Simple as This
By Norman P. Grubb
SPEAKING THE WORD OF FAITH
The royalty is our enthronement. “God, who is rich in grace… hath quickened us together with Christ… hath raised us up together, and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…far above all principality, and power, and might.” (Eph. 2: 4-6, 1:21) This is our Throne Life, the power of His resurrection”. The king as well as the priest. It has as its basis a new stretch of understanding of God, not just personal, but universal, and that He means, not just weakly permits, all that comes to us, evil or good. The most used Scripture to illustrate this is when Joseph said to his repentant brethren, after their selling him as a slave and all that followed with Potiphar’s wife and years of imprisonment, “You thought evil against me; but God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20) Then the bold statement of Peter at Pentecost, “Jesus of Nazareth…Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and slain”, and that early recorded prayer, “Against Thy holy child Jesus both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done”. (Acts 2:22, 23; 4:27, 28) As we have already said, in creating persons like Himself, He created a freedom of choice, and evil is that alternative false choice of Lucifer’s seeping down to us; and then God’s perfect meaning is that while there is the reaping of the harvest of false choices, He always has the perfect plan by which apparent losses are really gains, just as Satan’s Calvary became God’s resurrection of millions of Satan’s captives and when Pilate said to Jesus, “Don’t You know I have power to crucify or release You?” Jesus answered, “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above.” From above? We would surely have said, “from beneath!” (John 19:10, 11), but ultimately “beneath-power” is actually from above.
So now seeing this foundation truth of the devil himself being really God’s convenient agent for good, we learn to see through our plentiful negative situations, and thus help others to do the same, and by the exercise of authoritative faith, persistently, boldly affirm God means just that, and my only sin is when I don’t believe that He is my God and Father of love when it appears, and indeed is, an operation of the devil himself. Then as I believe against all appearances, and not lightly or easily, I have the inner calm of being able to accept an evil thing as from God. This is where I am moving on to the royal authority of faith of the Heb. 11: 32-34 type. What was in earlier childhood and young man stage a simple faith in my daily walk with Jesus now becomes the formidable weapon of faith by which I am “more than conqueror” in all situations; a conqueror in a stable walk on rocky ground, and more than conqueror by knowing how to apply the conquest to bringing good out of evil, supply out of need, advance out of retreat.
I learn the lessons of that key of achieving faith of Mark 11:12-14; 20-26. I ask God my favorite question in all contrary circumstances, “What are You up to?” Not bringing my confusions and distresses to Him, but first asking, “Why have You sent me these distresses?” Then, knowing all is from Him, as Jesus instructed the disciples in that Mark incident, I see by my inner seeing of faith that a mountain is really only, not a barrier, but a plain surface on which God sends His supplies. (See what the angel said to Zechariah when Zerubbabel was weighed down by a sense of failure, Zech. 4:7: “What art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel…a plain!”) A problem is an opportunity!
Then, as Jesus instructed His disciples not to get into anxious praying, but to operate the “faith of God” (not faith in God), Mark 11:22, I catch on to what God is doing in the situation, and say He is doing it. I do this by what He conveys to my normal mind as I (or we if a group of us) think a thing over, knowing that “we have the mind of Christ”, and thus expect to find His mind through my mind, regulated by the standards of the Word of God and often confirmed by it. Then as I, or we, take this or that to be His mind, I decide what it is He would do in this situation, conveying His desire through my desire. (Mark 11:24) Then having made that decision, I speak the word of faith, my prayer being a believing that what I desire I received and saying so. This is what Jesus meant by saying, “have the faith of God”. Against all my soul feelings of absurdity and unlikeliness, and all external appearances, I say that word of God’s faith, and God’s faith is given us in Rom. 4:17, “who calls the things that be not as though they are”. Then I go forward as having that matter settled in my faith-consciousness, and constantly as recognizing it as settled. Then comes the continued supply, even if sometimes it is slow in coming or comes in inexplicable ways as with Paul in 2 Cor. 12:7-10. This is the Royalty of the Royal Priesthood.
The priesthood is the summit. He is “the Great High Priest”. This is marvelously the final expression of the Being of God, and therefore of us as His re-expression. Marvelous that the nature of the One in the Universe, The Eternal Being, is purely other-love. He for His universe, not the universe for Him. The Lamb on the Throne. Fantastic! The Lamb slain, ever fulfilling the eternal law of the Cross – life issues from death. The One whose total nature is that He died that others may live. The highest position through eternity given, as Paul revealed, not to a conquering monarch, in the usual sense in which we think of conquest, but to the One who has conquered His Universe and won all to Himself by becoming their servant to the final point that “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. Then God’s verdict is pronounced in the presence of all peoples, “Wherefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above every name” that all should bow the knee to Him and confess Him as Lord! (Phil. 2: 5-11). What? A king crowned with many crowns, yes. THE king, but crowned with a crown of thorns that we all might become co-kings with Him!
So we now as He. Freed from our own self-problems, a permanent drive “eats us up,” that all the world, and that means for us all within our guided reach, must share this life’s secret which belongs to them if they but knew it, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be”. And so a priest is a COMMISSIONED person. He can’t help it. He doesn’t seek out the commission, it seeks him out. It’s a divine “must”. What must? Whatever confronts us as the area within our reach where we can bring Christ to others. I had to be a witness to Christ to my fellow-soldiers in World War I. I had to knock on doors of the men’s rooms in Trinity College, Cambridge, when I went from the army to the university and invite them to come to our Christian Fellowship and find Christ, out of which came the birth of the now worldwide Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. And, always seeing that the front line is the place for a soldier in a war, when I heard of C. T. Studd, who had sold all (being England’s great cricketer and a wealthy man) to take the gospel to tribes in Africa who had never heard of Him, I had to go and join him. And now after years of taking Christ to the unreached peoples of the world, in my “old age”, just coming ninety, I have to take this final total reality of Christ reliving His life in our forms and going into saving action by us, to all who will give me a hearing. This life is a glorious “have-to”. Therefore in actuality, every born-again son of God has at once begun to be a priest-intercessor, from the moment the Spirit has made his body His temple. We are a commissioned people!
The way of the intercessor-priest is by whatever form of involvement the Spirit indicates to us that we can be in action in bringing our light to others. Obviously there can be no limits to what special way that is. But it will be in the form of self-giving, in no way engineered by us, but by which we take the place of those we are intercessors for, that they might take their places as redeemed sons of God. It is thus vicarious. It just will cost and will be a death for us, not sought for by us, but in some forms our heart and mind and body involvement for these others will bring a death: to our reputation as “fanatics”, to our material and physical expenditure, to who knows what in what way, for death, as Jesus said in John 12:24 presses out His life for others. (1 Peter 2:20-25) Paul again said, “We which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:12) That’s the COST of intercession following on to the COMMISSION. Often we may not realize we are in an intercessory “death” until we find we are! But then knowing that this is the intercessor’s way, we anticipate the glory in the suffering. He “poured out His soul unto death and… made intercession for the transgressors.” (Is. 53:1-2) “For the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross.” (Heb. 12:2)
But, it makes such a difference if we have come to know this intercessory way of the priest and are not just going blindly along it (which we probably all do in our early “little children, young men” days). We then know that the ultimate of an intercession is the GAINING of it. Prayer may, intercession must! But this means we cannot rest or lay down our arms of faith until it has been gained. This may be part of our “death”, for we are taking no “no” in the commission. When we haven’t understood this, then we may speak of our calling or ministry as “called to be faithful, but not necessarily successful”. But no! We hear God’s word to Joshua picking up Moses’ commission, “…then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, then thou shalt have good success”. I have personally walked that way since the Spirit revealed that to me even in my college days. I couldn’t take it when I heard an annual report of some ministry described as faithful but not successful.
That is also where the declaration of faith that God is bringing something to pass, not yet visible, is a form of the death. When Rees Howells had this “commission”, in the early days of World War II, confronted with all the might of Hitler and Mussolini, to see and say God would destroy these dictators and open the world to the gospel, in the power, and Spirit-confirmation of the word of faith given them and declared by them, they held the celebration of the end of that war just at the time when Hitler’s panzers broke through into Holland, Belgium, seized France, and threatened Britain!! No wonder the public papers called him a false prophet, and the majority of God’s people, ignorant of the fundamental principle of intercession, said the same, and some to this day. But read Doris Ruscoe’s little book “The Intercession of Rees Howells” (Christian Literature Crusade), and trace that warfare of faith through to its amazing almost unbelievable open doors and vast worldwide response to the gospel today, far “more exceeding abundantly above” what Rees Howells himself “asked or thought.”
Intercession is The Intercessor Himself, The Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:27) operating in us/as us, in His whole divine process of Commission, Cost, Completion. It will so often appear to us in our appearance-humanity that it is we caught up in the commission, we who are torn apart by some forms of dying (certainly usually to our reputation as fanatics); sometimes physically and materially. But, the Spirit then reminds us, “These are the sufferings of Christ” by you. (1 Pet. 4:13) This is He manifesting His Resurrection Life by you (2 Cor. 4:11), for ‘we’ is He, no separated ‘we.’
So do I make the point clear? The priest-intercessor is the Bible description of all of us born of the Intercessory-Spirit. The intercession is the driving of the Spirit in us/as us, which simply immerses us in the necessity of others having the Christ we have in salvation and fullness.
In our earlier “little children” stage, there is the drive, and we respond to it with a mixture of much “fleshly” energy, which is God using our soul-body energies en route to our learning the ways of operations by Spirit-leadership. This was Moses starting off his rescue of his enslaved brethren by killing the Egyptian mistreating an Israelite, a vast contrast to Moses forty years later overcoming Pharaoh by the word-of-faith activities which produced the plagues and the release of the nation from its captivity. We then go through the process of our own inner settling into the young man stage of Gal. 2:20, where we become “established, strengthened, settled.” (1 Pet. 5:10) And now we are consciously in our “father” stage, where we have, like Paul, “won Christ”, and thus the highest privilege of being leveled with Him as co-saviours (1 Cor. 9:22), co-commissioned, co-laborers, co-sufferers, co-diers, co-risers in co-resurrection which with us brings “many sons to glory”.
This priesthood-intercession may take a multitude of different forms in the originality of the Intercessor-Spirit in us and by us. But it now means a commission no longer in ignorance of the fact that I am an intercessor. I am grabbed by some involvement in God’s saving purpose, maybe starting in one life and on to many. There it is. I can’t help it. I am “in it to win it”, to use my friend Roy Putnam’s phrase. This is my Spirit-given commission, small or great, which may last long or short until it has been gained. It may be as “simple” as one mother of a missionary I knew, Mrs. Scholes, both a widow and blind, who so gladly gave her only child, her son Jack, to be a pioneer missionary in the Congo. When she became blind (in the days before state support in Britain of such a condition), and her friends said her son must come home to care for her, here was her reply, “His homecoming is just what would kill me! My life is in Jack taking Jesus to the Africans”, and he never did come home except for furlough visit. “Mother Scholes” was an intercessor.
The cost is the battle of faith and works. I am a soldier in my front line. The heat of the battle is what Paul called “fighting the good fight of faith”. All the lives of the great men of faith in the Bible illustrate that battle. Do I confront some apparent impossibility and have to move into some word of faith on the basis of Mark 11:20-24, which must be maintained, persisted in and confirmed by the inner confirmation of the Spirit? Watch that often swaying battle of faith in those faith-victors of Hebrews 11. That is the heartbeat of intercession. There is then the further cost of whatever form of activity-involvement the Spirit takes us into. I am a “missionary in action” in some field of action.
The final is the GAINING of the intercession; the persistence in the commission until we see the completion: Jesus’, “I have a baptism to be baptized with and how am I straitened until it be accomplished”, (Luke 12: 50); and Paul’s “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course”. Prayer may… intercession must! COMMISSION. COST. COMPLETION.
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