“And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were, and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.” (T-30.IV.7:5)
We are all sinners or we would not seem to be here. What is a sinner? A mind that believes that it is possible for us to substitute another will for God’s. A mind that believes we are alone and separated off from the whole. A mind that believes sin is immutable. These are the beliefs we hold that make us sinners. This is what we have taught ourselves. And then because we are sinners we are guilty, unworthy of love and deserving of punishment, shaming and blaming ourselves and others. And the price of the belief in sin is death.
“You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. (substituted another will for God’s) It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error (substituted another will for God’s), which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. (the sin of having substituted another will for God’s) Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it.” (T-18.I.4:1-6)
The belief in sin is the very foundation of the ego’s thought system. We are not going to uproot the idea of sin by simply saying, “There is no sin.” We made it up with the power of our minds. And the whole ego thought system needs to be exposed and undone for us to be done with the belief in sin. How do we do that?
Here are some clues…
“There is no substitute for the Will of God. In simple statement, it is to this fact that the teacher of God devotes his day. Each substitute he may accept as real can but deceive him. But he is safe from all deception if he so decides. Perhaps he needs to remember, “God is with me. I cannot be deceived.” Perhaps he prefers other words, or only one, or none at all. Yet each temptation to accept MAGIC as true must be abandoned through his recognition, not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless. Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this “sacrifice” is Heaven restored to his awareness.
Is not this an exchange that you would want? The world would gladly make it, if it knew it could be made. It is God’s teachers who must teach it that it can. And so it is their function to make sure that they have learned it. No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in MAGIC, for it is only this that leads to pain. “There is no will but God’s.” His teachers know that this is so, and have learned that EVERYTHING BUT THIS IS MAGIC. All belief in MAGIC is maintained by just one simple-minded illusion;—that it works. All through their training, every day and every hour, and even every minute and second, must God’s teachers learn to recognize the forms of MAGIC and perceive their meaninglessness. Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go. And thus the gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.” (M-16.10:1–11:11)
What is magic?
“Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection. How can he do this, particularly during the time when his mind is occupied with external things? He can but try, and his success depends on his conviction that he will succeed. He must be sure success is not of him, but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it. There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place RELIANCE ON HIMSELF ALONE. FORGET NOT THIS IS MAGIC, and magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God’s teacher, because it is not enough for God’s Son.” (M-16.8:1-7)
“The avoidance of magic (self-reliance) is the avoidance of temptation (to sin). For all temptation (to sin) is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s.” (M-16.9:1-2)
“Sin is the only thing in all the world that cannot change. It is immutable. And on its changelessness the world depends. The MAGIC of the world can seem to hide the pain of sin from sinners, and deceive with glitter and with guile. Yet each one knows the cost of sin is death. And so it is. For sin is a request for death, a wish to make this world’s foundation sure as love, dependable as Heaven, and as strong as God Himself.” (T-25.VII.1:2-8)
How important is magic?
“When all magic (self-reliance) is recognized as merely nothing, the teacher of God has reached the most advanced state. All intermediate lessons will but lead to this, and bring this goal nearer to recognition. For magic (self-reliance) of any kind, in all its forms, simply does nothing. Its powerlessness is the reason it can be so easily escaped. What has no effects can hardly terrify.” (M-16.9:5-9)
“A magic (self-reliant) thought, by its mere presence, acknowledges a separation from God. It states, in the clearest form possible, that the mind which believes it has a separate will that can oppose the Will of God, also believes it can succeed. That this can hardly be a fact is obvious. Yet that it can be believed as fact is equally obvious. And herein lies the birthplace of guilt. Who usurps the place of God and takes it for himself now has a deadly “enemy.” And he must stand alone in his protection, and make himself a shield to keep him safe from fury that can never be abated, and vengeance that can never be satisfied.” (M-17.5:3-9)
“How can this unfair battle be resolved? Its ending is inevitable, for its outcome must be death. How, then, can one believe in one’s defenses? Magic (self-reliance) again must help. Forget the battle. Accept it as a fact, and then forget it. Do not remember the impossible odds against you. Do not remember the immensity of the “enemy,” and do not think about your frailty in comparison. Accept your separation, but do not remember how it came about. Believe that you have won it, but do not retain the slightest memory of Who your great “opponent” really is. Projecting your “forgetting” onto Him, it seems to you He has forgotten, too.” (M-17.6:1-11)
So, sin or self-reliance is what got us here, digging us deeper and deeper into a hole, until the remembrance of God was all but obliterated. What will get us out? We must become, as Jesus did, completely Holy-Spirit-reliant. This reflects our true nature, God-reliance. The Holy Spirit will then teach us to forgive or not make real. We made a self to be reliant on and then we made it real by believing in it. This self must be forgiven that it might disappear.
“Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.” (W-121.6:1-5)
“And what is it He speaks to you about? About salvation and the gift of peace. About the end of sin and guilt and death. About the role forgiveness has in Him. Do you but listen. For He will be heard by anyone who calls upon His Name, and places his forgiveness in His hands. Forgiveness has been given Him to teach, to save it from destruction and to make the means for separation, sin and death become again the holy gift of God. Prayer is His Own right Hand, made free to save as true forgiveness (it never happened because it is not real) is allowed to come from His eternal vigilance and Love. Listen and learn, and do not judge. It is to God you turn to hear what you should do. His answer will be clear as morning, nor is His forgiveness what you think it is.” (S-2.III.6:1-11)
No self-reliance especially not in forgiveness.
“Still does He know, and that should be enough. Forgiveness has a Teacher Who will fail in nothing. Rest a while in this; do not attempt to judge forgiveness, nor to set it in an earthly frame. Let it arise to Christ, Who welcomes it as gift to Him. He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. He stands beside the door to which forgiveness is the only key. GIVE IT TO HIM TO USE INSTEAD OF YOU, and you will see the door swing silently open upon the shining face of Christ. Behold your brother there beyond the door; the Son of God as He created him.” (S-2.III.7:1-8)
Ask the Holy Spirit everything. Depend on Him for everything. Trust Him now, always and forever.
“Your present trust in Him is the defense that promises a future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow, and with joy that constantly increases, as this life becomes a holy instant, set in time, but heeding only immortality. Let no defenses but your present trust direct the future, and this life becomes a meaningful encounter with the truth that only your defenses would conceal.”(W-135.19:1-2)