Shedding the Consciousness of Sin
One of the most common misconceptions in believers in my experience, is that our normal human feelings, emotions, desires, etc., are, depending on what they are, sometimes in themselves perceived as “sin.” So when we explain to people that God now has our humanity (the whole of it) and that He is now putting it to right use by His Spirit in us, it is easy for most of us to see how it could be God living through or as us in ways we are comfortable with. No faith necessary there. It is the inexplicable and sometimes not as “nice” things which may come out of us that we have the difficulty with. And it is often in those things we don't like about ourselves and for which we endure continual condemnation, where God (not our idea of God, but God Himself) requires our faith. To believe what He has whispered in our hearts, over against a mountain of visible conflicting evidence. That is where we meet God.
People have such a hard time letting go of a consciousness of sin. It is like a security blanket. A consciousness of sin, as I am meaning it, simply means that we remain self-judgers out of fear and self-preservation, as a safety measure against being caught by sin or the devil. It is a continual attempt to keep ourselves, and the reason that is a sin consciousness is because to hold onto keeping ourselves, at a certain point becomes unbelief in the only One Who is able and willing to keep us, and Who never expected us to keep ourselves, except we do it in ignorance in order to find out its utter futility.
And that is our purpose in discussing these “sin” things. Not to continue in sin consciousness, but to move in our consciousness into the truth, which is God by us, by our humanity, manifesting Christ in the world.
So let me stop right there. Let us consider some things that nag many of us, such as anger, jealousy, self-centeredness and other things. In a way I am hesitant to deal with these things, because it is sounding like I am discussing legalities and technicalities, and that we have slipped back into a fleshly “what-is-permissible/what-is-not” view of life. This of course is not where we live from, even though during all our days before Christ and even after, until we saw this all-pervasive reality of “not I, but Christ” overtake us, we lived from this outer-appearances-judging-the-inner-reality perspective. We are not here trying to get into the nitty-gritty of what is right and what is wrong, as if we are establishing some outer law. We are only taking these things “apart,” which are not really apart, so that we can understand a little bit how we work.
Anger, jealousy, and even self-centeredness in some sense, are in the realm of feelings, emotions, thought processes, that express something else. They are never a thing in themselves, but only a cloak for, or pointer to, or expression of something else. They are part of the “members” that make up our humanity, which Paul tells us in Romans 6 are now given over to the use of righteousness. Many of us are used to thinking of our “members” more in a physical sense, but part of our makeup is emotional, psychological and intellectual as well, and these also are our “members,” which are now given over to Christ as expressions of righteousness in this current moment.
Now Paul also tells us that in the past these members were given over to unrighteousness, to do and express the unrighteousness that was our inner reality, “the lusts of your father the devil,” as Jesus said. These include our emotional and reasoning faculties as well as our physical ones. But now those same faculties, which include emotions or feelings such as jealousy, anger, and even self-focus (there is even a right use for that) are now available to the Spirit within us, to be used and expressed in right use --- NOT SIN --- and that includes all the faculties of our humanity, including all the same emotions and feelings, desires, thoughts, we used to have. Our intellectual, emotional and psychological makeup, are now all HIS!
Humanity, and the instruments by which it expresses itself, does not change in faculties -- only the indweller changes. Therefore faculties which were formerly used for sin, now we use for righteousness, simply because the operator of these things has changed. Our intellect, our emotions, our sex -- all these and more have been taken from unrighteousness to righteousness, from Satan to God, in a spiritual sense; and from wrong use to right use in the flesh sense, and since this is the truth we no longer live according to a deed or feeling based focus.
Now we live, through faith, that Christ has these “members” of ours as His own, and no longer uses them to express sin, which was what the former operator did, but now in our daily lives Christ lives in us to express righteousness. God expresses righteousness in us by these operations of our faculties, because He is the One who is now doing them, by us, and there is no sin in Him.
The truth of a thing is in the spirit of a thing, not its outer form. Jealousy, which in the old life was “for me,” because I lived from the inner god of “for me,” was therefore always self-oriented, always about “poor poor needy me” and never “for you.” In that SPIRIT it was always the expression of the spirit which it was, SIN. That sinful jealousy sought to enslave someone else to me, to bind them to my neediness or my power over them. But this very same jealousy that before was wrongly used, we discover now has a right use in Christ, which is jealousy felt and expressed for the sake of some OTHER, that that person or persons would know no other lover than Christ IN THEM -- not to bind them to myself in some sick possessive fashion, but that they would be bound to the Love of God in freedom and truth. It becomes a holy jealousy, that we may simply “feel” in ourselves as the same old emotion or feeling of jealousy we may have had before, but now through the enlightenment of the Spirit, knowing the truth of a thing is in the spirit of a thing, we can begin to recognize by the Spirit, through faith, a new holy and righteous use for the same faculty which once was only used to express sin. If I feel jealous, it is now not for myself, but for YOU!
Regarding anger, one could take the word “jealousy” out of the above paragraph and replace it with “anger,” and the truth would be the same. Anger is out of the “consuming fire” that God is, and we are all familiar with its sinful, destructive use. However, by the Spirit anger is the righteous, appropriate and completely necessary expression of the severe holy righteousness of God, which demands TRUTH and not dishonesty, humility and not pride, and as such expresses that potent severity through human wrath to good purpose. It is not just to “vent” our emotions, but to reproduce the Life of God in ourselves and others, as are the intents of all the acts of God through us.
We all feel self-centeredness in our outer self-consciousness, which cannot help but be self-focused as long as this life lasts. In fact, if there was no sense of self-centeredness, we would not be persons. There has to be some centralized “me” (focusing on itself, knowing itself) in order for me to “love my neighbor as I love myself.”
Of course in our previous life of sin our self-centeredness had nowhere to go but to itself, knowing nothing beyond itself, and thus wrongly perceiving itself as the center of the universe, due to the deceit of the devil. However, now in Christ, this same self-focus that could not go beyond itself, is enabled to go beyond its limited viewpoint, to first of all know and be known of God, and thus live in oneness with God.
Still, in this life, for the most part, we will only know our union/oneness through faith and inner consciousness (revelation of the Spirit), but outwardly we will never “feel” free of that self-focus of just being ourselves that we were born with, except in rare transcendental moments the Spirit may give us from time to time. But even that self-focus, which cannot help but be concerned with itself, and to see most everything out of its own center and perspective, can also “jump over” that consciousness through faith, and through that expressed faith we find ourselves simultaneously operating and being operated from an inner spirit awareness of oneness with Christ, and knowing God as All in all, instead of a limited self-consciousness that can only see things in disjointedness and disunity.
That really is the basis of our saying, “not I, but Christ.” We say it inwardly in that we recognize in our spirits that He has become our new true identity, our inner spirit “I” joined with Christ in us so that inwardly we are one person, and outwardly it is His life expressed through the faith OF the Son of God who manifests in our mortal flesh, through our limited outer self-consciousness which always seems like it's just us, alone.
Do we see the implications of what we are speaking of? I am talking about getting back the fullness of our humanity! Many of us “walk in the Spirit” in some sense “according to the law.” What I mean by that, is that we believe we are Christ in us, living here today, but – and a big but here -- we remain the “judges” of whether it has “worked” or not. And many of us have many many many preconceived ideas of how Christ is and how He would act, and only very few of us would allow anger or jealousy or self-centeredness or sexual desire to be in the list of “how Jesus could be through us.” We have our own ideas of how Jesus would be, and by far the greatest majority of us only include what we consider “positive” emotions and thoughts. Those other things most of us put into a “not nice” category, and we try to stuff them away or deny them or repent of them when we feel them, thinking we are wrong to feel that way or to have “those thoughts.”
But now we are knowing and experiencing our LIBERATION! We need not fear our humanity -- because that is what Christ came to redeem. Remember, He ascended to Heaven as a MAN! Mankind is restored to God, and all the faculties we once used for sin, are now the property of Christ and for His exclusive use. And He takes them (our faculties) as His own.
In that we find our freedom from fear -- fear that we cannot trust ourselves or parts of ourselves, because of the experience of wrong use in the past. No, all we are has become His, and we confess and heartily believe nothing else. We are one, and the “life I now live IN THE FLESH, I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” That's where we stand.