A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 19: The Attainment of Peace

Section III: The Unreality of Sin

Read ACIM Chapter 19, Section III (pages 404-06)

Why does Jesus put so much emphasis on the unreality of sin?

Because this is so important, Jesus again focuses on helping us see the inner workings of the ego thought system. He emphasizes the important distinction between sin and error in this section because, until we are willing to change our mind about the reality of sin, we will continue to believe that the separation really happened. We will continue to think that we really have changed ourselves from how we were created by God. We will continue to be attracted to seeing guilt in our brothers and forget that nothing has changed God’s Son from how he was created by God. We will continue to perceive that a world of separate bodies is real and will continue to feel the accompanying anxiety and perceptions of guilt, lack and loss that go with it. We will continue to be attracted to the ego’s belief that we are guilty, and worthy of punishment.

Jesus knows that this need not be our experience. That is why he wants us to understand how important it is to let go of the idea that our brother is limited to his body. To help us get past this mistaken idea, he tells us, “While you believe that your reality or your brother’s is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin [that the separation really happened]. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious. For the belief that bodies limit mind leads to a perception of the world in which the proof of separation seems to be everywhere. And God and His creation seem to be split apart and overthrown.” (7:1-4)

What are the full consequences that come with believing that bodies are real?

Jesus knows that we don’t realize the full consequences that come with believing that bodies are real. He knows that with this belief that the separation really happened comes the belief that we are guilty and are deserving of punishment. He shows us how this works when he says, “For the ego brings sin (belief that we are guilty) to fear, demanding punishment. Yet punishment is but another form of guilt’s protection, for what is deserving punishment must have been really done. Punishment is always the great preserver of sin, treating it with respect and honoring its enormity. What must be punished, must be true.” (2:2- 5)

Here we see how insane and viscious the ego thought system is. Here we see how it works and what happens when we join with the idea that separation is real. Here we see that we have the option to see that it is just an error in thinking, not a sin that deserves punishment as the ego would have us believe.

When does the fierce attraction to guilt and punishment fall away?

We start to see the unreality of separate bodies, the unreality sin, when we let the Holy Spirit show us that these perceptions of separation are just an error in thinking, a mistaken idea that we can let go of, and not reality at all. Once we get it that we just had a mistaken thought that could never be real, all the fierce attraction to guilt and punishment falls away. We become more open to realizing that separation is just a silly idea that could never be true. As we become open to letting this shift happen in our minds, we feel an inner contentment, a knowing that all is safe and nothing has happened to change God’s oneness. The fearful stories of guilt and punishment hold less attraction now.

As this change happens in our minds, our relationships with people naturally change. Our attraction to guilt and punishment subsides. The attraction to defend and attack a guilty one we see as outside us lessens. We become more open to seeing our brother’s holiness, his changeless eternal nature instead of being attracted to seeing guilt there. We start to recognize that sin (separation) is not real. Jesus describes a new purpose that is now instilled with every relationship: “Your holy relationship has, as its purpose now, the goal of proving [sin] is impossible. Heaven has smiled upon it, and the belief in sin has been uprooted in its smile of love.” (8:4-5)

Jesus knows that as we let the idea of sin be replaced with seeing that it is just an error, a mistaken thought, the Holy Spirit will have the opportunity of correcting these thoughts in our minds. The Holy Spirit replaces the idea of changes that occur in time with the recognition of what is eternally real. He reminds us of the benefits of allowing this change of mind when he tells us, “Your relationship is now a temple of healing; a place where all the weary ones can come and rest. Here is the rest that waits for all, after the journey. And it is brought nearer to all by your relationship.” (11:3-5)

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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