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The sense of responsibility for one's actions grows as one progresses from stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution. In the early stages there is little or no responsibility. There is little or no knowledge, no sense of relationship to God, and very little sense of relationship to humanity.
It is this sense of separateness, this emphasis upon personal and individual effort, which is of the nature of sin. Love is unity, at-one-ment and synthesis. Separateness is isolation, aloneness and division. But man, being divine in nature, has to love, and the trouble has been that he has loved wrongly.
In the early stages of his development he places his love in the wrong direction, and turning his back on the love of God, which is of the very nature of his own soul, he loves that which is connected with the form side of life, and not with the life side of form.
Sin is therefore a definite infringement of the Law of Love, as we show it in our relation with God or with our brother who is also a son of God.
It is the doing of those things from a purely selfish interest which brings suffering to those we have in our immediate surroundings, or to the group with which we may be affiliated - a family group, a social group, a business group, or just the group of human beings with whom our general destiny has casts us.
This brings us to the realization that sin signifies wrong relation to other beings. It was the sense of this wrong relation which in the early days of man's history gave rise to the sacrifice of worldly goods upon the altar, for primitive man seemed to feel that by making an offering to God he succeeded in making redemption of his character possible with his fellow men.
It is beginning to dawn upon humanity today that the only real sin is to hurt another being. Sin is the misuse of our relationships with each other, and there is no evading these relationships. They exist. We live in a world of nature and of men, and our lives are spent in contact with many other beings.
The way in which we handle this daily problem demonstrates either our divinity or our erring lower nature. Our task in life is to express divinity. And that divinity manifests itself in the same way that the divinity of Christ expressed itself; in harmless living and ceaseless service to our fellow men; in a careful watchfulness over words and deeds lest in any way we should "offend one of these little ones" in the sharing with Christ of the urgency which He felt to meet the world's need and to act the part of a savior to men.
It is gloriously true that this basic concept of Deity is beginning to grip humanity. Christ's major task was the establishing of God's kingdom upon earth. He showed us the way in which humanity could enter that kingdom - by subjecting the lower nature to the death of the cross, and rising up by the power of the indwelling spirit.
Each one of us has to tread the way of the cross alone and enter God's kingdom by right of achievement, not by magic potions or the
sacrifice of another. The way is found in service to the earth, to other beings, and Christ's death was the outcome of His service which He had rendered.
Service, pain, difficulty, the cross - such are the rewards of the one who puts humanity first and himself second. But having done so, he discovers that the door into the kingdom is flung wide open and that he can enter in. It is through supreme service and self sacrifice that we become followers of Christ and earn the right to enter into His kingdom.
This is the subjective element in all religious aspiration, and this all the sons of God have grasped and taught. Man triumphs through
death and sacrifice. That superhuman Spirit, Christ, did this perfectly. In Him was no sin because He had perfectly transcended the ephemeral lower self.
His personality was subordinated to His divinity. The laws of transgression touched Him not, because He crossed no boundaries and infringed no principles. He embodied in Himself the principle of love and therefore it was not possible for Him, at the stage in evolution which He had reached, to hurt any animal or human being. He was perfectly balanced and had achieved that equilibrium which released Him from all lower impacts and set Himfree to ascend to the realm of God.
For Him there was no holding on to the lower and to that which was humanly desirable but divinely rejected. Evil therefore passed Him by, and he had no relation with it. "He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
He knew no separateness. Rich men, publicans, fishermen, learned professors, harlots and simple folk were all His brothers, and the "great heresy of separateness" was completely overcome by His all-inclusive spirit.
Thus He fulfilled the law of the past, emphasized the type for the humanity of the future, and entered for us within the veil, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps - an example of sacrifice unto the death, of service rendered ceaselessly, of self-forgetfulness, and of a heroism that led Him from point to point upon the way, and from altitude to altitude, until no bonds could hold Him (not even the barriers of death).
He remains the eternal God-Man, the Savior of the world. In perfection He fulfilled the will of God, and said to us the words which give us a simple rule with a great reward: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God."
The simplicity of this instruction is almost baffling. We are told simply to do God's will and then truth will be revealed to us. There were times in Christ's life, as in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He fought with Himself to do God's will. There were moments when His human flesh quailed before the prospect which opened up before Him. He therefore knew the difficulty of this simple rule.
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