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Galatians 5:19-24

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 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lack of restraint, [The works of the flesh are sin, and the wages of sin are death. From the Word of the Lord within: "Consequence-free sin does not exist; the consequences are truly staggering. There is a war you must win: sin must be overcome; the fleshly lusts war against your soul."]

 20 Idolatry [covetousness], sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness,

 21 Envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries [partying], and the like; which I say beforehand, as I have said before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.4 [All men do works of the flesh because their hearts are defiled until they have been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, and in no way shall there enter into heaven anything that is defiled. Rev 21:27]

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace (quietness and confident trust forever), patience (including longsuffering, steadfastness, and perseverance), kindness (including morality and integrity), goodness, faithfulness, [From the Word of the Lord within, "until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law." Until you are led by the spirit, you are under the law, Gal 5:18; when you receive this fruit, you are then led by the Spirit. Those branches without fruit are thrown into the fire.]

 23 Gentleness (including meekness and humility), and self-control (mastery of sensual appetites, passions, and desires). Against these there is no law.5 [After you have mortified and crucified your sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial, you receive the fruit of the spirit. Then you are no longer subject to the law because then you are led by the Spirit. Rom 8:14, Gal 3:25, 5:18. The law has dominion over a man until his death, Rom 7:1, which death occurs when he has been crucified, Rom 7:6,Gal 2:20; as the next verse emphasizes.]

 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections].6 [After your sinful nature has been put to death on the inward cross of self-denial, then you belong to Christ as you walk in love, following the Spirit, fulfilling the law; and then you receive an imputed righteousness. Having suffered on the cross, you no longer live the rest of your time in the lusts of men, but you live to the will of God, 1 Pet 4:1-2; which is to be obediently led and guided by the Spirit in thoughts, words, and deeds.]

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6 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections]. The missing cross that leads to fruit, that leads to purity, that leads to salvation, that leads to union, that leads to the Kingdom — to have any of these, you must have first crucified your flesh, (sinful nature, lusts, affections), on the inward cross of self denial.

So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:8
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 8:13
And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Gal 5:24

Until you have killed the sinful nature in you, you of course are going to continue to sin. As Jesus said, Truly, Truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34. And if you die while still sinning, you have no inheritance in the kingdom of God; instead you will be banned from heaven to learn about the evil in yourself the hard way with far less reward that comes from putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision performed by Christ while still alive on the earth.

Notice, you do not belong to Christ until you have crucified your sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. You are not in Christ until you have crucified your sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. You are not one of his sheep until you have crucified your sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. You do not have salvation until you have crucified your sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial.

There are two stages of perfection, which Fox and Crisp both described.

Based on scripture and the writings of the early Quakers, we can separate the various descriptions of spiritual maturity into the two stages:

The Two Stages of Perfection
Status or Occurrence

After Crucifixion

(1st Stage of Perfection)

The "End"

(2nd Stage of Perfection)

Freedom from sin*
 
Fruit of the Spirit
 
Enter Paradise
 
Imputed Righteousness
 
Saint*
 
Purity*
 
See the Lord*
 
 
Renewed up to the image of God*
 
Peace with God*
 
Freedom from Law
 
Walk in the Light
 
Walk in the Spirit
 
Worship in Spirit and Truth
 
Able to Do Most of the Lord's Work
 
True Fellowship*
 
Impermanent Perfection*
 
Know all things. See everything.
 
Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
 
Mortification
(with Carnal Mind and Imagination Destroyed)
 
Inherit the Substance — Christ
 
Righteousness
(without imputation)
 
Eternal Life of God
 
Permanent Perfection
 
Sanctification
 
Redemption
 
Justification
 
Born Again
 
Son of God
 
Circumcision of the Heart
 
Protected from Ever Sinning Again
 
Union
 
Sit Down in Christ in the Rest
 
Glory
 

* These occurrences were also attainable in the Old Covenant [Old Testament].

In his Journal and letters George Fox stated the paradise he first entered was the state from which Adam and Eve had fallen, and those at that state were subject to falling to temptation, just as Adam and Eve had fallen. He also wrote that the light arose within him some time before he was raised to paradise; and in his writing, That All Should Know the Way to the Kingdom, he stated:

"Christ said, unless a man is born again of water [spiritual water] and of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God, nor enter into it, John 3:3,5,8. So no man in his first natural birth can see the kingdom of God, nor enter into it, nor know the things of God."

Therefore, since only a born again son can enter into the kingdom, and since a born again son is protected and cannot sin, then the kingdom of heaven is not the paradise of the first stage of perfection; the kingdom of heaven must be a step beyond the first stage of perfection and beyond the paradise from where Adam and Eve were banished; this step of paradise below the kingdom of heaven is apparently the same as the outer court in New Jerusalem.

Further: despite Old Testament scripture referring to sons of God, (though scant), about which George Fox wrote in his letter 246, Fox above states that a son must be born again; since one born again is protected and cannot sin, the new covenant son is radically different than the Old Testament sons referenced.

According to the Word of the Lord within, the first stage is not even a shadow of what you will inherit in the second stage.

After you have crucified your selfish, devilish nature, (the first stage of perfection), you must be continuously watchful, (against temptation), as you walk according to the Lord's guidance because without watchfulness you can fall to temptation, just like Eve fell.

When George Fox was raised to this first stage, he was immediately tempted to practice medicine as his Journal relates below:

Now I came up in spirit, through the flaming sword, into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, innocence, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus; so that I came up to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was open to me; and it was shown to me how all things had their names given them, according to their nature and virtue. I was at a stand in my mind, whether I should practice medicine for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord.

He was tempted to practice medicine according to his own desires; his carnal mind was at a stand, not yet destroyed. Those of us who reach this first stage of perfection will likewise be severely tempted; but we can minimize our risk of falling if we remember to: 1) continue to obey any commands we have received in the past, and 2) reject anything that we want to do, only doing what we are ordered to do by the Lord. Should we fall, unless we wilfully disobey, we can still choose to repent as we walk in the light and the blood of Jesus that cleanses us of all sin. The less we fall, the sooner we attain the second stage and inherit the substance, Christ.

From the Word of the Lord within: "Many fell and erred from the true faith. When the fruit withers, I remove the protection."

I would submit the following additional admonitions to guard against falling to sin at this stage, (lessons learned from the sad failure of James Naylor):

Concerned about the risk of loss in the first stage of perfection, the Word of the Lord within said, "speak slowly, forever hold your peace." Previously He has said:

The death of the early Quaker, James Naylor, appears to be the classic example of protection being removed due to wilful disobedience after reaching the first stage of perfection. James Naylor was an eminent early Quaker preacher who had reached the 1st stage of perfection. However, he sadly dropped his watchfulness and refused the written order of the Society along with written and in-person warnings from George Fox to disassociate himself from a group of fawning admirers that were out of the truth. In writing Fox warned him from the Word of the Lord that he was "against the Truth in willfulness and stubbornness." Shortly afterwards, Naylor precipitated a great scandal, which resulted in him suffering severe punishment and imprisonment; as he was returning home, he was beaten, robbed, left bound and naked in a field, found by a passer-by, and taken to a Quaker doctor where he died a day later at the age of 42. These events are detailed in the web page on James Naylor.

As I was reviewing James Naylor's failure in my mind, I heard the Word of the Lord within say: "stunning willfulness." If you are aware of how eminent James Naylor was among the early Quakers, it is indeed stunning what he did and continued to do over a significant period of time.

Before George Fox had entered the first stage of perfection and paradise, for about three years he was sent on limited, specific assignments by the Lord. But he only did what he was specifically told to do, exactly when he was told to do it; he then returned to his residence and continued waiting on the Lord. Plus, he was sufficiently perfected that he was able to preach, debate, and pray with words supplied by the Holy Spirit; so powerful were his words that even churches shook when he prayed within them. So limited teaching or preaching can be instructed by the Lord before you are completely perfected; but be careful to only do what he tells you to do, nothing more, nothing less; then return to your home to continue to wait on the Lord's further imparting of his Spirit by his words that you hear him speak to you.

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