The Saviour said:
“There is no such thing as sin; rather, you yourselves are what produces sin when you act in accordance with the nature of adultery, which is called ‘sin’. For this reason, the Good came among you, pursuing the good that belongs to every nature. It will set it within its root… This is why you get sick and die; because you love what deceives you. Anyone who thinks should consider these matters.”
~ The Gospel of Mary
The Nag Hammadi Library is a wonderful collection of the words of Jesus as the above quote demonstrates. How many people in the world do not truly believe the fact that they can have eternal life?
Obviously, the first task is to understand adultery in all its forms, otherwise we are destined to die. But to understand adultery is to understand all the other actions that are attributed as being sinful: Gluttony, Greed, Pride, Vanity, Hate, Slothfulness, Avarice, Envy, Fear, Anger, Selfishness, etc, etc.
In Dante’s Inferno, the first circle of Hell is listed as being that of Lust, with the subsequent deeper layers being attributed to the other vices. Why? It is probably due to the fact that Pride is built upon Lust, such that any act of Pride is also an act of Lust. That is, Pride requires more “cleansing” as a result of continued lack of redemption with the Great Lord. Many Gnostic students around the world will readily agree and accept such statements, however to everyone else such statements can seem baffling and even downright absurd.
You love what deceives you
In the Revelation of John, the author clearly labels everyone as being subject to the wiles and the deceiving nature of the ‘second beast’ and that his mark can be seen on the right hand and the forehead of all people under its dominion. The ‘right hand’ is an obvious attribution to the physical acts that a person does, whereas the mark on the forehead is that of a persons thoughts. That is, the beast, to a greater or lesser degree, deceives us and controls both our thoughts and minds. Ironically, we are always adamant that this is not so: we are convinced that we are strong, and free of external influence. And yet, Jesus in his clear speech (to Peter), indicates that “you get sick and die” because of this.
Hence, in becoming free of adultery, we also free ourselves of the mark of the second beast that John speaks of.
What is it that you love? Your clothes? Your status? Your group of friends? What is your favourite food? What cravings do you have? Do you love a sunny day, rather than a rainy one? We are all addicted to the air we breathe… Just try and hold your breath for as long as you can without panic setting in. (Disclaimer: this is for illustrative purposes only and it is not recommended you try).
All of these loves are not real loves, but are really addictions. Have you ever been in a relationship with a person and felt the keen loss, when that ‘loved one’ leaves the relationship? The pain felt is due to an addiction. A gluttony, if you will. The pain is of Greed, which wants to hold on and not share. How much do you actually think of the other person in these scenarios? We are terribly Selfish and Envious that they can leave us with such aplomb. We Hate them for it over time, and we get Angry at them.
The irony is that we believe ourselves to be awake, and that we are now ‘stronger’ and better able to cope, when really are are just Fearful of something happening again that hurts us so much. So we plunge into another Adulterous relationship to cover the hurt of the old one. We are just feeding Gluttony and Lust, all within a pleasure/ pain cycle.
We haven’t learnt a thing, other than avoidance of pain.
You are a sinner
There is little escaping the fact that we are sinners. The proof is that we are all growing older and we all get sick. Modern Gnostic practices give instruction on what can be done about this problem, and the teachings are commonly referred to as the “three keys”, which stipulate the manner in which ‘sin’ can be eradicated and in summary, they are:
- Elimination of Defects
- Spiritual Alchemy, and
- Service to Others
It is clear that when Matthew records Jesus as saying “Be therefore Perfect, as your Heavenly Father is Perfect”, it is an outward teaching to be understood and lived. Therefore, to be perfect is a requirement that directly relates to the need to eliminate all forms of adultery from oneself. This begins with the simple maxim:
“Watch and Pray”
We need to Watch the mark of the beast: We need to watch our actions and we need to watch our thoughts. When we notice imperfection, we need to pray for its elimination and to Not Act. Do not feed the beast that leads you to destruction, but rather search for the Love that leads to Him. (The Love is His anyway)
Die to Sin
The curious application of the maxim “Watch and Pray” leads a Gnostic student, or a true Christian to know that rather than “dying for our sins”, if they instead choose to “die to the sin”, then the path of redemption can commence. That is, by praying at the appropriate time and not acting upon the impulses of Lust, we gradually begin to notice changes within ourselves. Rather than our bodies growing sick and dying, it is our ‘sins’, if we pray that they are eliminated, become the thing that dies.