Sinlessness - Man's Heritage Through Christ
I John 1:5--2:6
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on February 17, 2015. Bob writes, "This talk is on sin and sinlessness where Mr. Fillmore reminds us of the importance of studying the opposite to understand something. His example here of course is sinlessness to understand the concept of sin (p.4 ) And his has a nice story of a four year old Unity girl using the Prayer of Faith, very cute. (see p 32-34)."
The lesson this morning is rather condensed in its practical application to everyday life. S-i-n: only three letters in the word, and yet it covers a multitude. It is hardly possible to begin to explain all the ins and outs of sin in a short talk. It is a very large subject; a subject that everybody is interested in, but few take seriously.
Jesus Christ came to destroy sin, and many people are doubtful as to the efficacy of His mission, because sin still exists, and nineteen hundred years have passed. Sin seems to be just as active. Undoubtedly, judging by appearances, it is more active than it ever was in the history of the world. And the question naturally arises, what is the nature of this thing that has such power in men and among the human family? And, if Jesus came to destroy it — and some people think that He did destroy it — why are there no more evidences of this destruction? If the great Master of men made an issue of His ministry, we ought to he able to answer these questions. And I think that we can answer them, to the mind that has raised its consciousness to the place where it can see mental activities, and not only see them but handle them.
No man can understand the character of sin until he knows something of sinlessness; so no man can understand the character of darkness until he knows about the light. No man can understand the character of sickness until he knows health. So, you must study health in order to overcome sickness. You must study Truth in order to overcome depression; in other words, you must study everything from the opposite side before ycu can know anything about the reflection or the negative side. So, in this study of sin, you must study sinlessless, or the Christ.
That brings us right back to headquarters. What do you know about the power of Christ to forgive sin? When you know that power, you will see what sin is. Sin is something more than a mere moral deflection. The original meaning of the word in the Greek was "missing the mark." Applying that to our everyday understanding of Christianity, we can see that it has its relation to the missing of the mark of what Paul called that "prize of the high calling of God through Christ." The missing of the mark of the Christ; the high calling of God in Christ.
That means that there is a standard, we might say, in archery, that it is a bull's eye, and that is Christ — the character of Christ — and all people who have missed that character in bringing out the divine Idea, the God in them, are sinners. And we are all sinners, but if we dwell upon our sins and mourn over them and think that we are destined for hell, we increase our dissipation, because sin is dissipation. Sin is not real.
According to Genesis, sin came into the world through Adam and Eve's lack of understanding. Adam and Eve were innocent children put into this great Universal Mind of Being, with all its intricate, deep, metaphysical facts. They knew nothing about them. They were to have experience. The serpent means experience — one of its meanings. Another one is the subtlety of sense, or sensation; and these poor, innocent children had to acquire an understanding. Now, we are the innocent children; we are the offspring, of these original ancestors of the race. And they didn't always incorporate into their evolution the wisdom, or the knowledge of the great Universal Mind. They slipped, they fell away from the understanding of how to use certain principles, or how to use what we might call life.
Life and wisdom are two attributes of Being. Love is another attribute, power, all these are attributes of this one Universal Mind; and we, as the users of this Mind, must know all of its activities, all of its attributes. Now, if we merely incorporate into our consciousness life, or sensation and substance, combining those two, you can see you get a partial result. It is like working out a problem in mathematics. We have only got a partial answer to our problem; and that is exactly where we are today, as the family of God. We are not under condemnation. We don't know as much as we might know, and not knowing it, we don't know how to use this universal Energy.
Our men of science are beginning to discern that there is something back of this universe that they are to get acquainted with. In a meeting of the world's School of Scientists in Glasgow, Scotland, I think it was, just the other day, one of the acknowledged leaders In the scientific world said "Science Is, since we lost our basis in the atom, all at sea. We have discovered that there is a new world, another kingdom, here. It is electric in its character; but we know so little about It that we are at sea." That is the utmost of a great truth. They have discovered this world of mind on its energy side.
Quite a few of the progressive scientists are experimenting in the measuring of the energy of the ether. That ether is simply one phase of Divine Mind, and they are measuring it with light and photography etc. They are getting away from mechanical devices. You can see that they are beginning to merge into Mind, and pretty soon they will find that they can measure the energy or the force of this universal ether. But can they measure the Love of it? Or can they measure the wisdom that makes up this Universal Mind? No, they cannot. They must evolve in themselves the measuring sticks and those ere ideas of Mind. So you can see that metaphysicians are just a step ahead of the scientific world, but it is a great consolation to metaphysicians that the world is recognizing these principles which all metaphysicians and all seers have dealt with, in a measure, down the ages.
We see the evidences of this power of the mind to tune in with the universal ether in the power of the Word. And, in order to get hold of that power, we must use right words; that is, we must use uplifting words, spiritual words, because the Word is attached to the ether; and when we write a word we imprison, or we trap, the ether in its energy. Every word has real life. A great man said: "If you cut a word, it would bleed." There is light [that] comes out of every word. Your lightest word has entrapped in it this universal Energy, just to the extent that you are wise, or that you are vital, or that you have power and strength. All those attributes come right into your consciousness when you begin to affirm the Word. These higher words that are written are so much life, because if you could see the Invisible, you would see a ray of light running before every word. Those words, to some people, take on light.
I have had some people say to me that when they had quickened the spiritual mind and had certain illumination, that reading the Bible, a word would stand right out and seem to be right in the way above the written word. They had caught it, don't you see, in a measure? That is true of every word, and it has life. Every word is life, just to the extent that man comprehends the life of God: that God is Spirit, and that the Christ of God, or this Son of God, is shining into every one of us. As John said, in our lesson this morning: "God is light." If you dwell in the Light, you must have a certain understanding of the power of that light in your life.
That is true, and we live in an elastic ether. It is here just like rubber bands strung from your mind out into this Universal Ether, and just to the extent that you realize that do you increase these bands; but if you are in a state of darkness and sin; that is, if you are away from the light, you slow down and your rubber bands become bands of steel and you are imprisoned in matter, and you do it all through your mind.
How can you get free? By realizing or proclaiming the power of the Word first. We find by experience that it is good for us to memorize certain spiritual words. We get out of the Bible wonderful statements —
"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
How, John, in the lesson this morning, plays back and forth. First, he says we are sinless, and again he says that we must acknowledge our sin. Where is the dividing line? We must be one or the other. We are. We are, through Christ, absolutely sinless; that is, in this Divine Mind we have no sin whatever in the sight of God. God does not see you as a sinner and you are not under condemnation of this One Perfect Mind. We condemn ourselves. We see that we have fallen short of the high standard of God. We begin to realize that that makes us sinners; and some people, when they realize it, begin to step up and say, "I am going to ask forgiveness. I am going to forget my own thoughts of myself as a sinner," and they begin to go up. But if you say, "Well, sin is universal. Everybody sins, and let us eat, drink and be merry. There is no future; let us all have a good time," that is going down in sin. That makes your underworld, and you can make the upper world by taking the opposite. You can be lifted right out of that sinless condition, and we are here dealing with this sinless proposition, and we must understand the power of the Word. We must understand that with every thought that we think a vibration goes out, an energy. As I say, our men of science are beginning to experiment with these things.
I read not long ago of a men visiting a zoological garden with a phonographic recording instrument. He wanted to test the monkeys. He stirred them up into anger and they chattered and fought with one another, and he had his men made a phonographic record of that. Then, another day, he went in and the monkeys were all peaceful. He didn't interfere with them at all, but he turned loose his record, and the monkeys began at once to fight and chatter and went through exactly the same state of mind that he had stirred them into when he made the record. What did that prove? Why, that those monkeys, representing the nerves, I might say, of man — and we are told that at the end of every nerve it is like a sensitive phonograph record, it is receiving or giving off these energies — and those monkeys, just like nervous people, took on the condition of the vibration that had been set up by their own fight.
So, we find that we act and react constantly to this universal Ether. Now, the vibrations of that ether stopped when the phonograph stopped. But did the record break? No; but the man that made that record could have broken it. What did Jesus say? "Man hath power on earth to forgive sins." So we do not have to keep incorporated into our consciousness, into our nerve centers, all the discords and inharmonies that have been engendered there. We can break them through, realizing that there is a higher Power; but so long as we keep in the vortex of sin, the vortex of discord, of our anger, i.e., our violent thoughts, our selfish thoughts, our lustful thoughts, as long as we keep in them and don't realise anything higher, we are just in a vortex of sin, which is death. These cross currents, all these violent discords that the human family have incorporated through their error thinking into their minds and their bodies, produce death. And it will continue to produce death of the organism until man is lifted up out of it through some superpower.
What is the superpower? Why, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ understood the Superlaw. He knew that this kingdom of the heavens had within it not only life, but love, and it had peace, it had power, of the Master. And what did He say? "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my throne." There is something that we must overcome. We must use our Supermind, we must use our faculties — these pawers of the mind — in righteous ways; but we can't use it in our own power. We have become so enmeshed in the thought vibrations, in the sinuous serpent sensation, that it — we are told symbolically that Eve thought that this serpent was a source of wisdom, end it was pleasant to the eye. We think that there is great pleasure in sensation. So there is. Sensation is one of the pleasantest things that we have in life. Do you know how to use it? If you deal in sensation and give yourself up to it, there is an end. You must, like every wise man, know how to use these powers, to be an overcomer with Jesus Christ. Incorporate into your mind that
"Christ is here as the Guiding Light. Christ is potential in me, and Jesus Christ demonstrated the overcoming power of this Word. I can escape these conditions, I can come out of the Gentile world. I don't have to be worldly and give myself up to this froth and foam of life. I can get right down into the deep currents of spiritual life through Jesus Christ, and that is what I am going to do."
Anybody that sees the proposition mentally must, of necessity, come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ did a great work and that His spirit is here with us, and His word is here; and every word counts.
A conversation of this kind took place not very far from here, I am told. In a neighborhood a little party was being given by some children, and the mother was unable to be with them because she had a severe headache; and during the little party she was in an adjoining room with her headache. The children, of course, made a good deal of noise, and she sent word in that the children must break up the party and go home, she couldn't stand it any longer. She was getting hysterically nervous. And one little girl was a Unity girl, four years old. And she said, "I will go and treat her. I know how to treat," and she went into the room and stood by the bed and repeated The Prayer of Faith:
She went through that:
She came out and she said: "Now, we can go ahead with our play," and they did, and they didn't hear any more from the lady. But she told some one afterwards that she fell asleep after that little one talked to her and gave her that Prayer of Faith, and she inquired, "What do you suppose she did, that put me to sleep with my headache?" That was the power of the Word. Every little child that comes to the Unity Sunday School learns that Prayer of Faith and they use it.
Frances uses that for a table blessing, and they use it to heal themselves. Just use real words, simple words. "Even a little child shall lead them," Jesus said. That is true, and it would improve every one of us if we would become more child-like and not so scientific. We want to know a whole lot of reasons why this is so. It is so because we have not hit the bull's eye of Spirit: we have not seen this spiritual Man; we have not dwelt in the light as we go. It is necessary that we uncover our short-comings, that we admit to the Christ that we have fallen short, but we are willing to let go of all of our sins, all of our shortcomings. There is no condemnation now, to them that are in Christ Jesus. Don't see yourself a great sinner, but minimise the sin. It is not true. If it were true, it could not be wiped cut; it could net be forgiven, if sin were real.
Sin is like sickness. It is the cause of sickness, and it can be dissipated by an understanding of the Truth of God: that God is good and that thet Good is here always, waiting for us to acknowledge it and lay hold of it and make it real in our thought; that all the darkness, all the negativeness, of sinners, all sin, will disappear, and you will find that you are in Truth, what God imaged you — His likeness, His perfection. Jesus said: "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY