Notes from Norman
Simple as This
By Norman P. Grubb
TRIALS ARE ADVENTURES; TEMPTATIONS ARE OPPORTUNITIES
There arises that constant question of our formerly sin-conscious selves. What about sin and temptation? This is where the revelation of no human nature but only the two Deity natures (we having been formerly Satan – I but now Christ-I) answers our questions. The key is that temptation becomes asset instead of liability, just as James leads off his most practical of letters by saying, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations [trials is the same word]”. How can that be? Because we are now loosed from that former suspicion that temptation is sin, and that therefore my responses to it are sin. Both are false. The temptation question is plainly settled by that invaluable letter to the Hebrews where we see Jesus in His full human nature, particularly in chapters two through four with the one outstanding word in Heb. 4:15, “Jesus… the Son of God… tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” Perfect Jesus, perfectly tempted. Sinless. Thus temptation is a necessary part of human living. The reason is obvious. We live in a world which is shot through with every form of self-sin solicitation, as we have said, so that in our mortal bodies we remain in contact with our fellow humans as light in a dark world, for we meet the same flesh-world assaults as all do, but we know how to turn them into assets and can show the way to others.
The vital difference is found in our new-mind consciousness. We used to mistake temptation for sin and were also suspicious of apparent sinful tendencies in our flesh. We rapidly took condemnation with every “drawing” of temptation on us (James 1:14). Actually, the “lusts” are just the normal strong desires (the correct meaning of that epithumia word in the Greek) by which the Universe, on all levels, surges forward all the way from Einstein’s equation which proves that all mass is really energy (E=mc2), right up to the love-drives of personhood in God and man. So temptation is merely by whatever form our human desires of mind and body are excited to respond by the drawings of the deity spirit through our flesh (depending on which spirit). The philosopher Spencer rightly said, “Life is response to environment.” We say, “Which environment?”
Now with our renewed mind knowing that all humanity (flesh), created “very good” by God, has no negative or positive inherent pull in it, but responds without condemnation to what draws it, we by infinite grace have been drawn to God. (John 6:44) Equally, we often are drawn in our present life in the world by the lusting Satan-spirit, but the vital point is that we take no condemnation for such negative sin-drawings. We live in the no-condemnation reality of Rom. 8:1. If Satan can get us into taking condemnation for temptations or get us to believe again that we are independent selves, then what we believe holds us. But if instead of being tricked into such negative believings we accept temptation as Satan’s right by all his emissaries of people and things (for we are within his camp to rescue his captives), we then do not deny or oppose any forms of temptation. We recognize that they do not issue from our flesh, but from the sin-tempter of our flesh, and then we take no condemnation. By this we are able to pull Satan’s teeth, and he becomes a roaring but toothless lion (1 Pet. 5:9), unless we give him teeth by responding by fear or condemnation. We “agree with our adversary quickly” as Jesus said in Matt. 5:25, or he will imprison us. If we agree with his right to attack us, we have well-blunted his sword. By thus freeing Satan to exercise his rights, we are equally now free to exercise our own. We answer his assaults by affirming Who we are, Christ in us/as us, which really is practicing the daily death-resurrection process of 2 Cor. 4:10. The light of expressing ourselves as Christ (light through lamp) swallows up the darkness. Where we are tempted to hate, we love with God’s love, including enemies. Where tempted to fear (which is really negative believing in evil), we have the faith of God for the situation: anxiety with assurance; depression with affirmations of Him as our joy, though soul feelings may last. We “resist the devil” as James says (James 4:7) by submitting to God, and in that affirmation that coward of a devil flees. We replace all negatives (without condemnation for feeling the pull of them, and thus accepting Satan’s right to pull) with the positives of Christ as us and we as expressions of God as love, power, peace, recognizing Who we are, Him as us, and we loving as He loves, walking as He walks, overcoming our world as He did by faith, just as John says in his letter. We even turn an infatuation for someone into a positive faith action so that, instead of being overwhelmed with condemnation that we should not have such an infatuation, we by faith see Christ forming Himself in that one. Depressions, tensions, compulsive jealousies, hurts, and bitterness perhaps going back a long time ago into our earlier life – are all transformed when they are not resisted with false condemnation (as if we were independent selves) but rather are received as temptations meant by God and which we therefore “count” (though do not feel) as “all joy.” (James 1:2) We deliberately replace all negative reactions by seeing them as His set purpose (we will see later how God “means” all things). We meet them by reversing our negative believing – by affirming that He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11) and that there is no power but God.
Sins are committed when we deliberately respond, positively or negatively, to temptation as an independent self. These responses James calls an adultery (not a fixed marriage union) from which a return is made by confession and the forgiveness and cleansing of 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God never sees sin because of the blood of His Son, and we, therefore, are forgiven. Thus, our guilty consciences are cleansed from the sin of the slip into independent self (Heb. 9:14), and we replace our sin-consciousness with praise. John underlined that committing a sin is a rare, not a regular, fact, when he adds, “My little children, I write this unto you that ye sin not; and, if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father”. Thus the committing of sins is rare whereas so often we have been mistakenly taught that it is continuous and common, so often through confusing temptation with sin.
This whole area of temptation and sin is most important for us believers for this is where so much of our confusion and conflict resides. If we do commit a sin, we must be careful not to slip back into that false self-effort which tempts us to resolve that we won’t commit it again, if it is something we often repeat. When we are in such a situation, we stand in our total faith position: He as me is also my Keeper (Jude 24), so when we feel desperate through the weakness of an apparent habit, we boldly tell Him we can find no deliverance by our own false self-effort or good resolution (that lie of the independent self). We are already delivered. We boldly say, “I shall do it again unless You keep me; but you are my Keeper.” If we commit it again, we return by the same way of 1 John 1:9 and back again to that same position of faith as an already delivered person, and faith is the substance.
The same is true if it is something, which is not sin in any specific form named in Scripture, but we find ourselves tempted to consider a harmful “habit”. In this we walk the same way. We shall not look for “deliverance” by good resolutions or forms of that lie of self-effort. No! We boldly say that we do not even talk of a needed “deliverance.” We are in that same position of faith that I as He know no such thing as a habit which is not He as me. I continue as before with no condemnation and disregarding the condemnation of others; and in that freedom He will make any changes that please Him. Faith will produce changes that no negative false condemnation can produce.
The soul-spirit differentiation of Heb. 4:12 is a key Scripture for living in the abiding rest the writer speaks of as our continued experience in Heb. 4: 9-11. That rest, of course, means not indolence, but rest from the strain of the sense of incapacity in our daily activities to be replaced by the consciousness of capacity (“we’ve got what it takes”), which results in far fuller, not lesser, activities in God’s sufficiency. This is obviously so when we know that we are He as us, in place of the lie of independent self. We may often be disturbed in our new freedom of living unless, as the Scripture tells us, we have seen clearly this difference between soul and spirit. Paul simply likens it to the difference in our bodies between joints and marrow. Marrow is the life of the bones. Marrow is likened to our inner spirit-union where ourselves are joined to His Self, and from which our new life flows. Joints are the means by which the marrow-life operates in outer form. They give flexibility. So our spirit joined to His Spirit, where our knowing Who we are is the permanent flow, expresses itself by our outer forms of soul. The soul, like the joints, gives outer emotional expression to our spirit-love, and mental reasonings and explanations give expression to our inner spirit-knowing. Thus, soul emotions and reasonings are of vital value to our Christ-manifestation, but can equally be penetrated and assaulted by Satan on either feeling or thought levels. A great many of our unsolved problems find their answers as we continually differentiate between soul-reactions and spirit-fixed-condition and replace the soul disturbances by recognition of our true being as He. Spirit is like the sea total and beyond disturbance. Soul is like the restless waves, but we are like the sea. So also is the difference in this verse between “thoughts” (variable soul level, good or bad) and “intents” (fixed spirit-life purpose).
This then covers the “young man” second level of true being as detailed for us by John in his 1 John 2:13,14 statement of the three levels. The young man now has “the word of God abiding in Him”, Christ in us/as us; and therefore he is “strong” in God as his strength in a permanent union. He must meet, confront, and overcome all the negatives of “the wicked one” in his daily living; the “overcoming” is the “coming” of Satan in all pulls back to independent self, and the “over” of the “overcoming” is in Who we really are, recognizing Christ as us. As we do that, the light of that recognition swallows up the darkness of the assaults – all that we have been looking into in relation to temptation and liberation. Here is the complete young man, graduated with his total personhood of spirit, soul, and body, now consciously and fixedly the spontaneous expresser of Him Whom he had been predestined to manifest in his human form. “Ye ARE the light of the world.” As “young men” we have found our true selves!
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