles of life and not reaping death as a consequence.
The invariable truth is, living according to God’s will brings eternal life, health, joy, love, peace, and every other good and perfect gift. This is true in the present world (after we have suffered for a season) and also in the world to come (Isaiah 1:19; I Timothy 4:8; I John 2:17).
Living in disobedience to God’s will brings eternal death, sickness, misery, hatred, unrest, confusion, lack of harmony, and every other distressing condition. This is true in the present world and also in the world to come (Jeremiah 17:5,6; Galatians 6:8; Revelation 21:8).
Whoever teaches doctrine contrary to the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping is bringing death and torment on himself and those who follow him.
The laws of eternal life proceed from and are an integral part of the Father’s very Personality. Christ came from Heaven so that through His atoning death and living Virtue we may be able to obey the laws that bring God’s Presence and blessing to us.
Sin, which is the transgression of the three laws of the Kingdom, always keeps us under the authority of the second death. We can be injured by the second death until we have overcome Satan and our own personality and are walking in Divine Fire and Life (Revelation 2:11; 20:6).
Practicing sin (attempting to live by bread alone without faith in God, breaking the moral laws, and living according to our own impulses instead of according to God’s Life in us) proceeds from a condition that brings down the wrath of God on us. That condition is neglect—the neglecting of God’s plan and purpose for mankind.
how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (Hebrews 2:3)
“How shall we escape if we neglect… ?”
We may not view the neglecting of God’s plan as a grievous sin because we are apt to think only of the sins against the moral law, such as fornication and stealing.
It indeed is true that transgressions of the moral law are sin. But it is also true that God is displeased when we are engaged busily on the earth and are not looking constantly toward Him.
We may ask God, “What am I doing wrong?” God may ask us, “What are you doing right?”
Our minds turn to the Word of the Lord concerning the days of Noah and of Lot:
“They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; (Luke 17:27,28)
Eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, buying, selling, planting, building—in themselves these are not sinful behaviors. The sin is in occupying ourselves with the business of the world and not with God. This is the sin of neglect. Those who neglect to seek God fervently, occupying themselves with eating, working, and playing, are soon engaged in wicked, immoral behavior.
The members of the nations will be cast into everlasting fire if they neglect to assist Christ’s brothers.
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)
The rich man was sent to the flames of Hades because he neglected to share his abundance with Lazarus.
“And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:23)
A man was put into outer darkness because he had neglected to dress himself properly. He came to the wedding, meaning he had made a profession of faith in Christ. But he did not press forward in the work of acquiring righteousness of conduct. He was not clothed in the white robes of the priesthood.
“Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22:13)
The five foolish virgins were denied entrance to the marriage because they had neglected to provide oil for their lamps.
“But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ (Matthew 25:12)
The Lord’s servant was cast into outer darkness because he had neglected to use his talent diligently and wisely.
‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:30)
It is obvious that it is a grievous sin to be so occupied with our security, our lusts, and our self-will that we neglect God’s purpose and plan concerning us.
There is no middle ground. Either we are seeking God with all our might or else we will begin to practice wickedness.
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. (Psalms 10:4)
A true Christian is not one who merely assents mentally and verbally to the facts of Christ’s atonement and bodily resurrection. The demons do that! Mental and verbal assent to the atonement and bodily resurrection and belief in the existence of God are not what the Scripture means by faith.
The true Christian, he who lives by faith, is the one who presents his body a living sacrifice to God at all times and in every circumstance; who always is living in God’s Presence; who always is seeking first the Kingdom; who always is abiding consciously in Christ. God is in all his thoughts.
To not always be pressing toward God is to commit the sin of neglect.
Hundreds of thousands of Christian believers are living in the delusion that they can say Jesus is Savior and Lord and then trust in money, commit sin, and follow their own heart. They think it does not matter how they behave in this world because “accepting Christ” is their ticket to a better world.
We are to find our true life by pressing into Christ’s Life and sufferings. The Resurrection and the Life are Jesus Himself, not belief about Jesus.
It is our conviction that the neglect of the vigorous pursuit of God has undermined the Christian testimony and destroyed the “light” of righteous works.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
God has given us grace that never before, under any other covenant, has been available to mankind. In return He is asking for more than He ever before has asked of people. God is requiring that we present our body a living sacrifice, a whole burnt offering to Himself. God is seeking union with the center of our will and spirit, not just our belief and observance of the tenets of a law.
Through the Lord Jesus Christ we can make seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the highest priority of our life. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we can resist the lusts of our flesh. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we can be delivered from self-centeredness and enter restful union with God.
If we, through Christ’s Person and grace, practice the three laws of life, we will not be found guilty of neglecting our salvation. We will inherit all things in this world and in the world that is to come.
If we choose to abide by the current Christian teachings, making a profession of Christ but remaining unchanged in what we are and do, trusting in the traditions that are popular today, we will reap what we have sown. We will reap corruption and death. This is true no matter how much of a profession of Christ we have made.
Each of us, each day, must choose eternal life or eternal death. Let us turn to Christ now so He can enable us to live in such a manner that God is pleased to be our God, and we are eligible to be God’s sons and to inherit all things (Revelation 21:7).
(“The Nature of Sin”, 3148-1)