Gnostic Doctrine

Friday, 14 December 2018

Know Thyself and the Devil Romans 7:18-21

Know Thyself and the Devil 
Self Knowledge and the Devil 
Romans 7:18-21

Romans 7:18-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus tells us that finding the Kingdom is done by a person who "knows himself will discover this"

Gospel of Thomas Saying (3) Jesus said, "[If] those who lead you [say to you, 'See], the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky [will precede you. If they say that] it is under the earth, then the fish of the sea [will enter it, preceding] you. And, the [kingdom of God] is inside of you, [and it is outside of you. Whoever] knows [himself] will discover this. [And when you] come to know yourselves, [you will realize that] you are [sons] of the [living] father. [But if you] will [not] know yourselves, [you dwell] in [poverty] and it is you who are that poverty."

Knowing yourself is part of self examination when We examine ourselves we come to an understanding that our natural self is unclean or full of sin it is referred to as sinful flesh our natural self is our real adversary or Satan. Satan or the Devil is our Ego or the natural propensities of the flesh, that is "that physical principle of the animal nature, which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust. It is that in the flesh "which has the power of death;" (Hebrews 2:14) and it is called sin, because the development, or fixation, of this evil in the flesh, was the result of transgression." (Elpis Israel) 

The Devil is limitation of mind. The Devil in flesh is the rationalist or uncomprised intellectual who sees the universe as a blind mechanical force, acting in an arbitrary fashion imposing upon mankind an infinite variety of hardships and dis- eases. The Devil is that agency within us which sows seeds of fear and confusion and declares in no uncertain terms that – this is how life is! The Devil is a speaker of lies. (Man Know Thyself: Hermetic Qabalistic Keys to the Bible)

Ecclesiastes 10:2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left I have suggested on :1 and :3 that Solomon has himself in view, dissecting his own spiritual collapse as he does in the preceding verses of Ecc. 9. So I suggest this too is him stating that he was not really the true "wise man" but the fool, because wisdom had been "far from me" (Ecc. 7:23). Here he puts it another way, in saying that a truly wise man has his heart at his right hand, under his control, with his wisdom in his heart. 

Whereas Solomon sees himself as the fool whose heart was not under his control, spiritual mindedness and psychological self discipline had not been practiced by him at all. And despite realizing that, he still doesn't repent. The Old Testament frequently speaks of man as having two "sides" to his character; one that wished to serve God, and the other which was rebellious. Ecc. 10:2 shows how that the spiritual man is not only aware of this, but he consciously acts to control these two sides: "A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left". 

This kind of self-knowledge is sadly lacking in most human beings, and Solomon is admitting it had been lacking in himself. Proverbs 7,8 likewise has the picture of two women, personifying the flesh and spirit (Prov. 7:12 cp. 8:2,3). Against this Old Testament background, there developed a strong Jewish tradition that the right hand side of a man was his spiritual side, and the left hand side was the equivalent of the New Testament 'devil'. The Lord Jesus referred to this understanding when He warned: "Let not your left hand know what your right hand does" (Mt. 6:3)- implying that the good deeds of the spiritual man would be misused by the 'devil', e.g. in using them as grounds for spiritual pride.

“The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left” (Ecc. 10:2 NIV) has been understood as referring not so much to right and wrong, good and evil, as to the highest good and lesser good (cp. how the left hand can stand for simply lesser blessing rather than outright evil, e.g. Gen. 48:13-20). The fool inclines to lower commitment. The wise will always incline to the maximum, wholehearted level. And Solomon realizes that this is how he has been.  

Paul laments: "In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing...for the good that I would I do not...if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me" (Rom.7:18-21). Now he does not blame his sinning on an external being called the devil. He located his own evil nature as the real source of sin: "It is not I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law (within me), that, when I would do good, evil is present with (i.e. within) me". So he says that the opposition to being spiritual comes from something that he calls "sin dwelling in me". Every thoughtful, spiritually minded person will come to the same kind of self-knowledge. It should be noted that even a supreme Christian like Paul did not experience a change of nature after conversion, nor was he placed in a position whereby he did not and could not sin. The modern 'evangelical' movement claims that they are in such a position, and thereby place Paul well within the ranks of the 'unsaved' because of his statement here in Rom.7:15-21. These verses have proved a major difficulty for their claims. David, another undoubtedly righteous man,likewise commented upon the constant sinfulness of his very nature: "I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps.51:5).

Realizing who ‘the Devil’ really is inspires us to more concretely fight against him. 

For we are our own worst enemy our own devil and an enemy against God. If  we follow the thinking of the flesh, (). So to “know yourself” is to know that it is our own evil heart that is the devil. ()

Our ego catapults self-interest to the forefront of our attention. Daily readings, Bible study and prayer suppress the power of the ego. Over a period of time the reflective mind, remembering the pain of past ego-driven mistakes, will grow in wisdom. But ego never disappears. It can only be suppressed and its power limited by the constant reintroduction of spiritual thinking.

The doctrine of the fallen angel devil tells us that we are not truly to blame. The evil in the world comes from outside us and in reality it is God who is to blame, since He can’t control His own angels. We are told God either doesn’t have the power or the will to stop this fallen angel, and therefore we suffer. This doctrine elevates the flesh and degrades the spirit.

If we wish to partake of God’s nature, we have to recognize the uncleanness of our own nature and reject it.

We must come to know our true self. Our true self is not the person of this world, but the one who was born of God. We are spiritually maturing and growing in knowledge of who we are. We may not be clearly seeing our true self (who is Christ) right now, but we will once we come to fully know and be our True self. We are God’s image that must become perfect like our heavenly Father this is our purpose to reflect the identity, character and glory and become the image of Christ, who is the true image of God. We can only do this in Christ where our true self (life) will be kept hidden in Christ Col 3:3, 4.

So in this light real poverty is when we do not know our true self in Christ. The use of the term 'poverty' is meant for life outside of true knowledge This is spiritual poverty where our minds are lost in deception and our hearts feel homeless because we have not returned to our Father’s house 1Cor 3:16 6:19 Eph 2:20-22 1Pet 2:5. Finally, Jesus says, “you are that poverty” Paul says that nothing good could come from him Rom 7:18 He said that “Paul” had died and Christ now lived in and through him Gal 2:20. Paul knew that his true life was found when he had the spirit of Christ, which is the mind of Christ and not the natural or worldly Paul.

Paul rebuked Corinth for their inability to know whether they had the christ-consciousness developed within them: "Know ye not...that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1Cor. 3:16). We must reckon ourselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:11). The Greek for "reckon" is that translated "impute" or "count", and which often appears in the surrounding chapters in Romans, speaking of how God "counts" us to be perfect. We must reckon ourselves as God reckons us.

the christ-consciousness is first born at baptism, but it is quite possible for it to lie dormant or even die unless it is nurtured. Almost all of us have discovered the presence of our real spiritual man some time after baptism. The spiritual self is begotten by the word, leading to the birth at baptism (2Cor 5:17; James 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23); yet it is the word which makes the " man of God" perfect or mature (2Tim. 3:16,17). Note that the " man of God" here probably refers to our inner spiritual self, rather than just being an description for the believer. In this case, 1Tim. 6:11 records Paul speaking to Timothy's spiritual man: " Thou, O man of God, flee these things". "Man of God" was a term used to describe the Old Testament prophets; it is as if Paul is addressing himself to the word-developed man within Timothy. We must likewise relate to the spiritual man within our brethren.

Moreover, this is how we become “sons of the living Father” (compare Thomas 49-50), which is to become like Jesus himself our example. We must have the same faith as Jesus as well as the same self-control just as Jesus needed it to be saved, so do we Heb 5:7, 8 also in the gospel of John it is Jesus who empowered true believers, so #Ec 5:19, 6:2. He gave them the privilege, the liberty, the dignity, which refers to the legitimate entitlement to the position of being called and becoming the sons of God. Israel was once the son and the first-born, #Ex 4:22: but now the adoption of sons to God was open and free to all nations whatever. By believing, undeserving sinners can become full members of God's family.

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