Haven't We Left Sin Behind?
Someone recently asked me if I thought Abraham had sinned with Hagar. My first reply was, "Why are you asking sin questions?"
Though we preach and teach continuously that in Christ's death and resurrection we have no more to do with sin and sins, ("God forbid," as Paul said, that we should "sin that grace may abound"), and that now we live, tempted, in the land of righteousness and grace only, still the question pops up over and over.
But haven't we left that behind? If a bit in one form or another here and there crops up, no big deal; we recognize, confess the truth, repent (change our mind), and go on.
I was thinking today about car repair. Last week I replaced the starter in my car. It had been giving me trouble for a while, making a real nuisance of itself. But eventually my sinning car was forcibly taken to the shop and had its starter replaced. That was last week. Today I was driving somewhere and I remembered all the inconvenience and hassle of having a bum starter last week, and then I realized how it was absolutely gone now from my consciousness and the car was behaving "as if it had never had a starter problem." Though I do remember last week and before when the inconveniences occurred, still they have disappeared from my current consciousness now that the problem is solved. I no longer have a "bad-starter consciousness."
Now our "problem" was sin and a continual consciousness of sin, and we know the origin of sin, which means that our former "sin problem" did not even originate in ourselves, though it is "in ourselves" that the solution has to be born.
Now the solution, as we know, is that in the cross, Sin, the Devil, has been cast out of us and we ourselves have now become the Holy of Holies in our innermost selves. In our center is the Mercy Seat and Aaron's Rod that Buds and the Bread from Heaven and the Holy Presence.
This is ALL that is in our center now (nothing else), but in order for it to be "birthed" in our consciousness, so that heaven and earth come into alignment together in our awareness, we come progressively to realize that we are "beloved sons, in whom [God is] well pleased," and that sin does not enter God's mind, and what we are all progressively realizing and experiencing is the peace of God Who finds no fault in us and no condemnation toward us (Num 23:21). Instead of disapproval and constant correction, in this New Kingdom God IS in us as continual comfort, joy, peace, thanksgiving, praise, wonder, awe, life, blessing, abundance, truth, reality, and love, love, love.
God is not in the business of condemning us, punishing us, thinking ill of us, but only of uplifting and blessing us and being in us the outgoing Power to heal the nations (other folks) in and as the odd you and me. If there is any correction and upbraiding from the Father, it is in order that we might come to the end of what we think is our separate selves, our own righteousness, our own strength, our own holiness. We must first learn to the uttermost that we are nothing in ourselves and God is All in all and that He finds us PLEASING TO HIM because He has made us to be expressions of Himself, and that He has said that IN OUR DAY HE would "dwell in them and walk in them and be their God."
Here we are speaking of something much more than some separate anthropomorphic "being" way off in the sky to whom we all owe allegiance, as if he is some sort of political king. Instead He IS every breath we breathe, every vision we see, every thought we think, every motivation of our true inner heart. "In Him we live and move and have our being."
When we once catch that and realize we didn't make ourselves, had absolutely nothing to do with "making ourselves," -- "It is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves" -- but that He is absolutely and completely the potter and we completely the clay, and by that we have realized we have completely lost our own life, and therefore in that "death" retain no sort of ability to choose, to will, to think, to know the difference between truth and lie, that we have nothing to bring to the table, nothing to offer to get the prize, because even our own life if we could offer it would not even approach the value of the Gift, then it is ours "without money and without price," and from then on we have nothing more to do with sin or with sin questions. It (sin) is not a matter anymore between ourselves and the Lord, and can be as forgotten as my last week's faulty starter. The starter is fixed now, the car starts -- who wants to think about how it was last week or to anticipate every moment of the day how my starter might go out again?
Still, others need to know, don't they?
So it's a fair question, I suppose, but my opinion is that Abraham committed neither adultery nor fornication with Hagar. Abraham's behavior was perfectly normal and "legal" in Abraham's day. A wealthy man often had more than one wife or quasi-wives, concubines. There was no written law of Moses at the time, and even the law of Moses didn't make Abraham a sinner. So I don't consider Ishmael "illegitimate," and plainly Abraham didn't either.
This is just my opinion on this. Others may and probably do disagree. But what is noteworthy in the story in Genesis is that there is not a even a mention of a shadow of condemnation from the Lord toward Abraham over this. David sinned and he was rebuked for his sin. But Abraham is not rebuked or corrected at all. So I think it presumptuous of us to find sin in scripture when scripture does not say it, unless it is something plainly obvious.
Abraham was living his life in God's grace. Grace is God being Himself in us, hiddenly, calling us "up" to Himself in our consciousness and faith, even while He is already running the show without our knowing it! We are waking up to what ALREADY IS, not something we conjure up and make happen because we believe the right things and say the right words. That's magic, and we aren't talking about magic.
When I say Abraham is "just living his life" I am meaning that once Abraham has entered the kingdom, and been "counted righteous" (which means IT IS REALLY SO), then everything from then on out is under the "umbrella" of the righteousness of God which dwells within him. Abraham had no supposed righteousness "of his own," but only knew that righteousness OF GOD which was Abraham's (and ours) by grace through faith (receiving).
I just don't worry about sin! Fahgeddaboudit!!!! God has said to anyone who will hear, "Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." When you hear that word you arise from the water of baptism, maybe take a side-route into the desert for awhile, but come back in the power of the Spirit to "go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil, for God is with you." (Acts 10:38) (Hint: if it applied to Jesus and He lives in you, then it also applies to YOU!)
This is where we find we "always do his will." How can that be, since it does not seem like that? Because we have learned to see the invisible and to KNOW that is the real, and to trust God in what is Real, and to leave all to him, ALL to him, reserving nothing at all to do, to be, to think, to say, for ourselves. And then you find you DO His will, you WORK His works, you THINK His thoughts, you SPEAK His words. Not by ONE THING WHATSOEVER you do humanly, but because He lives in you and does the works, all of them, from A-Z, alpha to omega, start to bottom, totally. (What would anyone reserve for themselves?)
And even if there is sin, it works something positive. Everything, good or evil, right or wrong, gentle and loving or hateful and violent, works the work of God to the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose.
How much more complete can it be and how can there be ANYTHING, positively ANYTHING, to worry about or fret over? "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Now, that might not seem to be such good news, if Jesus has "overcome the world," but He still lives way off up in heaven in some blissful beatific state. It IS good news if He has come to live in us and take over the dying in us to make it his dying, and to take over the living in us by being the life that is manifested out of our mortal flesh. When Jesus was way off up in heaven in my consciousness, it didn't seem to help ME that much if Jesus had overcome the world, but if in the midst of my "tribulations" He has overcome the world in ME, which I now know to be the Truth, then that is good news, great news, the best news indeed!
No more sin. The sacrifice once offered has taken away a consciousness of sins once for all. We no longer live in it. It's gone. As far as the east is from the west. (Heb 10, Rom 6, etc.)
There is simply nothing more to say, except to encourage us all to rise up, to drop the graveclothes of shame, condemnation, self-disparagement, and to affirm the truth, "God is mighty in ME!," and "rivers of living water" are flowing out of our bellies! (Gal 2:8; John 7:38)
Just say it.