“Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices a lie.”
Consider this: what exactly is a lie, and how do you “practice” one? As with many things, the answer depends on what perspective you are coming from. From a natural perspective, a lie is essentially a false statement being presented as true. From a spiritual perspective, a lie is deeper than mere words – a lie is a path or way in which things without life are considered or presented as alive or life-giving. The Bible refers to these dead things in many different terms, including darkness, carnality, the night, the flesh, or the old man (referring to Adam). So then, within the New Covenant, “liars” are those who stubbornly continue to value, walk in and promote the (often religious) way of the flesh/old nature, despite the fact that God put it away, crucified and nullified it once and for all in Christ. Just like those who tell lies in the “natural” sense, spiritual liars also present something false (the way of the flesh/Adam/natural man) as true (divine, life-giving, desirable).
This isn’t merely important, it’s necessary to grasp if you want to follow the way of Christ in establishing the Kingdom of God and honoring the Father. The biggest reason the world and the church are in the shape they’re in is that believers have either been unable to recognize that most of what they have considered “spiritual” is nothing but dead flesh, and/or been unwilling to repent and follow the way of the Spirit (which includes sacrifice, love and laying down one’s life for the sake of others). However, if you merely want to get to heaven in the end, then you’re unlikely to ever repent and truly change the way you perceive and believe.
To follow the spirit into such a life of sacrificial love, I believe the key is that one must first be enabled to “taste and see” the goodness of the Father’s creation and Kingdom, which cannot be accessed or affected by anything physical. Each of us can dwell in this Kingdom of love and peace and righteousness and joy NOW, before it becomes fully manifested in the physical realm. This is the “freedom” Jesus proclaimed he came to give mankind. With one’s heart and life rooted in the Spirit, one can let go of their hold and fascination with the natural world, which is struggling and dying due to it’s basis of self-preservation and fear.
Consider James 3:12-15 (MLV), with my comments in blue: “My brethren, a fig tree is not able to produce olives or a vine figs, are they? Thus no spring is able to produce both salty and sweet water (the spirit will not, and in fact cannot produce the works of the flesh (things like greed, anger, judgment and criticism, sexual immorality, jealousy, etc). Who is wise and knowledgeable among you? Let him show out of his good conduct his works in meekness of wisdom (the truly wise and spiritual are those who do good from the heart, as evidenced by a natural humility and meekness rather than from a selfish motive such as as approval from men, blessings from God, or punishment-avoidance). But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth (if you walk in jealousy and with selfish motives (which are of the flesh), yet present yourself as spiritually mature, you are living and practicing a lie and blaspheming the way of Christ). This wisdom (labeling flesh as spirit) is not a wisdom that comes down from above (spiritual, heavenly, divine in origin), but is earthly, sensual, demonic (natural, fleshly, religious, doomed to destruction).”
I am not perfect and am not free from the influence of flesh. I am also not condemning anyone, keeping in mind there is no condemnation in Christ. However, we know the flesh has already been condemned once and for all, therefore we must learn to recognize it and reject it in favor of the spirit. If we align with and pursue what has been condemned, we will find ourselves “outside” the Kingdom, as the verse at the top says, and marked for destruction (though this does not mean eternal torture in hell).
I believe that as one becomes increasingly familiar with the presence/voice of God within, entirely separate from fear, selfishness, or preconceived ideas or religious doctrines, it becomes easier to discern between what is spirit and what is flesh. Hebrews actually says the Word of God is able to divide between the two. Learn to hear our Father, the voice of love and peace and truth and reconciliation. Let Him show you that all is well in His kingdom, that His Kingdom is still at hand, and be free to walk in it now, showing others it’s beauty and inviting them in.
1. Revelation 22:15 MLV