5 Nov 2002

Living in sin and guilt

Submitted by theshovel
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I am in a really bad situation. I am, I can hardly write the word because I feel so guilty, Christian. My husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. We are not divorced yet. I am living with another man. We are planning to get married as soon as we are divorced. His wife left him and moved several states away. I moved with him to Texas, from NY, because he got a job there. Since I have been here God has really drawn me back to Him and I am in agony over the fact that we are both married to other people and living together. It is really horrible. There are times when I have peace but then someone reminds me of the bad witness I am to other people. What do I do? Kathie

My dear Kathie…

You mentioned that you have times of peace until someone reminds you of your bad witness to other people. Does your peace, as well as your guilt, rest upon what others think of you? Do you realize how often your actions are made based upon what others think of you . even your present bad situation? Guilt is a powerful manipulator, and it will keep you in bondage bouncing back and forth between one thing - or even one person - and another.

Do you know that Christ FREED us from the bondage of law and performance-based living? Did you know that he brought us GOOD news? Did you know that he has already justified you by hanging on that cross? Did you know that he has killed you … and raised you up in his own new life?

Forget what man might say or think … do you know what God thinks?

Love, Jim

Hi, Jim! I believe God told me this not too long ago but would appreciate your opinion:
I was begging for help.
He asked me why I was so upset.
I said because I am living in sin.
He said “Kathie what is the fruit in your life? A good tree can’t produce bad fruit.” (Obviously he knew my spiritual life was in the best position ever)
I said Yes! But I am such a bad witness of Christianity!
He said: Are you such a bad witness? Are you going to stay in the place you are?
I said: NO
He said: Why?
I said: Because I love you.
He said: Then the true witness is: I met you where you were at, Loved you while you were there, and lifted you out of there.
That sounds like a good witness to me, don’t you think? Kathie

Hello Kathie,

He said: Then the true witness is: I met you where you were at, Loved you while you were there, and lifted you out of there. That sounds like a good witness to me, don’t you think?

It sounds like a witness to the very reality of Christ! :)

I always find it amazing that God can teach us even when we think the written word objects to the living testimony of His Spirit. Your worries are found in the stony words of a stony book. No, this is not a denial of what the apostles wrote — but a denial of our long-standing religious perceptions of what they wrote. You said, “The bible says not to do anything that would make Jesus look bad.”, but ironically the bible shows Jesus looking bad in front of lots of people. Consider the fact that when he was hung on the cross it was a statement to the world that this man was damned by God and man.

I know the argument is always made that Jesus was different than us in that he did nothing wrong to produce this bad witness — but it is precisely here that we have been taught a lie. The lie is simple, for though we have been made the very righteousness of God in Christ through being forgiven and having received the actual life of God we immediately begin to view ourselves as that which we used to be. And because we have let the liar convince us of this total rejection of Christ’s work we run right back to a system of performance that supposedly helps us remove the sin from our lives.

But you already know this truth for you have heard God himself, and He has taught you that you are a good tree that can only produce good fruit. But somehow the words in some of the letters have been twisted so that you are constantly examining yourself for sin in hopes that you will not disappoint God by doing it. But somehow — through all your trying NOT to do it — you discover that sin is all you can see. This would make Christ the minister of sin — and that he is NOT.

The truth of Christ is that for the very first time a person is able to truly live! The fact is that we have gotten so used to the religious hypocrisy that pretends at godliness that we keep trying to compare ourselves to a bogus standard of living. You have been made alive!! At one time you were a slave of sin and yet you were made a slave of righteousness through Christ’s death and resurrection within you.

We often think back to our life of sin and will remember particular evil deeds, but the truth is that everything we did was sin — when we lived in sin. Even the good was sin because it was a pretense. But now in Christ we are alive for the first time.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians he matter-of-fact-ly stated that they had been running well and wanted to know who had hindered them from obeying the truth. Do you know what truth he was referring to? The freedom of life through the Spirit of Christ! The ones who had hindered them were some lawmen from Jerusalem who were trying to bring them back under a system of performance. These men caused these believers to begin to justify themselves before God and before each other according to standards and morals. The love that had been freely flowing from them had come to a screeching halt and instead they were judging and condemning one another. And all of this was based upon a religious appearance of godliness.

I can not understand how God can love me while I am sinning and there are so many scriptures of how much trouble you will be in if you learn the truth and continue in your sin! Kathie

I know many of the verses you fear in this respect — and I can tell you that they were not originally written with that intent. Something tells me that, among others, a few verses from Hebrews and some from 2 Peter probably terrify you. These are highly misunderstood letters that have been used by the same legal mindset as being against the freedom of Christ. I’ve written some things on Hebrews that might shed a little understanding on why many fear verses have been incorporated into our living relationship with God

Love, Jim

Jim, this is most definitely NOT MORE than I wanted to hear. You speak exactly what Ephesians tells us to do, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but ONLY that which is edifying and will minister GRACE unto the hearers….and be ye kind, considerate and forgiving one another as God in Christ had also forgiven you.” Who would ever be full of that?
Jim, I’ll tell you something. As I wrote that paragraph above the Holy Spirit practically screamed those words back to me. He wants to build me up not tear me down. He ministers GRACE to me. My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is perfected in weakness. Oh Dear Lord, it is absolutely sufficient….man what a relief. Grace: Undeserved favor.
WOW…this is too much. …. and be ye kind, considerate and forgiving one another AS GOD IN CHRIST HAS FORGIVEN YOU…….WOW! Here I am going to be encouraging you to keep speaking and God ministers my words right back at me…OHHH I love it!!! That is not to say to you “Don’t say anymore” because I love your ministering but what an encouragement.
Thanks, Jim. I can tell you that although I have gone over and over this with another Christian friend, I haven’t felt Jesus’ presence, as promised in the bible….when two or more are gathered in My Name, there I will be in their midst…..HE’S HERE!!! Hallelujah.
I REALLY REALLY appreciate you taking this time for me. I pray that God blesses you and encourages you to continue in this ministry because you have been a true blessing for me.
Love, Kathie

In another email she wrote:

Jim, I just reread your words because I got so caught up in the ministering of the Holy Spirit in that first paragraph of my reply. You are right!!! I am not making Him look bad! I am making Him look like the loving, gracious, merciful saviour that He is!!!!!! WOW!!!!! Kathie

Guess who AGAIN! Jim your e-mail reply has sent me into a cloud. OH MY. I can tell you I am amazed at what the Spirit of God has just revealed to me when reading your interpretation of Hebrews. This is the promised Land: Sin comes from living under the law. If you are living by your ability…you are going to fail. If you are living under the law you are living in sin because we fail every time. If you are living in the Spirit of Christ than you are living under grace, God’s undeserved favor. We don’t deserve it but we have it not because of ourselves but because Jesus made it so. If you are living in Christ you are not bound by performance (laws). If you are living in Christ you live according to love because He is love. You don’t desire to do evil things. So, therefore when I get anxious about my outward appearance I am reverting to being a pharisee and making of no good what Jesus died to give me….freedom right where I am. When I feel anxious, afraid, concerned about my outward condition I am not living in the the Truth of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, gentleness, long suffering, meekness…which is what God is the embodiment of. The revelation of how much God wants us to enjoy these things is astounding to my natural mind. WOW! Am I getting it???? Kathie

Kathie!!

I am so thrilled and encouraged by all you have shared with me!! I just read our ongoing correspondence out loud to my wife, Sherri, who was also thrilled to hear it!! Real life is so wonderful, and this is exactly what I am witnessing coming forth from you!! Thank you, thank you!!!

Hey, I suspect that you would absolutely LOVE the living communication we have going on at the Shovel Shack discussion forum!! And I know they would love what you have to share as well. If you have any time to spare please feel welcome to check it out. :)

Love, Jim

Kathie did check out the Shovel Shack and posted the following

This is the truth: I didn’t know this was a website about Grace until after Jim and I had these conversations. I was in a cloud again after I realized that was what the ministry was all about because in my correspondence with Jim that was exactly what the Holy Spirit was ministering to me>>> GRACE!!! What a wonderful witness from the Holy Spirit Himself. Kathie, on the Shovel Shack

Here are some edited thoughts from an email I sent related with the behavior issue in this situtation. I am keeping the writer’s comments anonymous as was requested, but the content of my response may be beneficial to some who have similar concerns.

Realize that the above series of emails all took place within one evening and the following afternoon. In other words, Kathie went from “I can’t believe God could love me” at 1:40 pm to “I’m totally blown away by the real freedom of Christ” by 4:00 pm.

Now, I was obviously thrilled with Kathie’s replies … and some may be likely wondering why I didn’t get into her behavior, or why perhaps she wasn’t being convicted about her situation … or something of that nature? But what if the real behavior going on in her life had more to do with her having lived a lie for years because of her false perceptions?

In other words, we might think that proper behavior should immediately cause her to remove herself from her present situation and go back and try to repair the former one. But what if real freedom in Christ really brings sanity so that the most pressing behavior shift was the recognition of her own living of the lie for the past many years? You see, it was insanity that kept her living in what was probably a psychological divorce. Her jumping into another relationship was probably a product of that insanity, and so she found herself totally isolated wondering what the heck she was going to do next!

Are any bothered by the fact that her agony over her present situation was removed by the freedom of Christ? I know it has often been taught that such turmoil might be the work of God so that a person will turn from their sin … but what if that is simply the work of law and condemnation? What if her sensing of this freedom had only to do with the real stuff behind the condemnation … and nothing to do with a lack of concern toward sin itself?

Here are some thoughts I had written before sending the above reply

The very meaning of behavior is intricately connected with our perceptions, and as a society built upon many Biblical and moral concepts we have come to view behavior as an outward compliance. Sure, we would love to see some real inner motivation behind the outward show, but we speak of this need for real connection between the inward and outward because we know that it’s not there for the most part. My point here is that we need to address the real stuff of the heart because otherwise we’re only validating the lie of the world.

When we’re living according to the blindness of this world, even the religious forms of it, we will address behavior because we believe it is the bottom line reality. But it’s not. How can it be when we have only learned to conform to the illusion that we’re actually doing the right thing when we know we’re acting against our own beings by doing what others expect of us?

When we become confident in the true reality of our beings, having been set free by Christ, we can finally begin to deal with ourselves in truth, and not by trying to keep the illusion going.

You know, this situation may not turn out as we might think it ought to, but what if the right behavior doesn’t include going back to the husband who is not pleased to live with her? No doubt she has a lot to reconsider in her life in her present situation, but the only sane way she can approach it is to see herself in TRUE freedom, and not from suffering according to God’s displeasure with her.

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But the "gospel" we have heard so many times in this world needs no miracle, it doesn't really even need Christ for that matter because it is established after the pattern of the world's logic, motivations, and ideologies source