Are you conscious of sin? Are you struggling with sin? Are you tired of sin?
The root of sin consciousness is the decision of unbelief to access tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). God never intended for us to have sin consciousness. That’s why in His protective nature He instructed Adam that he was free to eat of the other trees, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). That tree entangles us to no end (Heb 12:1) because, in and of ourselves, we are not equipped to deal with the power and destructiveness of sin.
If you’re old enough you may remember Tar Baby in the Uncle Remus stories. My mom read those to me when I was a young child. I remember great tension within me during the encounters between Br’er Rabbit and Tar Baby. I wanted desperately to tell Br’er Rabbit to stop allowing himself to become entangled with the tar. The more Br’er Rabbit fought Tar Baby, the more ensnared he became. He couldn’t see that Tar Baby was not a real baby, but a clever trap laid for him.
Tar Baby is a picture of sin (Heb 12:1).
Our consciousness of sin stems from the fact that in our search for Life (John 14:6), we identify with our old nature and access the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The problem is that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil cannot give life because it has no life. It only sends us in chaotic sin circles attempting to manage the unmanageable, knowing deep down that we have not found life, only misery.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil could be called the tree of sin. In its branches we become entangled and enslaved to sin, sins, and the idea of sin. In our distorted minds, sin grows and magnifies itself apparently exceeding God in power. In our striving against it, sin becomes a formidable idol that we unknowingly serve and worship instead of God.
As I shared in my book, My Journey Through the Cross, the LORD spoke to me when I lay trapped in sin consciousness. He said, “If sin is all you seek, then sin is all you’ll find. If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you’ll find holiness and righteousness instead.” That word from Him completely changed my course.
Once we tire of sin, sin, and more sin, we may finally come to the end of ourselves (Rom. 7:24-25). When we realize our helplessness, hopelessness and powerlessness at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we may rethink our approach. We can seek and start to understand the difference between the two trees, and explore the tree of Life instead.
Here are some ideas that may help us take a leap forward in the exploration of this fantastically wonderful topic which leads to freedom:
~The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a picture of the law which defines, pinpoints, entices and empowers sin in us (Rom.7:4-12), pointing us to Calvary (Rom. 8:3).
~The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is parallel to the outer sanctum (Heb. 9:9-10).
~The tree of Life is parallel to the inner sanctum (Heb. 9:8).
~The tree of the knowledge of good and evil barricades us from the tree of Life just as the outer sanctum keeps us from the inner sanctum.
~The tree of Life and the inner sanctum are where we want to hang out!
~The tree of Life is a picture of the inner sanctum (Heb. 9:8) which is not disclosed to us as long as we hold to the outer sanctum or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Hebrews 9:26-28 reveals the reality for us today of the all-inclusive statement Christ made before He gave up His spirit on Calvary, “It is finished” (John 19:30). What He meant was that His work of taking away sin (John 1:29), which John the Baptist prophesied, was finished. Christ knew He had paid the sin debt in full for all sin, for all who believe, for all time. By His once-for-all perfect and eternal sacrifice (Heb. 9:27) He has put away or removed our sin (Heb. 9:26) as far as the East is from the West. This truth is confirmed in the fact that when He returns He will not even deal with sin (Heb. 9:28).
If the tree of the knowledge of good and evil could be called the tree of sin, then the tree of life could be called the tree of Christ (John 14:6).
Perfecting the human conscience is not pie-in-the-sky theology. It is the will of God for every believer. Read the book of Hebrews. Revelation on the reality of Christ’s final and eternal work brings an end to sin consciousness (Heb. 9:9, 14).
Romans 8:3 nails it. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],
Romans 8:3 begs the question, “Have you accepted the sacrifice?” If you have, it’s time to leave behind the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and feed only on the tree of Life.
I think we all know that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not going anywhere. But just like Br’er Rabbit needed to steer clear of Tar Baby, we can learn to avoid that tree. If you’re looking for Life, you definitely won’t find it there.
The Good News is that tree of life is not going anywhere either! Thank God, Christ has given us His nature and DNA by the Holy Spirit. In accessing the tree of life as the new nature, we experience no stings, no snares and no bitter aftertaste.
It delivers one thing only: Life!
The light of Life (John 8:12).
Eternal Life (John 3:36).
Life abundant (John 10:10).
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us
John 14:6a Jesus answered, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.”
Genesis 2:9 And [in that garden] the Lord God caused to grow from the ground every tree that is desirable and pleasing to the sight and good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the [experiential] knowledge (recognition) of [the difference between] good and evil.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; 17 but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience].”
Hebrews 10:2 For if it were otherwise, would not these sacrifices have stopped being offered? For the worshipers, having once [for all time] been cleansed, would no longer have a consciousness of sin.
Hebrews 9:8-10 By this the Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the Holy Place [the true Holy of Holies and the presence of God] has not yet been disclosed as long as the first or outer tabernacle is still standing [that is, as long as the Levitical system of worship remains a recognized institution],
9 for this [first or outer tabernacle] is a symbol [that is, an archetype or paradigm] for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which are incapable of perfecting the conscience and renewing the [inner self of the] worshiper.
10 For they [the gifts, sacrifices, and ceremonies] deal only with [clean and unclean] food and drink and various ritual washings, [mere] external regulations for the body imposed [to help the worshipers] until the time of reformation [that is, the time of the new order when Christ will establish the reality of what these things foreshadow—a better covenant].
Hebrews 9:13-14 For if the sprinkling of [ceremonially] defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a [burnt] heifer is sufficient for the cleansing of the body, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [Holy] Spirit willingly offered Himself unblemished [that is, without moral or spiritual imperfection as a sacrifice] to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the ever living God?
Hebrews 9:26-28 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer over and over since the foundation of the world; but now once for all at the consummation of the ages He has appeared and been publicly manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once and once for all to bear [as a burden] the sins of many, will appear a second time [when he returns to earth], not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who are eagerly and confidently waiting for Him.
Romans 7:4-12 Therefore, my fellow believers, you too died to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 When we were living in the flesh [trapped by sin], the sinful passions, which were awakened by [that which] the Law [identifies as sin], were at work in our body to bear fruit for death [since the willingness to sin led to death and separation from God]. 6 But now we have been released from the Law and its penalty, having died [through Christ] to that by which we were held captive, so that we serve [God] in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter [of the Law].
7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, if it had not been for the Law, I would not have recognized sin. For I would not have known [for example] about coveting [what belongs to another, and would have had no sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, finding an opportunity through the commandment [to express itself] produced in me every kind of coveting and selfish desire. For without the Law sin is dead [the recognition of sin is inactive]. 9 I was once alive without [knowledge of] the Law; but when the commandment came [and I understood its meaning], sin became alive and I died [since the Law sentenced me to death]. 10 And the very commandment which was intended to bring life, actually proved to bring death for me. 11 For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, beguiled and completely deceived me, and [d]using it as a weapon killed me [separating me from God]. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Romans 8:3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [[a]the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.