When we come to know the forgiveness of God in Christ and accept His life into our humanity, there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to change right away – we still carry the wrong Tree in our minds, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We still carry the lie that we are autonomous beings determining our own destiny by our actions, choosing good or evil.
The Devil loves the continual promotion of his worn out idea from pub to pulpit.. It doesn’t matter which path we follow in this false idea; like the unbeliever’s path, these two seemingly divergent roads of “good” and “evil” end up in the same place, though for the Christ-indwelt it is not Hell as in the case of the Christ-rejector.
In the believer’s case, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is superimposed over our Christ-indwelt, Tree-of-Life life. Like this:
James spoke of wavering in faith: “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways,” and “He that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Jesus, in speaking of the necessity of trusting God, said in Matt 6:22-24, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness…No man can serve two masters….” There again is the either/or, the two, the choice between two options. The single eye or double-think.
If our spiritual eye is singular, centered upon God and His Word, abiding in Christ, our whole body will be full of light. But if our eye is evil, bad, not centered upon God and His Word but upon the Devil’s way of doing things, our whole body will be full of darkness. We’ll have just enough of Christ and just enough of the world to make us miserable.
Whether this means legalistic Churchianity or chicks, booze, and bongs doesn’t really matter too much. They both come to the same end – less effectiveness here, fewer lives changed, fewer of our loved ones saved, and less reward in eternity. Our one shot will be shot.
Here’s the thing:
Any self-directed activity which is not based on a renewed mind achieves no eternal impact and does not please or honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
It sounds unfair to say that a licentious believer and a legalistic believer will meet the same bonfire of the vanities. Isn’t the legalistic one at least trying to be “like Christ”?
But that’s how the wrong Tree in our mind deceives us. The double-minded man, having the Tree of Life now within himself but never accessing it, chooses to be his own source, and really, what does he do? He connects back to the satanic mind-stream of Genesis 3 and Isaiah 14 and operates from that false source. “I’m not a vessel or cup, indwelt by Christ and operating by trusting His life in me. Instead, I am an autonomous self, choosing good.” Trying to be “like Christ” in our own effort echoes Satan’s boast of Isaiah 14, “I will be like the Most High.” It attempts to elevate a human being to godlike status, rather than being a vessel designed to be in willing cooperation with an indwelling God. Faith-ing in a lie, he lives the lie.
The Me4God@aol.com mindset is not Christ-directed but Satan-driven. The false-tree man does not abide in Christ, and therefore sins; whether by legalism or license matters not. The licentious one simply changes it to, “I am an autonomous self, choosing evil.”
Choosing good in this satanic mind-stream results in pride, self-commendation, Satan curing our cold to give us cancer. Choosing evil results in self-condemnation. Jesus becomes mere fire insurance in both cases.
We are to take heed to overcome and keep Christ’s works, His life working through us, until the end. Holy Spirit indwelling must be followed by Holy Spirit expression. This theme runs throughout the New Testament and is beyond debate. Those who bear fruit, who overcome and keep Christ’s works to the end, will be given many things: a crown of life; the second death will do them no harm; hidden manna; a dazzling white stone with a new name; authority over the nations; the Morning Star; acknowledgment before the Father and the angelic hosts; we will take our seat beside Christ on His throne. These huge promises are fulfilled to those who overcome.
Jesus says to those hard-working people in Matt 7:23, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye who work iniquity.” These are folks who were without relationship with Christ but with lots of “good” works. As believers we understand God will not recognize works coming from the false god of Ephesians 2:2. What we miss is that God will not recognize any human activity, even the activity of redeemed humanity, which springs from that false source, the wrong Tree, no matter how good it looks. Legalism is just as satanically-driven as license.
The only activity the Father will recognize and reward is that which springs from the headship of His Son in our hearts, bursting forth into true expression of God’s abundant life and love. “There is only One who is good – that is God,” says Jesus. That means there’s only one source of goodness in the universe, and it isn’t the human cup. As Jesus said of His humanity, “I can do nothing of Myself.”
If we don’t repent of this doublethink we are in for a rude awakening. The Christ-indwelt person is not an autonomous being, and neither is the unbeliever; human beings were never created for self-directed autonomy and are actually incapable of it. But how do we spend our lives in Spirit-expression and not in this false Tree? We’ll begin to take a good look at this in Two, Part III.