The Obedience of Faith by Norman Grubb
Transcribed by Marian Sandbek from a taped
living room talk given in the 1970’s.
Edited by Fred Pruitt
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. Rom 16:25,26
Question: In the union life, where is responsibility for disobedience?
NPG: There is only one obedience in the Bible, the obedience of faith, not the obedience of works. The last verse in the book of Romans, which is kind of the standard book on gospel truth, it’s unto the obedience of faith. But, what’s that mean? It means I’m believing God is what He says He is. There’s only one wrong thing in life and that is not to believe that God is what He says He is. I don’t talk in terms of disobedience or obedience when I know who I am on the truth basis, on the Bible basis, which is that you and I are really Christ expressed in human forms. Of course, you see, if this life consists of God in me, it says, “God works in me to will and do.” I don’t will and do, then. Philippians says, “It is God that works in me to will and do of His good pleasure,” and I just fulfill His willing and doing. That’s why it’s an easy life. I don’t do a thing unless I’m made to. It’s great fun. The Bible doesn’t tell me to walk. The Bible tells me, in Ezekiel, that when He puts His spirit within me, He causes me to walk. Well, He does the walking then. He causes me to walk. I walk. I just get pushed along, that’s all.
So then, disobedience is not to believe that God is doing everything, including the evil. Because the Bible says the only evil is not to believe God. Jesus said when the Holy Ghost comes he’ll convict the world of sin because they “believed not on me.” That’s the only sin. Because they believed not on me. And, Jesus called evil not to be of a single eye. He said, “If your eye is single, your whole body’s full of light, it radiates right through. Your eye, of course isn’t your physical eye, it’s the inner seeing, of course. This is only the outer stuff. And the Light radiates right through.
“Eye is single” means you only see One. Single means One. So, then our main focus is: I only see God in everything everywhere and everybody. I don’t see devil, I don’t see anything . . . only God everywhere. If he’s a devil, he’s only God in a devil form, that’s all. I don’t see a devil. I don’t see anybody except God. Your eye is single, it’s full of light because God happens to be full of light. When your eye is on Him, you’re full of light. And light radiates through your very outer form, which is your body.
And then Jesus said, “If your eye is evil your whole body is full of darkness.” Why say evil because the opposite of single isn’t evil. The opposite of single is double. Oh, I see, double because to see double is evil.” Whenever I’m not seeing God, I’m moving on the evil plain. I’m tempted. You only do evil if you’re going to do it, but you’re tempted all the time. When I’m moved away from seeing everything as not God, I’m moving toward the evil level. That’s what the Bible says.
So I come back to your question. The only obedience is the obedience of faith. I’m told that in Romans. The obedience of faith. What does the obedience of faith mean? It means I believe what He says he is. What’s He saying, what’s the truth? I’m believing in Him in different operations, that’s all. And that’s, to me, the final word in the Bible on obedience. You see, until we’ve got it clear we’re not we but He, then we fuss about ourselves and then we say do we obey or not? Which shows I’m negative because when I know I’m not I but He, I don’t fuss about myself. I’ve forgotten myself. I’m He and enjoying myself because it’s He doing it. There’s no more fuss.
So when a person says, “What about the wrong?” I know they haven’t got there or they wouldn’t ask it. Because when you do a thing right, you’re not fussing about the wrong very much. If you know your job, you’re not fussing about doing it wrongly, you’re occupied in doing it rightly. The difference is how it’s used. If you’re a trained carpenter you don’t say, “Am I doing it wrong, am I doing it wrong?” You take it pretty well for granted you’re doing it right. You live on the right level, not the wrong level. You live on the positive, not the negative. Of course I’m doing my job. I know how to do my carpentry and I do it. I don’t say, “Is it wrong, is it wrong, is it wrong?” There might be occasional moments when I say, “Well, it might not be this way”, but that’s just a minor. But we Christians are far more concerned with “Are we wrong” than we are with “Are we right”? Which shows where you stand. We ask the question, “Are we wrong?” because we think we’re still just ourselves and then we’re afraid. When you’re not yourself but Christ, you don’t ask it anymore than the carpenter asks how he does his carpentry. He just does it.
And, the temptations that come, they’re just good exercise. Your temptations become your adventure because your temptations give you new proofs of what God is. The pullings tempt you to act as if you’re not God. See when I’m in the union I’m not I but Christ. Precisely how Paul says it, “I don’t live, Christ lives.” My human self is just a branch expressing the Vine. The Vine’s the point. My human self is a body which is expressing the head which is Christ. The body’s just the agency of the head. The head’s what matters. The Vine’s what matters. See, when you do that and you’re living like that, you live free.
Sin is that the whole world lives as if independent self, not as God. The whole is a lost world so it doesn’t see itself as a form of God, but sees itself as independent, but it really is a form of Satan. It doesn’t even know that — just thinks it’s a form of self. Of course, independent self is Satan, really. We don’t know that. And so the whole world is for self-for-self — Satan.
So temptation is to pull me out to “I” fear, “I” react, “I” don’t like this, “I’m” hurt by that, “I’m” bothered with that, “I” haven’t got that far. “I,” “I,” “I,” “I”. It’s a lie! I’m being pulled out to a lie because I’m not “I”, I’m Christ. It’s a pulling, it’s an illusion, as if I’m “I” apart from Christ. That’s what temptation is. That’s my adventure. Because then it’s, “Oh, come on!” It gives me, when I’m hurt, “Oh, now, good, then. Now’s a chance to see how God makes me love a person who hurts me!” It confirms to me the God in me. I come back to God! So my negative moves me back to experience it being swallowed by a positive.
I talked to a friend, I’d only met her once, with another friend. A woman about 40, I suppose, and she’s very new at this life. She knew Christ in her. You don’t know herself as Christ. She wrote me a flaming letter, poor thing, about 2 weeks ago. “What am I to do,” she says. “My husband’s walked out on me with another woman. I hate him! I’m boiling over. What am I to do?” She said, “I know about Christ in me. It didn’t work! I’m full up with rage and hurt and resentment and hate, really. He’s left me and left the kids and walked off with another woman. What am I to do? Don’t talk about Christ in me because I know that.”
Of course, I said, “You don’t know it, because if you did you wouldn’t say ‘What am I to do?’ because you’re Christ. You’d say, ‘What does Christ do?’ You forget who you are, dear. You’re not you, you’re Christ. You’re Christ in human form. And of course you’re raging and may you be blessed to go on raging to cut your own throat in doing it. Be good for you maybe to do that. Rage away because you’d better rage because that’s a false thing! You’re listening to a lie. You’re not an independent self at all! You’re Christ in you! Now, when you find Christ in you, Christ loves everybody. He loves your husband and he’s got to save your husband although he’s left you. And he loves the woman he’s walked off with. And when you say, ‘Oh, I’ve got a chance now to show love, to express, to have God’s love towards a man in my own soul self I hate.’ — That’s your answer!
“When you find you’re beginning to be occupied with how you can see by faith that Christ is operating in your husband and expressing that love all you can, not that your husband comes back to you but he gets back to Christ. And the woman too! Then you’ll find you’re free. Then it’s Christ’s freedom, not yours. Your mistake isn’t your hate, it’s that you think you’re an independent self. The disobedience of faith. It isn’t the hate that’s wrong. It isn’t the rage.”
She’s justified in hating, on the human level. That’s not the trouble. It’s the disobedience of faith, of not believing who you are. You forget who you are. You’re so occupied as if you’ve come alive again and you’ve got this that’s happened to you, what’s going to happen to your children and so on. You’ve forgotten you’re not you at all, you’re Christ in you! Go back with who you are. How do you go back? Recognize who you are.
There’s some justification in human level rage. That wasn’t the sin. It wasn’t a sin anyhow, it was not meeting temptation. And I said, “As for your children, you’ve got a wonderful thing. When you’ve got it in you that God meant your husband to do this, it’s all part of the way. God always means evil to be evil. God meant your husband to do this. This is how God’s going to do something for him and do something for the woman and, as for you, you’ve got a marvelous opportunity to show your children how you love a person who’s wronged you. They’ll learn far more than they’ll learn in any other kind of education. If your children could see that you’re loving and concerned about the husband who’s deserted you and been stolen by another woman, you’ve got something to show, you’ve got a real Christ to show your children. You needn’t worry about your children. They’ll really learn some riches.”
But the answer’s simple. It wasn’t the husband leaving her. The Lord means evil to be evil. If you do evil then God means you to do it. We get a world banged up that way, that’s how we get our bangs. To get a few band aids on you from Jesus Christ. So that’s all right. So your tribulations become your adventure. But, the only real tribulation is not seeing who I am. There is a real suffering. Of course you suffer. There’s real suffering. You will suffer. Of course you’ll suffer. There is an element to human suffering and you’ll never get beyond that. We’re in the world but we suffer. And that’s physical suffering. So there is that. But that’s overflowed when you’re enjoying Christ. There is an element that still remains of suffering but it’s overflowed because it’s for the joy set before you you endured the cross. So did Jesus. For the joy set before me I endured the cross. Instead of suffering in the cross. But the joy overflowed the suffering.
I’m not talking about that because that’s not the real suffering. The real suffering is heady suffering. You see, self-service is hell. Heaven and hell are in us. They may expand a little later on outside but it’s here now. And hell is self-centeredness. We all started life in hell. The only way to heaven is through hell. Because it’s only when you’ve had hell you know there is a heaven and you want it. You don’t even discover there is a heaven until you’ve got a hell and want to get out of it. That’s why you’ve got to be a sinner before you get saved. If you haven’t been a bad sinner you’re not a good saint. If you’ve not been well-lost you haven’t been well-saved. You’ve got to be lost to be saved. It’s only lost people who can be saved. You wouldn’t be saved if you didn’t need saving, would you? (World saving) means that. I must be bad to be made good. And God meant me to be. To put some sense into me. I won’t do it again so quickly then. So God’s got a good deal of some common sense about Him, I think.
Audience: And a good sense of humor.
NPG: That’s why we have. It’s fun laughing with God. He that is seated in heaven shall laugh, Psalm 2. So, that’s what I would say about obedience. If I’m settled in the positive I don’t bother too much about the negative. Because the one swallows the other up. When folks are always asking questions about, “What do I do about sin?”, I know they haven’t got it. When you have got it you aren’t bothered about your sins. They don’t concern you. You’re so enjoying being that you’re not bothered about diversions. Precisely the same principle, as I say, the human principle, when you’re settled into something you know, you don’t bother about not knowing it. You aren’t bothered about your mistakes much. You’re interested in doing your job. You enjoy doing it. You aren’t bothered too much about mistakes. Maybe every now and then a little chance you look at it but the mind center on mistakes. It goes on positive, “I’m enjoying getting this thing done, making that, or doing that or practicing that. That’s my job. That’s being. That’s being.”
See, what is spiritual competency? What is earthly competency? Knowing that your stuff’s got you. The point of learning a profession is not it taking-you taking — it takes you. You study a profession until it grabs you and then you’re happy. You learn carpentry, learn engineering, learn teaching, learn secretarial work, learn whatever it is. You learn. No! What really happens is it gets you. You move and, it’s got you! Then, “Oh, I’m all right now, I know how to handle my
affairs.” Then you’re free. And you’re competent. Not because you got it. It gets you. Because this is the law of faith, that what you take takes you and you become it. Then you are it. You don’t become a carpenter, we change the title. When a person’s learned carpentry, we call them a carpenter. We say he learned medicine, we call a doctor. Learned teaching, call them a teacher. You change his name and give him the name of the thing which he is. He is a teacher, which means it’s got him. Not he’s got it. His teaching competency’s got him. And so we call him a teacher or a doctor or an engineer or a flying man or whatever it may be.
Audience: Isn’t there a period of approach before it gets you?
NPG: No. There’s a period of affirmation. You can’t approach a thing which is given you. You either take it or don’t get it. It’s given you. You approach a thing which isn’t given you, you’re trying to get it. But you can’t approach a thing which is given you. You just take it or don’t take it, that’s all. So, there’s no approach left . . . you’ve taken it. And the only snag remains if you call it a temptation to believe you haven’t taken it, if you like.
Audience: When you said there was a period of affirmation, Norman, are you saying that at times this is what we believe but then it’s a while before we can really make it ours?
NPG: Yes, there may be a gap between the affirmation and the realization. Because the realization doesn’t come from you. It comes from the thing which you are making your own and which will get you. I sit in the chair. My affirmation is I sit and my body takes my word. I sit. That doesn’t make the chair real to me. It’s the chair that makes itself real to me. It’s the chair coming back and saying, “I’m holding you.” The recognition, the realization of the chair doesn’t come from my faith, it comes from the chair. The chair comes back and says, “I’ve got you.” So there can be that area, an area between, “I’ve said I’ve got this thing, God’s word says it’s so, it’s so” and the echo to come back, saying “Yes it is so.”
That’s not my business, that’s the chair. That’s the chair coming back to me. See, everything in life is moving into something and it moves back into you. The simplest illustration is that you moved into coming here tonight. That’s faith. You didn’t come by your body. You came because inwardly you said, “I am invited and (for some very unknown reason) you wanted to come. So, all right. How did you come? You had an invitation and you knew it. For some reason you wanted to come. “I will go.” So your affirmation brought you here. Now that you’re here you don’t say, “I’ll come now.” You say, “I’m here” because it’s got you now, the room’s got you. You’re here.
The house says you’re here, you’re here. The house has spoken to you now. You’re here, you can’t say you’re not here. The house makes you say you are here. The house has taken you over now. And you have to say, “I’m here,” because the house makes you say it. So confirmation comes from the object, not from my appropriation of the object. I appropriate the object. The object comes back and says, “You can’t say you haven’t got it. Here I am, you’ve got me.”
Audience: Well, maybe it’s just because it seems like this way of thinking is so foreign to what we were brought up to think. But we’ve heard you for a long time, and every time we heard it we said, “Yes, that’s what we believe,” but we couldn’t hold onto it. We couldn’t appropriate it like we wanted to for many years, really.
NPG: Now you can. But, that’s not misappropriation. It’s unbelief. It’s that, in other words, I’m back on the old, old story being pulled out by my soul or appearances. My soul is my emotions and my reasons. And they’re a wonderful asset. The spirit of God speaks through my emotions and through my reasons, but the world can also speak through my emotions and through my reasons. It’s a two way street, it’s open-ended. And in my earlier days, I’m often more used to the other end of the doubtings and the disturbed emotions being more real to me than the steady flow of God coming through my reasons and my emotions, which is the other way around.
And so if we say we are saying we don’t hold onto it, it’s not that we’re not holding onto it, it’s that we are holding onto something else. Because you never not hold on to something. You always hold onto something. There’s no such thing as unbelief really. There’s only faith this way or that, either positive or negative faith. All is faith. You can’t have unbelief in the sense of having a kind of vacuum. There’s no such thing. We are alive. We are faith. Life is faith. Life is always you’re operating by what is real to you now. We may be pulled out of the faith of “Not I but Christ” by something which makes me feel I’m not and that’s causing me to believe my feelings or my reasonings, making me think, “It doesn’t work” or something. And so I’m listening to my reasonings or my feelings and I’ve transferred my faith from a positive faith to a negative faith. And I’m grabbed. I’m grabbed by that self again.
So it’s disobedience. The obedience of faith is to stick to what the word of God says is true of you. If the word of God says it, you stick to it. If all of hell shouts at you, you stick to it. And it may be true, I don’t like to say too much about it because it can, lest it become a form of escape, but it may be true that there may be a gap between my saying that’s what I am and the echo coming back saying, “Yes, that’s what you are.” The witness, in other words, the witness coming back. See, he that believeth hath the witness in himself. That’s a very striking verse. It’s only said once in the Bible and that’s in I John 5. “He that believeth on the son of God hath the witness in himself.” So the believing is the witness, you see. The witness is wrapped up in your believing. So all I do is keep on believing. That has the witness in it.
It’s a very striking verse because John always takes you to the root of everything. Paul gets you there, tells you how to get there, then John tells you who you are when you do get there. So he’s the top man. Peter tells you how to start as a kid and Paul tells you how you grow up and John tells you what you are when you are grown up. And this is one of the remarks he makes about being a grown-up person. A grown-up person is a unified person, who knows the union. And that’s I John 5:10. He that believeth on the son of God hath the witness in himself.
So that’s what the witness is. And belief is the witness. So all I do is keep believing and that becomes the witness. Now I can’t say how that is. In my own case, I believe, I never went back. That’s why I believe it’s a very serious believing. I didn’t fool around with that believing. It took me about 5 hours one night, I’ve told you my tale before, in Africa, when my wife and I saw our need of saying “It’s not Norman Grubb, it’s Christ in Norman Grubb; it’s not Pauline Grubb, it’s Christ in Pauline Grubb.” That’s Galatians 2:20. And the key to Galatians 2:20 is replacement, not cooperation. It’s not Christ in me, it’s Christ IS me. That’s the key to Galatians 2:20. Galatians 2:20 says I live, No, I don’t live, Christ lives. It isn’t I live and Christ lives, there’s no and in it. The and is a snare. It isn’t I live and Christ lives in me. Then there are 2. It’s I live, No, I don’t live. Christ lives in me. That’s replacement. That means the real I is Christ. The real I becomes Christ, I become just a little branch form of the vine. It’s just a branch form of the vine. The real I is Christ, the vine. I’m just the branch form through which he operates. That’s it.
In our case, we meant business. We were alone in Africa, we were just starting it up in those days, and we were going into a village where there was just one convert. Thank God there are precious many now. And we went to see him in his village and had a fellowship with him, just the only one there was in a small village who loved Jesus. And all he gave us to sleep in that night was thatched roof cookhouse. No sides to it. And then we just put up 2 camp beds and the net for bugs, to keep them out, some of them out, anyway. And we didn’t get to our camp beds at all because we had business that night. We always took about with us 2 little camp chairs. We took a camp bed, a camp chair and a camp table and few tin cans to cook in. That’s all we took with us. Your plate was a banana leaf. You throw it away, like your paper plates you throw away nowadays here. So we had our 2 camp chairs. So we sat out in the banana plantation. He’d gone to bed. I remember that well because it was so real to us.
And we sort of struggled with that Galatians 2:20 verse. Faith is a struggle. We didn’t know much better then. We were learning. So we didn’t know as much about faith as we know now. So we started about when we left him about 10 PM, and it was about 4 AM before we’d finished. We got to the point of being able to say, “This is so”. Finally we said it. That’s that word of faith. We said, “That’s done.”
So, sometimes with faith, a serious type of faith, maybe it’s good to have a bit of a few hours battle behind it. Some of those great mystics would be 20 years behind their union. I’m a reader of the mystics and it would take some of them 20 years before they knew union. When they knew, they knew, I tell you. Mighty men, they knew. Brother Lawrence, most of you know him anyhow. But they agonized to get there.
But, of course, the answer is not in the agony, the answer’s in God. The answer is “God’s done it.” The answer is what God’s done. The answer is affirming what God’s done but maybe sometimes it helps to settle you into the affirmation. We were biting on the affirmation. We weren’t questioning the fact, we were questioning is the fact the fact for me, as it were. That’s for me. That’s how we did it.
What I mean is, once done, we never went back on that. That was the night when the next morning I signed that postcard, drew a tombstone, and wrote “Here lies Norman Grubb, crucified.” I didn’t know much about the resurrection then, put that in a little later on. I was more busy getting crucified because til you get the self through, you’re more bothered about self getting crucified. When you’re through you don’t bother about getting crucified because you’re risen and enjoying it. That’s the other side of it. I’m only saying, in my own case, I never went back on that because it had done it.
Well, I forgot it after that because I was busy as a missionary and went about my task. But I never went back on this fact. It was 2 years afterwards when I went home on vacation, on furlough, and there was a mission problem. I went to a little woman, Mrs. Penn-Lewis. I wanted to learn about identification with Christ and talk over a mission problem with her. It was through her books that I first learned about what it meant that I identified with Christ in his death and resurrection. I didn’t know that type of teaching. It’s become much more common today. In our day it wasn’t known too much, as far as I know, in England, anyhow. Romans 6, of course, was all. And so she became like a mother in the spirit to me. And I went to see her, not about my own affairs, but because we had a mission problem. I thought she might advise me on it. She must have been guided and particularly felt that solving my mission problem wasn’t the answer. She didn’t, as far as I remember, answer my subject. But she did tell us how she’d been baptized in the Holy Ghost. This wasn’t the tongues day, before tongues became prevalent, so she didn’t mean that. She meant the great immersion, a spiritual immersion. She went the next day to speak to some girls and how the Holy Spirit fell on the audience and these girls really got broken up in the Spirit and so on. All I know is, as she spoke, I saw.
Now I saw inside, inwardly. He that believeth on the son hath the witness in himself. “Oh! That’s it,” I said, “I’m not I, I’m he.” I saw. What you see you know. What you know you live. You are it. So, I’m saying that in my case it did take a 2 year gap between affirmation and confirmation. The confirmation came from the One in whom I believed, Jesus Christ.
The affirmation came from me. Of course, the affirmation was His faith, he sparked that faith in me, but in that sense I operated in faith, in the faith of the son of God, if you like, because He sparked the faith to cause me to believe. But I did the believing, as it were. The confirmation didn’t come from me at all. It came as a sudden knowing, inside me, that “He that believeth hath the witness inside himself”. Oh! That’s it!
And once you know that’s it, you don’t get stirred up about your salvation, do you? No, you don’t let people question your salvation, do you? It’s “Yes, that’s it! I see!” You know you’re saved. You know He’s your Saviour. You can’t be shaken on that one because it’s/He’s become inner. Because all life is inner consciousness.
And, of course, the point is, you can reproduce what you are. That’s all we ever do. All you ever have is yourself and all you reproduce is yourself. Everything that comes from you is a reproduction of yourself. A carpenter really reproduces himself in the things he makes. He uses the materials to reproduce his own inner know-how in the table. It’s himself really, reproduced in the table form, using outer materials.
So you don’t reproduce anything except yourself. You can only reproduce what you are. We dear people here, we’re born again, well, you can reproduce that. You can tell a person how to get born again, you know that. You can explain to them how you get born again because you know how you did it yourself. Although you may not think you can do it theologically. God doesn’t want theology, he wants the Holy Ghost’s words, which are real. That comes out of your life, and you can say, “Well, I know, I did it this way!” So you can help other people and reproduce saved souls. Reproduce yourself as a saved soul and they become saved souls.
But you only can reproduce what you are. And, of course, we’re talking about being reproducers of this other life, this full life. Not Christ FOR me. But Christ IS me. And then — Christ BY me. That’s the 3 levels. Christ for me, babyhood. He died on my behalf. Christ is me, he’s replaced me. Christ by me, out He comes to other people now. Reproduction. Reproduction.
I can reproduce Christ to the lady who wrote me. I can say to her, “It’s obvious you’re troubled. Your trouble isn’t hating your husband. Your trouble is you’ve mistaken who you are. You forget that you’re Christ. That’s your trouble. And you’re caught as if you’re not Christ and then you’re all torn up because your husband’s left you as if you’re just you. You believed the lie. It isn’t sin, it’s temptation. Sin is you mean to do it. Temptation is an adventure. She’s had a good education in this one. I’m waiting to get my reply from her. Good education.
So she gets an agonizing education. And “agonizing education” is a real education. I said to her, “My dear, you were able to help so many other people. When you see this and you are able to walk in love and have a love in your heart because your husband is a form of God and appreciate him even if you can’t still appreciate him, even if he’s left you. And see him as someone God’s going to get to Himself, as God’s purpose is to get him to Himself, and you will have that answer for so many other people. For life is full of people torn up by broken marriages and breakages and so on. My, you’ve got something if you’ve learned that and can give it to other people.”
So that’s the problem that I set for myself. How so I cross that hump of knowing Christ IS me? Probably all of us here can say “Christ for me”. Maybe quite a few of us can say “Christ is in me”. How many of us say “Christ is me?” That’s the hump. Unity is the secret. Union, unity is the secret. When you know the unity, you don’t bother about the human self. You see, Jesus said some contradictory statements. He would say, “I and my father are one.” You know. “I and my father are one.” Then he’d say, you know, the famous occasion in the supper table, “Oh, don’t look there. If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” That’s strong language. He said that. Jesus said that at the supper table. “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.”
How? Because I’m so much He that He says, “When I speak words (this is in John 14) the words I speak unto you, I speak them not of myself, but the Father dwelleth in me.” That was it. “The Father dwells” is a permanent residence. “He doeth the works.”
In verse 10, you’ve got to believe a new relationship. “I’m in the Father and the Father in me.” It was a new thing to them in those days. This is before Pentecost. “The words that I speak unto you, I speak them not of myself.” “Not of myself.” But he DID speak them. John 14:10. Not of myself. Who does? The Father that dwelleth in me, He does the works. So the real person operating is not Jesus Christ but the Father. The Father in Jesus form. So there’s another self. The real self wasn’t Jesus the human man, but the self of the Father. The real self isn’t you, it’s Christ, you see.
The curious thing is when you get there, there remains a certain amount of dualism — two. See, the world’s been destroyed by separation. If we’d eaten from the right tree, we should have known union from the beginning. But we ate from the wrong tree, and thus we know separation, good and evil. We’re destroyed by separation. We see everything separate, including God himself. Including Christ himself. Even almost including the Holy Spirit himself. We see them separate. That’s our trouble. You can only live life unified. If your eye is single you live it. Of course, you’re going to be stretched. When you only see God in you, you see God in everything. That’s the purpose of the stretch. We haven’t talked about that tonight. That’s the total stretch.
The truth I’m getting at is this. When you know the union, you can also see there’s a certain sense in which self comes out of you as if it is separate. It isn’t really separate. That doesn’t bother you when you know the union. Same as if you’re saved. You know you’re forgiven. Now an unsaved person can only “talk about” forgiveness. He can’t “know” it. An unsaved person can only hear it. Why are you talking about being forgiven and that stuff? It’s meaningless to him. He hears and he’s drawn, of course, because the Spirit draws, but he can’t know it so he can’t talk as a forgiven person. Now, when you’re a forgiven person, you can talk as one, “Oh, I know! I’m a forgiven person!” And you operate on that level.
So, until you know the unity you can’t talk from the reality of the union. You can talk about it, but you can’t know it. It’s only when you know, “I’m not I, but Christ”, that you know the union. Then you’re free and you can say, “Well, I do turn up.”
That’s the adventure; this temptation makes “me” turn up. I know myself in my true Selfhood when I “turn up” through temptation. For instance, on several occasions, on the famous occasions when Jesus kept saying, “I speak words, but it’s not me, it’s My father who speaks in me, and He’s turning my words into works.” (All words are the first form of works.) He turns my words to works. He’s doing it. That’s One.
Then, just at this very occasion, he came to Gethsemane. At Gethsemane he said, “Oh, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” That’s a separate Jesus. And then he says, “Not as I will, but Thou will.” Two wills. He’d just said there’s only One, and now suddenly says there’s two. That’s a paradox. Now, it doesn’t bother you when you know the union. If you don’t know it, it does bother you. And that’s why, until you know the union, you’re bothered by yourself and your weaknesses and your failures and your troubles and you’re self-bothered. Because you don’t know the union. When you know the union it doesn’t bother you about yourself. But it will turn up every now and then.
That’s what you might say the great adventure of faith was for Him, that for one moment he was tempted. In all points he was tempted but we only know one specific point where he recognizes temptation, or when he followed it. That’s when he said, “I don’t want to die”. But he came to die. He’s going back on his very union. That’s temptation. As if he wasn’t the Father, if he were just Jesus Christ apart, Jesus Christ who didn’t want to die. Yes, that’s normal human, like my friend who hates her husband, doesn’t want to do something. That’s OK. That’s normal.
But then, you see, Oh, no, no, no, no. Not I. Not my will but thine. Mind you it took him 3 hours of bloody sweat to get that settled up. He had to go back and get settled up in Gethsemane because that was a tremendous occasion, that God would use Satan to take him to the cross and be God using Satan. That was a tremendous issue, to see God in Satan. Now, see, the crucifixion was God’s cup, not Satan’s. That was a tremendous insight. The cup my Father’s given me was Satan. God gave him Satan.
So, I can only say that you can’t really understand the freedom in which you’re back as a self, a free self, until you know the union, because until you know that, while you’ve got separation, you’re afraid of yourself and you doubt yourself and you question yourself. You worry, “What about this, and what about that, what about my failures and so on?” And you’re failure-minded rather than success-minded. When it’s settled into me as the permanent fact, “I’m not I but Christ,” I’m not running myself. I’m not running it. It’s His show now. If I’m a mess, I’m His mess. Ok, off I go, enjoy life. I’m perfectly free! Because I know I’m not I. So I always say I live like with a great big wink! I’m myself, but I’m HE!
Well, the curious thing is that you come back as yourself. This is the secret. You become a totally free person as if it’s just you. It IS you. That’s why I always said to you that there’s never a bigger egotist on earth than Jesus Christ. No one ever said a bigger “I” than He did. I am the way, I am the door, I am the life, I am the good shepherd, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I. That looks like egotist, until you look inside him. “Oh, no, it isn’t I. It’s my Father in me. I only do what I see the Father do. I only say what the Father says. It’s the Father in me. It looks like me.” So you’ve got the curious paradox which the world always mistakes, and your fellow Christians mistake. They’ll say you’re full of pride. Or full of self.
You’re meant to be full of self. You’ll get back to be a total egotist. With a wink in it. Because you know it isn’t you, it’s He. But you are you. So you get the paradox.
Now comes the self as an asset. Until I know that this self is God-managed, I’m afraid of myself because I’ve been fighting as if I’m independent. Independent self is the flesh. Independent self is in the hands of the flesh because that belongs to Satan. It’s Satan-made independent flesh. It’s a lie. We have never been independent. The moment you’re redeemed, you’re remarried. The old marriage is out, the new one is in. The old marriage in the death of Christ cut you off from the old husband, sin and the devil. In the resurrection, you are joined to the new husband, Jesus Christ. So you never have been a widow or in-between. We act as if we become a lonely widow in between and there’s no such a thing. It’s a lie.
So an independent self is part of the flesh. But self can’t fight self. So when I’m tempted and I act as myself, I fear I can’t get out of my fears. If I forget I’m Christ and say, “I fear,” which I do, I’m a human and my humanity gets me. “I fear,” all right, while I’m in it I can’t beat it. I’m slipping back as if I’m an independent person in the flesh. And of course it’s a good practice.
Wait a minute, it isn’t your fear, because God’s your courage. And your fear is your jumping off point. It’s your adventure of faith. No, no, this gives me a chance to say, of course, God’s my courage and God puts courage through me when I’m terrified and I’ll remain terrified and yet I’ll act on God’s courage. But you see, the purpose of God, the art of God, the science of God, if you like, His utter purpose is to have totally free people. Because it’s by manifested sons that He manifests himself. Because the universal can only be known by it’s manifested form. You cannot know it otherwise. That’s one of the laws of the universe.
Universal means everything. You can’t know it. What’s electricity? Well, it’s everywhere. What is it? I don’t know. It’s only when it began to get caught, come out in form, like light, that you know it. Oh, that’s it. And you can contact light and touch light and see light. That’s electricity. It’s a form which leads you back to the ultimate universal. You don’t know the universal. What is it? What’s light?
What’s anything? What’s the atom? They’re trying to find out what it is. I don’t know. What do they know? Not very much. A kind of mathematical equation as far as I can make out. What on earth is it? You know it is an energy which produces form. And you only know atomic power by its form. You only know electric power by heat, light, or some manifested form. You only know God by his Son. He’s eternally invisible, and He can’t be known except he came in a form which is reachable to us. A person came to us, down to our level, and as we know the Son we know the Father. As the Son becomes a concrete person to us, a Saviour, He introduces us to the Father, a concrete person. He no longer remains a vague, mystical person. He’s my heavenly Father. We cry “Abba, Father!”
Now, the point of that therefore is that God will never be known except by his sons. So, all in eternity, you and I will live in the foreground as managers of God’s universe. We’re co-heirs of the whole lot. What you own you’re going to manage.
And so the only way He will ever be known is by us. So we come into the foreground. Then I come back as a perfectly free self. I do what I like, I think what I say, I make my own choices, follow my own motives, do my own will, with a huge wink. It isn’t I at all. It’s inside somebody else operating. That’s my private thing. I don’t tell you that. I just tell you I will it, go and do it.
So you’re liable to be mistaken as a liberated Christian. Because on that level, self comes back as an asset. While it’s separate it’s a liability because, you see, your “separate” self, is “carnal, sold unto sin.” You can’t beat it. If you’re “separate self” when the temptations come, you can’t beat it. You can’t beat your rages and your temptations, your jealousies and your hates, your lusts. You can’t beat them. Because an independent self is part of the flesh element, it’s carnal, sold unto sin. I’m negative and I say, “Well, what about that and what about this and I’m afraid of that and all of that.” And you’re bound to that until you know the union. And union means you’re replaced, you’re replaced, you’re replaced.
On the same principle, if you’re a saved soul, you aren’t bothered about your sins. They’re replaced. You don’t say, “I’m a sinner.” You were a sinner. That doesn’t bother you. You’ll glory in the fact that you were a sinner. You’re righteous as Christ is righteous now. Your sins have disappeared in the blood of Christ. So you don’t see the sin question anymore, except to rejoice that you’re a sinner saved by grace. And you see yourself as perfect in God’s sight as Jesus is perfect. So you see, on the salvation level you come positive. You’re not negative about you’re a sinner going to hell. You’re not bothered about that. That negative’s gone from you. Been replaced by the positive which is Christ in you as a Saviour, or for you as a Saviour.
Now this other’s the same. And as sure as it settles into me that I don’t bother again about my sins because I see myself in Christ, righteous as He is righteous and so on. So I don’t bother about my self anymore when the other one is there because my self now has become a Christ-self. I’m
just living as a free person and being myself. And that means following my motives, doing my will, making my choices, and doing what I like. I never waste my time to ask for guidance. I’m a guided person. I just do the next thing. It’s much more fun. There might come occasions when there’s some crisis you’re not certain about. Then you can wait. There might come bigger occasions. Then you’ll say, “Oh, all right, Lord, I’m not quite certain on that.” All right then, you don’t say, “I shouldn’t be uncertain.” You aren’t meant to be certain. That’s what you take from God. “You don’t mean me to be certain. All right, I’ll just wait til you do make me certain.”
Then you’re back on you, and you say, “Oh, you don’t mean me to know. You mean me to remain ignorant. All right, I’ll remain ignorant until you make me knowledgeable.” There is, as I said, temptations, on this level because when temptation arises it becomes adventure. That’s all we say, when we change from the “kid’s prayer” (which is the Lord’s prayer) to James’ affirmation.
James is a top man. James works with John. He’s top man. He shows you God worked out in life. He talks from the union, not to the union. Paul takes you to the union; John and James talk to you from the union. He talks top stuff. And his top stuff is this, “Your whole life is going to be a bunch of temptations. Bless you. Your whole life is going to be crowded up with temptations and trials.”
Whew! Awful fellow. He starts his whole letter off, “My brethren, count it all joy that we’re going to have plenty of trials . . . We’ll count them joy. That’s all you’ll ever get.” Because they’re your adventure. You cannot know a positive except through a negative. You must have a negative. We’re in a great educational period on earth when we’re mixed up with the negative. The negative is this self life, this fallen life, the negative life.
That illustration I just brought about the lady who wrote me. We have vast ideas of love as sentiment. We’ve got it all wrong. Love isn’t soul, it’s spirit. Love is purpose, not feeling. We’ve got it all wrong. We think it’s emotional. It may express itself with an emotion or it may not. That’s not love. Love is purpose. Love is “I will, I will, I will.” That’s love. I will lay my life for Jesus Christ. I may feel I don’t want to do it a bit. I may be doing it for somebody I can’t personally stand but I do it. That’s a love which gives itself for those to whom I’m related, whoever they may be. Now what I mean is this, you only find out love’s like that when you have the enemy to love. Seem love’s dicey-picey when they’re nice people. Jesus said, “Anybody can love their friends.” Anyone can love their friends.
It’s the other-love we’ve entered. Jesus loves your enemies. So you don’t find out love while you’re, just, “Oh, we’re in lovely fellowship, oh how nice.” I’ll tell you, if somebody beats you up and you can’t stand them, now you’ve got an enemy. Now you haven’t got that sentimental love. That sentiment won’t do. You move back to divine love which loves anybody, doesn’t see enemies, sees the “enemy” only as a precious person you’re dying for, you’re living for, that you’re getting saved. That’s love.
My point is, you only see a positive through a negative. Until you’ve had the first wrong form of love and get all torn up because it doesn’t work, then you find the right form of love. That’s why you can’t find God’s courage til you have your own fears. You have your fears, but you do a thing anyway and God takes you through it as it were, whatever it may be. That’s why James is right, there has to be independent negative. That’s our practicing ground.
And, of course, it’s our identifying ground to identify with other people there. You can’t identify with other people beyond what you know yourself. You’ve got to be a person who’s counted your own trials as joys and got quite through with it before you can tell the others to count them as joys. Then your negatives of life become both your practicing ground and your reproducing ground. Because you’re able to help other people through where you were going through yourself.
I’m saying that the difference is this, the elementary says the Lord’s prayer, “deliver us from evil, lead us not into temptation”. That’s the little shivering kid starting. Grow up. James says, “Oh, count it all joy, get plenty of them, your trials are great, your temptations are where you come through.” In the end we’re saying, “Blessed is the man who enjoys temptations because when he is off to his trial you see the crown of life.” So you reign through temptation. A crown means you’re crowned with life. You’ve found reigning in life through temptation.
So it’s through temptation you reign in life. That’s what James says. So, you see, it’s a key area in what we call Christian living. You all know the first one, “Count it all joy.” Again, of course the soul doesn’t feel it. You “count it” as spirit. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse trials or temptations, for the trial of your faith works patience.” In other words, it causes you to believe. Your trial pulls you out from faith, pulls you out to negative faith, believing in the trial. You’re in self again, believing in the trial, believing in things hurting you. So temptation pulls you out to negative faith. The trial of your faith means, “Oh, come back to real positive faith. God’s got it.”
So your trials become your springboard to move back from negative faith where you’re temporarily believing as if you’re an independent self and some temptation is bothering you. You come back to Christ in you. And that works patience. It works steadfastness. You get steady. You become steady in the life. And then he says, right on, in verse 12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried (that means when he’s been through the whole business) he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.” So, we reign in life by temptation. As we know the conquest of trial, of temptation, that’s reigning. And then we can help other people to reign in life. That’s as I see it.
Now, the hump is this ultimate spot. It isn’t really different from the salvation hump, except as another form. You might say, “Go over the hump of salvation.” What’s the hump of salvation? You see yourself as a sinner. Maybe you’re under some bondage. You say, “It’s all right to say Jesus saved me, but I’m this, how can he talk like that to me?” So while you see your sins, you can’t get it. You’ve got to see your sins and see you’re a sinner and you’re grabbed and you’re lost, but you don’t get saved just knowing that. You have to replace all your feelings of sinfulness and your appearances of the power of sins over you by saying, “I believe what Jesus Christ says.” That’s “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” You say, all right, you say you did die for me. I can’t prove it. You say it’s so. And you say you live now and my sins are out and you accept me and love me. I’ll believe it.”
So you have to defy your negative believing. Your negative believing is, “I’m a sinner. Oh, I can’t get out of that. Don’t talk to me. I can’t get out of that.” You must say, “I’m not going by that. I’m going to replace my negative believing in the outer appearances by positive believing in what God’s word gives me as a agent, what God’s word says about Jesus Christ.” You don’t really believe the word, you believe that Jesus Christ’s given you in the word, of course. And you believe it. And as you do, then this witness comes true to you and you find you are saved. And so, faith has become substance and you are saved. And then you aren’t bothered about your sins. You don’t run about fussing about your sins, except to praise God that they’ve been redeemed. You don’t be a sin-fusser, you become a Christ-fusser. You’ve moved over as a part of your natural being.
This second one’s the same. The second hump is the difficulty of not regarding my apparently failing self. That’s my difficulty. Part of it is human pride. But I’m such a weak person. I do have riles with my wife and my husband. I do get overheated. I do argue. I do get tense. I do have feelings I feel I shouldn’t have. It’s in a sense almost pride. You’re kind of preserving yourself. You say, “How can I say I’m dead, or Christ in me, when I’m like that?” Now you’ve got to say the same thing about that stuff as you said about your sins. You say, “Sinner, stop that looking at your sins. That’s not the point. Go with what Jesus Christ says. He blots them out. You believe him and you’ll find they’re gone. You’ve got to move away by a leap of faith, across the hump.” And say, “Jesus Christ is my Saviour despite what it appears to be down here.” And you transfer your attention from down here to up there. Faith goes up here.
Now, this hump’s the same. This is where people drag their feet. Underneath they say, “Well, this is all very well, but you see, I’m such a weak person, I’m such a failure. How could I say I’m Christ walking about in me?”
You’d better get to believing the Bible! That’s all. The Bible says I live, no I don’t live, Christ lives in me. Replaced me. The Bible says Christ is my life. The resurrection letter is Colossians and that’s why it says, “If you’re risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God . . . your life is hid with Christ in God.” Well, that’s IT! Your life is hid with Christ in God. Then it suddenly says, “When Christ, who is my life!” He moves right in. Well, if Christ is your life, Christ is you. If Christ’s your life, that’s you.
As the Colossians says, that what you are is Christ in a human form. Or, Paul puts it much better, of course, he says, “I don’t live, it isn’t I living, it’s Christ living.” And then the branch becomes minor. The branch is myself. Now, until I get this right, I don’t see that the point is the Vine and the branch is the Vine in its branch form. I’m just seeing branch. I’m branch-minded rather than vine-minded. I fuss about my branch, I say it’s such a feeble branch and stuff. And I can’t see it.
Now, when I move on, I’ve got to say, “No! I’m a form of the vine. Christ is the vine. This is what I am. I’m a branch form, but I’m part of the vine and this is the vine operating here. And then you just come back as the agency. You become the minor instead of the major. So, I’m saying, you don’t get over that hump until this freed life, except by, as a second stage, the same replacement of negative believing by positive believing. Your old negative believing was, “I’m a sinner.” Now I’ve stopped that. I believe what Jesus Christ is.
And secondly, don’t say, “Oh, I’m such a poor self, I’m just a self and I get my weaknesses.” Drop that stuff! Watch yourself and say what He says. “You’re crucified with me.” “You’re dead to being controlled by those things.” Say what He says. And then, “You’re crucified with me and now your real you isn’t you at all. You’re crucified with me. I live, no I don’t live, Christ lives in me. The real person has become Christ in me.” After you’ve done that you’ll find that your self fits back. That’s when you begin to see self as an asset. Because now you begin to see that the point of your life is the vine, not the branch. The branch is just a form of the vine. And you become vine-minded and vine-centered and head-minded. The head’s Christ. The head’s through the body. So I become minor that way. And the branch part of you is an asset.
It begins to dawn on you that you’re God’s precious person. You always were! You were made perfectly! It’s only the devil messed us up a bit en route. The devil didn’t make us, he only stole us. And Jesus Christ led captivity captive and stole us back, that’s all. The devil didn’t make us. We’re beautiful. We’re made in God’s image. Beautiful! So we begin to appreciate yourself. There isn’t one thing about me that isn’t magnificent. Magnificent! Now you don’t see that while you’re a separate person and you’re under conviction and condemnation. You think, “Well, I’m still rotten.” Unless you’ve moved over the hump and say “I’m not I but Christ in me” and you say it, and in God’s own time it’s confirmed to you, then you come back to yourself.
“Well, that’s it! I’m Christ’s person if he’s taken me on.” I always say He made a poor choice, taking me, that’s obvious, very poor taste, but that’s Him. If He has poor choice, that’s His business. But, He’s taken me on. OK. I’m His asset now. I’m beautiful to Him. My emotions, my reasons, all are beautiful. I may be tempted out, but that’s not the point. I’m not living by my temper or my misuse of my desires.
What do you mean by that? I’m God’s person and my body is God’s body, a member of Christ. And you begin to be an asset. And then you’re free. And then you act as His asset. And you dare to say, “Well, if He can trust Himself to me, I’ll go and be myself and it’s His fault if I go and make a mess.” If you make a mistake, tell him it’s His fault. It’s His mistake, not yours. You’re free. That’s the second one. But I don’t believe you get over without the hump. You can step over by saying Christ lives in you.
But many still regard “Christ in me” as two. It looks like two. Christ in you, Christ in you. It should mean that you’re One, really. But it doesn’t always mean that because we’re so used to separation. We’re so used to preserving separation that we tend to think it’s Christ in me, two of us. Therefore it’s a question when you get through until you say I am Christ in my human form. Not “He’s in me”. Christ IS me. Inside that, there does remain a “two,” but that comes afterwards. Inside it, you are a human, you’re the human, you operate as a human. And, down here on earth, as I say, that human gets pulled out, that’s our enterprise, that’s our adventure, is to get pulled out, as if you are apart from Him. That’s the whole life. It consists of the adventure of this trial stuff.
Presumably, we shan’t have that in heaven. How we operate in heaven when there’s nothing that consciously pulls us out, I don’t know. We still remain two. It’s a paradox. It’s still Christ is Christ and you are you. And yet, He’s kind of overwhelmed you so the real you is Christ and that’s the best you can put it in the human language. But it’s still Christ is Christ and you are you.
Down here on earth, temptation is the one that makes that a consciousness because the devil pulls you out. But the Bible says God is never tempted of evil. That means when we’re into God’s realm there’s no temptation. There are no opposites to pull you. See, when we’re up there we don’t know how we operate as being Christ and yet being ourselves. We can’t answer that. When we get there we’ll talk about that one. How you operate when there’s nothing to pull you out as if you’re yourself. And yet you are yourself. You’re still two as one yet two. That’s the nearest you can put it. So that’s it.
And I have a new life living in me. A new life is me. Good news. Christ is me, the hope of glory. Hallelujah.