VIII — The Whole Gospel
As we accept and live the Gospel of Grace, we offer the whole Gospel to others.
This whole Gospel is the Good-Spell, the good news, of how man triumphs over all trials and vicissitudes by the power of the Holy Spirit as Comforter within him. It is the wonderful, and wonder-working, news of man’s salvation from all “error,” here and heretofore, “in Jesus’ Name,” or in the one-with-the-Father consciousness He attained and at His ascension contributed to all men as the Comforter indwelling.
It is the good tidings of the ascended Lord, Law, to be believed in as our Lord, our Law. “... there is born to you ... a Saviour ...” means that there has been given to you a saving consciousness.
It is the Good-Spell that there is no such thing as struggle in the Christ Jesus, Christian life—in the true spiritual living. Morality, which resists (fights) evil to over come it—as Jesus taught us not to do—morality may struggle to become spiritual but in this soul-strife it reveals its own “unfinished business.” Chesterton says that “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and not tried.” No, this cannot be so of highest Christianity. Perfect Christianity, the Gospel of the ascended Lord to be believed in as the Law of life for us, has not been “found difficult and not tried.” If it has seemed difficult it has not been found.
It can be discovered, that pure mercy and love of God, within the soul, awaiting our faith in it to “save to the uttermost”—to save us even from straining and struggling to be His Sons in expression.
In the silence of the secret place, we may find the ascended Lord which is faith in the Law of expression and therefore of experience as above distress and delay. Anyone who finds this Lord there knows that Christianity is not difficult; that Grace exists.
If the standards of the Christian life seem difficult of attainment, it is because we are trying, be it ever so gallantly, to live this Christian life without first having found Christ Jesus within. “In His Name,” we need not try thus to make bricks without straw. By finding the Christed Jesus indwelling, or entering into the ascended realization, we can live Christianity Gracefully without the torment of inner sorrow and outer stress.
There is no suffering in the Christ Jesus realization, which is direct knowing of the truth, because there is nothing of mental nor material force, no “schemy reasoning”—human cleverness, no deceit, no resentment, no condemnation of “the brother that is weaker.” If “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (St. Paul)—no trailing along in the present of consequences of past “unfinished business”—it is because there is therefore now, towards themselves or others, no condemnation in them that are in Christ Jesus.
We need not be afraid that in this freedom from self condemnation, we shall be foolishly indifferent to violation of ethical and moral laws. We shall find that, in Christ Jesus, without a struggle that “tears our soul apart,” we do not break such laws. On the contrary, we shall discover that in this new consciousness, we adhere naturally to such laws without a moment of conflict about what we should do.
Spirituality is never less than morality; it is always more. In the condemnation-free Christ Jesus realization, a sinner sins no more. He has been lifted up out of former “unfinished business”—that state of thinking, feeling, saying and doing, that falls short of accomplishing his aim or adjusting the situation. He has forgiven, given truth for less-than-truth, in thought, word and deed. He has forgiven by inner repentance (re-thinking) through entering into the Christ Jesus awareness, and by outer restitution wherever possible. Then in ease and in peace he finds there is “no condemnation (no burden of consequences of past sins, neither of gnawing conscience nor outer punishment) to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
We should never mistake the impermanent flourishing of the “green bay-tree” for evidence of Grace. Late or soon the unascended law comes along and upsets the apple-cart of such pseudo-Grace.
Yet, dearly beloved of the Father and the Son Apparent, has not the ultimate, supreme Gospel, good tidings, of Christianity gone for naught for the majority of us Christians because we have not understood it, and have not believed in Jesus’ annunciation of it, nor in the utterance of St. Paul, the apostle of Grace, about it? Has it not been a Star of the East we have not seen because we have not comprehended that the sacrifice (purification of consciousness) once made by Jesus, need not be made again by each one of us as an individual procedure? Has not the whole Gospel actually been an empty Cradle because we have not perceived that if we will take advantage of Jesus’ supreme achievement and have faith in Christ Jesus in us, we shall not find ourselves with consciousness of sin, or missing the mark of perfection about anything we righteously desire to express?
Where there is no consciousness of sin, or lack of good in expression and therefore in experience, there is no necessity for sacrifice, or purification of consciousness. The Christ Jesus realization is the consciousness purified of any belief in lack of true soul activity and so it is free from belief in the necessity of “crucifixion” or any distress or delay. If sacrifice, purification by a cross of suffering, seems necessary to us, we have not yet accepted the ascended Lord as our own, for, as St. Paul writes in Hebrews ten, “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year.” And in Christ Jesus realization there is neither sin nor memory of sin.
If we continue to regret a mistake we have made, continue to feel guilty about it, and expect to keep on “paying for it” in some form of blessing withheld, after we have done everything in our power outwardly to put the matter right, we are remembering our sin. We are trying to redeem our mis-guided action in the wrong way. Having made whatever outer rectification is now possible, either in word or deed as the situation calls for, we should accept that we are forgiven, forget about the occurrence and go on as if it never had happened. We should not hold the memory of it in mind in an inner shrine of remorse, and go there time after time in thought and feeling to worship the error even indirectly by thinking, “Oh, I am sorry I did that.” This kind of “sacrifice” but holds the unhappy incident in consciousness and attracts new error into our lives. “Like unto like,” goes the familiar saying. The soul burdened with such remembrance inevitably must express similar imperfection in the same, or another, situation. “To him that hath (in consciousness) shall be given (more of that which he hath);” more “unfinished business” with which to deal.
Once we have forgiven in word and/or deed, we may expect to be free from the unhappy consequences of the sin.
If the person against whom we have erred, does not “forgive and forget,” still his lack of trueness to principle cannot keep the blessed result of our forgiveness from being manifest—and staying manifest, if also we forget our “missing of the mark.” Then we are “sitting pretty.”
Should our “brother” not accept whole-heartedly our rectification of our mistake, we do not stumble into the pitfall of condemning him for not “wiping the past” out of mind and heart, for to do so would be to fall from the state of Grace to which the Comforter has lifted us, and we would again experience the blessing taken away or withheld.
Whether our “brother’s” has been the initial transgression or the re-action to our own trespass, we must not bind the imperfection to him nor to us by adverse criticism of it. We must “loose it and let it go” out of our memory, remembering that as Shakespeare puts it,
“Who from crimes would pardoned be,
In mercy should set others free.”
We all want to be free. Sometimes we may think we want justice, the “eye for an eye” and the “tooth for a tooth” activity operating in our lives, but eventually, when the invocation of this law has dealt to us its empty reward, we come to see that life holds something better: the operation of the law of love, of tenderness and mercy. We are ready then to succumb no longer to the insidious temptation to “justice” that sometimes “deceives even the elect.” Through trial and error we have found that for once here is a bite worse than its bark. At long last—too long a last for our happiness was it not?— we find ourselves echoing Henri Frederic Amiel: “The God of justice veils from me the God of love. I tremble and do not trust.”
In international, national, and private situations, when we have lacked God’s Grace of love have we not been like children in a classroom trying to get by subtraction instead of addition, the right answer to an arithmetic problem? The teacher has pointed out to us that we cannot do it. When, stubbornly, we have persisted, patiently the question has been asked us, “Has anyone ever got the correct answer by this method?” Wilfully we have replied, “No, no. But maybe we will!”
Of course we won’t. God, the Principle of love, is not mocked; He gives us His priceless blessings as we let Him express through us His price-less and penalty-less love.
Sometime we shall admit this. One day we shall be ready even to forsake the trial and error method of learning anything. “Experience,” says Benjamin Franklin, “keeps a dear (expensive) school, but fools will learn in no other.” One day, we shall be tired of being fools, and be ready to accept the help of Him who rose above the foolishness of worldly wisdom (“... the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” I Cor. 3:19). Eagerly we shall seek—and find—within us the consciousness of Him who ascended above all trial and error.
And—”cheer up.” No matter how long it takes us to be “fed up” with justice, and trial and error learning, we may always end up in Grace at the moment we decide so to do.
Christ Jesus in us makes it easy for us to add and not subtract, to forgive and forget, and so to have restored to us, or given anew to us in greater measure, the kingdom manifest which the “locust” of “unfinished business” has “eaten,” or put afar off from our enjoyment. “I will restore to you the years that the locust (of human imperfection) hath eaten...” (Joel 2:25).
This, His diamond-pure realization in us, not only for our sakes but for the blessedness of our “brothers,” is more to be desired than rubies. Is not the diamond the most valuable of precious stones? In us it is the “white stone” on which our new name is written, even the Name of the ascended Lord indwelling.
Its potency releases us from “crosses” and gives to us in His Name the triumphant Crown of the King of kings. Shall we not perceive it and receive it, the Comforter indwelling?
How significantly has it been said, “Too many people are carrying crosses, instead of wearing crowns.”
So many Christians have been gallant Soldiers of the Cross. How many have been glorious—yet humble—Acceptors of the Crown?
Here, perhaps, the question will arise: If we need not bear a cross, why did Jesus say: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.”?
There are many different interpretations of the cross, some of which do not signify suffering. But it is widely believed that to Jesus the crucifixion was an agonizing ordeal. If we take the generally accepted meaning that a cross does connote painful experience—that that is what it meant to Jesus—then we can only conclude our Redeemer Himself, speaking the above words prior to His Calvary before He was perfected in Christ realization, did not then foresee just how great would be to us the help of His resurrection and ascension. For if the cross has meant to us what it seems to have meant to Jesus, certain it is that in the secret place of the Most High within us we now hear His ascended “voice” saying, “Take up your cross—and throw it away!”
If we have not yet accepted Jesus, risen and ascended, as the actuality of ourselves, in the form that divinely we want Him, whether as restored or new blessings, the consequence is as He said it would be for disbelievers: we are “condemned” to “crucifixion” and suffering. We need not be, if we will believe for, to quote St. Paul again, “He (Jesus) taketh away the first that he may establish the second.” He has taken away the first law of single-handed, individual soul development, and has established the second law of other men triumphing through His attainment—Grace.
“I do not make void the grace of God.” Jesus has changed something in me—Christ to Christ Jesus.
“I know that my Redeemer liveth” in me now, “and because He lives” in me, I too am alive in perfect, satisfying living here in this life.
© 1947, Crichton Russ Boatwright