The Gospel of Thomas: Introspection or Heaven-Spection?
Part 4
Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
July 17, 1997

Last Updated :
September 24, 2019


Beware Of New Age Doctrines And Meditation, Look Upward To Jesus And Not Inward To Ourselves, To Be Carnally Minded ‭Is‭ Death, Wages Of Sin And Unbelief Is Death, Jesus Is The Light Of The World, Beware Of Materialism, Heavenly Rewards, Seek First The Kingdom Of God, God Will Provide, Be Content With What You Have, Don't Dwell On Your Sins Or Look At Yourself, Publish The Glad Tidings, Beware Of Falling Under Depression, Seek Forgiveness For Your Sins, God Desires Our Healing And Repentance, Devil Is A Liar And Accuser Of The Saints, Give Your Burdens To The Lord, Run The Race With Patience, We Are New Creatures In Jesus Christ, Lifelong Battle Against Our Personal Sins, Strangeness Of Gospel Of Thomas, Simplicity Of The True Gospel, Confusing New Age Psychobabble, Be Careful Reading Apocryphal And Pseudepigraphal Writings, Eschew Evil And Choose The Good, Closing Remarks, Suggested Reading List




Considering the preponderance of Scriptures I have shared with you in this series, it should be clearly recognized that no good thing dwells within us, no matter what anyone says; which is why we must be regenerated in both our minds and hearts. That being the case, why do so many false religions and New Age doctrines teach that we should look inward for the answers? The answer is quite simple. As long as we are carnally minded; as long as we dwell on the things of the flesh; as long as we think the answers can be found within ourselves or in the temporal things which this world has to offer; we will never lift up our eyes to Jesus and see that He is the only real answer.

If we really stop to think about it, that is what oriental meditation is all about. It is not about lifting our hearts up to Jesus. It is about getting lost in ourselves, and in the darkness of our own minds. It is a false spirituality which may even lead to demonic oppression or possession if we are not careful. Meditation may offer some people a kind of temporary state of bliss and peace of mind, but it isn't true Salvation by any means. Thus, all of that chanting and meditating is really quite meaningless in the end. It is all death disguised as New Age enlightenment. In fact, it is not even the real Light. It is the exact opposite. Consider this verse:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV


In case you have forgotten, the Apostle Paul clearly warns us that "to be carnally minded ‭is‭ death." Paul likewise tells us that "the wages of sin is death." Furthermore, as Jesus told the unbelieving Jews in the Gospels, if we don't embrace Him -- the one true Light of the world -- then we will walk in darkness, and we will die in our sins. Please consider these verses:

"For to be carnally minded ‭is‭ death; but to be spiritually minded ‭is‭ life and peace.‭"
Romans 8:6, KJV


"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23, KJV


"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
John 8:21-24, KJV


"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
John 1:4-9, KJV


"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12, KJV


"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5, KJV


"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth . . . I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."
John 12:35, 46, KJV


So my friends, don't think on the things of the world and the things of the flesh. Beware of becoming trapped in the imagination of the wicked thoughts of your own heart. Watch out for the sins and darkness which invade your own mind. Be very careful that you don't become deceived by so-called New Age enlightenment. Instead, look up to Jesus, who is the one true Light of the world, and the Author and the Finisher of your faith, and live! As the Apostle Paul admonishes us, "be spiritually minded" and put on "the mind of Christ". Do not become deceived by the Father of Lies who poses as an angel of light.

Returning to the quote from the Gospel of Thomas regarding dwelling in poverty because of not knowing ourselves, I must confess that it is a rather strange saying. I am not exactly sure what the phrase means. My sense is that it may possibly be a reference to spiritual poverty. In either case, whether the phrase is referring to spiritual or physical poverty, it still seems like a contradiction to things which were taught by the Lord and the Apostles in the New Testament.

As you may know, both Jesus and the Apostles warned against becoming ensnared by worldly, material wealth. Remember; the Apostle John wrote "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." In both the Gospels, as well as in the Epistles, they emphasized the importance of acquiring the true riches of the Kingdom through knowing the Word and faithfully serving the Lord. In other words, it is through investing our lives in preaching the Gospel to others that we acquire the true Heavenly Rewards; and those are the only ones which will last. Consider the following set of verses which describe the temporary nature of worldly wealth:

"And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21, KJV


"As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand."
Ecclesiastes 5:15, KJV


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:19-21, 24, KJV


"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV


"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
John 6:27, KJV


"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:2, KJV


"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
1 Timothy 6:6-8, KJV


As far as our physical needs are concerned, both Jesus and the Apostles taught that if we seek first God's Kingdom, He will faithfully provide all of our needs. I for one can testify to this fact. For the record, in all the years that I have been serving the Lord, God has never once failed to provide for me in some way. He keeps His promises. Consider the following verses:

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:31-33, KJV


"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
Isaiah 59:1, KJV


"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart . . . I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
Psalm 37:4, 25, KJV


"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:10, KJV


"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Matthew 7:7-8, 11, KJV


"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:22, KJV


"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:6-7, KJV


"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Luke 12:22-31, KJV


"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Romans 8:32, KJV


"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21, KJV


"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19, KJV


"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:14-15, KJV


As I have mentioned before, God may not necessarily give you everything that you want, but He will provide you with everything that you truly need in order to get the job done. But whatever the Lord chooses to provide for you, make sure that you remain content, and that you have a thankful heart. Consider these two verses:

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11, KJV


"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV


Before bringing this series to its conclusion, allow me to remind you again that introspection is not the way to go. To be successful for the Lord, we need to engage in what I like to refer to as "Heaven-spection". That is, keeping our eyes on Jesus, and on our Heavenly Goal, and not on ourselves. As I pointed out earlier, all we need to know about ourselves is that we are sinners, and that we need a Savior. We must be honest with ourselves and recognize our shortcomings and our sins, but we should not continually dwell on them. Yes, we could sit around all day complaining about how bad we are and what a mess we are, but that is not going to do anyone one bit of good. All that does is keep us from doing what God really wants us to do, which is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Believe me; I have a lot of experience in this area. As no doubt occurs with you as well, Satan just loves to try to discourage me by pointing out all of my mistakes in life. He will tell me what a failure I am, or what a hypocrite I am. He will say all kinds of nasty things in order to make me feel unworthy of this calling, so that I will faint in my mind, give up, and surrender. Maybe some of them are true. Believe me, I have my share of problems and besetting sins just like everyone else. However, I don't think anyone wants to hear about them, and that is not what we are supposed to do anyway. We are commanded to publish the good tidings of Salvation, and not the bad tidings, as we see by this set of verses:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Isaiah 52:7, KJV


"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things."
Romans 10:14-15, KJV


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8, KJV


As we have already seen, the Devil's primary objective is to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus; because the minute he convinces us to do that, we are sunk. We will sink down into the discouraging mire of self, and sin and the old man. Each time I have foolishly invited the Devil to pull up a chair and tell me how bad I am, and how I failed at this point in my life, or at that point in my life, or how I failed this person or that person, I have sunk so low into myself, and into the morass of my own sins, that I have barely gotten anything accomplished for the Lord.

You see, that is exactly what that vile fiend wants! He will make me feel like such a hypocrite that I will stop writing. Sometimes, if it hits me hard enough, I won't write for a few days, or longer, until I manage to pull out of the spiritual slump I am in. Remember that when you feel that way, it is not of God. While it is true that the Lord wants us to be aware of our sins, and to feel remorse for our sins, at the same time, He also wants us to ask for forgiveness, to know that we have been forgiven, thanks to the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and then to move on. We simply cannot remain stuck in that spiritual rut. We need to keep on pressing in to the Kingdom.

As we learned in part two, God promises in His Word to blot out our sins. He will not hold them against us forever; as otherwise, we would never have any hope. In fact, in the case of Israel, He said that He would remember their sins no more. Consider the following group of verses:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV


"‭‭For this ‭is‭ the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:‭ And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.‭ For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 8:10-12, KJV


"This ‭is‭ the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;‭ And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 10:16-17, KJV


"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV


"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."
John 12:47, KJV


"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
1 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV


"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV


So as you can see, contrary to what some people may believe, God actually desires healing and repentance. He in fact wants to forgive us, and to save us, if we will just approach His Throne with humility and ask Him for it. It is only the Devil who tells us that we are too bad for Jesus, and that we can't be forgiven. After all, he is a liar and the father of lies. Furthermore, as the Book of Revelation informs us, Satan is the accuser of the Saints and the Prosecuting Attorney who charges that we are guilty until proven innocent. Consider these two verses:

". . . He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV


"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:10, KJV


So as I mentioned a moment ago, the simple equation to follow is this: Accept and recognize our sins; ask the Father for forgiveness; believe we have been forgiven; and then press on to better things leaving the dead weight of sin behind. Just forget about all of that torturous introspection, and engage instead in Heaven-spection. Look up to Jesus. In fact, don't just look up to Jesus; cast off your burdens and the weight of sin and let Him bear them for you, exactly as we are told to do in the following verses:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV


". . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV


"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13-14, KJV


It should be evident to you by now that we should not try to work out our own Salvation in the flesh through introspection or self-analysis, because it will come to no avail. Doing so will only drag us down and discourage us, to the point where we become ineffective for the Lord. As we have learned from previous paragraphs, the only real way to overcome our weak, sinful nature is by a miraculous rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ. Once His Holy Spirit dwells in us, similar to the Apostle Paul, we become new creatures who strive to live according to the Spirit.

However, let me caution you that this does not mean that we suddenly acquire some kind of permanent victory over our sins for life. Of course not. As we saw in Romans chapter seven with the Apostle Paul, the same weaknesses and temptations are still there; but we now have the power of God's Spirit to help us to resist them. And trust me; just like the Apostle Paul, we will have to continue to fight against those same sins for the remainder of our mortal lives, because we are still in our sinful bodies of flesh. Furthermore, even when we do fall, we know that God is always willing to forgive us if we ask Him to.

Let me conclude this series by saying that the spirit that is conveyed in the aforementioned quote taken from the Gospel of Thomas just does not seem right to me. It comes across to me as being rather strange. The overall tone of the Gospel of Thomas is just very different. Aside from being too cryptic, mystic and cabalistic in nature, it seems somewhat contrary to the Spirit of Truth I find in the canonical Gospels. Now, while it's true that Jesus did speak in Parables quite often, He normally explained Himself later to His closest followers. In other words, He preached a simple Gospel to simple men. I am reminded of a verse I shared with you in part three which says the following:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV


The previous quote from the Gospel of Thomas does not seem to follow that same pattern of simplicity. It seems more similar to some of the New Age psychobabble that we find all over the Internet these days. I honestly don't know who those people are trying to reach with all of that deceptive garbage. It is just so despiritualized, so secular, so humanistic, and so full of the philosophies of men that it sickens me. It is all a bunch of hot air and an empty wind void of real spiritual truth. I am also reminded of the following verse that was likewise written by the Apostle Paul:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV


It seems that the people who write that New Age nonsense are only interested in promoting themselves and their own carnal wisdom. When I read Jesus' words in the King James Version of the Bible, I don't have to struggle with it. It is easily understood. The quotes from the Gospel Of Thomas -- as well as this New Age nonsense -- is not. Even after reading it a few times, I still had a hard time trying to make some sense out of it. This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I am familiar with. It is something foreign to the true Spirit of Christ.

Now, I have considered the possibility that maybe I struggle with the Gospel of Thomas because I am more used to reading Elizabethan English in the King James Version of the Bible. However, I am not convinced of this. It goes beyond that. I should also add that while this series centers on the quote that was shared with me via an email message years ago, the truth of the matter is that the entire Gospel of Thomas is marked by this same level of strangeness and difficulty in understanding. While there are some sayings which do sound very close -- and in some cases, even identical -- to what we find in the four Gospels, there are also other sayings which just don't seem to make much sense at all. It is as if someone took some of Jesus' teachings, and then added a lot of their own as well.

Having said all of the above, my overall counsel regarding the Gospel of Thomas is this: I strongly advise caution in accepting it as the bona fide words of Jesus Christ. As I have made sufficiently clear, the spirit of this apocryphal writing is significantly different from what we find in the canonical Gospels. Furthermore, some of its themes likewise appear to contradict what we find in the accepted Gospels. There are many other problems and questions regarding the Gospel of Thomas. If you have the time, and are interested in reading a more scholarly analysis of the book, I suggest that you research it on Wikipedia at the following URL:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

On a final note, I advise anyone who has an interest in reading the apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings, to be extremely prayerful, and to be sensitive to God's Spirit. Above all, I also suggest that you become totally familiar with God's Spirit, as it is revealed to us in the accepted Scriptures -- that is, in the Canon -- before you choose to delve into these questionable works. If you don't do this, you may open yourself up to satanic deception. Please don't forget that some of those books were purposely written for the purpose of confusing and deceiving sincere Christian Believers, and to contradict the real Word of God. In short, as the Apostle Peter writes, choose the good and eschew the evil, as we see by the following verse:

"Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."
1 Peter 3:11, KJV


With this word of advice, I will bring this series to a close. I trust that you have found it informative, and I hope that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have enjoyed reading it, I ask you to please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click or tap on the corresponding link which is found on this page. Thank you so much, and may God bless you abundantly!

For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of resources below which were either mentioned in this series, or which contain topics which are related to this series. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server:

2012: New Age Deception And Psychobabble
A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?
A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: God's Promise of the Spirit
Are You Crucified With Christ?
Are You Saved and Sealed, and Healed and Filled?
Going Down the Highway of Life
One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Selfishness: A Prophesied Sign of Our Times?
So You Really Think You Are So Humble?
Striving for Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?
The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?
The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?
The Heavenly Vision: Have You Got It?
The Only Credentials You Need!
The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love
The Wisdom of God vs the Philosophy of Men
This Little Light, Glory of the Lord and Our Bright Future
What Really Happens to Us When We Die?


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