by Norman Grubb
The Position of the Believer
PART I: The Believer as a Container for God's Presence
When I was in the British army in World War I, God very plainly called me, though I'd planned another career, to join a little independent missionary group just starting in Africa. I wasn't there very long before I deeply felt my inadequacy.
It wasn't that I was lukewarm for Jesus Christ; it wasn't that I had turned away from Him to some other interest. I was a servant of His, and my whole interest was set on introducing my brother Africans to Him. The inadequacy I felt in myself first of all was the need of love. I deeply felt, when I got among them, that I just didn't have that love which bridges the gap. With that went the need of faith - and with that the need of power. All of these were linked together.
Response to the Christian message in Central Africa, like the
United States, appears to be quite large. But I soon found there
was much more profession than possession. I began saying to
myself, Are we bringing the Africans anything really worthwhile? Are we just bringing a code of ethics? Or a liturgy, or historic faith? Have we got something genuinely transforming to transmit to others?
Then I made the question personal, "Have I?" As I asked these questions, I discovered that when your ministry is disturbed, it tends also to disturb your personal life. I found myself, as my wife well knew, irritable at home in a way I hadn't been irritable - and critical of others to cover my own failures.
As I doubted, asked questions, and searched the Bible for some kind of an answer to my inadequacies, I found some amazing answers. Some of them have shaken me considerably. They have changed my whole viewpoint - and my experience. I can't call them revelations, because they are based on the revelation, witnessed to by the Spirit. To begin with, my attitude was that God should improve me.
Well, I'm a servant of Jesus Christ, I thought. I've been redeemed by His grace, I belong to Him. I must ask God to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ.
I thought He should channel in some love into my heart, some faith, some power, some holiness - and improve me. I had to learn sharply that self-improvement is both a sin and an impossibility. It came as a considerable shock. But though my idea of how God should answer my problem was completely wrong, my sense of inadequacy was good. It sent me to the Bible. And my first discovery came as I read one famous verse in the first letter of John: "God is love."
Suddenly the is stuck out. What dawned on me went something like this: It doesn't say God has love, but God is love. If some body has a thing, it isn't he himself. It's something just attached to him, as if you've got a coat on or something in your pocket. You just have it, and you can share it. But the Bible doesn't say God has love, but God is love.
I Could Never Love!
Love, therefore, must not be a thing I can have. Love is exclusively a Person. God is love. Therefore, there is no other pure, self-giving love in the universe beyond Him Himself. Love is exclusively a characteristic of one Person only - and that's not Norman Grubb. That was a deflation for me. I had thought I could have love imparted to me, channeled into me, and I'd be more loving. But I suddenly found God saying, "You'll never have one iota of love. I am love, and that's the end of it."
Love is a Person; one Person only loving - and that's not I, and that's not you. God is love and, therefore, love is God loving. That set a new trend of thought going. I began to relate this to my other need of power. And I suddenly found a verse in the first chapter of I Corinthians where it says that Christ is the power of God. Not Christ has the power, but He is the power.
Once again, I had thought power was something which was given to me, and I'd be a powerful servant of Jesus Christ. I suddenly found that power, also, is a Person. And that person is not I but is exclusively Christ, Who is God; it doesn't matter whether you call Him Father, Son or Holy Spirit.
Then I came to the one thing every Christian claims to have. Every believing Christian accepts the fact that he has eternal life. He takes it that he has a life which will go on forever in Heaven. ("The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.")
But I suddenly found that eternal life is not something I can ever have - for Jesus did not say, "I have the life to give you" - but, "I am the life." Once again I had found that something I had thought I had - eternal life - is one person only, and that's not I. Jesus Christ is that "eternal life."
But where did I fit into all this? Finally I came to a statement which gathered all together and finished off my investigations by its absoluteness. The verse was Colossians 3:11, where it says of believers in Christ that "Christ is all and in all." Christ is all, not Christ has all. And if Christ is all, what's left for me? Not much by my mathematics!
I had thought I was somebody, and something or could get something. I found God had taken the lot. Christ is all. Then I got the link. Christ is all and in all. Then I saw for the first time that the only reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something, but to contain Someone. So there dawned a very important truth. We humans naturally regard the human self as important. But we've got the wrong ideas of the reason of the existence of the self.
An immense distortion has come into the very warp and woof of humanity. It's the distortion of the ego - of the self. Though we feel self to be important, all of this showed me that self is extremely unimportant. There is only one Self in the universe who is really important. I would almost say there is only one Self. Why? Because there's only one Person in the universe who ever said, "I Am."
God said that was His name thousands of years ago when Moses asked what he should say when people would ask, "What is the name of your God?" (Exodus 3:13, 14). We are told that at the end of the history of the universe it is God Who will be all in all. God all in all! Then what's left? It's terrific.
Why We Exist
There is only one Person, and the human creation is brought into a living relation ship with this One, so that He can manifest Himself in His perfection of life and love through us.
The whole creation exists because Spirit must have a body in which to manifest Himself. As the Scriptures say, "The whole earth is full of His glory." They say that Christ ascended "that He might fill all things." If He fills all things, all things are containers of Him. Here is both the height and the dangerous depth in humanity.
The height is simply this: the rest of creation can contain manifestations of God; we can contain God as a Person. A person cannot manifest himself as a person through anything else than a person. You can't fellowship with a dog or a stone. You can enjoy the marvels of the atom or of a precious stone, but you can't fellowship with it. But I can fellowship with you because we are of the same makeup.
God can manifest His marvels and His beauty through the flowers and trees. We can view them through the microscope and telescope, and marvel-but we do not say, "That's God." The greatest marvel, the greatest height of personality, is when we can look at a human being and say, "God is there." The depth, the dangers, of humanity are that personality means freedom. Intelligent choice is the essence of personality.
Therefore, God appeared to be on the horns of a dilemma when He created people. (Of course, He wasn't, for He knows His own business in the end.) But it appeared so because the people He created could turn around and say, "Thank you very much, I don't want You to live in me." That's exactly what happened.
We make self our god, not God. We just naturally run our own
lives. And that's our whole trouble.
There isn't a single problem in humanity except our self-reactions: not one. The Devil is no trouble. He was dealt with 2,000 years ago. Your neighbor is not your trouble. Circumstances are not your trouble. The only trouble is your reaction. Distorted self, self out of gear, is our problem.
Once we know how to handle the human self and put it back where it belongs, we've found the key to life. That's what we're going to examine.
PART II: You Simply Receive
Essentially from eternity there has been only one Person. This is difficult to realize. Yet throughout the Word of God it is underlined. God was before all: He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. He is love. He is inconceivable beauty. He is the all. If that is so, then the link between Him and us, whom He has created, is the link between the One and the means of manifesting or making known the One. In other words, our relation to Him is that of containing Him in such a way that He may be recognized.
That is why the primary function of all creation, animate and inanimate, is receptivity. Your basic function, and mine, is the same-simply to receive. This is demonstrated, silently, around us all the time. It's never better seen than in the springtime. If there were no receptivity in the trees and flowers and shrubs, we should have a desert around us. These things spring to life because of their quiet reception of the sunlight and moisture poured on them. What they receive they utilize. But utilization is secondary to reception. In Biblical language, we call this faith.
Better Seen Than Said
But no finite language can completely portray the infinite. So different illustrations are necessary in order to complete the picture of our relation to Him. Look at the number of times the Bible calls us vessels. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." We are "vessels, sanctified, meet for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work."
Now you see at once the beauty of the illustration: a vessel is a hollow object made to contain something. And God has made us vessels. Of course, if God makes us vessels, He fills us. God doesn't fool with His creation; if He made anything to be filled, He must see to it that it gets filled. This is our receptivity. The whole function of the vessel is to receive something.
Now get this clear: the vessel never be comes the liquid, nor the liquid the vessel. I add this because we humans are so proud that there creeps into us the idea that we can be deified. That is blasphemy. There is no such thing as self-deification, except that of Satan, the pseudo-God, and what we share with him. The divine can dwell in the human, but forever the human is the human and the divine the divine. God has said, "I will not give my glory to another."
That is the vital importance of the vessel illustration: we are forever the container; He is that which we contain. That relationship never changes. But there are other illustrations which both Jesus and Paul used which give us an enlarged picture of our position as receivers.
The famous one is that used by Jesus when He likened Himself and ourselves to the vine and the branches. Now we get a vital, active relationship. We begin to see that the illustration of the vessel is only part of the truth. A vessel is a dead thing and separate from that which is poured into it. From the vessel you might be led to picture us as simply passive containers. But we're not.
So Jesus gave us the vine and branches illustration. Through this our eyes are opened to the secret of the universe union - the mystery of the universe: how two can be one and yet remain two. In this dimension, infinite truth is always in the form of paradox. We never get beyond facts that are seemingly contradictory to common sense. In this dimension we can never fully comprehend truth through our senses. Our reason cannot teach it to us. We have to live with opposites which don't meet, with facts that are, to our understanding, not completely logical. It is good for us to recognize this, and to learn to accept both sides-both ways of knowing-in their proper proportions.
This illustration of the vine and the branches is one of those paradoxes. The living God, the living Christ, and I actually become one person and function as one person. Separation is impossible. It has disappeared. We function entirely and forever and naturally as one person. And yet we remain two!
The Mystery We Live In
Two in one; one in two. We see the paradox in the vine and the branch illustration because, though the vine and the branch make one, Jesus says that the branch must "abide in the vine." Though the vine is the life and the branch the channel, yet the branch does things. It utilizes the sap and produces leaf and flower and fruit.
But its activity is secondary to its receptivity. This is where we fail. We make activity a substitute for receptivity. It is its outcome. Paul gave us another illustration: that of head and body. Head and body make one organism, one life. You can't divide head and body. My name is Norman Grubb. But my head is not Norman and my body Grubb! You can't divide the two.
The Bible tells us the same thing. For instance, I Corinthians 12:12 speaks of the body of Christ as being Christ. It says, "As the body [the body is, of course, the believers joined to Christ] is one and hath many members, so also is Christ." The body is called Christ-not the head. We are part of a vital organism which is an ascended, glorious, perfect Christ-the eternal Christ. We are part of Him, yet we remain, ourselves.
Self-Confidence Is Not Security
In that relationship we are all dependent. Exactly as the body is dependent on the head and the head governs the body, so we forever remain the dependent member in the union. And the union is never safe until we know that.
So, until you have a few good knocks on the head and discover your conceited self, you're not safe to know the union. Maybe you've had plenty of knocks. They're the healthiest thing we can have. We've got to be made safe and understanding for this tremendous relationship. He is the Lord. We are the co-operators. We are receivers.
Basically every one of us has regarded life as something we must live, although we are glad to have the help and grace of God to assist us. Even though we are redeemed people, without realizing our error, we rely mainly on our self-activity. Basically, every one of us has thought, "We're the people, let's get on with the work."
That is the reason for the long periods of training through which we read God took all His servants in Bible times. Look at Moses. Few can equal his consecration. He threw away a throne as "the son of Pharaoh's daughter," with all "the treasures of Egypt" and "pleasures of sin for a season." And he did all this for the mysterious Christ who had not even come - for he "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches," the record says. Yet there was one thing that Moses had not renounced. That was Moses.
"Learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," highly trained, highly educated, "mighty in word and deed," it says he thought the enslaved Israelites would understand that he was their obvious deliverer, and he set out to deliver them. Angered by an Egyptian maltreating one of his people, he beat and killed him. But Pharaoh sent the police after him - and what did Moses do? All he had left was a good pair of legs. So he ran.
A healthy body is useful-but you need more than two good legs to carry you through life for God! Moses had thought he could do the job; now he found he couldn't. He couldn't find God because, until he had come to an end of himself, God was a distant Person to him.
Unless you have come to the bottom of self you don't know basically in a crisis just how to find God. You can't find God when He's found you. He's just there. The Spirit must teach you. You just say, "That's fine, Lord, carry on." You are thoroughly natural.
I believe in being thoroughly irreverent with God! That's putting it in extreme form, but what I mean is that a great deal of our pious talk and reverent attitudes and language is a cloak for insincerity. Men of God, God's familiars, God's friends, talk back and forth with Him in plain language. But Moses, like every one of us, had to learn that you don't do God's work by self effort and self-wisdom.
Forty years later, Moses saw what he had not been ready to see before. He saw a queer object where he was tending sheep in the wilderness. It was a common bush on fire. But the curious thing, as he watched it, was that it didn't go out.
That is where God showed Moses what humanity is meant to be:
a common bush aflame with God.
But a man must be common first. Moses, in his own opinion, had been a very uncommon royal bush, and God doesn't live in uncommon royal bushes. Then Moses saw this sight: God's presence, God's word out of a common bush - and as the divine fire consumes the bush, it refuels it. "The bush was not consumed."
That's exactly what God does. The divine life keeps flowing in, as you give it out. That is receptivity: the key to true humanity. Then you move out into activity. No one is active like a Christian, because he is motivated by the divine resources, the divine power, the divine Person. We've got to learn by our hard knocks to clear out of the way and recognize. Another functioning; get His voice, His plans, His resources. Then we come back into the situation as servant, not boss.
Once you have come to understand that your basic function is a constant recognition of Another, the whole of life is transformed. It isn't a matter of continually allowing Him to come into your life, because you have received Him. But it is the recognition of Another. Another is the functioning one. Another is the Person who inspires the prayers and imparts the faith and thinks the thoughts through our minds and expresses His compassion through our hearts and puts our bodies into action.
Once you've seen that, you see that He is the illimitable One. Then you relax and say, "This is what life is basically: Another living His life in me." You've got your key to everything. Every problem becomes an opportunity. Every tough spot becomes a chance to enjoy the luxury of seeing Him deliver us out of it. And you welcome such spots.
PART III: Your Other Self
Normal humanity is God-indwelt. Humanity which is not indwelt by Deity is subhuman. Can you offer proof of that, you say? Yes, I can. I can give you proof from the only perfect human who has ever lived on earth.
Jesus Christ was a real human. (That's why I love to call Him Jesus, though He is the Lord Jesus Christ.) He was the Son of God, but if He called Himself the Son of God five times, He called Himself Son of man fifty-five times. Which means He was a representative man-one of us.
Notice what Jesus said each time He was challenged on the source
of His power to work miracles or His authority to say what He
did. Every time He answered, "The Son can do nothing of Himself."
In other words, His basic self-conscious-ness as a human was awareness of His nothingness in Himself!
His statements about the Father often puzzled the disciples. He would say, "I do what I see the Father do," "as I hear, I judge," "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." They wondered whether He had some strange means of communication with His "Father in heaven." He revealed their true meaning in what I think is the most important conversation ever recorded. It was the first time in actual human words that the union of man and God is revealed. It came in that last conversation at the supper table before He went out to Gethsemane. He kept saying He was going to the Father, but the Spirit had not come; therefore, a normal human could only understand outward relationships - one person here, another there, each person separate from the other.
So when He talked about the Father, the disciples thought He must be some Being way up in the blue. Feeling desperate that Jesus was going to whom they knew not, Philip made a commonsense request: "Lord, show us the Father and that will suffice us." In other words, "Open Heaven, and let us have one look at the One to whom You say You are going."
Remember Jesus' answer? He said, "Have I been so long
with you, yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen
Me hath seen the Father. How sayest thou then, 'Show us the Father'?"
Now you might stop with that statement and say, "Well, that's Deity. He meant that their names were interchangeable - Father, Son and Spirit, and they could call Him Father or Jesus."
But He didn't mean that, for the next verse says this: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."
When Jesus said He did what He saw the Father doing it was not that He had some telescopic view into Heaven, but that as the Father in Him took Him into various situations and faced Him with various needs He would know this was a call to action. As He saw the Father moving into action, He took action. The action of faith.
The same was true of the words He spoke. He was expressing the thoughts and words the Father thought and spoke in Him. So you see the human nothingness and the divine union? Yet that doesn't mean that we do nothing. o one was more active than Jesus Christ! But the activity was secondary to receptivity.
An outstanding characteristic of the life of Jesus was His relaxed attitude. He was always saying, "I have what the Father gives Me." Yet what words He spoke and deeds He did! You see, that relaxed attitude is a normal human attitude-because a vessel hasn't anything except the capacity to contain. So relax!
Two, But One
Someone may say, "Well, Jesus Christ was a unique person. Can we say we're just like Jesus Christ?" Yes, you can. The chapter ends as Jesus says, "Arise, let us go hence." It appears to me that as they moved from the supper table toward Gethsemane, He wanted to give one other illustration to connect them up with what He had said of Himself and the Father. They passed through a vineyard.
"See," He said, "I have been the branch of My Father. He has been My vine; His sap has been flowing through Me, and I have just been bearing the fruit. "Now," He said, "I am your vine and you are My branches. We are to have the same union which I have had with the Father, and apart from Me ye can do nothing."
Some years later, as a passing remark in the midst of another subject, Paul made a marvelous statement in I Corinthians 6:17 that reveals the nature of that union: "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." That's the real self, and the basis for our union: one spirit, not two spirits. The very same thing that Jesus said of Himself and the Father ("I and my Father are one") Paul says of us.
A great many of our confusions in life begin because we haven't discerned between soul and spirit. The Bible analyzes the human personality into three parts (for everything is a trinity). It speaks of "your whole spirit and soul and body" in I Thessalonians 5:23. Look at the order: not body, soul and spirit-that's our order. God's order is spirit first: "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless." To put it briefly, spirit is the seat of ego; soul is the seat of the emotions and of reason.
Spirit is the ego, the self. God is spirit and He is the first
ego, the first self. We are spirits, of whom He is the Father
(Hebrews 12:9). He is the Creator of body and soul, but the Father
Down in that center - the spirit - is where you know and love. Knowledge and love-mind and heart-are the real self, the real person. That's where you irrevocably live.
Paul, in I Corinthians 2:11, said, "What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him?" The knower inside us is our spirit. For instance, we Christians know Jesus Christ. How do you know Jesus Christ? I can't tell you. Somehow you've come past the realm of just knowing about this Person called Jesus Christ and He is real to you.
In the same way, a person knows music, knows art, knows science. I understand that, you say. I'm at home with that. The knower just knows! That isn't giving a reason, is it? It's something intuitive inside you, and that's your spirit. . That's different from reason. But your soul is more external. It is how you express your spirit. Your mind (your knowledge) expresses itself in reasons. But reasons can vary. They can be influenced by all sorts of things.
Your heart expresses itself through the affections, the emotions. That's where you feel. But feelings can vary-quite apart from the set purposes of the heart. We say, "I don't feel like this," or "I feel spiritually cold, or dead or dry," and they are all illusions of the soul. Neither reason nor emotion is our real life, which is deep inside us.
Now, we live where we love. That's what the Bible calls the heart. That's not the emotions; it's the set of life, the choices, the purposes where one of the two spirits is joined to us-the false spirit of self-love, called the spirit of error, who is in us from birth - or the true spirit of self-giving, the Spirit of God, called "the Spirit of truth," who replaces the false spirit in us by redemption and rebirth.
We have to learn how to discern between soul and spirit (Hebrews
4:12). We have to refuse in our spirit, our real selves, to be
dominated by the reactions of the emotions or the reasons-our
When we have learned to discern and to discipline the reactions of the soul, then through our reasons and our emotions we channel Christ, and are not moved by the reflex action of the world coming back at us.
But how can I do this? you say. You can do this because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." The Bible reveals that God, who is spirit, is an invisible Person. He always expresses Himself He expresses the kind of Person He is through His Son; that's the soul of God. The soul of God is Jesus Christ.
So with us, our spirits are our invisible selves, and we have to have a form of expression. The form of expression is the soul life. And it's in our soul life that we differ. In the spirit we're undifferentiated. You and I are exactly the same, eternally one person in the Spirit. You and I are one unit. I'm sorry for you, but you've got to have me. Because we're all one!
But in our souls we differ: you're very quick and I'm slow. One person is cautious, another person is dashing. Variety is in our soul life-that is, in the emotions and the reason. These are the varied expression of the inner spirit. Now you may say in your soul life-in your emotions or your reason-"l don't like that person." We have an affinity with some people and not with others. We're just made like that.
But you have to move back from your soul-affections (your emotions)
to the inner spirit-love.
This business of emotions is most important, because dozens of Christians live with their feet dragging with a sense of condemnation and failure because they feel away from God, or the feel cold, or they feel guilty, or they feel weak, and so on. They haven't discerned between the variable emotions of the soul and the unvarying reality of spirit-where God's Spirit of love is eternally our other self in our spirit.
How can I be cold when I've got that permanent fire within me-Jesus Christ? Move back from your soul-affections and say, "No, He's here." How can I feel dry when I have a permanent well of water inside me-Jesus Christ?
Not Emotion, But Reality
You move back from your affections, your emotions, to the real love-center-because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." The other verse that goes with that one, which I always think is so marvelous, is perhaps my favorite in the Bible. It is Galatians 2:20, where Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ."
That's the old Paul out. Then he says, "..... nevertheless, I live." That's the new Paul in Christ: a living, thinking, willing, feeling, battling human. A real person. But listen: then he corrects himself and adds, "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." He could very easily have said, "Nevertheless I live and Christ lives in me"- as if Christ lived near him or close by him. But you see, he replaced self by Christ. That's the point. He said, "Nevertheless, I live-excuse me, the real I isn't I at all, it is Christ." In other words, your other self is Christ. It is not you, it's Christ. There are two selves joined in one; and the other self is Christ.
That's why it's indivisible. That's why it's ridiculous to look around or above and try to find Christ. You don't try to find yourself, do you? Wherever you go, you are there, aren't you? However you feel about it, you can't escape your self. And your other self is Christ; you can't escape Him either! I'm sorry if Christ has to go where you go! But that's His business! In the grace of God, Jesus Christ tied Himself to us.
Isn't that amazing? You can't escape Him. Where you go, He goes. He's your other self; He's not you. You're you; He's He. You contain Him; He motivates you. And you learn the habits of this abiding life. He is the one who lives it. You are His means of expressing Himself. Motivation by Jesus Christ; that's the eternal life which we who know Him have already begun!
Next we will need to examine, understand and establish how this change of relationship has taken place. How can it be when we are eternally separated from God by sin? How can we have such a boldness, so that we can be free, happy, familiar, natural--not superduper reverent--but ordinary, normal people: what God intends us to be?
PART IV: Your New Spirit
I believe in a secular Christ. I do not believe in a religious Christ. I believe one of the whole difficulties of Christianity is we've put Christ in a special building for a special occasion, with special forms of worship, special music, special everything. Cut the special out; put your hands in your pocket and go in your old blue jeans. Christ is a secular person.
If Christ is your other self, Christ washes dishes. If Christ is your other self, He spanks the youngsters. If Christ is your other self, He handles the accounting machine and runs the business. Christ, therefore, is a very common person. You're a very common person - I assure you that. That's why I believe in a common Christ - because He lives in common people!
Obviously, humanity has become separated from God. Before I can live in the kind of familiarity with God that He intends for me, I need to know the basis for that kind of a relationship. I need to know my title. Once I am sure of my foundations I can forget them and go ahead. Once I am sure of the road under my feet I can proceed to walk confidently.
Road to Familiarity
These are the simple facts of revelation (and we can follow their logic, as well as their tragedy and wonder): What the Bible calls sin is, in one phrase, independent self. The created self was made to contain and express the Creator Self who is selfless love.
Instead, in the person of Lucifer, probably the created being nearest to God Himself, a new and horrible form of life came into existence: a created self who refused to contain the selfless Self of God but chose to live for and by himself. Lucifer was the sin-spirit, the spirit of self-love, self-seeking, and all the sins known to man that proceed from that.
The history of the creation of man in the Garden of Eden tells us what happened to our forefather. He was created to contain God in a living union, which was symbolized for him in the offer of "the tree of life in the midst of the garden."
But as a human being with free choice, he could take another
way-the way of self-love: symbolized for him in the other tree
in the midst of the garden-the tree of the knowledge of good and
Deceived by the lying spirit of Satan, he received into himself the spirit of error rather than the Spirit of truth, and became a child of the Devil. Since then the whole human race is born with the spirit of self-centeredness in it. The Bible calls it "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
That we are all born and live under that domination is obvious, for we are all by nature egoists and self-lovers. Every breath we breathe, therefore, is sin-because anything less than God's perfection is sin, and God's perfection is perfect love. But such total love to God and our brother is totally impossible without God who is love living in us.
Two Problems Solved
What, then, has He who is Love, and therefore must save, done to restore His lost humanity to Himself? He has taken flesh Himself to start a new race. In the Person of His Son, Jesus, He came into history as a man called "the last Adam," the Creator of the first. Having lived a perfect life which the first Adam failed to live, He then identified Himself totally with the fallen human race by dying for us. In that death He was so identified with us all in God's sight that the Bible says, "He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. Thus, He died. In doing so, the Bible reveals that He effected the two supreme deliverances that were the two absolute necessities.
First, He solved God's problem (or rather, God solved His own problem) by taking upon Himself the curse of the broken law, and being made a curse for us. By the shedding of His blood, His outpoured life, He became God's "mercy seat."
By this, God could both be just and justify the ungodly, and pronounce all believers in Jesus justified from all unrighteousness-for-given, cleansed, in His sight as if we had committed no sin; "made the righteousness of God in Him." Broken law has consequences. That is the nature of law. God, foreseeing that we should all be lawbreakers, foreordained His Son to be "the propitiation through faith in His blood."
What God revealed to be the necessary atonement for sin, He Himself suffered. What He suffered He accepted. And His acceptance is our justification (as the Scripture says, "raised again for our justification"). What is good enough for God is good enough for us. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot unto God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Secondly, Christ's cross and resurrection solved our problem.
For by this means He fully effected the destruction of the old
union of humanity to Satan and replaced it by the new union to
Our problem is simply that in our unredeemed life our inner self, our spirit, was united to the self-loving spirit of Satan.
As a consequence, we followed the desire of soul and body. When our bodies stimulated appetites in us, we gratified them. When our souls stirred up pride or dislike of this or hate of that or love of that-we just followed them. We were governed by our souls and bodies.
Replacement for Soul Life
But when Christ died, it says that "He died unto sin once." That means that in His death, as our Representative, our last Adam, He became separated from the sin-spirit which had invaded the human spirit-just as anybody in death is separated from his spirit. And in His resurrection He was "made alive by the Spirit."
In other words, the Spirit of truth-God Himself-united Himself to that last Adam, and thus united Himself to all who will accept their place by faith as participators in His death and resurrection.
Here was the beginning of the new and final creation, when the usurping person was cut off from the possession he had deceitfully gained of the human spirit; when the true Owner, the living God, replaced him in all who receive Jesus.
This is no Biblical theory. This is the most tremendous and dynamic event in human history! Here is our title to union-to permanent familiarity-with God! For example, use this little illustration.
On Sunday morning you say your duty is to go to church. But you get a blustery day, wind and snow, and you don't feel like going. But you go anyway. Why? Because down inside you purpose to go. You say, "Oh, I don't feel like going, but I'm going." There you've got the point. Now you have moved from soul to spirit, you see.
Reason is exactly the same. Reason is the faculty by which we explain things and argue about them and talk about them. Through these words I've tried to use my reason, which is my soul life, to explain what I claim to know. I claim to know Jesus Christ; I try to explain myself to you-that's my reason. You see, reasons can differ. That is why we can differ in our opinions and explanations-our soul life-but be one in Christ-in our spirit life.
I've always been one to dig into things. I took up philosophy just as a hobby and got my reason thoroughly shaken. I said to myself, "I'm really not so sure that there is a God at all. Yet," I said, "I know Him and love Him and have done so for years-yet He may not be a living Person at all!" My reason conveyed doubts to me. My spirit said, "But I know Him!"
So do you know what I came to? I said, "Well, if God is the big illusion, I'll be a little illusion alongside Him. I love the 'Illusion,' that's all." You see, I would not be governed by my reason-my soul-because I had something deeper, more real. Of course, in due time, I came out more strongly confirmed in soul, or reason, as well as spirit-knowledge. Doubts are the raw material of faith. Have we got it clear?
The consequence of broken law which we must inevitably suffer, stated in most direct and terrible fashion again and again in the words of Jesus and the writings of the apostles, was borne by God Himself in the Person of His Son. If we ask, how can the blood of any man atone for the sin of all, the answer is that this was the blood of Deity made flesh.
The enslaved condition of humanity, through the indwelling spirit of self-centered-ness, with which every man is born, was ended at the cross! Christ, as our representative, died to that enslavement-that sin-spirit; and again as our representative, was raised from the dead by "the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead."
Thus, this change of union from the spirit of self-centeredness to the spirit of self-giving becomes an actual, down-to-earth fact in the personality and experience of every human being who, recognizing and admitting his need, receives Him as Lord and Savior. Your old spirit is replaced by your new Spirit!
You were governed by soul and body. Now, as a redeemed person, the Spirit-His Spirit in your spirit-is master of soul and body. You meet the demands of the bodily senses, the varying emotions of the soul stimulated by world, flesh or desire, with the affirmation of the indwelling Christ as Lord.
Soul and body become the manifestation of Jesus Christ. Here,
indeed, is the key to being a normal person-free, happy, familiar,
natural-released from the spirit of self-love into the boundless,
creative outflowing energy of the new governing Spirit that indwells
you: His Spirit. Here, indeed, is the key to everything.
I suppose every eager searcher after God's truth for the liberated life knows that the biblical key to opening the door lies in Paul's letter to the Romans, chapters six to eight. I have been a persistent searcher for years, and these pages of my many Bibles have been well worn! I think now, in my nineties, as never before, I have in working focus what Paul is saying. So I am writing this for those who are also diggers and hopefully finders.
I will assume that we are already born-again knowers by God's Spirit (Rom. 5:5). As confessed sinners, in our guilty and lost condition, we found "peace with God" through Christ, who was "set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood" and "Raised again for our justification" (Rom. 3:25; 4:25; 5:1,5,10).
Now we come to the practical question of Rom. 6:1, as up to date today as when it was first posed. Is there such a sure provision for daily consistent and holy living as for having the past blotted out? "Yes, surely," says Paul. "Don't you know that it is all part of the gift of a full salvation?" So in these chapters he begins to explain himself, and we will follow along.
Paul starts by taking for granted that his readers have a deeper quality of spiritual understanding than most of us today had at our new birth. "Know ye not," he asks, "that when our Lord Jesus Christ hung on that cross, he represented us all, and therefore His dying there means you and I died there?" Water baptism -- our being immersed beneath the waters and lifted out again -- is a symbol of the fact that when He died on the cross and was buried in the tomb, by faith we died, were buried, and then were raised with Him (Rom. 6:3,4). And as the Holy Spirit entered the resurrected body of Jesus, which represented all ours, the same Spirit has entered us, delivering us from Satan, whose sin nature had entered our bodies and taken us over at the Fall (Rom. 6:5,6).
Therefore, we have died in Christ's death to the indwelling and operation of Satan's nature in us: we are "dead to sin" (Rom. 6:7-11). Sin, however, isn't dead to us as an operating power in our world, and thus we experience its pressures on us. But in our bodies we have died to its false claims to be still dwelling in us and thus expressing its self-for-self nature by us. Equally, the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is dwelling in us and living His quality of other-love by us. Thus, we are expressers of God's holy nature, just as formerly we were expressers of Satan's sin nature (1 Jn. 4:4,6).
"So," Paul says, "based on the historical fact that Christ settled the sin question once for all" (Rom. 6:9,10), "we now reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God" (Rom. 6:11). We therefore no longer yield ourselves as agents of that self-for-self sin nature, but as agents of God's other-love nature. This is strong meat, packed into a few sentences. But does it really work out in our lives?
A much deeper problem needs to be solved in order to make workable the life of being dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. We must be dead to law, as well as to sin. But why? Is not the law a safeguard to keep us from running into loose living? "No," Paul maintains. "You have a much deeper reality to learn -- that you have no independent human self, which keeps or doesn't keep the law. You are really just a slave to the deity who owns you, and it is his law you keep."
Paul slips in a statement here which sounds startling, but which turns the key in the lock for us when we know it. "Sin shall not have dominion over you," he states, "because you are not under law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). But what does that mean? Many would ask, "Is not the law the standard for right living, announced by Moses in those Ten Commandments and demanded of us by God, with the penalty of judgment and wrath if we disobey it? Is not the Law the means by which God exercises His control over us and by which we endeavor to live? Obviously, we would go wildly into lives of self-gratifying license, if the conditions of the Law were removed."
But this is our vast error. We have been under the Satanic delusion of being independent selves who can and must respond to law. And while we think this, we are actually still salves to Satan, who compels us either to try and fulfill or to resist God's laws, thereby obeying his own law of sin and death. So the more we think we should obey God's Law, the more Satan is aroused to make us break it. And we shall always have this problem while we blindly think we are independent selves who can keep the law.
The main consequence of our yielding to Satan at the Fall was that he deceived us all (Rev. 12:9) into thinking that we have a human self which can operate and manage itself, even as he lyingly thinks he can manage himself. In fact, we are only operated and managed by the deity self -- Spirit of Truth or spirit of error (1 Jn. 4:6) -- who owns us. This was symbolized in the Garden by receiving the fruit of one or the other of the two trees. So when the Law, which is meant to expose Satan's lie, comes to us in our deluded condition, Satan has the laugh on us. We obey his self-for-self sin laws, being his slaves, and cannot obey God's laws.
We who are saved admitted our sins in their outer forms and received forgiveness and justification through our Lord Jesus Christ and the new birth of the Spirit. But we were still too blind to recognize the depth of Satan's deceit in us. We thought that as saved and new creatures in Christ we could still take a share in managing ourselves.
Paul explains the full meaning of redemption through our dying in Jesus' death to Sin-Satan's indwelling and becoming alive in His resurrection to God's Spirit now indwelling us. But it is meaningless to reckon and say that we are now dead to sin and alive to God while that root deception is not yet out of us and we think we are more than a people managed only by the deity spirit in us as vessels, branches, temples, slaves, or wives.
In order for us to learn this indwelling principle to its depths, Paul challenges, "Just try to keep the Law, and you'll find the very opposite occurring. You have been a slave to Satan and sin and are now a slave to Christ and His righteousness. But that change of owner and indweller doesn't truly lay hold of you in its reality while there remains some sense of self-relying self in you as if you are not just a slave. So just try to keep the law and live the Christian life; and you will find you can't, because there never was a 'just you'."
Your trying is really the remnant of Satan's deceit on you that you are an independent self. Then you will respond to his sin controls and fall on your face in your failures to keep the law; and that failure will at last expose to you this lie that you can act and respond independently. There is no such thing. your "I can" is still Satan having his lying hold on you.
Ten at last, it can become real to you that Jesus' dying for us and as us, and His rising by God's Spirit for and as us means a change of ownership. But we never did own ourselves. Satan owner is out for keeps and Christ owner is in for keeps. Now we just need to know we are Christ-managed, never self-managed, and no longer Satan-managed. The outer Law is now meaningless. We are dead to it because our "I" is solely the expresser of God's life; and he operates His laws and nature spontaneously in us, by us, and as us. That is our answer to every false claim in this Satan-infected world that Satan has a hold on us. Christ in us is our law; and He fulfills it by us, just as Satan used to fulfill his by us. Satan is out for keeps, Christ is in for keeps and now we can actually live what we said we do live in Romans 6:11 -- dead to sin and alive to God in our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:11).
In eternity, God begat His Son, thereby transmuting His own fire self into a light self and becoming the self of other love. We understand from Genesis that our first parents were created in God's image, to be containers of His Spirit and expressers of His nature by means of their humanity. To symbolize this planned union, the Tree of Life with its precious fruit was set in the midst of the Garden.
Satan, on the other hand, his self of fiery desires into the self-for-self nature of consuming love. And this nature of his is what he infused into us all at the Fall, as though it were ours. So man, who was designed to be united with the Spirit of self-for-others, was tricked into yielding to the Satanic spirit of self-for-self (Eph. 2:1-3; Jn 8:44).
In the present, we have learned and by faith put into practice our Lord Jesus Christ's Calvary identification with us and as us. As a result, a tremendous change of indwelling spirit has taken place in us; and that deceiver no longer indwells and controls us.
When Paul tells us that we are no longer under that former outer law of Moses, doesn't that mean that we shall be given over to a spirit of license? "God forbid," pronounces Paul. In our new life our human selves are motivated, controlled, and spontaneously express the nature of God, by His Spirit united to our spirits. Laying the foundation for this assurance in Romans 6:16-7:6, Paul there presents one strong evidence after another that there is no intermediate, "independent me" to be taken over, unless we foolishly believe it.
"First," he says, "we were always slaves; and a slave just obeys his owner." We had handed ourselves over to owner Sin-Satan, to express his sin-nature. Now, however, we have become God's willing slaves through the obedience of faith which takes Him at His word, and we express His nature of holiness.
"Put it this way," Paul explains. "We were free in our sinning, with no response to God's law. Now we are free in our right living, with no response to Satan's law. And there is no 'you,' with an in-between or independent life of your own (Rom 6:16-20)."
Next Paul introduces a second illustration: a fruit-bearing tree. he describes how we are now producing right, good fruit in our lives, whereas we were ashamed of the former fruit (Rom 6:21,22). He wants us to understand that we are only branches which have changed trees. We never produced fruit without a tree!
To sum it up, we learn through the slave and branch analogies that we never exercised any kind of in-between life as self-operators. We are slaves of either one owner or another, or branches of either one vine or the other. Therefore, the idea that we humans were self-operating selves and had a "nature" or quality of life of our own has been a vast human illusion -- there never was such a thing. We have been created to produce the way of life of our Deity Creator and Operator. Only first we had to experience and discard through Calvary that false deity operator, who produced that opposite, negative way of life.
In Romans 7:1-6 Paul uses one further powerful and convincing illustration - the law of marriage, which he speaks of here as the "law of the husband" (Rom 7:2). The wife is legally bound to her husband so long as he lives, and he is her "lord" (1 Pet 3:6); she receives his seed, conceives by it, and produces their family.
We humans were "married" at the Fall to our Sin-satan husband and became his sin family, he working in us the "motions of sins" which produced "fruit unto death" (Rom 7:5). We had to do this according to the law and demands of marriage, as any change of husbands would have been an "adultery." It looked hopeless; our husband was not going to die.
But there was One, representing the whole human family, who died as us. So the marriage was dissolved because we died "wherein we were held" (Rom 7:6). The dissolution of the first marriage and release from that husband meant that in Christ's resurrection we were immediately married to another, our risen Savior, and are now under His law.
The law of marriage in Romans 7:1-6 is therefore a continuation by Paul of his two illustrations from Romans 6. For just as we have always been slaves to an owner and branches producing the fruit of a tree, we have always produced the fruit of a husband. We have never been widows conceiving without a husband.
Now comes the burning question. If the new relationship has replaced the old, and given us fully-satisfying life, rich fruit, happy service, loving union and communion, and the conscious ability to be who we long to be and help others to be the same, why doesn't it happen? What is wrong? Where is this completion in Christ, loving as He loved, walking as he walked with the faith that overcomes, being more than conquerors, easily living out the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus said we would, as lights in the world? Hasn't Paul made it plain to us that we have been crucified, raised, and ascended with Jesus and inwardly confirmed by the Spirit? Then where is the snag?
This burning question has greatly disturbed and seemingly disrupted our first faith statements, by which Paul told us to "reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God." It has also caused many sincere, born again, Bible rooted believers to use a nice little cliche: our position in Christ is one thing, but our condition in its outworking is quite another. And they usually add, "Of course, our condition does not level up to our position." But this is precisely what Paul's says does level up! Our position in Christ and our condition in living this Christ-Life are one and the same.
Next Paul reaches the least understood and most misused section of his Romans letter, or of all his writings. But when understood through Paul's own explanation and experienced by the inner confirmation of the Spirit, this section gives the desperate believer the one key that turns the lock and the whole freedom he seeks. In his need, the believer must find the full and final meaning of life, for which he was created and is now redeemed by grace. This section (which we shall cover in Part II) extends from Romans 7:7 through 7:25 and then is fulfilled in Romans 7:26 right through chapter 8.
In Part One of this article, Paul had pointed out that in our redeemed experience of justification by faith and new birth of the Spirit, we do not continue in sin. The reason is that as our Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again as representing us, we then died with Him to being sin-indwelt and rose with Him to being Christ-indwelt, as symbolized by our burial and rising in water baptism. So now we live yielded to God and expressing His right living in our members.
But this is based on a further startling fact of a different kind -- that we are no longer "under law, but under grace," and that we are "dead to law" as well as "dead to sin." We are thus not only freed from the guilt of broken law, but from responding to and having to operate law at all!
But, steady! If we are not under law, do we mistakenly conclude that we shall easily slip back into sin living? Paul then opens to us the basic radical delusion that we have lived in since the Fall, under the Satanic lie of us being independent self-managing selves who must therefore see to it that we respond to law by our self-efforts. But the actual fact is that we were never created to be independent human selves, but were deceived into that delusion by Satan at the Fall.
Paul then points out that in fact we have always been just slaves, either to the sin-owner or the righteousness-owner: branches bearing the fruit of either the false vine or the True Vine: married and producers of the seed of either Satan-husband or Christ-husband. There has never been such a lie and delusion of us being independent self-acting, self-producing human selves, and responding by ourselves to a law of evil or good. Paul now proceeds to explain his own experience of discovery and release from his false deceived bondage to this radical misconception, and thus his freedom in Christ to a totally liberated life.
In Romans 7:7-25 Paul turns from general statements to the strictly personal. How do I find that the Christian life works? How do you? To explain this and to identify with us all, Paul does a big thing. He deliberately backtracks from his actual present experience as "dead to the law," and aligns himself with every born again believer, using the present tense of "I, I, I." He starts with his new-born experience, then shares with us his early years of spiritual adolescence, and finally his searchings and wrestlings right through to the final answer for himself, and thus for us all.
Paul's use of the present tense about himself, in sharing what he had long left behind, has been misunderstood though all these succeeding years by millions of sincere believers, who have themselves not entered into the release of the liberated "I." Thinking that the furthest a believer can know in lie is humiliation, struggles, and constant failures under sin's apparent dominion, they have falsely deduced a "two-nature" condition, as if we humans are permanently caught up in the opposing strife of sin and holiness natures. If, as they say, these natures were both a part of our very selves, then we would have to oscillate despairingly between them and take them for granted as our normal experience.
The truth is that our God-created human self is merely a neutral vessel, or container. In Romans 7:19 Paul described it as being in itself neither the good nor the bad, which he was only then discovering was the sin dwelling in him. It is merely the fruit producer of whichever vine it is a branch, and can never be a branch of both at once (Rom 6:20-22). And though vast numbers of God's people still Labour under that mistaken interpretation of Paul's present tense, we say he boldly stepped back in order to identify himself as a true intercessor with what all believers must go through to find their permanent deliverance. So he is now saying, "I see myself with you. I am back with you confronting that old outer law, to which in actual fact I am dead." In order to underline the final necessary confrontation with the law and its final depth surgery on him, as on us all, Paul describes in detail his past dramatic experience. It was the sudden impact of that tenth commandment, with its "Thou shalt not covet," which so rudely awakened him. he had been blissfully ignorant of its having any personal impact. "I was alive without the law once," he says (Rom 7:9); and that is how all the world lives until confronted by the law. Paul had been "delighting in the law" (Rom. 7:22), as every new-born of the Spirit delights. But under the lie of independent self, when that "Thou shalt not covet" struck him, he blindly thought: "No, of course I won't and don't." He was under that fatal delusion of us all that there is such a thing as self-management and self-control.
Then the blast hit him. Paul found an inner uprising over which he had no control, which he named sin and which "wrought in me all manner of concupiscence" (Rom 7:8). he was devastated, not that there were these sin drives, but because he thought he ought to be able to control them. That was his condemnation and bondage.
This is how Paul put it: "In my newly-born and responsive condition, in which my whole desire is to fulfill the law and produce the fruit of the Spirit, there is this disturbing experience that when I want to do good, there is an evil presence controlling me (Rom 7:22). Yes, I want to and will live by God's law. I would do the good and not the evil [repeated in verses 15, 16, 18, 19, and 21], but I am driven by this humiliating condition to say that something grabs and enslaves me.
"I am carnal and sold under sin," Paul continues (Rom 7:14), "and there seems to be no escape. Here is the law, which I delight in, hammering at me with its godly standards. But I find myself helpless and hopeless. I have the will; but there is nothing in my flesh -- my human makeup -- which has the capacity to combat this negative power drive, which has me in its grasp (Rom 7:18). I am a wretched man (Rom 7:24): newborn, but still as sin slave! Where lies the trouble? Is there a remedy?"
The trouble is in that deceived, independent "I" (popping up thirty-two times in those nineteen verse) -- the enormous delusion, which the law came to expose. Independent self reaction is first of all Satan's delusion about his own created selfhood, and then the lie which he imparted to us all at the Fall.
We are all forms of God's fire-self, the self of infinite desire. But God, by the begetting of His Son, transmuted His fire-self into the Light-self which is eternally the Self of other-love. Satan, however, turned his self of fiery desires into the consuming love of self-for-self, and imparted his own fallen nature to us as though it were ours.
So all self-effort is actually Satan-effort, whether good or bad in appearance. Paul's good self-efforts to combat his uprising sin desires, unknown to him, were still Satan masquerading as Paul. And our desires and self-reactions, good or bad, are still Satan's self-for-self expressed as us. Paul described his experience this way: "When I would do good, evil is present with me" (Rom 7:21).
The great light is lit when we finally see that our precious humanity has every ability to respond on soul and body level; but the forms the responses take are not ours. There is no such thing as plain self-reactions. Through the Fall, our responses formerly expressed Satan's self-for-self nature, whether in apparent good or evil form. But now through Calvary, having learned that our Romans 7 delusion of independent self-reaction is Satan, our responses express Christ in His self-for-others nature. This is who we really are, as we shall see further in Romans 8.
In his self-delusion Paul was so ashamed and humiliated that he said he was like a slain man (Rom 7:7-11). In fact, that was what had happened. He had been slain by the delusion that he was an independent self who could manage himself, when there is no such thing and it was really Satan's self-effort. So he said, "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment [as if he could obey it], deceived me, and by it slew me" (Rom 7:11).
What a universal deceit in all us humans, and what an exposure and deliverance! The shame and humiliation of Paul's defeat was just the necessary negative God used to make him desperate enough to find the answer, and thus that final usefulness of the law in exposing the lie of self effort. So down Paul had fallen by the exposure of his self-relying self, not yet knowing that self-effort is Satan.
Having used his own dramatic experience the underline the necessary negative operation of the law on us, Paul then asks, "Does such an exposure by the law make it a death dealing and dangerous weapon? The very opposite!" (Rom 7:12-14). Only by that sharp, personal law exposure of his helpless self in response to those self-gratifying desires could the roots of the independent-self lie be exposed. At first he struggled, wrongfully condemning himself instead of Satan-sin. But this drove him to the great final discovery: not of an evil human self, with the false self-condemnation, but to the great light of a right, God-made human self, with the sinner in him really being the sin spirit.
Paul knew, by the revelation he had when in Arabia (Gal 1:11,12,17), that Satan-sin had been cast out by Christ's body death on Calvary (2 Cor 5:14,21). (We shall explain this in detail in Part III). But he had not yet come to the necessary point of personally appropriating that tremendous fact. He was still confused by the self-condemnation of false, independent self, instead of laying the rightful blame on sin. So by the use of the vivid present tense, as though he were a young, struggling believer, he underlines the value of the law in its disturbing effects on "me, me, me!" But finally there would be a right adjustment of the human "me" (See Part III).
Have not I, like Paul, vainly thought there should be some way in which I could combat and overcome this evil bias in myself? Does not the whole world operate by doing its own stuff? Isn't "I must," "I can," "I will," or "I'm going to" the sole, absorbing incentive of human living?
Yes it is. That is humanity's vast, lost, blindness, even though sin is not imputed when law hasn't yet confronted us (Rom 5:13,14). All of us in this fallen world, with no exceptions, really live by that Satan lie, with which we were inoculated at the Fall: that self by itself, in its apparent independence, can run its own life.
While in our deceived, self-relying state -- "living in pleasure [and yet] being dead while we think we live" (1 Tim 5:6) -- we have to be confronted with the law and the standards by which the universe was created to function.
These laws were first embodied outwardly for our enlightenment in those Ten Commandments, from which any deviation finally brings total destruction. We are forced to accept the realization that first we didn't (conviction of sins), and second we cannot fulfill it, which is the final discovery of this Romans 7 chapter.
Why are we not able to keep the law? It is because we created humans can only function by the deity self who manifests his nature through our forms: our Creator-Father's "divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4), or alternatively, so that we might experience and get the opposite into focus, Satan's self-for-self nature (Eph 2:1,2). Always, we humans are vessels, branches, slaves, body-members; or in modern terms, we are computers, who can only develop what is programmed into us. There never was such a thing as a created self hood which could operate by itself.
Paul, recounting in this Romans 7 crisis statement his former experience, was compelled to discover that he could not manage himself. And now we all, with whom Paul links himself, are compelled to discover that we cannot manage ourselves. "To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Rom 7:18). Precisely. Yes, I am a slave, "sold under sin" (the nature of self-for-self), with no escape. However much I want to, resolve to, or try to keep God's law, I CANNOT because I was never created with the ability to manage myself. I am a managed person.
Through the law's impossible demands on me, I have to discover that I started my human life in sin. "In sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps 51:5), as a slave, a branch, and a vessel. Of whom? Of that false upstart "god of this world," that "spirit working in the children of disobedience" (Eph 2:2). he is that "spirit of error," that "father of lies," that devil "who sinneth from the beginning"; and it is his lusts I have been doing and can't refrain from doing (Jn 8:44).
Then at last, as Paul says in Romans 7:14-25, I am driven to my limit. I am finally among the desperate ones who seek the highest and then I find I can't reach it. The poet Browning wrote, "A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" But in my desperation, at last I can see my deceived limitations. A tremendous seeing!
I see plainly now that the disruptor is not the law, for the law is "spiritual" (Rom 7:14). And it is not "me," because I hate these things I do. It is the intruder: the sin that dwells in me! Paul says that twice (Rom 7:17,20). This is a radical revelation, because all my trouble and the whole world's trouble is the deception that we are the operators of our lives. We are not! We are the containers, the manifesters, the vessels of wrath or mercy (Rom 9:22,23).
A vast weight, which burdens every believer in his false self-condemnation, lifts off us when this understanding comes. In our former delusion we would say: "I'm the culprit. I'm the trouble. I'm ashamed of myself. I should be better." No. That is a lie, and a delusion; it never was I. The whole intent of the cries of "I, I, I," in Romans 7:14-25 is that I don't like myself. I hate what I'm doing, when actually I am a God-made, beautiful self (Gen 3:26-28). At last I see it; and I had to be brought to my limit to be able to see it.
All the world's people, including us the born-again, have always taken it for granted in their delusion that they were self-operating and therefore self-responsible persons, who could and would improve themselves. And at last I find that there never was such a person! Now I see I was always a slave of Satan-sin - "sold under sin"- and it is he who is to blame. In my unsaved days I went along with Satan's sin activities. In my saved days I have hated my slavery, been ashamed of it, and wrestled vainly against it.
Sin is the "other law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin in my members" (Rom 7:14-23). Now I have it clear that it is not I, but this evil power controlling me. Paul cries out for us all, as he had cried out for himself, "Am I tied and bound to this death in my body, or is there a deliverance?" (Rom 7:24). At last I have come to my limit. In my hatred of this intruder of my body, I find that I am not to blame, but sin. Is there a deliverance from sin for me?
Now I can see what Paul had already revealed in it completeness in Romans 6:1-13, and which had become his own liberation. Yes, thank God, there is deliverance for me now by the personal application in my desperate need of what I had accepted in my head and reckoned on as told to do (Rom 6:11). But while I remained ignorant of there never having been such a thing as human self-effort or human independence, I had not realized that all my own efforts to live a victorious life were really Satan expressing himself as me. And I had not realized that until I had made such a failure of attempts to live it. Only then was I ready to see that the only way to live the life is if Christ live my life as me, in place of that self-effort which was really Satan -- "good" or bad.
Paul had explained the key to total liberation (Rom 6:1-13), and we had reckoned on it as fact as best we knew how. It was this: my death in Christ's death to indwelling sin power, and my life in freedom from that power in His resurrection. But now I also have the human self in true focus as only the container and expresser, but never the originator. So I could see that the death and resurrection union with Christ which I had reckoned as fact and not He AND me in action in place of Satan and me, but only He AS me, and I the human expresser, replacing only Satan as me, and I as his expresser.
The big difference and final liberation comes when, after my exposure by the law, I have myself in my true eternal relationship to Him: not as kind of co-living with Him (or formerly Satan) as two on the same level of action, but as only He living His life in me as me. I now spontaneously, delightedly, and easily express Him with all the vigor of my God-endowed humanity. That is different! Seeing this as my total life, I move in from reckoning to realizing. Yes, I thank God through Jesus Christ me Lord (Rom 7:25).
The doors of my prison swing open by this one key turned in the lock! It is now possible for me, as it was with Paul, to do one simple thing. And it is not some self-effort act of consecration, as if getting out of the prison depended on me. But it is recognizing, by heart affirmation now combined with my understanding, that I have always been a person released from sin, as from sins. Jesus settled that 2000 years ago on Calvary in His body death, in addition to His blood death. But I have been slow to recognize and receive what He had settled for me, as me, because I still had that Romans 7 delusion about myself.
But what is that prison? I had to find what I was blinded to at first: my only prison was myself. Taken captive by my false owner, as we all were at the Fall, I had been deceived into thinking I managed myself, as he thinks he manages himself.
So down I had to fall in my many failures of self-management, compelled to follow in many false directions, until at last it dawned on me that actually I was the one who was managed and utilized by my thieving owner. At last, in my misery, I was ready to call for help. Was there any way out of this prison? It was already provided. My True Owner had already paid the full redemptive price to release me, so that the false one has no further claims on me. So now I am joyfully free from that wearisome lie of self-management (which in fact never was), and love every new interest and enticing adventure of my True Owner. He is really not so much Owner, as Father and Lover. And along with multitudes of other freed prisoners, I share with Him in His simple multiple plans for the blessing of His whole huge universe.
With the veil of that independent-self lie removed, I can and do see that Christ freed me, a servant who had changed his owner - not change of me, but change of Him! I AM free. I just recognize, affirm, and thankfully praise. I say, along with Paul in Romans 8:1, that there is no more condemnation, because there is no illusory self-effort self to be condemned. The reckoning of Romans 6:11 is now Paul's and my word of realization in Romans 8:2 -- the law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ has entered and indwells me as He did Christ in the tomb, and has set me free from those lying claims of the law of sin and death. No longer a prisoner, I am now free forever in Christ by His body sacrifice on my behalf (Rom 8:3).
The Spirit bears witness to what I affirm in faith (1 Jn 5:10). Once I affirm, the settling in of that witness is His timetable. For me, it was two years; for my wife, it was two weeks. But hold steady, maintain your affirmation, and HE makes you a knower.
In this final part of our Romans 6 to 8 -- Paul's key to the liberated life -- let us start by reviewing briefly what has been said in the previous two parts. In essence, the lost secret now revealed is that we humans were never created to be self-dependent or self-operating. There is no such thing as am independent human self. We were marvelously created in God's likeness to function spontaneously as expressers of Himself. Ultimately we will manage His universe as co-heirs with His Son, permanently operating in His perfect other-love nature.
But by the law of the universe, referred to in the previous sections, we understand that nothing can function except by having its opposite, just as light operates by swallowing up darkness. So we can only know and operate of human personhood by being confronted with the opposite: the false deity of the opposite "old sin" nature, which is self-for-self.
We started our fallen human lives from the Garden of Eden by being occupied by that false deity and expressing his nature as though it were ours. Then our Savior Christ, in His other-love nature, took our place as our Last Adam, representing us in His Calvary death and being "made sin" as us. In that death as us, out went that sin-spirit; and in His resurrection as us, in came His Spirit of self-giving love.
Paul's main point then, in Romans 6 and 7 has been to expose how we were deluded by Satan into thinking that we were self-operating selves. In actuality, however, it was Satan expressing his self-for-self (sin) nature as us. Then Paul tells us at length how God sent the law with its requirements to expose us when we come honest. We first had to learn that we had not kept the law as lost sinners, and then that we could never keep it because we have never been independent self-relying selves. We were deceived by Satan to think we were, but actually we were only expressers of Satan's self-for-self nature.
In unfolding the value of the law in Romans 7, Paul makes a unique contribution to exposing and removing the main blockage to effective Christian living. At last, in our agony and desperation at our failures, light dawns upon us. We are then capable of seeing that the evil was not in our beautiful, God-created humanity, but in the lie of the independent self (sin dwelling in us). Through Calvary, we now move in by faith to see and recognize that it is He, the Spirit of Truth, expressing Himself in our vessels -- branch containers -- in us and by us, in place of that evil one.
So by faith in the revealed fact, we find ourselves free just to be our human selves with no fears or condemnations. Through the Spirit's certain inner witness, we are expressers of Him: Christ in us as us. And now, after a brief law interlude, we go into chapter 8 of Romans, not as in our walking-Satan forms, but as walking Christs -- "more than conquerors."
Now we move with Paul into Romans 8. Here he comes right out with who he is. What he said he had "reckoned" on in Romans 6:11, he now says he "realizes" (Rom 8:2). The governing principle, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," has set him free. So there is a settled knowing. In "reckoning," you SAY it is so; in "knowing," you KNOW it is so. There is a crisis moment. The lives of the great men of the Bible -- Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, right through to Jesus Himself -- bear witness to this knowing.
So do I know? And how do I know? I began my new knowing at my new birth, and the Spirit bore witness. Now this is a total knowing. If you have seen this change through Calvary, from being Satan-sin indwelt and Satan expresser to now being Christ indwelt and Christ expresser, then be sure you have spoken the word of faith and recognition, as Paul did. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," he says, "has set me free." And in Galatians he proclaims, "I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me."
Say YOUR word now, and say it to someone else! Then what you say echoes back to you, and you know (1 Jn 5:10). Maybe you cannot yet give a date for when you received that knowing, just as I mentioned (in Part II) about Pauline and myself. Only be sure not to pull back, if you do not yet know. What you have said, you have said. You stand on such a word as Galatians 2:20 or Romans 8:2, and God in His time makes you a knower.
Now at the summit there is no condemnation. We are freed from that false self guilt, for there is no wrong human self! We are Spirit people in outer bodies. There is nothing to condemn (Rom 8:1). Our human selves are fixed expressions of the Deity Self, where we were formerly fixed expressions of that false deity self. That is the change.
Law (principle) is the way a thing works, and works no other way. We used to be under Satan's law with no escape, and now we are under Christ's law with no escape. There is this change of governing principle controlling our lives. Strong terms! (Rom 8:2). That makes it easy and normal to walk this new way.
On Calvary, Christ put the old sin indweller behind bars on death row (condemned sin in the flesh), from where he is able only to shout at us. That old law standard, which had seemed unattainable, is now our normal way of living -- "the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us" (Rom 8:3,4). This is the Sermon on the Mount top standard of living, and the one who lives it in us is "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."
Paul lays unique emphasis on life being the Spirit in us. Nowhere else in the New Testament is this said in such plainness. There are fifteen mentions of the Spirit in Romans 8, in place of those many "I's" in the previous chapter. Paul says, "Get this clear: we are now Spirit people. Christ is living our life. We are walking His way (Rom 8:3). We think His thoughts" (Rom 8:5,6). He in us counteracts those former self-for-self thought patterns, which set us at enmity with God.
"IF you walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh..." Paul begins, for he could not speak our word for us. But speaking for ourselves we say, "SINCE we walk that way..." Again, when Paul says in 8:11, "IF the Spirit dwells in you,..." we say, "He DOES dwell in us." And the Spirit puts those old body habits to death (Rom 8:13).
Because we live in a world of self incitement all around us, to which our normal humanity (our flesh) has been formerly geared to respond, Paul does lay stress on walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Does that mean we had better be very careful, for surely we are inclined to flesh walking? The lie again! That would be guarding against independent self uprisings which might respond to those "ought to's." But that is not our Spirit drive. We don't walk fearfully, as if we still plenty of flesh. No! Our human selves are now Spirit kept and Spirit driven.
Certainly there are flesh pulls -- sin's self-for-self nature getting at us through all the world's atmosphere around us. But we don't resist them by any false self-effort. We recognize and admit them, but then we affirm who we ARE and know we are -- Spirit expressers, Christ in our forms; and our faith affirmation puts to death those "deeds of the body" (Rom 8:13). Light swallows up darkness. [See Norman Grubb's leaflet entitled "How to Handle Temptation".]
The Spirit, says Paul, also now permeates our physical bodies, though we remain mortal. The Spirit is the Quickener. So we walk not as body fussers. We accept where there are physical infirmities, but our bodies are His Temples; and in freedom of faith -- not in negative unbelief or foolish questioning -- we often experience His quickenings and healings (8:11).
The normal background to our daily lives is the Spirit's witness with our spirits that we actually are God's children (8:16). By the Spirit we are at home now with our Father/"Daddy," which is very difficult from our former fears of Him in our old false self-condemning life (8:15). We are naturally Spirit-led in the affairs and decisions of our lives, and take that for granted (8:14).
From the moment in Romans 8:17 when he opens up the incredible destiny of us humans being co-inheritors of the universe with God's Son, Paul changes the tone of what we are to experience in our daily lives. This comes as a shock, until we see at the end of the chapter that those are devastating conditions in which we, as sons, operate triumphantly as "summit" people.
For the glory living, which will be our permanency through eternity, is first built strongly on a continual "suffering" condition. That sounds terrifying, until we find by experience that there is glory now in the suffering (Rom 5:3-5). The coming "exceeding weight of glory" is the product of these earthly "afflictions," which Paul called "light"! (2 Cor 4:17). These "sufferings" are first on a physical level. Face it, Paul says, the animal and material creation around us is engulfed in suffering -- "red in tooth and claw" -- living in permanent tension. And that, Paul continues, is a God ordained necessary opposite to the "glorious liberty," which will swallow up the "groanings." The deliverance will come through the sons of God, but the methods are not explained in detail (8:19-22).
Then Paul makes very plain that physical perfection on our human body level is not for our present life: a warning note to those who offer complete physical healings and major on a physical healing ministry. Paul tells us that our bodies remain corrupted and mortal. The replacement of corruption by incorruption is only at the Lord's coming (1 Corinthians 15:42-44;52-55). meanwhile, let's not fool ourselves on the physical level. We "suffer" with all the creation, and our "salvation" on that level is by hope, not faith. It is a prospect not within our present reach (8:23-25).
Added to the physical sufferings, we live in a sea of frustration of every kind, and inhibitions we cannot handle by ourselves. We are "compassed by infirmity" and "groan" in distressing experiences, about which we do not even know how to pray for deliverances (8:26-27).
Obviously, Paul is now speaking of the varied disturbed conditions of our daily living: not just the physical, but family problems, economic shocks, fatalities, social problems in our communities, crying needs of every kind, malicious personal hurts, family losses, and whatnot.
In these distresses we "groan"; but we people of the Spirit know that the Spirit Himself is carrying our groanings to the Father in intercession. This gives us our one solid unshakable confidence that, however totally confusing and apparently humanly inextricable, ALL THESE THINGS are actually working out for GOOD. Meanwhile we love our God, no matter how painful the situations, because we know the path of our calling, with outcomes always GOOD, GOOD, GOOD! What a word of faith, which has upheld millions! We might say that the air is full of verbal quotings of Romans 8:28, that great favorite.
Then Paul goes a glorious step further. He opens up the hidden purpose behind our sufferings and disturbed conditions. "Your destiny is to be a Co-Son with the Son in the development of His vast universal inheritance!" So these are necessary TRAINING YEARS on earth. "You have begun recognizing and realizing that you already are Christ in your human form (Gal. 2:20; Col 3:4); and it is necessary that you are brought, by the maturing grace of the indwelling Spirit, to exact conformity to Him." What a destiny! What a conformity, which John also foresaw (1 Jn 3:2). So there is a steady gradual conforming process in action by the Spirit, who is already indissolubly joined to our spirit (1 Cor 6:17). And we are being "changed into His likeness from glory to glory" (2 Cor 3:18).
We must not confuse God's transforming operations, taking place in us through those constant trials and pressures (which James said are used to establish us "perfect, wanting nothing" [Ja 1:2-4]), with the total basic transformation already taken place. We escaped from the lying independent self outlook of Romans 7 into the permanent liberation of Romans 8:1-2 by our faith recognition of the finished work on Calvary. Growth in conforming us to the image of Christ, which Paul is now speaking about (8:29), is the spontaneous development of Christ fixed in us as us: union fact.
Folks often do try to escape the necessity of the crisis and exchange of the independent self lie of Romans 7 for that glorious fact of Christ having replaced Satan as the fixed one now living our lives, by majoring on the subsequent changes conforming us to His likeness. These changes are constantly taking place in us merely as products of that crisis. They are not to be mistaken for it or used as a gradual improvement method, as though to escape from the rugged confronting of the necessary faith crisis.
Se we go on now, Paul says (8:30-39), through these processes being fulfilled in us under the cloak of human pressures. We are being conformed marvelously through predestination, justification, even to present glorification (8:29,30). There is a glory even in our attitudes and on our faces, which really glow like Moses as he came down from the Mount; and others see it. And in this transforming process we are bold. We take ourselves to be blameless as God's chosen ones. We neither live in false self condemnation (8:1), nor are we disturbed by the pointing finger of others: certainly not of the world, but also not of our brethren.
We all need to learn plenty about not pointing fingers at our brothers in Christ, when we may think they don't measure up. See Christ in our brothers, and leave the Great Transformer to get on with His transforming work in them as in us. Where anything does disturb us, let our contribution be faith in God-in-action in our brother (8:31,33,34). We need a new quality of boldness, both about who we NOW ARE -- walking Christs in place of walking Satans -- and of saying and seeing the same faith of our Christ-indwelt brethren!
The conforming process also includes appearances of need sand necessities of life abundantly supplied by Him, who "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (8:32). But does Paul sum up his great victory chapter by our being immersed in a sea of prosperity and popularity? Just the opposite! His summation includes the rough, rough seas of every form of outer distress, persecution, material necessity, and subjective assault -- "killed all the day long" and "accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Constant physical dangers dogged Paul, and today most likely face modern-day oppositions to our "pilgrim" walk, and experience, as did Paul, by lost reputations as Christ's fools (8:35,36).
Do we wilt? Do we question, "Why does God allow that?" Do we murmur about hard experiences, manifesting more disturbed feelings than enjoyment and praise? Paul used just one word: "conquerors." He stands, as it were, on HIS Mt. Everest, having scaled the jagged peaks of suffering and persecution (2 Cor 11:21-31) which had defied his ascent. How? Because it was Christ in Paul's form. A prisoner of Nero? No, a prisoner of the Lord; and his fiery trials were called the "sufferings of Christ" (1 Pet 4:12,13). Even Jesus Himself, when suffering came to Him by Satan's agents, called it "the cup which my Father hath given me" (Jn 18:11).
So by faith we see Christ in the garments of our outer tragedies and maltreatments, and stand on OUR Everest summit as "conquerors." And more than standing as "conquerors," Paul says we stand as "MORE than conquerors" (8:37). We have the extra -- "the cups running over" -- to help others climb their summits, when our own inner conquests are complete.
To all toiling climbers, we call out, "Come on up. Drop your heavy equipment." We invite them to step out by faith right where they are now, and they will find by a miracle, grace leap that they are already on the Summit. Christ has already carried them there in His own crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension two thousand years ago. And the Spirit, Who came at Pentecost, will cause them to know their eternal inseparable love-union with the Father and Christ living in them as them -- MORE THAN CONQUERORS!
The main point has been the startling discovery that we have had really only one problem since the fall of man, and that has been our vast delusion about ourselves -- the lie of Satan concerning his own independence which he has imparted to us concerning ourselves. As a consequence, even when we are sinners saved by grace and in the new birth of the Spirit, and we have been taken further in the sixth chapter to know that through Christ's death and resurrection the control of us by Satan in his sin nature has been replaced by the control of Christ, we still deludedly regard ourselves as independent persons responsible for living our new way of life and therefore equally responsible for living our new way of life and therefore equally responsible for discarding the old.
The shock then comes when Paul says that old way of life will have no further control over us because we are "not under the law, but under grace." But our immediate reaction is, "Why, that is putting the cart before the horse! Don't we need the law to stop us from responding to the pulls of that old life? Take away the law and we shall be caught out again." "Not so," says Paul. "The opposite is true. Your great basic deception is that we are self-managed selves. Therefore what the law will do while you are still under that delusion, is to expose your helplessness and that you never were created to manage yourself, and your old sin-manager will take advantage of the law to show you that you can't obey it, but keep obeying him. But because you are too blind to see this until we have been shocked into it, first I will show you some facts."
Then Paul drives that home by three illustrations which certainly settles the matter when our eyes are sufficiently opened to see these facts; but actually they are not until we have had the necessary radical shock. But anyhow here are those three plain facts. First, we all are slaves and therefore compelled to do what our owner demands of us, and there is no middle condition in which we are just independent free humans. Second, we are branches and bear the fruit f the tree of which we are a part, and there is no such thing as we being independent, and not branches of either of the trees. Third, we are married wives under the marriage bond of our husbands and bearing his children. If our marriage is dissolved by the death of either husband, then we are immediately married to the other husband. We never were just single and unmarried. All of these illustrations, of course, mean that we are slaves, branches, wives, formerly of Satan in his sin nature, but now are the same to Christ in His holy nature, and there never has been a JUST OURSELVES in imaginary activities of our own.
But that point must be driven home never to arise again -- that in actual fact we never were self-operating and never did or could manage our own affairs: and it was in that point the Satan has so grossly deluded us, as he himself is deluded. So that shock has to come, as Paul tells of it in his own experience, and the means in his own experience was the impact of that pouter law on him. So down came the law on newborn Paul in it tenth "Thou shalt not covet" commandment: and because he was very much alive to that illusion of independence, back came his quick response, "Of course I won't and don't covet. I am a new man in Christ." And he found all kinds of what he called "concupiscence" very much alive in him which he could not resist. He surely fell flat on his face and called himself a "slain man."
But Paul had made a unique discovery, to which he refers as his special revelation in his Galatian letter, when he spent three years alone in the Arabian desert. It was that there is this sin virus deposited in us since the Fall (to which he refers in Romans 5:12-21), and that as our Lord Jesus Christ has represented us on the cross, His body was as ours in God's sight, as though the sin-expresser just like ours ("made sin"); and when he died, out went that sin spirit and so out out of us, and in the tomb in His resurrection in came His own Spirit, and so into us. Now with the impact of the law and his inability to obey it through the apparent power of indwelling sin, he saw the great lie of the independent self, and that he was only able to respond to the drives of the false deity in him and the lusts, and it was the impact of the law with its demands that awakened him to this delusion. But now he also saw the great deceit of sin on him, because in Christ the sin-indweller had been replaced by the Holy Spirit indweller, which had been revealed to him in Arabia. So now suddenly he saw his freedom. All he had to do was to recognize and affirm as fact in himself that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death," and now the Spirit already in him since his new birth inwardly confirmed that to him.
So the key had been turned in the lock by the exposure of the lie of independent self through the law. This was the great value of the law for him and us. The claims of the law exposed the lie of his supposed ability to respond to it as though independent. The other lie now exposed to his new born self was that sin power still had its right and presence in him. No. "Dead to sin" in Christ and now alive in Christ to live by the Spirit.
As simple as that when the law had done its Romans 7 work by forcing Paul to find that there never was a Paul-self who could obey that law, and this his Arabian revelation of the body death of Jesus representing us and body resurrection, took Paul right out of Romans 7 into Romans 8 liberty. Then he shares what follows as the fruit of that liberty outlined in chapter 8 in the Spirit-operated life, in the glory of the family relationship with the Father and the Son, the sharing of the eternal inheritance, and the present prolonged period in which we still have the full impact of the consequences of the Fall on our humanity and world conditions, and live the life of overcoming faith, as Jesus Himself did. The sufferings of this present life give us our great constant opportunities for the conquests of faith in every kind of adverse conditions. In the walk and warfare of faith we are experiencing new ways of proving the goodness of God in all kinds of deliverances, though sometimes the highest is that martyrdom and extremity of suffering in the faith of the resurrection, as is says in Hebrews 11:35-38, "of whom the world was not worthy": and in all these the watching hungry world is seeing the inner victories outwardly demonstrated in peace, joy, hope, faith, and love for our enemies, by which Christ is manifested in our bodies "whether by life or by death," and countless others have been inspired to follow the same way.
Norman Grubb (1895-1993) wrote a number of books expanding on these truths. Some are out of print but can often be found in secondhand bookstores. If you find one, buy it! There are also some books still available.
The Liberating Secret Web site: Norman Grubb Bookstore
The Fallacy of Having Two Natures, by Norman Grubb
Books by Norman Grubb
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