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Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 15 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

John the Baptist

“Elizabeth was blest; she spent her time with John, and gave to him the lessons that Elihu and Salome had given her. And John delighted in the wildness of his home and in the lessons that he learned.

“Now in the hills were many caves. The cave of David was a-near in which the Hermit of Engedi lived. This hermit was Matheno, priest of Egypt, master from the temple of Sakara.

“When John was seven years of age Matheno took him to the wilderness and in the cave of David they abode. Matheno taught, and John was thrilled with what the master said, and day by day Matheno opened up to him the mysteries of life. John loved the wilderness; he loved his master and his simple fare. Their food was fruits, and nuts, wild honey and the carob bread.

“Matheno was an Israelite, and he attended all the Jewish feasts. When John was nine years old Matheno took him to a great feast in Jerusalem. The wicked Archelaus had been deposed and exiled to a distant land because of selfishness and cruelty, and John was not afraid.

“John was delighted with his visit to Jerusalem. Matheno told him all about the service of the Jews; the meaning of their rites. John could not understand how sin could be forgiven by killing animals and birds and burning them before the Lord.

“Matheno said, The God of heaven and earth does not require sacrifice. This custom with its cruel rites was borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands. No sin was ever blotted out by sacrifice of animal, of bird, or man.

“Sin is the rushing forth of man into fens of wickedness. If one would get away from sin he must retrace his steps, and find his way out of the fens of wickedness. Return and purify your hearts by love and righteousness and you shall be forgiven. This is the burden of the message that the harbinger shall bring to men.

“What is forgiveness? John inquired. Matheno said, It is the paying up of debts. A man who wrongs another man can never be forgiven until he rights the wrong. The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong.

“John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?

“Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins” (Aquarian Gospel 13:1-22).

In the previous discourse we considered the meaning of sin as a falling short or failing to manifest our full spiritual potential–that the state of sin manifests in the acts we call sin. Yet, if we only look at the actions and try to merely stop them, the condition of sin-consciousness will persist and in time once more manifest in sinful acts.

The swamp of sin

Evil is like a swamp, as Matheno says, for it has no firm basis, being fundamentally unreal, and those who wander in become sunk and eventually suffocated in its morass. People often wander helplessly in the swamps, becoming completely confused; and sin always produces confusion in the sinner. Yet we all rush headlong into the muck again and again. Matheno’s statement that we must retrace our steps to find our way out of the swampy byways of sin is very significant. It is useless to just say: “Let’s quit doing wrong.” We have to extricate ourselves from the condition which resulted in sin. And that condition is the identification with both ego and materiality that produced ignorance, which then produced desire for objects. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). The word translated “lust” according to its older Elizabethan meaning that was closer to the German root, in Greek is epithumia, which means an intense, even passionate, desire or longing for something. This is the equivalent of tanha–craving–which was used by Buddha is his discourses. Interestingly, the Greek word has thoomos as its root, which means fierceness and anger–the inevitable result of desire, since only a small percentage of desires can be fulfilled, and only a minuscule amount of fulfilled desires really “fulfill.”

For this reason Krishna said: “Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects; grow attached, and you become addicted; thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose” (Bhagavad Gita 2:62, 63.).

Just as Krishna outlines the steps that lead from attention to material things to the resulting confusion, so we must comprehend the steps that lead us into sin and then backtrack–not whine and beg God to forgive us. Our sins never harmed God–what is to forgive on His part? But we have harmed ourselves through sin, and Saint John will question about that in a little while. But back to the point at hand: the retracing of our steps out of the bog of sin. Meditation is the way, for it repolarizes the consciousness and takes our awareness back along the path we slid down so long ago into the quagmires of sin. Meditation repositions our consciousness and thereby frees us from sin. Through meditation we return our awareness to where it belongs. Then, when the fount of our inner life is opened, love will eradicate the fundamental selfishness and greed of the ego that forces us to reach out and rush into the fens of sin. Furthermore, having a clear sight (vipassana) of things–seeing them as they are, and ourselves as we are–the ordering of our thoughts, words, and deeds according to the ways of righteousness, the Divine Order, Ritam, spoken of in the Vedas becomes possible. Then we will be “forgiven.”

Forgiveness is the paying of debts

Spiritually we must apply the law: “For every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction.” Sin must be counteracted, neutralized. How? “The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong” (By this we see that John–and Jesus–were taught the Vedic wisdom even in childhood; and we need to study the same if we want to understand their perspective.) Sin cannot be cleansed or set right except by the sinner–by none other, not even God. “You made the mess; you clean it up” is the rule. No one can forgive us our sins in the usual sense, and certainly no sensible person (including ourself) will want to just overlook it. The wrong must be set to rights by us. What about the Churchian doctrine of the atonement? It is nonsense based on a complete incomprehension of the nature and mission of Jesus. There you have it; there is no need to mouse around about it and call it diplomacy or tact. Here is what Saint John really said about Jesus: “Behold the king who cometh in the name of God!” (Aquarian Gospel 65:4). “Behold the Christ!” (Aquarian Gospel 66:2). The doctrine of the Lamb of God is an interpolation by those who were still obsessed with the idea of shedding blood to redress sin, and who wanted to make Jesus an extension of that perversion rather than the liberator from it.

“John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?” To the first question the answer is: Nowhere Else, and to the second: Yes. For: “Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man’s return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins.” Once we grasp the truth of our responsibility and our innate power to expunge our sins the door to liberation opens wide.

“What is man’s will and how shall he use it? Let him put forth its power to uncover the Atman [Divine Self] not hide the Atman: man’s will is the only friend of the Atman: his will is also the Atman’s enemy” (Bhagavad Gita 6:5).

Let us then purify ourselves and enter.

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening—A Commentary on the Aquarian Gospel
by Swami Nirmalananda Giri (Abbot George Burke)

  1. The Mother of Jesus
  2. Prophecies of the Births of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus
  3. The Birth of Jesus
  4. Revelations in the Temple
  5. Coming of the Wise Men
  6. Herod’s Reaction
  7. Revelations in Egypt
  8. The Two Selfs
  9. Deliverance From Gods and Demons
  10. About God the Tao
  11. From India to Chaldea
  12. The Wisdom of Buddha
  13. God and Prayer
  14. The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist
  15. Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin
  16. The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man
  17. Understanding Death
  18. The True Teacher
  19. The Value of Ritual
  20. The Law Behind All Laws
  21. Opening To The Truth
  22. In the Temple at the Age of Ten
  23. Revelation to the Teachers and People in the Temple
  24. Jerusalem to Nazareth
  25. Nazareth to India
  26. What is Truth?
  27. What Is Man?
  28. What is Power?
  29. Understanding
  30. Wisdom
  31. Faith
  32. Healing and Healers
  33. Conflict Over Caste
  34. The Destiny of All Men
  35. God and Man
  36. The Voice in the Heart
  37. Seeing the Unseeable
  38. To God Through Man
  39. Who Is Jesus?
  40. The Real Versus The Apparent
  41. The Brotherhood of Life
  42. God…and Man
  43. Relating To God
  44. The Worthy Host
  45. Come to the Light
  46. The Kingdom Revealed
  47. The King Revealed
  48. Perspective On Death
  49. Fire and Sword
  50. Evolution: The Path of Glory
  51. The Real Heaven
  52. Getting to the Essence
  53. New Perspective on Religion
  54. In Tibet and Ladakh
  55. Words to the Worthy
  56. The Thirty-Eighth Chapter
  57. The Origin of Evil
  58. The Silence
  59. The Source of Healing
  60. The Fivefold Gospel
  61. Homecoming
  62. In Athens
  63. The Oracle of Delphi
  64. The Real God
  65. Return to Egypt
  66. First Steps to Wisdom
  67. Strong in Will and Intent
  68. Here Comes the Ego
  69. Blessed are the Merciful
  70. Claiming Our Freedom
  71. The Great Test
  72. Comprehending Death
  73. The Christ!
  74. The Asembly of the Masters
  75. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – I
  76. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – II
  77. The Declaration of Jesus
  78. John the Baptist – I
  79. John the Baptist – II
  80. John the Baptist – III
  81. Baptism – Jesus and John
  82. Self-Examination and Temptation
  83. The First Disciples Follow Jesus
  84. Jesus’ First Sermon
  85. The King and the Kingdom
  86. Dealing With Challengers
  87. The First Miracle of Jesus
  88. Kings and Kingdoms
  89. The Temple of God
  90. What Is A Messiah?
  91. The Laws of Healing
  92. Nicodemus Finds The Kingdom
  93. The Prince of Peace
  94. Dealing With Spiritual Opposition
  95. The Opened Gate
  96. John the Baptist Speaks of the Christ
  97. John Speaks Further About Jesus
  98. The Woman at the Well
  99. The Disciples and Samaritans at the Well
  100. Jesus in Sychar
  101. More Wisdom In Samaria
  102. The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
  103. In Jerusalem
  104. The Insights of Jesus
  105. Sabbath Wisdom
  106. Prayer and Good Deeds
  107. Divine Laws and Principles for Seekers of the Divine
  108. A New Understanding of the Ten Commandments
  109. Aspects of the Higher Law – 1
  110. Aspects of the Higher Law – 2
  111. Aspects of the Higher Law – 3
  112. Aspects of the Higher Law – 4
  113. Chapter One Hundred One
  114. Chapter One Hundred Two
  115. Chapter One Hundred Three
  116. Chapter One Hundred Four
  117. Chapter One Hundred Five
  118. Chapter One Hundred Six
  119. Chapter One Hundred Seven
  120. Chapter One Hundred Eight
  121. Chapter One Hundred Nine
  122. Chapter One Hundred Ten
  123. Chapter One Hundred Eleven
  124. Chapter One Hundred Twelve
  125. Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
  126. Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
  127. Chapter One Hundred Fifteen
  128. Chapter One Hundred Sixteen
  129. Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
  130. Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
  131. Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
  132. Chapter One Hundred Twenty
  133. Chapter One Hundred Twenty One
  134. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Two
  135. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Three
  136. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Four
  137. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Five
  138. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Six
  139. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Seven
  140. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Eight
  141. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Nine
  142. Chapter One Hundred Thirty
  143. Chapter One Hundred Thirty One
  144. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Two
  145. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Three
  146. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Four
  147. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Five
  148. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Six
  149. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Seven
  150. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Eight
  151. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Nine
  152. Chapter One Hundred Forty
  153. Chapter One Hundred Forty One
  154. Chapter One Hundred Forty Two
  155. Chapter One Hundred Forty Three
  156. Chapter One Hundred Forty Four
  157. Chapter One Hundred Forty Five
  158. Chapter One Hundred Forty Six
  159. Chapter One Hundred Forty Seven
  160. Chapter One Hundred Forty Eight
  161. Chapter One Hundred Forty Nine
  162. Chapter One Hundred Fifty
  163. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-One
  164. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two
  165. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three
  166. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Four
  167. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Five
  168. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Six
  169. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven
  170. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight
  171. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine
  172. Chapter One Hundred Sixty
  173. Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
  174. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Two
  175. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Three
  176. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Four
  177. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Five
  178. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Six
  179. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Seven
  180. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Eight
  181. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Nine
  182. Chapter One Hundred Seventy
  183. Chapter One Hundred Seventy One
  184. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Two
  185. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Three
  186. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Four
  187. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Five
  188. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Six
  189. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Seven
  190. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Eight
  191. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Nine
  192. Chapter One Hundred Eighty
  193. Chapter One Hundred Eighty One
  194. Chapter One Hundred Eighty Two

The Text of the Aquarian Gospel—by Levi Dowling

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