Message 26

The Truth Concerning Matthew 10:34
"I came not to bring peace to the world, but rather a sword."

    Last night I was reading as you read an article which advocated the elimination from the Christian teachings of a large part of the New and nearly all of the Old Testament and the formulating of a faith based entirely on my sayings and the writings of some of the Bible writers. Such a plan is one that should be investigated by the thinking Christians of the present day, and in a modified way, adopted.
    The only difficulty in carrying out this plan effectively and having it produce the results desired is that the Bible does not contain many sayings of mine disclosing the truths and does contain many sayings attributed to me which I never said.
    Take that saying that I said, “I came not to bring peace to the world, but rather a sword.” Now while it appears in Matthew's gospel as coming from me, I never said it nor used any expression that would convey the meaning that some of the commentators endeavor to place upon the words. I never taught war upon a man's neighbors and never at any time was such a thought a part of my teachings to the disciples or to any others.
    No, militarism is all wrong and against all the precepts of truth, and it should not for a moment be believed by any Christian -- or by anyone else -- that such action was ever advocated by me.
    While the truth will cause a division, as I know, among men as to what the truth is, and may even separate and cause bitter thoughts and even hatred to arise in the souls of men towards their fellow men, and even brother come to dislike brother, yet the accomplishing of such results was not the object of my coming to earth and teaching the truths, but rather are they results of the unavoidable conflict between truth and error. Truth cannot compromise, even for the sake of peace, and error will not submit or acknowledge its untruth so long as it can get any mortal to believe in and advocate it. 
    And because of the great gift of free will to man, truth itself, with all the power and knowledge of the Father back of it, will not compel a man to accept it against his will; and hence, as man is very fallible and thinks and believes according to what his finite mental faculties convince him that a certain thing is not true, he will not be willing to surrender his convictions until the truth shall come to him in such a way as to persuade him of its reality. And as men differ so much in the operations of their minds and reasoning faculties, there will necessarily be a great division among them as to what is and what is not true. And hence, there will arise disputes and hatred and even wars among them in maintaining their respective beliefs and opinions as to what is truth.
    While these feelings of discord must necessarily follow the advent of truth, yet I did not come for the purpose of bringing a sword, but for the purpose of showing men what the truths are, and of causing harmony and belief in these truths. Never is hatred nor discord nor war among men justified, no matter what the cause, and if men will only learn the truth there will never exist such feelings or acts.
    Truth is of itself a thing apart and admits of no variations or modifications, and hence, the minds of men must submit to and embrace truth - it will never accommodate itself to the beliefs of men. One is fixed and unchangeable, and the other is always changeable, and until founded on a knowledge of the truth, will at sometime or other have to change, because in the end truth will be established in the hearts and minds of men so that harmony and peace shall reign in all God's universe.
    Error does not exist in the world because God created it or permits it to exist, but solely because there belongs to man an unrestricted will which controls and influences his thoughts and acts, and which in turn is influenced by the desires and appetites of the mortal.
    I know it is said that if God did not permit evil and carnal thoughts and desires to exist in the world there would be no reason or possibility for a man to exercise his will in a way that would bring him to all these feelings of hatred, etc., that I speak of. But this is merely saying that if a man had not the power of free will he would commit no sin and indulge in no error; for you must know that in his creation he was given not only the privilege and the power under certain conditions to become a being entirely free from sin - which is merely the violation of God's established laws - but also the privilege and power to violate these laws. As he will, so shall he be.
    Everything in nature may be turned into an instrument of harm if the laws which establish the functioning's and workings of these things are violated. Sin as an abstract thing does not exist, but is the result of disobedience to some law whose operations, in conformity to its creation, must be pursued, and should always be pursued, and men who violate it must suffer the consequences of such violation.
    Mortals may not fully realize that every law carries with it a penalty for its violation, and this applies to the smallest law in the material universe as well as to the greatest law in the spiritual kingdom, and this penalty is just as sure in its operation as is the law itself.
    A man may be created, physically, almost perfect, and so long as he lives in a way which does not violate some physical law which is operating to keep him in that physical perfection, he will suffer no pain or inharmony in his being; but just as soon as he does violate this law, the penalty therefore asserts itself and he suffers. Now this arises not because there was existing in the abstract any pain or suffering, and had not man violated this law he would never have known that there was such a thing as pain or suffering, but when he did violate the law there came into operation the penalty which, as I said, is always the result of violating the laws of harmony.
    And the same principle applies to the moral and spiritual universe. As I said, there is no such thing as sin or error in the abstract, for so long as a mortal may know and follow the truth he will never realize the existence of any such thing as sin or error; but the moment that law of truth is violated, the penalty asserts itself and man realizes that sin and error do exist, not as an abstract entity, but as a concrete, sensitive thing which will continue to exist until the violation of that law ceases and harmony in its operation is again restored, or rather, until man in his thoughts and acts is brought into harmony with the operations of the law.
    So you see, God did not create or permit sin or error to exist in the sense that it is an independent entity waiting to influence men to do wrong and violate His laws of perfect harmony, but rather, that when men in the exercise of their wills, which He will not compel, violate one of His laws, and thereby, as to themselves, interfere with that harmony, they cause the inharmony to arise, which brings with it the pains and sufferings and sins and errors which are prevalent in the world.
    Let men think, if they can, of sin or error in the abstract and then try to describe it. What is the result? Only vacuity.
    So I say, God did not create sin or error, but gave to man that great gift of will, free and not subject to His control, and then man became the responsible being that he is. But in giving man this great gift He did not relinquish or subordinate His will to that of man, nor did He confer upon man the power to change or modify His immutable laws, which He, Himself, will not do. And within the limitations that man can exercise his will, that is when such exercise does not interfere with the will of God or His laws, man may exercise that will with impunity, and without responsibility, as it were; but when in the exercise of that will he infringes upon the will of God or violates one of His laws, then, while man is not controlled in the exercise of his will, yet for such violation he must pay the penalty which such violation calls into operation.
    God has decreed that His universe shall be one of harmony in its workings, and that no man shall destroy or interfere with that harmony, and no man can; but as man is a part of that harmony, his every act which tends to interfere therewith and it does not, except as to himself brings upon himself the penalty of that interference.
    Let a man who has violated this harmony and thereby as to himself become inharmonious again get into that harmony, and as to him there would be no sin or error; and let every man do this and there would be no sin or error in all God's universe.
    So I repeat, there is no sin or error in the abstract in all the universe, and they appear only when man in the exercise of his will interferes, as to himself, in the harmony of God's laws. It makes no difference what the cause of this interference may be, or in what way the will of man may have been exercised, or for what reason, to bring about this inharmony. The effect is the same because harmony and inharmony cannot exist together no matter what the cause may be, no matter that in one case the cause may appear excusable or even apparently forced on the individual. The excuse for or apparent justification of the cause will not make what is inharmonious unite and work in unison with God's laws of harmony; and hence, the man whose will may be excused in the way mentioned by reason of heredity or environments or want of proper mental or moral instruction, is just as much out of harmony with the violated law as is the man who willfully violates the law. The penalty must be enforced just the same in each case, as the only remedy is the restoration of the harmony.
    But there is this difference between the individuals of what may be called the involuntary class and the individuals of the voluntary class: the former will find it easier and with more rapidity to get into this condition of harmony than will the latter.
    So men must not accuse God in permitting sin and error to exist in the world, as they do not exist except as man brings them into existence by the wrongful exercise of his will. All sin and error bring their sufferings, and if there were no sufferings and men were permitted to exercise their wills irrespective of the laws which govern the universe without incurring the penalties, then the only result would be that anarchy would prevail in all God's universe where men live, and in the spirit universe as well, for the will and its great franchise of unrestricted exercise pass with the mortal when he leaves the material body. 
    So with all my love I will say good night. 
    Your brother and friend, Jesus