Gnostic Doctrine

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Doctrine of Sin in the Gospel of Thomas

The Doctrine of Sin in the Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas use the word sin in two ways the first meaning is transgression of God's Law and the second meaning is about our sinful nature 

Words which are used to describe sin and transgression

There are words in the gospel of thomas which refer directly to sin and transgression these words are sin, blaspheme, and defile. There are also words which indirectly refer to sin and transgression these words are lie, evil or bad, lamb, heart, and drunk 

The word sin occurs twice in sayings 14 and 104

The word defile occurs twice in saying 14

The word blaspheme occur three times in saying 44

The word lie is used once in saying 6

The word evil or bad appears 3 times in saying 45

The word hate occurs in saying 6, 43, 55 101

next is the lamb in saying 60 the lamb could be referring to the sin-offing  

Also the Gospel of Thomas use the words flesh, body, heart, falsehood or death as a symbol of our sinful nature.

The word flesh occurs four times in sayings 28 and 29 and 112

The word body occurs five times see sayings 28 80, and 87 

The word heart occurs six times but in saying 45 it is used to describe our sinful human nature 

The word falsehood or death occurs in saying 101 see Marvin Meyer translation or the April Deconick translation

the word fault or overcome is used in saying 104 it refers to madness 


[44]. Jesus says: "He who has blasphemed the Father will be forgiven, and he who has blasphemed the Son will be forgiven: but he who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven."

 This is a dangerous sin because you have truly denied the presence and the power of God."

This familiar verse echoes what we read in Matthew 12:31 and Luke 12:10. 

blaspheme against the holy spirit is to reject the power of God

We should also note that all sins are not the same. Sins of the soul are far worse than the sins of flesh. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit would be a person rejecting the Truth when they hear it


6 His students asked him and said to him, Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?
Yeshua said, Do not lie and do not do what you hate. All things are disclosed before heaven.
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.

Do not lie and do not do what you hate is a commandment if you break this commandment  it is a sin or a transgression of divine law

12 And YOU must not swear in my name to a lie, so that you do profane the name of your God. I am Jehovah. 

12 “All things, therefore, that YOU want men to do to YOU, YOU also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.

Tobit 4:15 15 And what you hate, do not do to anyone. Do not drink wine to excess or let drunkenness go with you on your way. (The New Revised Standard Version )

55 Jesus said, "Those who do not hate their fathers and their mothers cannot be disciples of me, and those who do not hate their brothers and their sisters and take up their cross like me will not become worthy of me."

You must separate yourselves from unbelieving family and friends

You must hate sin and be willing to pick up your cross if you truly want to follow Jesus."

hate is used as those of the world if you do not hate those of the world you can not be a disciples of Jesus because you would have sinned by not hating those of the world.

.lamb or sin-offing

60) They saw a Samaritan carrying a lamb on his way to Judea. He said to his disciples, "That man is round about the lamb." They said to him, "So that he may kill it and eat it." He said to them, "While it is alive, he will not eat it, but only when he has killed it and it has become a corpse." They said to him, "He cannot do so otherwise." He said to them, "You too, look for a place for yourself within repose, lest you become a corpse and be eaten."

The lamb the Samaritan is carrying could be a reference to animal sacrifice that would be a sin offering. We too are lambs or sheep of God the difference is we offer spiritual sacrifices.

The words use in the Gospel of Thomas to refer to sin as the transgression of God's Law are sin, blasphemed, hate, lamb and fault/overcome

14. Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits. When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them. After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it's what comes out of your mouth that will defile you."

 Some ground for Thomas's notion is given in Mark 2:18-20 (Matthew 9:14-15; Luke 5:33-35), where Jesus says that the sons of the bride-chamber cannot fast while he is with them. Since Thomas regards the kingdom as present rather than future, fasting (prayer, giving to charity, and dietary laws) is pointless and, indeed, sinful."

[104]. They said [to him:] "Come, let us pray and fast today!" Jesus says: "What then is the sin that I have committed, or in what have I been at fault? But when the bridegroom comes out of the bridal chamber, then they must fast and pray!"

Notice that “they” rather than “you” is the form used here, so that Jesus is implicitly is speaking about people outside the immediate audience of the saying that is the Pharisees.  

"Jesus is asked to pray and fast (see Sayings 5 and 14). Since he has committed no sin, he refuses

Although we do not know the particulars regarding this fast, it see
ms from Jesus’ response, that Jesus is telling these Pharisees that he had no personal reason to fast on that day. In addition, Jesus indicates that their timing for the fast was inappropriate. But when  the bridegroom comes out of the bridal chamber at the second coming than the false believers will fast and pray"

104) They [the Pharisees] said [to Jesus], "Come, let us pray today and let us fast [thinking in their fleshly minds that these lower/outward forms of worship are beneficial]." Jesus said, "What is the sin that I have committed [that I should join with you in prayer], or wherein have I been defeated [when was I overcome by the flesh]? But when the bridegroom [the Word] leaves the bridal chamber [of your heart - as a result of turning back to the rudiments of the world], then let them [those who have fallen to the robbers losing the Keys of Knowledge] fast and pray." (Lk 5:33-39; Mt 9:14-17; etc..)

The nature of sin

Next the Gospel of Thomas use the words flesh, falsehood or death as a symbol of our sinful nature.

Saying 28 Jesus said: I stood in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in the flesh. I found them all drunk; I found none of them thirsting, and my soul was afflicted for the sons of men; for they are blind in their heart, and they do not see that they came empty into the world, (and) empty they seek to leave the world again. But now they are drunk. When they have thrown off their wine, they will repent

The appearing in flesh does not mean that Jesus was part of the trinity or an angel in Heaven before he was born. “to appear” means to look at behold, to allow one’s self to be seen, Jesus was in the world but the world did not know him until him made his appearance on the world stage.

It was the word that became flesh when Jesus says I appeared in the flesh this is the Eternal spirit called the Logos or word, which is identical with Theos or Deity. Now, Theos was the Logos, that is Deity was the word and this word became flesh. This is Deity manifested in flesh. Jesus came from the seed of David according to the flesh that is in the sameness of sinful flesh but being the son of God his character was clean so he was without sin (that is transgression of God's law) but he had the sinful nature and this is how God condemned sin in the flesh when Jesus was made sin for us for it was in the flesh of Jesus that God condemned sin in the flesh and killed the one who has the power of death that is the devil which is our own desires and when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death

(45) Jesus says:
(1) "Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs picked from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. (2) A good person brings forth good from his treasure. (3) A bad person brings (forth) evil from the bad treasure that is in his heart, and (in fact) he speaks evil. (4) For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil."

saying 101) <Jesus said,> "Whoever does not hate his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. And whoever does [not] love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a [disciple] to Me. For My mother [gave me falsehood], but [My] true [Mother] gave me life."

For My birth mother [gave me death], but [My] true [Mother] gave me life."

Jesus birth mother could only give him death or falsehood which we understand to be sin in the flesh. but his true mother give him life. Sin, is an equivalent expression  for human nature.

Hence, the flesh is always regarded as unclean. It is therefore written, "How can he be clean who is born of a woman?" (Job 25:4) "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." (Job 14:4) "What is man that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman that he should be righteous? Behold, God putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water?" (Job 15:14-16)

According to this physical law, the Seed of the woman was born into the world. The nature of Mary was as unclean as that of other women; and therefore could give birth only to "a body" like her own, though especially "prepared of God" (Heb. 10:5). Had Mary's nature been immaculate, as some claim, an immaculate body would have been born of her; which, therefore, would not have answered the purpose of God; which was to condemn sin in the flesh; a thing that could not have been accomplished, if there were no sin there.

This view of sin in the flesh is enlightening in the things concerning Jesus. The apostle says, "God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21); and this he explains in another place by saying, that "He sent his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3) in the offering of his body once (Heb. 10:10,12,14).

Sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, if it had not existed there. His body was as unclean as the bodies of those for whom he died; for he was born of a woman, and "not one" can bring a clean body out of a defiled body; for "that", says Jesus himself, "which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6).

Speaking of the conception and preparation of the Seed, the prophet as a typical person, says, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). This is nothing more than affirming that he was born of sinful flesh; and not of the pure and incorruptible angelic nature.

If Christ had been a son of Adam merely, he would have been a sinner, and, therefore, unfit for sacrificial purposes. On the other hand, if he had been clothed with angelic or immaculate nature, he would have been equally disqualified, inasmuch as it was necessary that the sinning nature should suffer in him. The combination of condemned human nature with personal sinlessness character was effected through divine power begetting a son from Mary's substance. A "Lamb of God," was thus produced, guileless from his paternity, and yet inheriting the human sin-nature of his mother. The Lamb being provided, the sacrifice followed. The "Messiah was cut off." "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: . . . Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

God dealt with him representatively. (Heb 10:4) There is a great difference between a representative and a substitute. A representative is not disconnected from those represented. On the contrary, those represented go through with him all that he goes through. But in the case of a substitute, it is otherwise. He does his part instead of those for whom he is the substitute, and these are dissociated from the transgression.

Christ suffering as the representative of his people, is one with them, and they are one with him. In what he went through they went through. Hence, Paul says believers were impaled with Christ, and baptised into his death. This death he declares to have been "the declaration of the righteousness of God," which God required as the basis of the work of reconciliation and forgiveness (Rom 3:24-26).

Sinful flesh being the hereditary nature of the Lord Jesus, he was a fit and proper sacrifice for sin; especially as he was himself "innocent of the great transgression", having been obedient in all things. Appearing in the nature of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16-18), he was subject to all the emotions by which we are troubled; so that he was enabled to sympathize with our infirmities (Heb. 4:15), being "made in all things like unto his brothers." But, when he was "born of the Spirit", in the quickening of his mortal body by the spirit (Rom. 8:11), he became a spirit; for "that which is born of the spirit is spirit." Hence, he is "the Lord the Spirit", incorruptible flesh and bones.

Rom. 5:12, 17, 19: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—. . . . By the trespass of the one man death ruled as king . . . Through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners.”

1 Cor. 15:22: “In Adam all are dying.”

Paul's point is that since the "fall" of Adam every single member of Adam's progeny has been born into a "constitution" of sin, even before becoming actual transgressors or sinners! This "constitution" is elsewhere termed "sinful flesh" or "sin's flesh"; that is, "flesh" under the dominion of a sinful constitution and therefore subject to death (ch. 8:3; 6:9). It is this constitution to which Paul refers when he describes Christ as having been "made sin for us" (2Cor. 5:21). Though never at any time guilty of transgression, the Lord Jesus was a direct descendant of Adam, and therefore inherited the same corruptible, death-stricken nature, as have all Adam's progeny.

Thus Paul describes a realm of sin and death, a constitution or arena of domination, in which the propensities of flesh, inflamed by Adam's transgression, must be suppressed and conquered. This teaches that death is the way to life! The only means to justification is through repression of the unlawful desires of the flesh.
Man is not personally responsible for the death-stricken state into which he is born; it is not his crime but his misfortune, a calamity that has come upon him like an
unfortunate disease. Yet, in this very situation, he is provided an opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to God. Paul found himself in this "constitution", having "a body of sin" (Rom. 6:6), being "sold under sin" (ch. 7:14), and therefore being naturally dominated by King Sin who figuratively has purchased him, along with all others in this mortal.

"Sinners" — Man is constituted a sinner, for he exists in the domain of sin, being bound by the nature that derived from sin in the first place, and is, himself, potentially a sinner. So he dwells in an arena where sin is a constant influence. Paul uses the figure of Death as a monarch reigning over his domain of sin. All mortals are subjects of that kingdom, being born into it, even though they may not approve of the principles in which it rejoices.

Jesus had our nature in order to destroy the devil. Contrast this with Rom.8:3: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (that is, in our human nature) condemned sin in the flesh". This shows that the devil and the sinful tendencies that are naturally within human nature are effectively the same. It is vitally important to understand that Jesus was tempted just like us. Misunderstanding the doctrine of the devil means that we cannot correctly appreciate the nature and work of Jesus. It was only because Jesus had our human nature - the 'devil' within him - that we can have the hope of salvation (Heb.2:14-18; 4:15). By overcoming the desires of his own nature, the Biblical devil, Jesus was able to destroy the devil on the cross (Heb.2:14). If the devil is a personal being, then he should no longer exist. Heb.9:26 says that Christ was manifested "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself". Heb.2:14 matches this with the statement that through his death Christ destroyed the devil in himself. By His death Jesus in prospect destroyed "the body of sin" (Rom.6:6), i.e. human nature, sin revealed in (the form of) our very bodies.

No comments:

Post a Comment