“For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed (reprimanded). But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”1
The verse above contains more than I can try to explain here, so I want to focus on one aspect of it which really hit me recently, regarding the contrast being highlighted. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Christianity, the religion that has regrettably formed around Christ and his teachings, is rooted in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of the Tree of Life. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.
Because so many of us were raised in this pseudo-spiritual environment which is rooted in the wrong tree, our understanding of God and His will has been distorted to see everything naturally. Outward behavior becomes a primary focus, and spiritual concepts such as good and evil are understood as actions that we perform. But notice that John compares those who do evil with those who “do the truth.” Think about that – do the truth! The spiritual opposite of evil isn’t goodness, it’s truth. Evil fears being exposed as flawed by the light, but truth welcomes the light because truth comes from the Father and the light will only reveal more of Him.
Let me mention this: Jesus didn’t come to earth and die so we can go to heaven someday, or so that we can avoid torment in hell. That’s a shallow and extremely selfish understanding. Jesus came to open the way to the Tree of Life in the earth again, to restore spiritual vision and freedom to God’s people,2 paving the way for the Kingdom of God to be manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We’re involved in this process and God does love us, but salvation is toward a bigger end than us, our personal happiness or eternal security. What really important is the will and Kingdom of God, and our hindrance or cooperation with its establishment.
Jesus’ teachings and parables (both before and after his death and resurrection!) were almost entirely about the Kingdom of God! Acts tells us Paul preached the Kingdom of God right up till his death. We MUST begin to have a spiritual, Kingdom perspective if we are to ever begin to understand the scriptures and the Father’s heart. From a Kingdom perspective, good and evil become defined very differently. Good is what comes from in the Tree of Life and the heart of God (which are the source of Truth), furthering the Kingdom of God (His rule and reign) on earth. Evil is what comes from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the mind and heart of man, hindering the will of God being done on earth.
Here’s a harsh statement that I only say because it’s true: much of what religious men, including Christians, see and do as good, God sees as evil. I cannot put a blanket statement on each and every thing, nor am I the judge of anyone. But I know that in God’s sight (which is very different than man’s), religion, including Christianity, is evil. Again, not evil as we understand it in the sense of “bad,” but evil in the very real sense of being founded in the mind and will of man, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and therefore a distraction and hindrance to God’s kingdom. Men presume to know what God desires and what His Kingdom should look like and then go about doing that, but God sees and labels the result “evil.” Those who practice this religious evil avoid the “light” of God’s spirit and Jesus’ teachings because it will expose (literally: “reprimand”) their work. Regardless of how good it appears in our own eyes, everything done from the mind of man, the Tree of Knowledge, is evil in God’s sight because it is a distraction from and hindrance to the Kingdom of God.
We aren’t the King. What we like, what makes sense to us, the way we think things should be, doesn’t really matter at all. We have to deny ourselves – our religious selves! if we’re truly going to be disciples of Jesus and walk as sons of God. Let’s welcome and seek out the light of God’s spirit within, to expose what is evil and let us repent. Let’s honor our Father and seek to have all our works be “done in God,” not our religious selves. As always, I include myself in these things. Amen.
John 3:20-21 WEB ®