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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 19 The Attainment of Peace

II. Sin Versus Error

1. It is essential that error be not confused with sin, and it is this distinction that makes salvation possible.  For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right.  But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible.  The belief in sin is necessarily based on the firm conviction that minds, not bodies, can attack.  And thus the mind is guilty and will forever remain unless a mind not part of it can give it absolution.  Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment is correction is clearly insane. 

2. Sin is not an error, for sin entails an arrogance which the idea of error lacks.  To sin would be to violate reality, and to succeed.  Sin is the proclamation that attack is real, and guilt is justified.  It assumes the Son of God is guilty and has thus succeeded in losing his innocence and making himself what God created not.  Thus is creation not seen as eternal, and the Will of God open to opposition and defeat.  Sin is the grand illusion underlying all the ego’s grandiosity.  For by it God Himself is changed and rendered incomplete. 

3. The Son of God can be mistaken; he can deceive himself; he can even turn the power of his mind against himself.  But he cannot sin.  There is nothing he can do that would really change his reality in any way, nor make him really guilty.  That is what sin would do, for such is its purpose.  Yet for all the wild insanity inherent in the whole idea of sin, it is impossible.  For the wages of sin is death, and how can the immortal die?

Jesus says that the Son of God can makes mistakes, he can deceive himself, he can turn the power of his mind against himself.  But he cannot sin!  Nothing can change his reality because he was made by God.  Nothing can make him guilty because he was made by God and in God’s image and from God’s love.  No matter how much the ego protests, sin is not real, sin is impossible, for the wages of sin is death and how can the immortal die?

4. A major tenet in the ego’s insane religion is that sin is not error but truth, and it is innocence that would deceive.  Purity is seen as arrogance, and the acceptance of the self as sinful is perceived as holiness.  And it is this doctrine that replaces the reality of the Son of God as his Father created him and willed that he be forever.  Is this humility?  Or is it, rather, an attempt to wrest creation away from truth, and keep it separate?

5. Any attempt to reinterpret sin as error is always indefensible to the ego.  The idea of sin is wholly sacrosanct to its thought system, and quite unapproachable except with reverence and awe.  It is the most “holy” concept in the ego’s system; lovely and powerful, wholly true, and necessarily protected with every defense at its disposal.  For here lies its “best” defense, which all the others serve.  Here is its armor, its protection, and the fundamental purpose of the special relationship in its interpretation.

6. It can indeed be said the ego made its world on sin.  Only in such a world could everything be upside down.  This is the strange illusion that makes the clouds of guilt seem heavy and impenetrable.  The solidness that this world’s foundation seems to have is found in this.  For sin has changed creation from an Idea of God to an ideal the ego wants; a world it rules, made up of bodies, mindless and capable of complete corruption and decay.  If this is a mistake, it can be undone easily by truth.  Any mistake can be corrected if truth be left to judge it.  But if the mistake is given the status of truth, to what can it be brought?  The “holiness” of sin is kept in place by just this strange device.  As truth it is inviolate, and everything is brought to it for judgment.  As a mistake, it must be brought to truth.  It is impossible to have faith in sin, for sin is faithlessness.  Yet it is possible to have faith that a mistake can be corrected. 

The ego made its world on sin, which has caused it to be upside down.  This is not the kingdom of God but the kingdom of the ego. 

7. There is no stone in all the ego’s embattled citadel that is more heavily defended than the idea that sin is real; the natural expression of what the Son of God has made himself to be, and what he is.  To the ego, this is no mistake.  For this is its reality; this is the “truth” from which escape will always be impossible.  This is his past, his present, and his future.  For he has somehow managed to corrupt His Father and change His Mind completely.  Mourn, then, the death of God, Whom sin has killed!  And this would be the ego’s wish, which in its madness it believes it has accomplished.

8. Would you not rather that all this be nothing more than a mistake, entirely correctable, and so easily escaped from that its whole correction is like walking through a mist into the sun?  For that is all it is.  Perhaps you would be tempted to agree with the ego that it is far better to be sinful than mistaken.  Yet think you carefully before you allow yourself to make this choice.  Approach it not lightly; for it is the choice of hell or Heaven.  [1]

Today Jesus is asking us to think carefully before we allow ourselves to believe in sin – to believe in sin is to choose hell, to believe that there could be anything that could disrupt God’s Will, which could steal His Son, which could turn against Him and remove from Him His peace and love and joy is to believe in hell and it is to wish hell upon oneself and others. 

To believe in sin is to believe that God can be lowered to the flesh – that God would involve Himself in the trite, the impure, the unworthy dreams of His Son.  To believe in sin is to believe that we can lift ourselves up against God and incite God to punish us, to devise ways to torture us and humiliate us and cause us to wail in terror and sorrow. 

Instead of believing in sin and punishment which would lift itself up as equal to God; let us instead accept the Sonship as one which made mistakes which are correctable over time.  Instead of believing that God is a God of wrath and vengeance and must have blood in which to appease Himself, let us accept that God is a God of Love, Peace, and Joy, a God who has no opposites or opposition.  Let us be faithful to this belief for this is the choice for Heaven.  This is the choice for peace. 

In your personal devotional practice today read over the eight paragraphs of our text, listen to the words from this section and be happy when your heart and mind align with the truth of these words.  Sin is an ego construct.  Belief in sin is the foundation of the dark dream, the desire for specialness and separateness, and all that would keep our minds trapped in flesh bodies, cycling through time, in the perceptual world.  

Belief in sin has devised a false realm made up of vulnerable, weak, and futile bodies mindlessly driven by fear.  In this morass of separation and despair, we make each other special and then turn in vengeance and wrath upon one another for being flesh, for being fallible, for not getting it right.  We hire more guns; we build more prisons; we devise more laws for sin is everywhere and it needs to be punished.  Preaching and teaching a belief in sin does not lead to love, but to more fear and more separation prolonging our time in the hellish realm.   

However, we are in error.  And when we bring error to truth, it is corrected.   When I turned away from the light; I learned that I was not made in darkness or for darkness or to be darkness.  In time I learn to seek light.  My mistake is corrected, not punished, not deemed unworthy, not made to sacrifice something or someone I love.  At one point in my life, I thought it was cool to tell lies.  This was not sin, it was error.  Over time I learned that telling lies is unworthy of me.  I stopped lying; I tell the truth.  All the whippings in the world would not have cured me from telling lies – whippings would only serve to punish me.  But over time the mistaken ideal for falsehood was replaced by the true ideal for telling the truth.   All things we do in the flesh are correctable; this is the purpose of time – to correct our errors, to make right the mind that has gone astray.  To return to God’s Kingdom and Be as we were created – Loving, Peaceful, Joyful – one.    

It is impossible to be faithful to one another when we believe in sin; for in sin we will always find reasons to be afraid, to revile, to punish, to send to hell.  Believing in sin is faithless.  When I believe that you can do something that will deny you Sonship, I put my faith in that which opposes God.  I believe that God can have an opposite.  My reality is one of uncertainty and division.  I believe flesh to be as strong as God.  My faith in the karmic cycles of sin and vengeance is my religion and my god.  I will cherish and adore you one day and hate and curse and abandon you the next for sin will determine your worth to me.

When we accept that there is no sin, only error, we can easily forgive the foibles, shortcomings, and violent deeds of others.  It is all a mistake – not just your betrayal of me, not just your backstabbing ways, not just the murder you committed or the child you stole – but the whole mistaken world.  The ego’s religion is based upon an allegiance to sin for in sin we have a license to kill, to seek vengeance, to pronounce war, to justify all manner of horrendous acts.  This is hell.  When we practice the Mind of Christ, Holy Spirit exchanges the belief in sin and punishment for the desire to heal, correct, and make whole.  And in healing, correction, and wholeness we return to God. 


[1] A Course in Miracles.  Chapter 19 The attainment of peace.  II Sin versus error.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com 

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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