Notes from Norman
Simple as This
By Norman P. Grubb
THE FINALITY! WE ARE ROYAL PRIESTS
There is then this third level, the father level, found in John 2:12-14. It is the way of the Spirit joined to our spirit (where we have moved from knowing merely God’s acts to participating in His ways, Ps. 103:7). It is He carrying out His love activities in the world by us, which, of course, are the outgoings of God in His eternal nature of Self-giving “that the world through Him might be saved”. This is the new and final quality of living in which laying down our lives that others may have their predestined completion is not seen as sacrifice but glory, just as John always spoke of Jesus’ coming Calvary as “The Son of man being glorified.” (John 7:39, 12:23)
In the fulfillment of this there is the discipleship process in which we are being trained to be apostles, God’s sent, commissioned ones, whatever our walk of life. All of us who are “young men” of necessity are moved into the royal priesthood life as being the nature of Him Who now expresses Himself as us. It is the “taking up your cross” stage, beyond the point of going to His cross for salvation, and then on His cross and thus He in us/as us we now move on to become participators in His cross. Finally, there is a warning Paul gives in 1 Cor. 4:14 that there is now the call to us to “take up your cross and follow Me” and thus be Who He is. Some deeper recognition is involved in this and not all believers follow through into the total meaning of our New Being. See in 1 Cor. 4:8-14 where Paul so differentiates between the Corinthian Church with its blessed and gifted members, and himself and others who were “apostles”, and warns those saints (1 Cor. 4:14) about their danger of coming short of their completion of taking their intercessory share in the Spirit’s saving actions by the Saviour’s body.
As disciples, learners, as in Luke 14:23-33, the Spirit takes us through detaching-attaching processes. By these we are loosed from our over-attachment to even what are the “good” things of life: family bonds, earthly possessions, over-concern for our own security or physical well-being. “If any man hate not father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sister, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” And, Jesus says, there is a sitting down and counting the cost of this by which we become, not just saved, but co-saviours with Him. (1 Cor. 9:22) The Spirit will make apostles of just those who take the full position of faith that He is doing it, which will be in various forms the fulfillment of Paul’s description of an apostle in 1 Cor. 4:9-13 and 2 Cor. 6: 8-10). This is the top level completed Spirit-self.
For Paul, in Phil. 3:7-11, that meant that after the joy of his salvation (“… what things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ”), he then gladly counted all things as loss compared to finding his own completion as Christ in human form in the young man state, “… the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. This, he said, meant that he “suffered the loss of all things”, and that plainly hurt him in the young man stage. But now as the apostle in the royal priest stage, it was actually repulsive to him to think of retaining what it had then cost him to give up, “do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Total reversal, not of attachment to the bad things of life, but the good things to be absorbed in the best, the only true things. These were to “win” the privilege of equality in co-saviourhood with Christ, way beyond the stages of relying on Christ for his personal needs; now it was to be absorbed with Him in paying the necessary price for the fulfillment of a world’s need and that meant being one with Him on that co-saviourhood, fatherhood level, sharing in manifestations of His power by faith action (“the power of the resurrection”). It also meant sharing in the suffering and death experiences of a priest-intercessor (“the fellowship of His suffering and conformity to His death”), from which would then come the co-resurrection of many from the dead the intercessor’s gain.
For us also, not by our self-efforts but by His own way of conditioning us, the Spirit will fix us who are willing from the heart in this same reversal of Paul’s, where our total passion becomes to hold nothing earthly – whether loved ones, possessions, or life itself of any value except as how they may fit in our all-absorbing passion, “the zeal of God’s house eating us up”. In this way, we “win” (Paul’s word) a leveling up with Christ, not now of reliance on Him for my own needs, but being aligned with Him in His Saviourhood. We are taken by the Spirit those same ways He went of utilizing the power of God at our faith disposal (which Paul called “the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10) We are joined to Him in that death-resurrection process of the intercessor, where death-pressures involve us in taking the place of others that they may live, which he called “the fellowship of His sufferings”. This takes us right up to death itself (Phil. 3:10); and this produces what Christ’s out-resurrection produced, not just His rising, but the “bringing many sons to glory” (the full meaning of that special “out-resurrection” word in Phil. 3:11). And so we go, as co-laborers to the limit, and glorying in it, even as He went to the pain and shame of the Cross, not with sorrow, but joy (Heb. 12:2). We are among, not just the Spirit-baptized members of the church at Corinth who rejoiced in their own spiritual riches and fullness, but among those with the marks of apostleship: weak, despised, poor, a “spectacle” to be stared at as crazy, yet apostles (1 Cor. 4: 9-13; 2 Cor. 6: 8-10).
We see this as the glorious completion of the “completed man in Christ”, the human side of the mystery of Christ in man, which Paul coupled together in his basic standard statement of Col. 1: 26-28: Christ in us (v. 27); we, complete men in Christ (v. 28). This was the ideal to which Paul pressed forward, not a perfection of sainthood which had been his for years, but a perfection of co-saviourhood in the fulfillment at all costs of his high calling. For him that was the glorious taking of the gospel to the Gentiles and the building up of the saints in Christ, his two-fold ministry. (Col. 1: 23, 24) This had meant for the Saviour Himself an uncompleted task until He laid down His life for us (Luke 12: 50), and so it did for Paul. (Phil. 3: 12-14) And for us that means, as anointed ones (which all we believers are), we move right into our high calling. We are then pressed by the Spirit into this total absorption in Him flowing out of our inmost being (travail) into others, in countless unexpected ways, so that each of us is fulfilling various intercessions in action, in whatever outer position of apparent unlikelihood we are in. These intercessions, which are the Spirit, The Intercessor, interceding by us (Rom. 8:26), drive us to a sense of committal, which we do not seek, but which takes us over. We have moved from our young man condition of rejoicing in the inner revelation of being He in our forms, fixed eternally, and are now becoming free from overriding self-concerns to involvement outside ourselves in people and situations. The reality of the royal priesthood takes us over.
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