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   THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS: INTROSPECTION,
OR HEAVEN-SPECTION?



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : July 17, 1997

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

Who Do You Uplift In Your Life And Ministry?



Recently, a member of The E.D.G.E. Online mailing list asked
me a question regarding some quotes from the Gospel Of
Thomas. After reading his comment, my mind was immediately
filled with a variety of verses which I proceeded to use to
answer his inquiry. Realizing that others may have also read
the Gospel of Thomas, and that they may likewise have
similar questions, I have decided to present my response in
this article. Following then is a direct quote from this
person's message:

"I'd really like your comments on 'The Gospel of Thomas'
especially v3 where Jesus says:- "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 to you, 'It is in the
sea', then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is
inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to
know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will
realise that it is you who are the sons of the Living
Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you will dwell
in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

----- End Of Quote -----

To begin this article, let me state that while I have the
Gospel Of Thomas in my pile of apocryphal works, due to the
tremendous amount of unfinished writing projects I have yet
to complete, I haven't had time yet to actually read it...or
many other apocryphal works for that matter. As such, until
I do, I feel it would be unwise of me to pass a full
judgment on whether or not it is a Divinely-Inspired work. I
am aware that there are opposing views regarding its
authenticity; however, I try to not allow such comments to
influence me as I wish to begin reading such works with as
unbiased an opinion as possible. I am the type of person who
likes to form his own opinions on a matter and not rely too
heavily on the evaluations of others, particularly when it
involves matters of a religious nature. As stated in part
two of the 'Biblical Cafeteria' article, while I do sense
Divine Inspiration in most of the actual Apocrypha, I do not
feel the same Spirit in the majority of the other apocryphal
and pseudepigrahpical works that I have read thus far. The
only one I have accepted as having any degree of inspiration
is the book of Enoch. Even though I have quoted from it, I
feel that I should clarify that it is not a one hundred per
cent endorsement of the book. I simply found enough
information in the Authorized King James Bible which seems
to substantiate the authorship of the book of Enoch. This
gives it a little more credence than some of the other
works. Please refer to my articles on that topic for more
in-depth commentary.

Nevertheless, from reading the above comment from our list
member, I must admit that I am a bit disconcerted by the
contents of the material he quoted from the Gospel Of
Thomas. In my view, it describes a 'self-centered' faith
rather than a 'Christ-centered' faith which is what Jesus
and the First Disciples taught. As I continued to ponder
these quotes, the Lord brought a number of verses to mind
which I will now share. As you will see, rather than support
the purported quotes from Jesus in the Gospel Of Thomas,
they do the exact opposite. To begin with, consider what
Jesus said in the following verse:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me." (John 12:32)

With this one verse alone, Jesus is making clear that we are
to look up to Him for our salvation, and not down or inward
into ourselves. The answers to life, particularly eternal
life, will not be found in introspection, in examining
ourselves, but rather in what we might refer to as
Heaven-spection, in looking upwards to Jesus:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

King David, a man plagued with many problems during his
lifetime, likewise knew that the answers to life, and his
own salvation, could only come from above:

"<<A Song of degrees.>> I will lift up mine eyes unto the
hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the
LORD, which made heaven and earth." (Psalms 121:1-2)

Again, we are told to lift up our eyes, and not to look
downward, or inward at ourselves. We are not told to find
ourselves or to know ourselves as the Gospel Of Thomas seems
to be saying. Consider also what Jesus said when His
disciples inquired of Him regarding the signs of the
Endtime:

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
(Luke 21:28)

This whole idea of looking inward is a central part of many
Eastern religions as well as New Age thought. They say that
the answers can be found within ourselves. They teach that
we are the masters of our fate. They claim that humans have
much more potential than what most people realize, if we can
just learn to harness our mental, emotional and spiritual
energies. In short, they are claiming that we are our own
gods. If you really stop to think about it, this is exactly
what Satan did, and it is also what caused his downfall.
Because of his own pride and vanity, he took his eyes off of
the Lord and looked inward to himself. He deceived himself
into thinking that he deserved more, and that he was better
than God. I do not believe that this is what Jesus meant by
the kingdom of God being within us. Here is exactly what
Jesus said when He was confronted by the unbelieving
Pharisees:

"...The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither
shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the
kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20b-21)

You see, the Pharisees were carnally-minded. They looked
upon the things of the flesh, and the things of this world.
They were more interested in observing the Mosaic Law, in
performing their Temple services, in making loud public
prayers, and in wearing their long flowing garments. They
were only interested in impressing people with their own
outward righteousness so that they could receive the praises
of men. This is why Jesus said to them:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are
like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful
outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all
uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto
men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
(Matthew 23:27-28)

The Jewish Elders were so blinded to The Truth that they
were looking for, and continue to look for, an outward
kingdom. They were looking for, and continue to look for, a
physical Saviour who would, and who will, deliver them from
the hands of their oppressors. This is exactly what the
Zealots were all about. Two thousand years ago they sought
for a physical king and saviour who would deliver them out
of the hands of their Roman occupiers. Today, orthodox Jews
look forward to the arrival of 'Moshiach' who will deliver
them out of the hands of the enemy Arab nations which
surround Israel. However, until they fully understand what
Jesus meant, they will never be able to enter that Kingdom.
That Kingdom is presently invisible, and has been invisible
for the past two thousand years; for it is within. Someday
it truly will be here in a very physical, very visible
sense; but for now, we can only experience it through an
inner spiritual rebirth. Because of the Jews' unbelief, that
Kingdom has been ripped out of their hands and been given to
the Gentiles. Jesus made this very clear when He said:

"And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and
west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,
in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom
shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:11-12)

Those who believe that they are the heirs of promise, those
who believe that they are the children of the Kingdom, the
children of Abraham, the flesh Jews, will be cast out. And
do you know why they will be cast out? Jesus provided a very
clear answer on this in His teachings:

"...The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which
made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to
call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would
not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell
them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my
oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready:
come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went
their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And
the remnant took his servants, and entreated them
spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof,
he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed
those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to
his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were
bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways,
and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those
servants went out into the highways, and gathered together
all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the
wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in
to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a
wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest
thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was
speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him
hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer
darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For
many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:1b-14)

Notice that in the final verses, Jesus uses the same exact
descriptive words that He used in the verse from Matthew
chapter eight above. And what is the wedding garment which
this man failed to wear? It is the righteousness which only
belief in Christ can give us. It is the cloak which covers
our sins as discussed in other articles. It is the blood of
Jesus Christ:

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white
raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of
life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and
before his angels." (Revelation 3:5)

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
(Revelation 3:18)

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people,
and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
(Revelation 7:9)

"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine
linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the
righteousness of saints." (Revelation 19:8)

Of course, we know that that righteousness can only be
obtained through complete spiritual renewal and rebirth, a
spiritual washing and cleansing which comes about only
through acceptance of Christ's sacrifice on the cross:

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

This is exactly what is meant by the Kingdom being within.
This is exactly what Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus
who, while being a Pharisee himself, recognized Who Jesus
really was:

"...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith
unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter
the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus
answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be
born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the
kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not
that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind
bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it
goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
(John 3:3b-8)

Because the flesh Jews rejected this basic Truth, they were
denied the Kingdom, and it has been given to the Gentile
believers. Rather than accept the Garment Of Righteousness
so that they can enter freely into the Marriage Feast of the
Lamb, they have chosen to be cloaked in their own
righteousness. But you see, as explained in the 'Saved And
Sealed' article, Jesus ripped that cloak away two thousand
years ago:

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin." (John 15:22)

All of these things have been fulfilled since two thousand
years ago. As explained in part one of the 'Biblical
Cafeteria' article, since that time, beginning with the
Apostle Paul, we Gentiles have been receiving and believing
in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while the majority of Jews
continue to reject it. But there is hope. Please see my
article 'Is God A Racist?'

Having now explained what is meant by the Kingdom of God
being within, let me continue to explain why we are told
to look out and up and not down and in. To refresh your
memory, let me again quote part of the material from the
Gospel Of Thomas which inspired this article:

"...Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside
of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will
become known, and you will realise that it is you who are
the sons of the Living Father. But if you will not know
yourselves, you will dwell in poverty and it is you who are
that poverty."

----- End Of Quote -----

In looking at the above quote, we can see an immediate
contradiction to what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke
chaper seventeen. The Lord clearly told them that the
Kingdom of Heaven does not come with observation, that it is
within; yet according to the Gospel Of Thomas, Jesus said it
is without and within. In a sense, I can agree that it is
without as well because the Kingdom consists of the
born-again believers who we can visibly see. And of course,
as the First Disciples began to establish Churches in
Israel, Asia Minor and the surrounding areas, the Kingdom
became even more visible. In another sense, we also know
that sometime in the future, the Kingdom of Heaven will be
visibly witnessed on the Earth when Jesus rules during the
Millennium as outlined in the book of Revelation. At the same
time, we also know that once the Lord creates the New Heaven
and the New Earth, the Heavenly City will descend from
Heaven to set on or just about the Earth. Looking at it from
this perspective, we can see that the words which Jesus
prayed in the 'Lord's Prayer' have been fulfilled in part
since the day He spoke them:

"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in
heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

Although I can make this part of the Gospel Of Thomas quote
fit my understanding, I must still express some doubt as to
whether or not these words were really spoken by Jesus. I
just don't feel comfortable with them at this moment.
Concerning the phrase 'When you come to know yourselves,
then you will become known', here again, this whole idea of
knowing ourselves bothers me. As all of the above verses
show, we are to know Jesus, and know His Word as well. That
is where hope and salvation lie, and not within ourselves.
As far as being known, I am not exactly sure what Thomas (if
he really wrote this), meant. The only verse that I can
think of which might make some sense out of this is the
following:

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye
have love one to another." (John 13:35)

But notice, the emphasis in Jesus' words is not in exalting
ourselves, but rather in exalting His Love. He is saying
that people will know we are different because they will see
God's love shining through us. We are to exalt the Lord
through our Christian example...and that is where we all
have room for lots of improvement, beginning with this
writer. As pointed out in other articles, we are only to act
as reflectors of His Truth and His Love. We are only to
serve as prisms which reflect the different aspects of God,
just as a prism reflects the different colors of white
light. Through seeing the Love and Light which we reflect,
people are supposed to be brought to Jesus, and not just to
us or our particular church or organization. We are not the
source of that Light and Love; we are only the tools through
which the Lord shines. If we are only bringing people to us,
or to our particular faith or doctrine, then we have failed.
Unless they are firmly established in the Lord and in His
Word, then they will also fall and fail in times of
hardship.

The true Christian perspective is in direct contrast to the
ways of the world. This is why Jesus repeatedly said that
His followers are not of the world:

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it
hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his
own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen
you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
(John 15:18-19)

In the school of the world, we are taught to be proud of our
accomplishments. From the time we are young we are taught to
have personal pride, national pride, pride at work, pride in
sports, pride in education, etc. It is all exaltation of
self. It is looking inward instead of upward, all glory to
self and none to God. John echoed these same sentiments
later when he wrote his epistles:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is
not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:15-16)

The Apostle James likewise had some very strong thoughts to
express on this when he said:

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the
friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of
God." (James 4:4)

So then, contrary to the false ideas and values which the
world tries to brainwash us with, we are not to seek our own
glory, our own credit, or to exalt ourselves in the eyes of
men. As Christians, we are instructed to do the exact
opposite. Jesus made this very clear when He said:

"...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and
take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will
save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his
life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23b-24)

John the Baptist was well aware of this when he said:

"He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

He wasn't just referring to the fact that he knew that his
ministry must decrease as Jesus started to shine in His own
ministry. From the very beginning John had to deny the ways
of men so He could fulfill the Lord's work. What if John had
been more concerned about the opinions of men instead of
pleasing the Lord?

The Apostle Paul also instructed us to present our bodies as
living sacrifices in his epistle to the Romans:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

He repeated this same sentiment in his letter to the Church
at Corinth when he said:

"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus
our Lord, I die daily." (1 Corinthians 15:31)

Unless we are willing to die to ourselves, to die to our own
wants and worldly interests in life, unless we are willing to
present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, we may never
know what God's will is for our lives. Jesus compared this
dying daily to a seed planted in the ground:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall
into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it
bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall
lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall
keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:24-25)

We each must make the choice for ourselves. Either we
selfishly live for ourselves, or else we live for the Lord
in daily sacrifice. There is no room for both as Jesus made
clear in the story of the rich men who thought he had done
all to inherit the Kingdom of God. In the Sermon on the
Mount, He also said:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and
steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there
will your heart be also...No man can serve two masters: for
either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he
will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve
God and mammon." (Matthew 6:19-21, 24)

We are to lift up Jesus and not look to ourselves. We are to
look UP to Heaven and not IN to ourselves. As explained in
the recent article, 'What Really Happens To Us When We
Die?', our old man, the flesh, our old way of thinking and
doing things is our enemy. It fights against God and His
will for our lives. It is for this reason that we must deny
it and crucify it:

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we
should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6)

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
(Ephesians 4:22)

"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old
man with his deeds;" (Colossians 3:9)

As I stated in the aforementioned article, there is a
constant war going on between our new man of the spirit, and
our old man of the flesh. While we must know ourselves, that
is, be aware of our own human weaknesses and shortcomings,
we are not to dwell upon them. It is only in knowing Jesus'
Spirit which dwells in us that we have eternal life:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the
only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
(John 17:3)

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us
an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we
are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This
is the true God, and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)

There is one final reason why we are told not to look inward
to ourselves. The simple fact of the matter is, there is
nothing good there. If you think there is, then you are
being deceived by your own pride and vanity, and you will be
utterly useless to God in any real way. It is easy for us
all to say, 'Oh sure, I know I am a sinner. I know that I
need Jesus.' However, how much of it is just lip service? How
much do we really believe it? In his epistle, James wrote:

"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not
his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion
is vain." (James 1:26)

We can easily quote verses like Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23,
but are we just applying them to others, or to ourselves as
well? The Jewish religious elders were notorious for doing
this. Remember the story Jesus shared regarding the publican
and the sinner? Which one of those two are we?

From one end of the Bible to the other, we find prophets and
men of God, not boasting of how great they are, not boasting
of what wonderful things they have done for the Lord, but
beseeching the Lord for His love, mercy and forgiveness
because of their sinful state. King David is particularly
known for his many supplications to the Lord in his psalms.
One which has been used as an example of prayer by many
Christians is Psalm 51 which David prayed after murdering
Uriah and then stealing his wife Bathsheba. It says in part:

"...Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy
lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender
mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from
mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge
my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against
thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy
sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in
iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou
desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part
thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and
I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou
hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and
blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O
God; and renew a right spirit within me."
(Psalms 51:1b-10)

It was because of David's honesty with the Lord and the fact
that he acknowledged his true condition that he was so
special in the Lord's sight. When Samuel was sent to Saul to
inform him that his kingdom would be given to David, Samuel
said:

"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath
sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath
commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou
hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
(1 Samuel 13:14)

The Apostle Paul confirmed this same thought when he
preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia:

"And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David
to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said,
I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own
heart, which shall fulfil all my will." (Acts 13:22)

It is when we are so full of ourselves and our own pride
that the Lord's Spirit does not have a chance to work in us
or through us. As long as we think we are good, as long as
we think we can save ourselves or merit our own salvation,
we will never be truly saved. As any doctor will tell you,
the first part of finding a cure is to admit that there is
something wrong. For most people, this can be the hardest
step to take, either with an Earthly doctor, or with our
Heavenly Spiritual Doctor. You see, the Lord is an Expert
Cardiologist. He knows exactly where the problem lies, and
how serious it is. He also knows how to remove the diseased
tissue. So exactly how bad is it? Well, I think the Bible
can speak for itself on this matter:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

Our heart is so evil that we can't even begin to realize how
wicked it is. Working in conjunction with our brain, it
protects itself by feeding us all kinds of rot to keep us
living in a state of delusion. It tells us how good we are,
how great we are, that there is nothing wrong with us, etc.
This is in direct contrast to what Jesus had to say about
it:

"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth
from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the
heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are
the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen
hands defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:18-20)

This is why our Heart Specialist needs to perform an
operation of the Spirit. Modern man prides himself in being
able to perform heart transplants, but do you know what?...He
can never get to the real root of the problem because it is
spiritual in nature. The real cure isn't in replacing our
heart with another healthy human heart, or even with an
artificial one, but rather in replacing it with one of the
Lord's own making:

"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit
within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their
flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:" (Ezekiel 11:19)

The Apostel Paul was no stranger to these matters of sin and
the battles of the flesh. If you read my article 'Biblical
Cafeteria Part One,' you'll discover that Paul knew exactly
what the score was between himself and the Lord. Even after
the Lord had smacked him down hard and turned him into a new
creature, Paul still wrestled for the rest of his days
against his old flesh and his besetting sins:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no
good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to
perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I
would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body
of this death?" (Romans 7:18-19, 24)

Like Paul, we must make a conscious effort on a daily basis
to keep ourselves in submission to the Lord and His will.
Paul said it quite well with the following:

"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as
one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and
bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I
have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
(1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

In his epistle to the Roman Church, Paul emphasized this
again when he said:

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
(Romans 8:7)

So then, from all of the above verses, it should be clearly
recognized that no good thing dwells within us, no matter
what anyone says. That being the case, why do so many false
religions and New Age doctrines teach that we should look
inward for the answers? The answer is quite simple: as long
as we are carnally minded, as long as we dwell on the things
of the flesh, as long as we think the answers can be found
within ourselves or in the temporal things which the world
has to offer, we will never lift up our eyes to Jesus and
see the real answer. That is what meditation is all about.
It isn't about lifting our hearts up to Jesus; it is about
getting lost in our own darkness of sin...and a lot worse
as I have pointed out elsewhere.

As far as the idea of living in poverty because of not
knowing ourselves as stated in the Gospel of Thomas, again,
this seems like a contradiction to accepted Scripture. It is
in knowing Jesus and His Word that we acquire the True
Riches of the Kingdom. It is in investing our lives in
preaching the Gospel to others that we acquire the true
Heavenly Rewards, and those are the only ones which will
last. As far as our physical needs are concerned, Jesus
explained Heavenly Economics quite well when He said:

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or,
What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these
things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto
you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

The Apostle Paul also said:

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
(Philippians 4:11)

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his
riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be
content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I
will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

In conclusion, all we need to know about ourselves is that
we are sinners in need of a Saviour. We must recognize our
sins and shortcomings, but we are not to dwell upon them. We
could sit around all day complaining about how bad we are
and what a mess we are, but that isn't going to do anyone
one bit of good. All that does is keep us from doing what
the Lord really wants us to do. Believe me, I have a lot of
experience with this subject. Satan just loves to try to
discourage me by pointing out all of my mistakes in life.
He'll tell me what a failure I am, or what a hypocrite I am,
all kinds of nasty things...and maybe they are true. Believe
me, I have my share of problems and besettings sins just
like everyone else...but I don't think anyone wants to hear
about them. We are to publish the good tidings, and not the
bad tidings:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that
bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth
good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith
unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah 52:7)

Lucifer's whole job is to get you to take your eyes off of
Jesus, because the minute he gets you to do that, you are
sunk. You will sink down into the discouraging mire of self,
and sin and the old man. Each time I have foolishly invited
Satan to pull up a chair and tell me how bad I am, and how I
failed at this point in my life, or at that point in my
life, or how I failed this person or that person, etc., I
have sunk so low into myself, into my own morass of sin,
that I get absolutely nothing accomplished for the Lord. You
see, that is exactly what the Ole Boy wants! He makes me
feel like such a hypocrite that I stop writing. Sometimes it
hits me really hard too and I won't write for a few days
until the depression passes. Just remember, when you feel
that way, it is not of the Lord. The Lord wants us to be
aware of our sins, He wants us to feel remorse for them as
well, but He also wants us to ask for forgiveness and know
that we are forgiven. God promised in His Word to blot out
our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,
that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

It is only Satan who tells us that we are too bad for Jesus.
He is the accuser of the Saints. He is the Prosecuting
Attorney who says we are guilty until proven innocent:

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come
salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the
power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast
down, which accused them before our God day and night."
(Revelation 12:10)

Don't believe his lies for one minute, for he is a liar and
the Father of Lies!:

"...He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in
the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar,
and the father of it." (John 8:44b)

The simple equation to follow is: accept and recognize our
sins, ask for forgiveness, believe we have been forgiven,
and then press on to better things leaving the dead weight
of sin behind...or better yet, let Jesus carry it for us:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest
unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is
light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

"...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that
is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher
of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at
the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this
one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I
press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

We are not to try to work out our own salvation in the flesh
through introspection or self-analysis, for it will come to
no avail. The only way to overcome our weak sinful nature is
by a miraculous rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ. Once
His Holy Spirit dwells in us, like Paul, we become new
creatures. The same weaknesses and temptations are still
there, but we now have the power of God's Spirit to resist
them; and even when we do fall, we know that He is always
willing to forgive us if we ask Him to. Our salvation is
only by faith, and not by good works. We must always
remember that, because our good works will never be good
enough anyway.

In conclusion, the whole spirit of the above quote from the
Gospel of Thomas just doesn't seem right to me. Not only
does it seem to be too cryptic, too mystic, perhaps even
kaballistic in nature, but it seems somewhat contrary to the
Spirit of Truth I find in the other Gospels. While Jesus did
speak some things in parables, He normally explained Himself
later. In other words, he preached a simple Gospel to simple
men. The above doesn't seem to follow that pattern. It seems
more similar to some of this New Age psychobabble you find
all over the Internet and other networks. I honestly don't
know who those folks are trying to reach with all of that
garbage. It is so de-spiritualized, so secular, so
humanistic, so full of the philosophies of men that it
sickens me. It seems that the people who write that crap are
only interested in uplifting themselves and their own carnal
wisdom. When I read Jesus' words in the KJV, I don't have to
struggle with it. It is easily understood. The quotes from
the Gospel Of Thomas, as well as this New Age stuff is not.
Even after reading it a few times, I still had a hard time
trying to make some sense out of it. This is not the Gospel
of Jesus Christ I am familiar with. Perhaps it is simply
because it is something new for me which I have never read
before; or perhaps because I am used to reading King James
English. I am not convinced of this though. Until I have had
a chance to read this work in its entirety, I would advise
caution in accepting it as the bona fide words of Jesus
Christ. It is possible that after I do read the whole work,
I will have more to say on this issue; but based on my
current impression, I am not sure that I am going to have a
change of view. We shall see. For now though, this is the
best counsel that I can offer anyone who may be wondering
about the Divine Inspiration of the Gospel Of Thomas. I hope
it is a help. As a final note, I would encourage anyone who
has an interest in reading the apocryphal and
pseudepigraphical works, to be extremely prayerful and
sensitive to God's Spirit. Most of all, I suggest that you
become totally familiar with God's Spirit in what is already
accepted Scriptures before delving into these questionable
works. If you don't, you may be opening yourself up to a lot
of satanic deception. Remember, some of that stuff was
purposely written to confuse and deceive the sincere
believers, and to contradict the real Word of God. In short,
choose the good and eschew the evil:

"Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and
ensue it." (1 Peter 3:11).

May the Lord bless you with The Truth, and nothing but The
Truth, so help you God.

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