117.0 - Normal vs Abnormal: The true path of the redemptive work is a bright path of immediate elevation for the believer. It is a logical, understandable path of cooperation and participation on the believer's part. And, out of that cooperation and participation grows a strong and intimate, every day relationship to the Father, the Savior, and the Holy Spirit. This is the normal result of following the true redemptive path.
However, over time a very attractive, but false, path has become very popular. Indeed, this path of the "Corrupted gospel" is bogus; and, it leaves the believer empty and defeated. But, it is, indeed, deceptively attractive. So, for a time, let's define and discuss "The Sad Path" in an effort to expose its deception and its devastating consequences.
The corruptions to the authentic Gospel, which we are about to discuss, could actually be traced historically. But, we will not do that here. We will simply expose the issues as they presently stand.
Also, please note, these corrupted and corrupting ideas to God's authentic redemptive agenda are so subtle that they are all but transparent. Because of this, they have already gained wide acceptance across the whole of the modern Evangelical Church, cutting now across all denominational lines.
Something so widely embedded is not easily challenged; but, in fact, it is easily exposed. So, I will expose it. Then you, the reader, will decide what is your correct course.
117.1 - The Essential Idea: The foundational belief of this deceptive approach to redemption is easy to grasp. It simply contends that, "The sin value (motive) always remains dominant over the faith value (motive)." In other words, mankind, even redeemed mankind, is not capable of rising above the sin impulse and its outward expressions in his daily lifestyle. This is the Prime Tenet of this "corrupted gospel."
This idea is then extended to the conclusion that if man is not capable of rising above the sin impulse, a just God cannot and does not require him to do so. So, the believer comes to think that the work of Christ makes him or her, entirely "non-responsible" with regard to sin. Non-responsible here denotes a state in which the believer is simply unaware of a compelling responsibility.
This truly is an accurate description of the widespread condition across the modern Evangelical Church. A vast segment of the contemporary Evangelical Church embraces the non-responsible idea. And, this impact cuts across most all denominational lines, in their grassroots membership, if not in their theology books. So, the modern church has largely come to believe that, even for believers, disappointing God is just part of the daily human existence, and to be generally expected.
117.2 - We Must Rethink It: It is easy to see the influence that the non-responsible approach has had on our thinking in the modern Church. In previous sections, we have already looked at the true nature of some of the key concepts in the authentic redemptive plan: Sin, Faith, Grace, Righteousness, and God's Love. But notice how those concepts are often reshaped by the non responsible approach to redemption.
It goes something like this: "Because I, even as a believer, cannot live above the impact of the sin motive , then grace has to mean mercy. And, righteousness has to be always and only imputed. And, God's love has to be always and only unconditional. And, faith can require no expression in works. These things have to be true, because these definitions leave me without responsibility for my failures, which is the only way for me survive divine scrutiny."
Obviously, if one believes that the sin impulse always dominates over the faith impulse, then this careful redefining of key terms must occur in order to enable the non-responsibility of the believer. But, all of these re-definitions are either misleading, partial truths or complete errors. And certainly, they are all devilishly corrupting to God's authentic redemptive design.
117.3 The Original Expectation: Certainly, in order to substantiate the idea that a believer is not held responsible or accountable for his or her sinful realities, a radical revision to the authentic Gospel becomes absolutely necessary. This is true because that original redemptive teaching never holds any expectation that a believer would peacefully coexist with dominant sin in an atmosphere of non responsibility.
Rather, the ancient and authentic expectation was the careful conquest of sin, in both its inner and outer forms, as discussed in previous sections. So, when we subscribe to the idea of a defeated coexistence with sin, it changes everything.
117.4 The Norm Of The "Revised Gospel": We can look to the writings of Paul for a perfect picture of what this revised redemptive plan considers the normal and unalterable human condition. Paul says in Romans, chapter 7: "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
"If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
"For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."
The condition that Paul describes here is what might be called "Incorrigible Sin." The picture that he paints is exactly the circumstance that the non-responsible approach would tout as the normal human condition, even for a believer.
In fact though, this is that very abnormal, "in between" condition as we have noted in previous sections. And, Paul shows in the very next chapter of Romans, chapter 8, how the believer is wonderfully delivered from this deplorable "carnal condition."
So, let's explore to its conclusion this "wretched" condition that Paul describes. Let's do this, not only to expose the errors of this corrupted gospel, but also because it affords us the opportunity to bring together, in a very lineal, summary form, the ideas from previous sections which we have already discussed in previous sections.
117.5 The Carnal State, "The Big In Between": What is really being described in chapters 7 and 8 of Romans is the spectacular deliverance of the believer from the domination of sin, by the Living Christ. But, Paul begins where we are reading in chapter 7 by simply describing the dilemma which requires that deliverance.
So, he is, here, showing the condition that exists after the believer's conversion, but before the believer experiences God's full remedy for sin through his or her spiritual merger with the Living Christ. Obviously, Paul is describing a very frustrating state. So, it prompts him to cry out, in the end of chapter seven, in a vicarious way for all who are experiencing this difficult condition, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
The condition which Paul is describing is a state that has come to be called the "Carnal State" or "Carnal Christianity." He actually provides something of a label for it, himself, when he says, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin ..." Again, this is the state of the believer between the time of conversion and the time of his or her spiritual baptism into the Living Spirit Christ.
Paul goes on to describe this state more fully in chapter 8 when he says in verse 5 and following, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." So, as we've seen in previous sections, indeed, the "evil twin" lives.
117.6 The Dominance of Sin: Taking all of this together, we can understand several things about this carnal state. First, we understand that this is a state in which the believer is still being primarily governed by what Paul calls, "the law of sin which is in my members."
This is Paul's way of referring to that essential sin value within our subconscious which remains, even after conversion, as discussed earlier. It is what can be described as the essential sin motive, or the subconscious sin attitude. These are all just terms which refer to that same subconscious sin essence, that original, subconscious sin value (the love of self-determination) from which all other sinful motives and behavioral actions spring.
The result of this defeating subconscious sin value is the frustration and helplessness which Paul describes in Chapter 7. Again, he says, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members [subconscious], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." [Brackets added]
117.7 The Conscious vs. The Subconscious: So, again, on the most primary level of her heart, the believer who is in this condition is still being governed by the impulse of self-determination (essential sin). And, even though she chooses to serve God on the conscious level, yet the disciple is defeated on this subconscious level, where she is powerless to exercise control. So, though it has been driven from legitimacy on the conscious level of her mind, sin continues to rule at the subconscious level where the believer is without real resource.
117.8 The Consequence of Carnality - Death: In chapter 8, Paul also describes several consequences which attach to this condition of latent sin. He indicates that, if left addressed, this subconscious sin essence will ultimately bring death. He says, "For to be carnally minded is death..."
117.9 Enmity With God: Further, he notes that this subconscious sin constantly brings stress and division between the believer and God. This is true because, down deep, in that yet incorrigible subconscious region of his heart, the believer is still in rebellion against God. Paul also indicates that this is the reason the believer cannot please God.
He says, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
117.10 Torn Between Two Governments: It's no wonder that Paul would describe this condition as "wretched." In this carnal stage, as we have seen, the believer is literally being torn between two governments in her core person. Essentially, as Paul describes, the believer can see the high road of faith; but, this dominating subconscious "sin voice" forbids her to walk it.
117.11 God's Purpose Served, A Time of Humbling: While this is obviously a difficult period for God's child, we have already seen that God does, nevertheless, use this experience to achieve his redemptive ends. This becomes a time of separation and humbling for the believer. It is during this time and through these experiences that the believer confronts this remaining, base inner nature, and is prepared to receive the remedy for it in the form of his Spiritual merger with the character essence of the Living Christ.
Again, as the followers of Christ allow the Savior to lead them through this somewhat stressful personal exposure, they are able to recognize their own inadequacies. Through these discoveries, they become depleted of their confidence in their own self-sufficiency. And, as Paul describes, in this humbled state, the believer then begins to cry out for deliverance. So, Paul cries out for us all, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
117.12 The Answer Does Come: Ultimately, it is this humbled, desperate, insistent, consecrating cry for help that the Living Christ responds to. Jesus describes this insistent plea very well in Luke, chapter 11. There, He encourages the believer to stubbornly ask and seek and knock until the answer comes in the form of this liberating Spiritual merger.
Jesus says there, "... ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened... If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
And, Paul celebrates this deliverance in chapter 8 of Romans where he says, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
117.13 It's God's Call: But, before we further explore God's answer for this carnal condition, let's consider some final thoughts concerning this carnal state. We should note that the carnal state has no predetermined end. There is no set time frame for this condition.
Again, the length of the carnal state is largely controlled by two factors: the effectiveness of the separation and humbling process, and the intensity of the believer's pursuit of the Spiritual merger with the Living Christ.
A casual investment on the part of the disciple can perpetuate this state indefinitely. And a complete unwillingness to experience this "personal wilderness time" will certainly have the same effect.
In any case, however, the end point is entirely determined by God. This "Wilderness experience" is finished only when He says it is finished. We are enough humbled, and emptied, and consecrated, and ready to experience this Spiritual connection to the Living Christ, only when God decides that we are.
117.14 The Alternatives Are Not Good: The alternatives to achieving this completion, however, are not acceptable, at all. A believer who becomes, as Jesus once put it, "offended," and refuses to work through the difficulty of this humbling time, will inevitably choose one of two courses. He or she will fully succumb to the pressures of subconscious sin and return to a course that is entirely self-determined.
Or, the believer will remain suspended in this carnal state indefinitely, unwilling to invest at the level required to succeed. In this case, the believer continues to consciously subscribe to the Lordship of Christ, but remains subconsciously enslaved to the self-serving agenda of his or her subconscious love of self-determination (essential sin).
117.15 The End Result Is The Same: The end is the same in both cases. It is death. In the first case this punishment is due to an outright return to the sinful life-approach of self-determination. For whatever reason, the "offended" believer determines that "it just isn't worth it," and consciously returns to a self directed lifestyle. It may not be an ugly lifestyle. But, it is still self-guided and it will, therefore, draw the judgment of God.
In the second case, where the believer balks at the required investment level, but does not entirely retreat, still, God's judgment comes. This happens because of the subconscious defiance which remains unaddressed. So, either way, the existence of a dominant sin value, whether on the conscious or the subconscious level, draws the same judgment from God, ultimately.
117.16 Go On Child: Of course, the obvious implication is that it is simply unacceptable for the believer to retreat, as a matter will, from the redemptive process. Rather, the disciple is expected to move through this "big in between." The intent is that the believer would experience a successful completion in the Living Christ, ultimately coming to an undivided heart that is fully and consistently faith-expressive.
117.17 A Successful Completion: Now, we move deeper into chapter 8 of Romans to discover this successful completion for the believer. Here, Paul begins to fully describe the liberating answer to this agonizing carnal condition. In doing so, he completely discredits the idea that man is hopelessly consigned to the sin impulse.
The apostle begins with a celebratory statement. He says, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! " Then he sums up the old condition: "So then, with the [conscious] mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh [the subconscious mind] the law of sin." [Brackets added]
117.18 Promise Kept: Captives Free: Then, he starts to expose the full wonder of the Savior's work. He tells us that, as believers, we are no longer condemned.
But notice, this freedom from condemnation comes through responsible, faith expressive behavior, not the lack of it. Paul says it is because we walk after the Spirit, not the flesh. He says that this Spirit enrichment has set us free from the dominating law of the sin instinct.
He says it this way, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
117.19 Why The Law Couldn't Work: Paul also shows us why the law could not adequately govern the human heart. He indicates that the law depended on the voluntary cooperation of the flesh, humanity's wayward subconscious. And, as we have seen, this will never happen because the carnal mind is ever the antithesis of the godly mind.
So, those subconscious, selfish appetites defeat us in exactly the way that Paul described in chapter 7. But, now he exposes the better remedy - the Christ's empowerment of the believer through their merger with His living character essence. Paul also notes that this remedy is so successful that we are able to keep, not just the letter, but even the righteous intent of the law.
Paul says it this way, "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
117.20 The Stark Difference: Then, Paul continues to expose the stark difference in the believer before and after the deliverance offered by the indwelling Christ. He also speaks of how very indispensable the divine merger is to the believer.
He says, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
"So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."
117.21 Confirmation of "the Quickening": Now Paul confirms that we can conquer the latent sin impulse through the Holy Spirit. He says, "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life [a daily vitality] to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." [Brackets added]
Then Paul concludes. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
117.22 - Now, What About That Non-Responsible Thing: Obviously, what Paul describes in these chapters is not a defeated believer who is consigned to a hopeless coexistence with dominating sin. Rather, he describes the graceful deliverance from that condition, a deliverance which is immediately available to the believer in the Living Christ.
So, it was never God's plan to give up on the human potential, dismantle the impact of His moral laws, and remove from us all responsibility for our behavior. His plan has never been about an acceptable "broken-ness."
So, the corrupted gospel touting the non-responsibility of the believer is really nothing more than an errant and delusional, pop-gospel. It encourages the believer to be spiritually lazy and nonparticipating. It places all present responsibility for his or her success on the Dying Christ. And, it virtually ignores the significance and promise of the Living Christ - seeing the Resurrection as being without any real, here-and-now benefit to the believer.
In doing so, it would leave the believer unempowered; and indicate this impotent state to be normal. In this way, the believer is left very far under-invested, when great investment is actually called for. This corrupted gospel does not even come close to discribing God's authentic redemptive agenda. Instead, it is the delusional ploy of God's adversary to subvert the souls of humanity. This is not the Gospel of Christ. It is the anti-christ gospel.
John gives us the litmus test that clearly exposes this false gospel in his first epistle when he writes, "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."
Jesus Christ does, indeed, live in the flesh - first in His own, as our Messiah to suffer the Cross. But secondly, He comes to live in the believer's fleshly form, to empower and renew the believer. But, the corrupted gospel denies this reality, entirely.
117.23 An Odd Reversal Of Thought: Nevertheless, by widely embracing, the gospel of the non-responsibility of the believer as its practical, everyday, working idea of Christian redemption the modern Evangelical Church has largely come to the oddest reversal of thought. Consider the following.
As discussed earlier, in large numbers, actually cutting across all denomination at the grassroots level, we have come to widely embrace two significant thoughts. First, we have come to believe in and be comfortable with the idea that even a devout believer in Christ cannot consistently live above the sin impulse or it's real expressions, even for a single day.
Then, when we add to that, the tenacious contention that our faith needs no expression in works to be validated, we come to a very awkward extension. It is this:
"Sin must be a necessary expression in the believer's daily life, but faith need not be."
What a sad gospel we have come to if such dark, up-side-down belief system is the best we can do. What a sad and and completely inadequate message to offer to a needy world.
The approval of a peaceful and comfortable coexistence with dominant sin in one's life is not really to be found anywhere in the writings of the New Testament. Nor is an invisible, impotent faith described or approved there.
These are merely devilish and deluded philosophical inventions of pop-theology and preaching. And, while such teachings may momentarily create an easier and more self indulgent religious experience, they will certainly never bring us to the truly elevating path which actually leads to a vibrant heart-oneness with God in the Living Christ.
Nor, will these bogus teaching even come close to getting us past that ultimate judgement bar of God. These dark teachings are but the pavings of The Sad Path of self-delusion.