Are You Fulfilling
A great many Christians believe that the law has been "done away". All that God requires today, they tell us, is that we show love. But what is love?
Would it be love, for instance, for the person in a counselling role to leap into bed with his client in order to demonstrate genuine acceptance of a woman who feels rejected?
Love can be very subjective. What one person considers an expression of love may seem like gross immorality to another.
Because of the risk of whitewashing sin by labelling it "love", another band of pilgrims that are part of what we call the church insists on varying degrees of obedience to moral law. Not only the ten commandments, but the various other moral "ought-to's"
God is a specialist in simply being.
concerning Christian dress, smoking, worldliness, and so on. This sector of the church reminds us, as one put it, that "love is to fulfill the law".
One thing is sure: Paul was no advocate of sin. Whatever he taught with regard to the law, it was not to encourage license.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Since we are all agreed that sin is a "no-no", what is sin?
I noticed years ago that Christians rarely come out with a clear biblical definition of sin. To one it is cardplaying, drinking, dancing; to another these things are fine, but wearing a bikini swimming suit, or a dress that is more than an inch above the knees, or smoking a cigarette would constitute sin. It seems that sin is usually defined according to the particular church tradition you have been exposed to.
Since sin is a biblical term, we might expect to find it defined in the
by David Ord
pages of the Bible. And though it isn't often quoted, the apostle John does clearly state that "sin is lawlessness". Not, as the King James version inaccurately renders it, "sin is the transgression of the law"; but as more modern translations rightly put it, "sin is lawlessness".
What law are we talking about here? Few of us would argue that John had in mind the law of Moses. We recognise that we are dead to that law. If a person wishes to take up with the law of Moses, he ought to make sure that he performs it in its entirety, because the rule-of-thumb for law-keepers is "Cursed is every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them."
And yet - many of us still want to retain something of law in our Christian lives. We are not prepared to capitulate to the total subjectivity of "love". We have heard of the terrible abuses of the "love" way, and it seems to be a very dangerous doctrine. So we find ourselves hovering between the moral 'ought to' of the law, and the complete freedom of the "love" concept. What is the answer?
When a young ruler asked Jesus how he might inherit the kingdom he was proclaiming, Jesus pointed to the commandments. Of course, the young man felt he had kept these from his earliest days. He was technically righteous by the law's standard. However, Jesus went on to illustrate the much more stringent standard that was required for entrance into the heavenly kingdom and eternal life. By this standard, it would have been easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the young man to enter the kingdom.
So difficult did Jesus make the "ought to" seem that he provoked consternation in his disciples:
And when the disciples heard this,
they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" And looking upon them Jesus said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. "
Jesus had explained that the gate into life was extremely narrow and difficult to find; few had so far entered. Out of the millions who had lived from Adam until his coming, just a handful of Old Testament characters had really come to know God and enjoy an intimate relationship with him. Men such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets were few and far between.
We do not try to live by "ought to's" - that is walking according to the flesh.
The "ought to" route is a hard way indeed! No wonder it seemed to the disciples that no one would ever make it into the kingdom! But the impossible for man becomes the possible for God, and so for those who were tired of striving to please God and constantly failing, Jesus' announcement of "good news" was like a breath of fresh air. The narrow, difficult way was about to be opened into a broad highway:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My load is light.
What did Jesus mean by "learn of Me"? Why did he point to the fact that he was "gentle" and "humble in heart"?
Though Jesus was the Son of God, he freely confessed: "Truly, truly, I
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 3
say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself... I can do nothing on My own initiative." He was humble in heart because he recognised that no human being can accomplish the will of God. God himself must indwell a person and perform his will through the person as a vessel. It was the Father in him who did the mighty works, and that is how it must be with us if we are ever to please him. We must "learn of him" - be indwelt as he was indwelt.
Jesus was also "gentle". He refused to strive in his own strength. He was One with the Father, so that the Father's life and power coursed through him. "The Father is in me, and I in the Father," he told his critics. "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." "My Father and I are One." He did not try to do the will of his Father, he simply allowed himself to be indwelt as a vessel so that the Father could manifest his life through him. Though great work was accomplished, it was all from a state of spiritual rest.
This was the "rest" hinted at in creation week, in Israel's weekly keeping of a sabbath day, and in the rest of the earthly Promised Land. All of these Old Testament shadows pictured the time when Christ Jesus
God does not function by a set of rules. He simply is. And he is LOVE. Any code of rules can only be a shadow of the reality.
would come to this earth to demonstrate how God can live in human beings and fulfill his will in them without their own effort or striving.
Once we recognise that we can do nothing righteous of ourselves - that all our righteousnesses, before and after conversion, are like filthy rags - we are ready to allow Christ to live through us. "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Not a day, not a physical place on this earth, but a rest which comes from being yoked in union with Christ. The fulfillment of the sabbath type:
For the one who has entered His rest
has himself also rested from his
works, as God did ,from His (Heb.
The external "ought to", whether it be of the ten commandment law or of
our own making according to our church tradition, shows us our inability to please God. It convicts us of failure and weakness. When we are about to drown, after we have wallowed in our own self-effort and failed miserably, we can finally cease from our own works and enter into rest in Christ.
This "rest" is not a rest of laziness. We have been set free from the law of "ought to", but it is not a freedom to live as we please in the flesh. Rather, we have been joined - yoked - to Christ and "the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him." Not two, but One; just as Jesus and his Father were One, so that for him to live was really the Father. And for us to live is Christ! When he indwells us, he lives his life of tremendous works through us. The proof of his oneness with the Father, he said, was the works that were being accomplished. If we are one with him, he will live that same fruitful life through us today! Collectively, we will do even "greater" works than he did while on earth, because then he was limited to one human body, whereas now he lives in many.
In John 17 Jesus prayed that we might enjoy that same oneness he enjoyed with his Father. He manifested the Father, and we manifest him. No one ever saw the Father, but in seeing him they saw the Father; so also the world does not see Christ, but it does see him through us.
Now, see how this fulfills the law, even though we do not try to keep it! The evangelical friend I quoted earlier said that love "is to fulfill the law". But that is not what Paul actually wrote. He wrote that "love therefore is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:10). He did not say that if we do certain things, that is love; he said that if we have love, we have fulfilled the law.
What is love? A Person. "God is love." Love is not doing something, it is a Person expressing himself. When God gave the law to Israel, he gave them a set of rules that embodied some of the essential traits of his nature at a childlike level. But you could perform all of these things and still not love. Striving to do these things, trying to live up to the standard, is a long way short of the One who is love indwelling you and fulfilling all that the external code pointed toward in outline, shadow form.
God does not function by a set of rules. He simply is. And he is LOVE. Any code of rules can only be a shadow of the reality. To not murder, not steal, not commit adultery, not covet
is wonderful. But it is a long way short of being One who by nature is the very opposite of all of these evils!
When you were a child, your parents and schoolteachers placed you under rules. You lived an externally regulated life. You were told when to go to bed, when to get up, how to dress, what to eat, what to study, and a host of other instructions. That is how the law functioned:
Now I say, as long as the heir is a
child, he does not differ at all from a
slave although he is owner of every
thing, but he is under guardians and
managers until the date set by the fa
ther. So also we, while we were child
ren, were held in bondage under the
elemental things of the world (Gal.
A child learns the elementary principles of life. Getting sufficient sleep; eating a balanced diet, instead of only sweet things; washing behind his ears, and cleaning his teeth regularly; the discipline of study and work, instead of all play. These qualities are instilled into him from outside, enforced through a system of reward and punishment.
When we are young, we are restricted to the playpen. We learn the ABC's, just the elementaries of living.
To not murder, not steal, not commit adultery, not covet is a long way short of being One who by nature is the very opposite of all of these evils!
But when we mature and come of age, we begin to function as adult sons. Though we were under orders and no better than a slave, now we become lord of all -masters of our own lives -no longer requiring the restrictions of the playpen.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and a son, then an heir through God.
The external has become internalized. Only instead of a set of rules, it is the spontaneous outflow of a mature life. So the adult doesn't have to have a set bedtime; he is free to go to bed early when tired, or to stay up
PAGE 4 UNION LIFE
into the early hours of the morning, perhaps even working a night-shift and sleeping through the day. Yet he fulfills the external law that he was under as a child. Though free to live spontaneously, he gets enough sleep to stay healthy: and that is what the aim of the external law was.
A child can never become an adult by doing the things he is told to do. Going to bed at a fixed time, making sure he washes behind his ears, or studying when assignments are given, do not make him into an adult. But when the child matures into an adult, he will naturally fulfill all that the external regulations of childhood pointed toward, without actually performing those regulations.
In like manner, trying to be loving will never produce a loving person. Trying to please God will never fulfill his will. But when God lives through us, because he is love he will fulfill in us all that the "ought to" attempted to inculcate. Thus, "what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did" -and this was "in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:3-4).
We do not try to live by "ought to's" - that is walking according to the flesh. But when we recognise that we are indwelt by Love, the inner voice of the Spirit prompts us in a thousand ways daily and we find ourselves living out the life of God, spontaneously fulfilling the "ought to" sought to bring about.
God is a specialist in simply being. He does not live by a set of rules. He just lives, spontaneously. He is the "I AM". He is - functions as - what he is. If we live as One with him, we will be him in this world. We will live the resurrected life of Jesus - not a life of do's and don'ts, but a life that is righteous because he is righteousness. "As he is, so are we in this world."
We will do righteousness because we are righteous - yet "not I, but Christ". John shows in his letters that it cannot be otherwise. If he indwells us, living through us, the outward manifestation in the flesh must come forth. We are known by our fruits. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, even as a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Though the manifestation may be a little while in coming, it must come.
This life of Love is not lawless. It is not a self-pleasing life. It is not anarchistic. It is the most lawful life conceivable. It is the One who is the Law - who is Love - expressing himself through the human vessel. We do not
walk in the outer desires of the flesh, nor follow the whims and fancies of the material world. We walk the ascended life of the Christ, receiving his commandments in our innermost hearts and minds from moment to moment. Thus we are the will of God in every situation that faces us from day to day. And so the law is fulfilled in us.
Therefore "cast out" the ought to, for it cannot inherit with the freedom of this spontaneous life of Christ (Gal. 4:21-31). It was just to lead you into the box-canyon of "I can of my own self do nothing," that you might come to Christ. The external "ought to" can never impart life: life is a Person. And when that Person indwells us and lives as us, in our human form, we do not "void" the law but establish it and fill it up full, living at a level far and above what the commandment could ever verbalize.
Instead of a written code we have the inner voice of the One who is our life - the constant flow of commandments that are him thinking his thoughts through us in every situation, for "we have the mind of Christ." And whereas we did by nature the things of the evil one, according to the course of this world, now we do
by nature the fruits of the Spirit.
So it is not the "ought to'' of the external law, and neither is it the wishywashy external concept of trying to "love" everybody. Instead, it is the living Person expressing himself through us, living as us. And that is safe! We can count on him.
There is just one barrier to this flow of heavenly life: unbelief. That is all that can stop the reality becoming manifest. We must come into "the obedience of faith". If God says it, though I cannot see it, I believe it against all odds. I "fight the good fight of faith". I affirm that I am the righteousness of Christ, and that he is my life. I refuse to take condemnation while I await the manifestation in action. I say that what God says is true even when my soulish feelings tell me something different. And the life comes forth!
What is sin? Lawlessness. To fail to live as God himself lives, for he is the Law personified (Rom. 3:23). But thank God, we do not have to try to keep the law, he fulfills it in us. So we are freed from the "ought to", and freed from the license of just trying to "love", in order that we might be what we are - the righteousness of God in Christ. 0
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 5
When I returned from Vietnam in 1970, I was a confirmed heroin addict.
In the years that followed my release from the service, I experienced all the discomforts that accompany heroin addiction: I stole from loved ones and unloved alike; I robbed, cheated, and hurt people just to obtain money to get enough heroin: but there was never enough of the stuff.
The odds were building up against me by 1972. One can only go for so long in such a condition. Eventually, something happens. For me, it was a police raid on a house in Miami where I was laid up "coping a rush". I was charged with possession of narcotic implements, loitering in a place of known narcotics, and possession of heroin.
Because of this "bust" it became apparent to everyone that I needed some help. Not only because of my personal desperation, but also because of the need to have some rehabilitative process in the works before I stood before a judge on the charges.
This put my father to work looking for a drug-rehab for me to go to. I guess the best thing that could have happened was that a friend of Dad's came up with a place that was patterned after David Wilkerson's Teen
Delivered from "Demons"
At this place, Surfside Challenge, I was exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't use the word "exposed" lightly. We went to church three or four times a week, had morning devotions each day, studied the Bible two or three times a day, and much more.
I can recall a time at the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami. Flamingo Park was a camp ground for many of those who were protesting this or that. The director of the center I was in thought it would be a good idea to go down there and read the Bible. So off we went, supervisors, house-mother, program members, all of us. What did we do at the camp site? Read the Bible, twenty-four hours a day. Looking back, I'm sure it was more of a publicity gimmick than anything else - although there was some witnessing done.
One thing I'll never forget was my
by Robby Knuck
third or fourth night at the center. There I was, still feeling really bad from "cold turkeying", when someone decided I needed deliverance from a host of demons that they discerned. What do you say to someone when they explain, "You have demons in you and we'll get them out"? What could I answer but, "Sure, why not!"
They sat me in a chair in the middle of the room. Everyone prayed as this one brother called out this demon and that demon. Another member of the program who was standing by told me later, "I was waiting for them to call out the 'demon of Volkswagons' next!"
Needless to say, it was not long before I asked the Lord to come into my life. Strange, but I remember my prayer: "Jesus, if what these people are into is real, then come into my life." That was my sinner's prayer.
It would be nice if I could tell you that this was the end of my problems. But deliverance from ''demons', and even accepting Christ into my life, didn't free me or give me the power to live the Christian life.
If I imagined that everything would change at my conversion and that it would be nothing but a "peaches and cream" life from then on, that wasn't the way it went. Not even when I experienced the "baptism", together with speaking in tongues.
Most people felt that if you did not get a life-changing experience when you were saved, you had one coming when you got baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some called it the "second blessing" and told me it was for "power". I did not feel a great deal of joy when this experience became mine, but to say I had experienced the dynamics needed to live the Christian life set before me by those brothers and sisters who were my elders - NO. Nothing really changed when I started speaking in tongues.
I still had a problematic Christian life. I still felt hard-pressed, coping with my lusts, attitudes, and compulsions. The "gifts" of the Spirit didn't rid me of the problem of myself.
Soon it came time for me to leave the drug-house and re-enter society. "Great!" I thought. Completely off heroin, with Jesus in my life I felt everything would be fine.
My first day back on the job found me running over to the local SevenEleven to get a beer for lunch. Then two beers. Then more. "Hey, what goes on here?" It looked like a clean-cut case of backsliding. Although looking back, I don't know where I backslid from. Sure, I remember always wanting to live the Christian life as explained to me by those dear saints, but I don't ever remember living it.
I had gotten married in the course of all this, and for a time my wife and I started fellowshipping in a local Pentecostal church. We paid our tithes and even on a few occasions, had some brother or sister over. My drinking continued though, and because of a physical impairment, I landed in the hospital more than once.
It was during this time of drinking and ending up in the hospital that my darling wife got saved. And although she never told me in so many words, I know she turned me over to the Lord. Boy, was I in bad shape in those days!
This is being written in a Florida prison. Why am I in prison? Not from the drug charges. (I evaded those through a technicality.) One day, having just come out of the hospital for drinking, I hit the bottle again. (I drank alone in bars. My drink was vodka and I chased it with water. Looking at it now, I can see that I just replaced heroin with vodka.) This upset my wife a bit, and she left to go
PAGE 6 UNION LIFE
over to her father's to sit the whole thing out.
I don't remember the details, but by the time it was over I had armed myself and shot a police officer. He lived, but will never walk again. The charge I'm doing time on is attempted first-degree murder. I was sentenced to fifteen years in the state pen. When you read this I will have been locked up for four years.
Beginning to Live
For me, spiritual life really started when I came to prison. I can't say why, it just did.
I guess by best explanation is that I suddenly sensed that "He is all and in all". I remember my first day on a job here at the prison. I was raking some gravel, when I thought, "Wow, I could be doing this for the Lord!" I realized that life was all in how I looked at it. From that point on my spiritual life developed at an accelerated rate.
My spiritual progression since being in prison can best be traced by the books I've read. I remember my initial preoccupation with books on demons (I wonder why?), and on deliverance. One can't read about deliverance without coming across Derek Prince. His series on demonology paved the way for me to his "foundation series". What a time of blessing and growth in learning the principles of Hebrews 6.
From here I moved on to one or two other men before coming into books by Watchman Nee. Until then I never had the Scriptures explained like Nee did in his books. (Nee wrote only one
book, The Spiritual Man; other books
with his name on them are reprints of his sermons and teachings.) Watchman Nee was the first man who brought me into any depth with Romans 6:6 and Galatians 2:20 - my co-death with Christ, identification with Him in resurrection life, and the distinction of spirit, soul and body. For the next two and a half years, all I read was books by Watchman Nee. I set out to consume anything with his name on it. Looking back, I see him as a part of the whole - a means to an end.
My next step in growth came through the writings of Norman Grubb. I started with his Deep Things of God. Then God Unlimited crossed my path. Each had just enough to cultivate a taste for something altogether new and not found in what I had read in the past. There was still something missing in Nee's writings. Even now I doubt if I could effectively put my finger on it. I'll just say something was missing - something I
found through Norman Grubb.
I had been reading Norman's books for a year and a half before I ever picked up a UNION LIFE magazine. It came across my desk in the chapel one day. (I'm Chaplain's clerk here at the prison.) I turned back the first page and saw the name Grubb. "What have I got here", I thought. Thus began my relationship with Bill Volkman and Bill Mortham, relationships I prize very much. Just recently they came to see me here at the prison.
In writing this, my story, I don't have a "point" to convey so much as a
person. I imagine some would think
that person is Norman Grubb. No, He has helped greatly, but the Person my story focuses on is Jesus Christ. He is all I have, all I now live for.
I have come to see that Christ "fills all in all". In Him I lived, am living, and will live; in Him I moved, am moving, and will move; in Him I had my being, have my being, and will have my being. I've learned the truth of "all things work together for good" -even all the dope I shot in my arm, all the people I've hurt and all the other negative things I've done.
As I look back now, I see more clearly the overwhelming hand of God in it all -not only up to, but even beyond my present setting in prison. True, sometimes I did not see His hand; but our seeing or failing to see has nothing to do with the reality of his presence. His will is manifested in all the circumstances of life, regardless of how we see them.
You remember the parable Jesus once told about two men who were forgiven their debts. "Which of them therefore will love him more?" Jesus asked his hearers. The answer: "I suppose one whom he forgave more." Indeed, where there is much sin, there is much grace; and grace is no more evident than in my position right here and now, in prison. This is not to say that I love him more than you, just to explain how God's grace has been manifested in me.
I have nothing but gratitude for the keeping with which he has kept me, never once casting me aside. I am here in prison to the praise of his glory; and I know that some day I will be released from prison, also to the praise of His glory.
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 7
C an you imagine a time before there was any time, or a time when time shall no longer be?
This is inconceivable to us, who never seem to have enough of this priceless commodity. Our whole lives revolve around time. The rising and setting of the sun, the change of seasons, the incessant ticking of our clocks are all reminders that we are indeed prisoners of time, inescapably locked into a time-space world. Time and life seem virtually synonymous. Our life is time, and time is our life.
How strange to be confronted in the pages of the Bible by one who is not limited by the boundaries of time and space, who reveals Himself as 'I am that I am'. He is the 'same yesterday, today, and forever' - the one who 'changes not'. He is spirit and lives in a constant state of being.
All There Is
God is the great All from which all has come. He is the creator of everything.
When God created the material universe, he did not create something from nothing, as many assume. He created matter from spirit. 'The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.' Visible things are temporal, but 'things which are not seen [spirit-reality] are eternal.'
God did not create the universe and then walk off and leave it to operate as a gigantic perpetual motion machine. He didn't merely wind it up and leave it to function on its own. He did not create something apart from himself. He made a universe which is still very much a part of himself. He manifested himself in what he made - form and substance.
God permeates all matter. The vast variety of wonders in our universe are expressions of him who fills all things. 'The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.' He is the all-pervasive Spirit. 'Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence?'
The atomic and sub-atomic building blocks of the universe pulsate with the energy of God. Electrons pursue their endless flight around the nuclei of atoms and the awesome energy of the atom is locked into the nucleus through the cohesive power of God. 'For by him all things consist [hold together].' God is the 'cosmic glue', the 'perpetual motion machine'. He is the heartbeat of the uni
by Richard Plache
verse - and our heartbeat as well. 'For in him we live, and move, and have our being.' All of matter and all of life are infused with his very presence.
Yet God is more than this visible expression of himself. He is greater than the sum total of all he created. He transcends the material universe. Matter, time, and space are all God manifest, but he is limited to none of them.
The boundaries of matter, locked into a time-space continuum, do not exist in the realm of spirit. God towers above time and space. He views the material universe from a perspective that is infinite, not finite. He sees everything in the arena of time and space as an ever present reality - a timeless here and now. This is why He is able to 'declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done'. God's time machine is, therefore, timeless!
A God's-Eye View
We are now ready to see key events in God's plan from his limitless perspective. In the final analysis, his viewpoint is the only one that counts.
We will be entering a new and strangely different dimension. We will no longer be relying on the familiar and seemingly reliable evidences of our five senses, for we are going to see that there is more to reality than 'meets the eye'. What seems real to us isn't ultimate reality.
To do this, we are going to activate what the Bible calls the 'eyes' of our understanding (Eph. 1:18). These are not the eyes of physical sight, but the eyes of faith. 'We walk by faith, not by sight.' The eyes of faith look at everything the way God himself does.
The Bible speaks of events separated by hundreds, even thousands of years, as if they were taking place at the same time. Events are also spoken of as having taken place, when in reality they haven't yet occurred.
The confusion is removed when we understand how God looks at time. Since he transcends the limitations of time, 'a thousand years in his sight are but as yesterday when it is past'. In the realm of spirit, there is no time-lag between thought and reality. Unlike human thought, which requires time and effort for it to be translated into substance, once God purposes to do something it is not only as good as done, it is done. His thoughts are in themselves creative. To think is to be. To purpose is to perform. And it's just a 'matter of time' until what is true spiritually becomes true physically.
What takes even thousands of years to be manifested on the stage of history has already occurred where it really counts, in the mind of God. The entire plan of God is simply the unfolding or unveiling in our physical realm of what is already true in spirit-reality.
The flow of reality is from heaven (spirit) to earth (matter). This can be seen in Jesus' statement regarding the use of authority in the church, that whatever we bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven. (The passage is correctly translated as perfect tense in such versions as the New American Standard, the Williams, and the Amplified.)
Isn't this what Jesus meant when he instructed his disciples to pray, 'Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'? The kingdom of heaven is the realm of reality, where God's will finds perfect expression. God is in process of translating what is spirit-reality into material manifestation.
Before the Beginning
In viewing God's plan, it would seem only logical we should begin at the beginning. But this isn't soon enough! We must begin even before the 'beginning' of Genesis. Something took place before the curtain of creation rose and time began.
At a 'time' before there was any time, a blueprint of cosmic proportions was formulated in God's mind. This unalterably, indelibly set the mold of his masterplan for man. The die was cast. The entire flow of history and the supreme climax of God's creative handiwork became eternal, timeless facts. Decisions were made that crystalized the will of God. The end
PAGE 8 UNION LIFE
became known from the beginning, and the outcome was determined in advance. Nothing was left to chance. God purposed to work `all things after the counsel of his own will'.
Before we ever made our appearance on the scene, God determined that we would be in need of a Saviour. He made provision for this even before man's first sin stained the books of history. Though it was not until the First Century A.D. that the manifestation burst upon the scene in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, long ago Christ was `the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world'.
Not only was Jesus' crucifixion a spiritreality before time began, our individual salvation in him was already a fact! We are told:
Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
These statements aren't to be taken in some vague sense, referring only to an undefined body of believers in general. God makes it very clear that he had specific, literal, identifiable persons in mind. In fact, their very names were `written in the book of life from the foundation of the world' (Rev. 17:8).
Wonder of wonders! God looked down the corridors of time and knew each of us as individuals. His plan isn't a production line, but is intensely personalized and individualized. We are handcrafted vessels, uniquely the product of the touch of the Master Potter. When it is his time, he finally lets us in on what is happening. Thank God the success of his plan isn't left up to us to make it work!
A Case of Mistaken Identity?
In God's timeless overview, the whole human race is identified with two men - the First Adam, and the Second Adam. What both of these men did has affected the entirety of mankind throughout history!
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
What we have here is an exact parallel: what one man did and how it affects us all; and what another man did and how it affects us all. God pronounced sentence on all mankind because of these two individuals. But the two sentences were totally different. In the case of Adam, it was the sentence of death and condemnation. In the case of Jesus Christ, it was the sentence of justification and life.
Some might protest that it isn't fair for God to condemn us for Adam's sin. It's a `bum rap'. We weren't even near the scene of the crime! We were removed by thousands of years from the infamous eating of the forbidden fruit. Surely this alibi should stand up in the court of heaven? It must be a case of mistaken identity.
The fact is, we are no different from Adam. And if given the same test we would also have failed. But God's verdict was not based simply on a theoretical projection. From his timeless vantage point, our sins and Adam's sin are not separated in time. To him, all the facts were in - the chronicle of human sin was already recorded from the very beginning. All of us are identified together.
So too in the `fulness of time' - at that very moment in history which God had pin-pointed before the beginning of time - Christ clothed himself in human flesh and penetrated the affairs of men. And precisely on schedule, as predicted centuries earlier, Jesus' human experience came to an agonizing halt on a rugged cross outside the gates of Jerusalem. The Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world in the realm of spirit-reality, became a historical sacrifice, and the sin problem was solved once and for all. The collective sins of all mankind were dealt with in full as Jesus tasted death for all.
While we were still enemies of God, unable to do anything to rescue ourselves, through his grace we were reconciled to him by Christ's sacrifice (Rom.
5:10). `God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and he committed unto us the word of reconciliation' (II Cor. 5.18). Sin was completely atoned for, forever blotted out, covered by His precious blood.
The ministry of reconciliation is therefore proclaiming what has already happened - what is already reality with God, that all mankind have been reconciled. We simply announce this and invite men to accept what is already theirs in Christ. We give them the opportunity to acknowledge and confess what God has already done for them.
Identified with Christ
The events of Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and ascension are the basis of our salvation not merely because they are historical events which we look back to and acknowledge as having occurred, but because we are inseparably united with him in them. We are identified with him. In the realm of spirit-reality we experienced what he experienced.
When Christ was crucified, all of us were crucified. `Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him.' `I am crucified with Christ.' When he died, we died. `Now if we be dead with Christ.' 'If one died for all, then were all dead."For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.' `Know you not, that so many of as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death.' It is at baptism that what has already transpired in God's eyes becomes real to us. We come into the manifestation of that which already has spirit substance. Christ's achievements and our acceptance of them have become one.
Our Resurrection Life
The story doesn't stop with Christ's death and burial. We are also inseparably united with him in his glorious resurrection and ascension. 'If you then be risen with Christ.' `You are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.' `As Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.' `And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' `Whom
he justified, them he also glorified.',These are spoken of as accomplished facts, events which have already occurred.
Through the death of our `old' man and the emergence of the 'new' man, Christ has become our life -'Christ, who
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 9
by Norman Grubb
T he central secret of all history is the union of the creature and the Creator. Not just the Creator. Certainly not just the creature. But the union. We've found the whole meaning of life in time and eternity when we've found that.
It's probably beyond intelligible apprehension by the finite mind, as well as beyond description. But if our minds cannot completely compass this infinite glory, thank God our hearts can experience it.
And yet, if we think around it, to some extent our minds can compass this great fact of union. We know, for instance, that it is life. That is what eternal life is. There is only one eternal life, that of God. But God is three, dwelling in each other, which is union. So original life is not one person, or still less one thing; it's three living in each other and proceeding out from each other in their several offices.
Original life, then, is union. But not just union: unity. That which proceeds from union, in a balance which is so hard for us to apprehend, is a unity which still leaves us a separate person. There is such a union that there is never again a sense of division between myself and the living God. We've become one person, for "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit". Not two, but one. And yet within that mystery there is a unity that allows us to retain our individuality. That's where a major difficulty comes.
The Cry of the Ages
The first point that we need to get clearly in mind is the union - that we've become one person. We've got so used to the curse of the fall, which is separation, that it's a very long job for us to fully realize the fact of our union with God. And who of us does entirely attain to a continuous recognition of this union?
The great cry of the hearts of the saints of the ages was union. They expressed it in a certain terminology (which is impressive to some of us), describing the way to union as purgation, illumination, and finally union - three phases which to some extent resemble the little children, young men and fathers of John's first letter. It doesn't exactly correspond, but it's somewhere near.
If you read the lives of saints you always find that when they came to union they experienced liberation. As soon as they grasped union, out came a great humanity, a great love, a great power, a great service. They had found the liberating secret.
It is when a crisis comes to you and me - a sudden sorrow, a sudden disaster - that we realize how separatist we are in our thinking.
The usual thing we say when a crisis hits us is, "God permitted it". That means that God is up there and we are underneath. But God isn't up there at all! He is within. I never lift my eyes one single time to heaven to try to find Him up there, do you? I don't waste my breath, my sight, or anything else. Why should I waste my time trying to get a Person to come down when He lives within me? I can see Him where He is, in a common bit of human flesh redeemed in His precious blood, packed full of the Holy Spirit.
This makes my whole attitude to life different. Once I recognize that God is joined as one with me, I no longer try to find him or get him to come and rescue me.
A Shared Life
A crisis comes to me. No, no - it doesn't! It comes to us. Not to me, to us. And I'm a mighty little part in the us, while He's a mighty big part.
It comes to Him. And if it comes to Him, He doesn't just permit it, He means it to come. Well, if He means it to
is our life'. 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.' We 'have put off the old man with his deeds'.
Herein we encounter a problem. We see what the Bible plainly reveals as factthe death of the 'old man' with his deeds and our resurrection life in Christ as a 'new man'. But we question the reality of this in our own lives because we see too much of what looks like the 'old man' still around. How do we handle this enigma?
We need to remind ourselves of the basic key that reality begins in the realm of the spirit, in heaven, long before it is tangibly manifested in our earthly existence. There is a time-lag while the spiritreality is brought forth in our awareness.
It takes time for the death of the old man to be realized in experience. That is why we are told to 'put off the 'old man, which is corrupt according to the deceit
ful lusts' and to 'mortify the deeds of the body'. The victory has already been won, though not yet manifest.
It requires time 'until Christ be formed' in us, and until 'we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ'. Though the new man is already 'created in righteousness and true holiness', the putting on of the new man in this material world of appearances does not happen overnight.
Yet through the eyes of faith - accepting and confessing what God reveals as already true - we are to see ourselves as God sees us.
It is not left up to us to bring the manifestation into being. Jesus Christ, as head of the church, has been given the responsibility of bringing everything to
pass in the physical realm that is already
reality in spirit. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. What he has begun will be realized, for he must rule until he has put all enemies under his feet.
Once we understand who we really are, we stop identifying ourselves with the old vestigial remnant of the flesh - the 'old man' of sin. That is no longer who we are. When sin raises its ugly head, we can say with Paul, 'it is no more I that did it, but sin that dwells in me' (Rom. 7.20). The real you is the new you - Christ in you, living as you. This is an eternal FACT, unmistakably, unalterably, and indelibly imprinted in the heavenlies.
All things have already in God's timeless perspective been 'put under Christ's feet', The kingdom of this world has already become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ. This we accept and confess in faith. And this faith absolutely guarantees the manifestation. El
PAGE 10 UNION LIFE
come, He's going to turn it out for His own purposes. So what is my attitude? "Come on Lord, handle it now. Praise the Lord, it's perfect! Carry it out now - I'll watch You." And it's a great watching life. We sit on the side lines and clap when the goals are kicked.
We're caught out ninety-nine times out of a hundred. We say, "Why did God allow that? He's up there, and poor me down here." No, I'm not - I'm in the heavenly places, if I could but recognize it. But I'm caught out almost every time. I'm so familiar with the separated outlook, I can hardly look upon life from the union point of view.
That is where my shocks and my sorrows come. I look at life from separation. I begin wondering: was it God? was it the devil? was it this? was it that? Instead of seeing that it happened to us, and that He meant it to be. When I see that, it changes everything.
''We speak that we do know,'said Jesus. "We testify that we have seen." By we He meant the Father also. "I've got a shared life," He was saying. Well, if Jesus had a shared life, we have a shared life. A united life. Christ in us, we in Him. I can't say this moment that my mind can compass it. I've spent hours seeking to compass it - perhaps I haven't sufficient light yet. But thank God, I know that I know it - or rather, know Him.
Friends, the cross is not the objective. Union is the objective. The cross is the gateway. It's not the end. The Christ is the end, and He is joined to me forever and I joined to Him forever.
An Extreme Message
There are astounding statements in Scripture.
I was struck when I was reading in Colossians 3 about our relationship with Christ - the fact that we are ascended with Him, and so on. It speaks there about the "new man". It says there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free, neither Barbarian, Greek nor Scythian. Then it says, "Christ is all, and in all."
If Christ is all in me, and all in you -what's left? Pretty extreme, isn't it! Even in eternity, when the Son Himself becomes subject to the Father and hands everything over to Him that He may be all in all, is there anything more we can have of God then than we have now if Christ is "all, and in all"? We are complete in Him!
I like to emphasize the Bible as an extreme book. It entitles us to live an extreme life and preach an extreme message. Praise His name! It certainly is extreme. If we wrote what Paul did, that Christ is all in each one of us, they'd say we were pantheists. But God said it!
Now if a common, horrible little piece of clay like me can say "Christ is all in me", it doesn't leave me with much to bother about myself. I just say, "All right God, carry on then." He is in everything that happens in my life; He is totally involved.
If a disease comes to me, it comes to Him as well as to me. It's His business then. Oh, the burdens go off! You'll find all our burdens are upon us because we have this separate instinct instead of the united instinct. Every sorrow we carry, every burden we bear, every tear of self-pity we shed (and there's an awful lot of self-pity in our tears), comes out of separation instead of union.
Every weakness we feel comes out of separation. Oh, I share them with you. No one feels more weak than I do when I've got to speak! I have such an easy life, I'm always glad God has given me one cross to bear, which is the hatred and horror of speaking. Yes, I feel weak - but it's all nonsense. Weak? Of course I'm weak; but there's somebody inside me who isn't.
The Fixed Life
What we are after is a fixed life, a natural life. By God's grace I learn to live naturally in a continuous Christ-consciousness, so that it's natural to me to live this way. It's fixed in me. The Word of God abides in me, not comes into me from outside. It may have started by coming to me, but now it abides in me.
The psalmist once wrote, "Oh, God, my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise." That's the point we are aiming at. As Paul expressed it, "That Christ my dwell in your heart", not visit it occasionally. He has taken up a permanent residence. That was Paul's prayer for the Ephesians.
It wasn't the first prayer he prayed for them. It was further along the way, perhaps even his deepest prayer. He prayed the highest things he could pray in Ephesians because he talked the highest language. He put a unique emphasis on the fact of Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith. He didn't really mention the cross here. Not that he belittled the cross, because the only way into this is by the cross. But sometimes we can even give the cross the wrong place. It's the Christ of the cross who must have the center place.
Now you would call Galatians more of an objective rather than a subjective letter. It's defending the Christian faith from the outer assaults of the circumcisers and legalists. That's the general message of this mighty letter. But I was very struck with how Paul every now and then, right in the midst of this great apologetic of how God rescued us through justification by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ alone, flashed in a word of his own testimony and went clean out of the objective into the subjective.
There is a striking instance in chapter one (verses 1416). He is giving us insights into his conversion. We'll say it was written 15 or 20 years after his regeneration on the road to Damascus. He writes: "It pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen."
I remember how I was caught out in such a simple way when I did a translation of the New Testament in my early days. It was into an easy language of Africa. I found that I had translated "to reveal His Son to me", instead of "in". It isn't to reveal His Son to me, but in me.
But what struck me - and we all have different insights strike us, so that we can preach sermons to each other - is the fact that regeneration is a first revelation of an indwelling Person.
Right at the beginning, although it may have taken him some years to compass it, we see this central secret of union in Paul's life. A union which is also a unity, just as God is a union which is a unity. This is what real life, eternal life, is. And we live it now!
The realization of the indwelling Christ - the central secret of union - is the only basis for life which has total meaning. Christ "all, and in all" - I in Him, and He in me. What a glorious way to live! O
Editor: This article was extracted from some teachings given by Norman Grubb at a missionary conference in Japan on August 3, 1954. Unknown to him, these talks were transcribed and compiled in a bound volume. The widow of a recently deceased friend sent the volume to him a few months ago. The amazing thing is that the message of union life given by God to Norman twenty-five years ago is the same message we share in UNION LIFE today.
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 11
by Dan Stone
Many are the times that I have heard Norman Grubb teach on The Meaning of Life. We have travelled many miles together, sat in many homes, and shared with "whosoever" the liberating message of Christ in you.
Norman often introduces this living reality with his own personal experience. Many of you have read it in detail in his autobiography, Once Caught, No Escape. The turning point for him (and for his wife, Pauline) came in Africa while they were dealing with their "self" lives. Until four o'clock one morning Norman wrestled with the fuller implications of Galatians 2:20, finally taking a card and drawing on it a picture of a tombstone. On that tombstone
he wrote, "Here lies Norman Grubb - crucified with Christ". He ends the illustration by relating that the fixed awareness, of knowing, of what he had done did not come until two years afterwards in England.
It is obvious to one and all alike that this was not a conversion experience. The "knowing of the forgiven past and assured future" had been there long before they became missionaries to Africa. It was the feelings of guilt for current sins that the Grubbs were dealing with as they sat on their camp stools there on an African banana plantation. It was unconquered self that had disturbed them. In a diagram it would look like this:
The point of the above diagram is that the historical side of the gospel - the substitutionary blood side -only touches the forgiveness of sins and future promises, leaving us with an unhandled present human situation. But is this really our position?
The tombstone announced Norman's death. But wait: Norman isn't dead because I recently saw him! Obviously we cannot be talking about the human side of life when we speak of him as dead. No, this death must be on the unseen side. It was this death that Paul witnesses to in Galatians 2:20. It wasn't physical death, yet it was a true death that so possessed him that the thought of physical death had lost its sting.
Without this aspect of what happened on the cross we cannot experience full life in the present. Without it we continue emphasizing the past and the future. The
present continues to be a "hell", because life is still lived as a battle between good and evil. We are captured by shadows rather than realities. We are saved people under the power of sin.
The lack of an inner consciousness of the fact that the cross is meant to touch our present situations leaves us with little or no spirit reality for the present. What do we do then? The only thing we can do -try to handle the present in our own steam.
This is what I mean by "good and evil": it is the management of the self life by anyone other than Christ. It is having an adequate Christ for the past and the future, and substituting consecrated, dedicated self for the present.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they were concerned with the outside of the cup instead of the inside. If someone
PAGE 12 UNION LIFE
were to suggest that we too are constantly occupied with the outside of the vessel, we would doubtless be as startled and angered by such an accusation as those who heard it from the lips of Jesus the first time. Yet for many of us it is the painful truth. Jesus' incisive comment reveals that wrestling with good and evil still amounts to evil. Though we try to look like we are living the Christian life, we find ourselves constantly beset by evil.
Most Christians start out by becoming religious. They are occupied with outer experiments such as the attainment of gifts or fruits. They become tithers maybe, or perhaps prayer warriors, Bible readers, or soul-winners. They may even become a preacher or deacon, or a devoted woman missionary worker. We Christians will try anything to fill the vacuum. We hope to make good outweigh evil by our self-discipline, thinking we will receive God's blessing because we mean well.
But any focus on a redeemed individual's flesh is an error. The net effect of good and evil is still evil. No way
will it ever be a substitute for the consciousness of Christ's life as our real identity. Living by substitutes is the very life Mr Evil wants a person to live.
The Christian community, in not knowing a spiritual reality for the present, substitutes ethics and morality. But this differs little from the world's methods. Psychology is the art of knowing yourself through a healthy psyche. Sociology is the attempt to improve conditions through developing the environment. Biology is an emphasis upon heredity manipulation. Economics works in the field of labour and capitalism and deals with the lifting of spending power. Education is an attempt to improve the race through learning. But all possess one thing in common: the stench of death.
God has a total answer for man's plight, not a twothirds answer. He is not a God who brings us through the forgiveness of our sins and then informs us that He has little or nothing for us until He meets us on the other side. This brings us to our third diagram:
The truth Paul proclaims in Galatians 2:20 is the same one that Norman portrayed on his card: to see oneself "in Christ" is to see that Jesus' experience was our experience.
If we are dead, and we are, it is not in the temporal realm. It is in the realm of the spirit. We have died the death that really counts. We have died to sin and our life is hid with God in Christ Jesus.
This revelation explodes the idea that I am under the law of good and evil. I am under no external law
whatever, but under the inner law of love - and He is the love. I am no longer relying on my own strength, no longer seeking God's help, no longer trying to get or copy His attributes. I simply allow the One who is love to live through me. Trying is replaced by being as He spontaneously expresses His life through the vessel.
I finally see that full salvation includes both sides of the cross: blood and body. The cross covers the present, as well as the past and future:
Victory is not just futuristic; it was never intended to be so. Present victory is our best witness. Now is the day that needs the manifestation of victory. Diagram #4 pictures a total Saviour. The reality of Total Life will not bend to the limitations of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism stops at the death side and then tries to reproduce
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 13
Recently, an occupant of a mobile home park shared this interesting observation: "Often people of retirement age, living alone in a trailer park, narrow their lives down to living just for themselves. And when they do, what a small, small world this is." Nothing can be closer to the truth than this. But you don't have to be of retirement age and live in a mobile home park to live only for one's self. Neither do you have to be living alone to reap the coals of fire of selfish living upon your head.
Selfishness was our trademark when "self" was seen dualistically, as an entity, apart from God. For survival, this self-getting "I" was number One. Selflessness became our trademark and lifestyle once we found ourselves in Christ. The same "I" or ego was enthroned, but now the "myself" is recognised as GODself, and giving instead of getting has become the mainstream of our lives.
In Substance we are now an "inner" not an "outer" person, but the world is still our "fun ground." Be it work or play, all is FUN. Giving makes it so, first of ourselves and then of our substance. The SUM and SUBSTANCE is faith alive as our true selves. Interestingly, that once small world enlarges in all dimensions. His occupation becomes our preoccupation and we are alive to all of Creation, but now as a contributor instead of as a recipient of others' contributions. Yet in giving, we receive a hundredfold. Our appetite -now the needs of OTHERS - is fully satisfied as their needs are met, perhaps by us who have become their Bread of Life and Living Water.
Small, small world? No way! His world is now ours as far as East is from West. Without this vision of Who He is and Who we are in Him, people
do perish. Our selfishness lends to their spiritual malnutrition and all suffer, we from overdose as they from underdose. Living for OTHERS is the core of selflessness, God Himself living through us to reach that great BIG world for which His SON laid down His life on Calvary, yet took it again to live this life in us and through us for others. 0
"I Love You"
Often I ask a teenager looking for affectionate attention when they last said to their parents: "I LOVE YOU." Usually, the surprised look assures me it has been too long. Idle, babyish words? I think not. Saying it may be the very attestation needed to confirm the fact. Reading between the lines of another's life can be most misleading. But as a parent, I know what hearing these words do for me. They are an incarnate assurance that God loves me too, even as He loves through me.
I know that we should all know of this of one another without the verbal reassurance, but do we? It is with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The "hand" does reveal the heart. Peers often misuse this expression to perhaps "overdose" proportions. Because it then becomes trite, they abandon it as an unwanted insincerity, a vital tool whose indiscretionate use has dulled its effect.
God says "I LOVE YOU" through all of creation, and especially in the giving of His only Begotten Son. Through THE SON as through sons, today as always, God still seeks to say to all: "I LOVE YOU." God's love is Himself, the "Who" and "How" of our way of saying and Being, "I LOVE YOU," our abundant love and life shared to all in overflowing measure, a measure satisfyingly expressed through a sincerely verbalized "I LOVE YOU" and reinforced with a hug
Finders Not Fiddlers
God expressly tells us that "no man seeketh after God." Yet we often rise early in the morning and stay up late at night seeking Him and His favor. How much more exciting when we're sought and found, as were Adam and Eve, early in the morning in the Garden, found in our loin cloths of selfrighteousness only to be then clothed in His white robe of RIGHTeousness.
He is present everywhere through the eye of faith, for without faith man cannot see God or honor Him. Only by Faith are we accepted by our beloved as were Abraham and Paul. But once found of Him, we become Finders, spontaneously desiring to make HIM known. Lifting up Jesus as our life and love will draw all men unto HIM, because in HIM only are we made free, owing no man anything but love and knowing God to be this love. His every word is now the fulfillment of our appetites, the word made flesh in the Son and sons. He is the breath of our life and the hope of our glory!
FINDERS not FIDDLERS, we are! Once when in Rome doing as the Romans did and harvesting our wood, hay and stubble, we too fiddled, "busyness" occupying our every thought and deed. We had no time to know God. Fiddling can be fun, but preoccupation becomes occupations as we grow weary in well doing. Ever pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, we counsel others to do the same. So this empty game is played to the bitter end as we seek to share in a glory He's promised to share with no man. Happy is the day when we see that our real business is to think God's thoughts after Him, to soar up with wings of eagles, and to be bread and waters of life for OTHERS. 0
PAGE 14 UNION LIFE
I had been living in the allusion of thinking I didn't want to be a part of a group. But slowly after several years of sensitiveness, pain, and self-condemnation (even though I knew union), I began to have revealed in me an understanding that can best be shared in the following illustration.
One day I opened my eyes to find that I had somehow gotten out of the large sack in which I had come. Here I was, a little grain of sugar, separated from all the other little grains, sitting on top of a large kitchen counter. As I became familiar with my surroundings, I saw other grains of sugar all mounded together on top of a piece of waxed paper. Not too far away I saw another mound, not sugar this time but flour. As I focused my eyes I could also see butter, eggs, and warm milk. One small dish had some yeast in the process of being softened. All this seemed so confusing to me. What was I doing here? Who were all these others and what could we possibly have in common?
Out of nowhere came some hands lifting a large mixing bowl, and I began to hear a lot of loud conversation going on among the others with me on the countertop. Some were thrilled and excited that the event was finally beginning. Some said excitedly that we were to die; others said that only a few privileged ones would get to take part in what was to come next. What could all this mean, especially to a small grain of sugar? I decided to try and hide, make myself as invisible as possible so that those hands would not gather me up and place me into that large mixing bowl. I did not want to die, and what would happen to me in that bowl anyway? I would lose my identity; I would become a part of that mixture that would be formed within. I had heard the eggs bragging not ten minutes ago that if the flour and butter wanted to be part of the mixture they'd better get on with trying to correct their imperfections and be transformed into eggs. The mixture had to be one and everyone knows that eggs are important, so all must become eggs. This almost frightened the sweetness out of me. I must save myself from this fearful process of dying and losing my personal identity. I didn't know how I could become an egg; I had always been a small grain of sugar and I knew to change was an absolute impossibility.
How could I hide? Those hands know where every grain is. Unable to save myself, in a twinkling of an eye this small grain of sugar was lifted high off its resting place, and after a dizzying fall through space, I found myself surrounded by strange beings: bits of yolk, some clumpy, lumpy flour clots, then a delicious feeling of warmth from the milk as it fell from the
heated saucepan. How peculiar! All these diverse elements -all in the same bowl. Then to my amazement a large wooden spoon began to mix and stir. I found myself being pushed up against others at a tremendous rate and pressure. All caught up in the apparent chaos of this mixing process, the clots of flour dissolved and the yolks lost their bright yellow color. I seemed to melt into the arms of the warm milk and thought this must be what dying is. The strange thing was that I seemed very much alive. Along with the other ingredients in the bowl I couldn't tell where I began and the next ingredient took over, but yet we retained our uniqueness. The eggs were wrong in their bragging. They needed me to be a small unit of the complete measure of sugar. I needed the melted yeast to aid me in my rising. We all were so vital and important, but none of us yet knew why.
Then came the next part of the process. We had to be taken from the mixing bowl and poured onto a large floured board. There we were pounded and stretched until our original characteristics were lost to those horrified, separated bystanders who had not joined us in the bowl. Now they couldn't tell where I was. All the onlookers could see was the dough we formed together. Only inside the mixture could we recognize our precious, unique individuality. This pounding and stretching process seemed never to end, but in time those powerful hands let us rest in a warm place covered with a clean cloth. While we were resting, an amazing thing began to take place. We began to rise, to swell, to double in our size. Onlookers said we were arrogant, but we were all too excited to care what they thought, for-we could feel this new exciting expansion, this growth.
At long last those strong, loving hands placed us in a pan, and those last moments were terror-filled as we realized the mouth of a heated oven was open to receive us. Onlookers watching, sighed and said, "That's what happens when you sin." I only remember being aware that those with whom I was mixed were now becoming an integral part of me and I of them. At the precise time we heard a bell ring and the door opened.
Now for the first time we saw who we are. We are the bread of life. Unified with Jesus Christ, the Living Bread, we have become a commodity fit to feed a starving world. Now we can enjoy each other's uniqueness, thrill in His mixing process, and marvel at who we have become.
Bette Ketcham Bowie, MD
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 15
by Alan Parker
Jesus enunciated a fundamental principle of spirit life when He said that except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it cannot bring forth life.
The only ultimate life there is in the universe is the life of God. He alone is self-existent. If we are to partake of that life, we must die to all that isn't Life. Everything in the universe must die and be born again of the Spirit. This is the meaning of "Behold, I make all things new." This has been the Father's plan for man - the unique, created form and expression of the Father - from the beginning.
The principle was set in motion with the Man, Adam. He was the represent
ative head of us all. Adam had to fall, not because he was a reject or defective creation, but because the dark principle must be stirred up and then put to rest before the light can come forth safely.
In the past several years, my whole understanding of why the cross is the gateway to union life - sharing in the life of God - has become much clearer. I have come to see that God himself dies to everything but his self-giving self, which is love.
The crossing over between dark and light is, and always has been, from eternity to eternity, the cross on which the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the earth. The cross is the very heart of God, and the basis of why God is a safe God. It is why he "cannot lie", cannot be anything other than love. He has eternally died to the possibility that darkness can arise in his life.
And yet paradoxically, the entire principle of darkness has its foundation in the life of God. It remains unrevealed because He has willed to be a self for others instead of a self for self, by eternally dying to the dark, selfish principle.
Even more strange is the dialectic fact that love emerges from and is in union with selfish desire. Selfish desire came first, and to that God eternally dies. There is a cross in his heart. And from this flash-point, life, which is true being, sheds forth light and love.
This is "always" happening in God's life, because it is an eternal fact. "Eternity" doesn't mean long, long ago or far, far ahead in time. Eternity means "no time". This means that the decision to die to the dark principle is forever set or determined in God. That's why he says over and over, "I change not". He cannot change. He is forever love.
The cross is the secret of God's life of love. He is eternally dying and being born again. This is why the historical Christ had to die on the cross. He died to the dark principle initially stirred up in Adam and passed on to all of mankind. But the cross was always there. It runs throughout time and eternity. What happened in the first century A.D. was merely the cutting of the tree to expose the inner rings of God's love that run throughout the whole tree.
The fact of the cross, which is now being made known to all men, leads to salvation. Jesus not only died all of our deaths, but also rose so that all of our lives could spring forth from the grave with him. Apart from him there is no life whatsoever, only death. Life begins after the cross, even in the life of God.
Accordingly, the cross is the gateway to union life. And yet, in a sense we never leave the cross! Because the cross is more than Calvary. Now that we have entered into union with God, we don't leave the cross: rather, like the Father we now use the cross as the fulcrum or point of power in which the entire infinite might of the forces of desire are reconciled into light and love for others. This is why Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me." We carry our cross with us in our walk with Christ -the cross that God has in his heart -not to suffer physically necessarily, but to die to all negatives and spring forth as rivers of living waters in life anew. So we become light for others.
This dynamic power is fully in each of us as sons and daughters, royal princes and princesses. The full, dynamic process of the life of the Father dwells in us! There is an eternal depth in us, an eternal "all" which contains and possesses all things, knows all things, is all and in all. We are ever the container, and He ever the "all".
On this father level, we are ready, prepared and equipped to speak the word of faith and bring to this physical plane all that the Father has prepared for us from the foundation of the world. These are the "good works" that he intended from the beginning that we walk in (Eph. 2:10). But all along, the cross remains our key.
How does the sun in the sky give light? It is continually dying to produce light. We don't see the death, or the dark contracting forces in this great star. We only see the light. But death is the key to the light. And that light is the life of our world in the physical dimension.
So also the Son, with the cross in his heart, is the daystar risen in our lives. We share in his eternal death and new life, for He is our very life - and He in us is the light of the world that brings life to all men. 0
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 19
That Should Never Have to be Told
I was in a large room, I will not say where. Everything about the room was satisfying - its proportions, its furnishings, its atmosphere. I liked this room, lit now by the dazzling sun of Christmas morning.
Gathered around a glowing tree were those who loved me. They made it seem as if the whole celebration was meant for me alone. One of them came up and laid a present in my lap. It was a small thing, not worth much, but I liked it and expressed my thanks. There were varied gifts, some I didn't like at all, others I thought I would never use, but found later I could not do without. All these gifts I accepted as if they were my due and responded with the necessary gratitude.
Then one came with a gift which I knew had cost him
everything he had. I could guess what it might be, but I
didn't really know and had no desire to find out.
"I don't want it," I said. "I don't want your gift at all." I knew that if I looked up, I would see the hurt in his
eyes, but I didn't even care enough to look up. "Please take it," he said again, and knew at last that all
he'd planned to make this the happiest Christmas of my life had been in vain.
"Maybe some other time," I replied. "I don't really need it now. I'll let you know when I want it."
Was it a dream or did it really happen?
It is happening every day. We accept the beautiful room, our world, its dazzling sun, its healing rain - our environment perfected to meet our every need. We accept all the smaller gifts, which are not really small - the roof over our heads, the love of those around us, the push-button conveniences that leave us free to do whatever we choose -these we take as our due.
But we have been offered a greater gift, a gift whose cost we cannot estimate - the one gift that is "everything you've always wanted and never thought you'd have."
Blessed are we if we accept the gift of Christmas.
"Christ was born! Welcome, Saviour."
The Gift of Christmas
For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
is good to be children sometimes and never better than
at Christmas when its mighty founder was a child Himself.
The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their redletter days, their carnivals and festivals, but once in the year and only once, the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life. Only Jesus of Nazareth claims this world-wide, undying remembrance. You cannot cut Christmas out of the calendar, nor out of the heart of the world.
only gift is a portion of thyself... therefore the
poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer,
corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral shells; the painter,
his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. "
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
PAGE 20 UNION LIFE
Dear Editor, - I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "if you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
- Virginia O'Hanlon.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.
All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance, to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to
watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus.
The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Casual Essays of the Sun.
("And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us".)
This page will be no less a riddle
than those of My holy books
or those others repeated
by ignorant mouths
believing them the handiwork of a man, not the Spirit's dark mirrors.
I who am the Was, the Is, and the Is To Come
again condescend to the written word,
which is time in succession and no more than an emblem.
Who plays with a child plays with something neat and mysterious;
wanting once to play with My children,
I stood among them with awe and tenderness. I was born of a womb
by an act of magic.
I lived under a spell, imprisoned in a body, in the humbleness of a soul.
I knew memory,
that coin that's never twice the same. I knew hope and fear,
those twin faces of the uncertain future. I knew wakefulness, sleep, dreams, ignorance, the flesh,
reason's roundabout labyrinths, the friendship of men,
the blind devotion of dogs.
I was loved, understood, praised, and hung from a cross. I drank My cup to the dregs. My eyes saw what they had never seen - night and its many stars.
I knew smooth and gritty, uneven and rough, the taste of honey and apple, water in the throat of thirst, the weight of metal in the hand,
the human voice, the sound of footsteps on the grass, the smell of rain in Galilee, the cry of birds on high.
I knew bitterness as well.
I have entrusted the writing of these words to a common man;
they will never be what I want to say
but only their shadow.
These signs are dropped from My eternity.
Let someone else write the poem, not he who is now its scribe.
Tomorrow I shall be a great tree in Asia. or a tiger among tigers preaching My law to the tiger's woods Sometimes homesick, I think back on the smell of that carpenter's shop.
Jorge Luis Borges
from: In Praise of Darkness
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 21
THE BETHANY VILLAGE BAKERY
Our readers will be interested in this bold launch-out of faith by three women who are wholly one in spirit with us in our union life reality - Joanna Jauchen, Jo Basye, and Nancy Zaffuto (together with a number of other girls).
Dan and Barbara Stone and Norman Grubb have had several visits with them in Santa Barbara, California. This is their own story.
Newsletter of March, 1979
wanted a year ago a small group of Christian women
10 wanted to "DO" something in order to be together,
to learn in a very practical way the truths we had been learning and teaching in Bible Studies, and to prove to ourselves first, and then to all who hear, that our God is faithful, able to supply our every need, exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think!
The only thing we could all do was cook, so the idea of a homemade bakery was born. Saint Mark United Methodist Church most generously loaned us the use of their new kitchen for six months and we were underway. We chose the name Bethany Village because that was the name of a small village outside Jerusalem where the Lord spent a great deal of time, where He was loved and worshipped, and where two women, Mary and Martha, were especially close to Him.
We began making mostly homemade cookies and cakes with our own recipes. Since the church building was not commercially zoned, our young women took the baked goods around to offices and shops.
Well, the Lord blessed this small beginning unbelievably, and the demand for our goodies grew by leaps and bounds. Everyone loved our girls, our goodies, and our service, so word spread to restaurants and stores who began placing orders.
Within six months the facilities and the time we could use the kitchen were insufficient for our operation. So we asked the Lord for a place of our own-a real bakery! Sure enough, the doors opened before us at 320 N. Milpas, just in the nick of time, as our use of the church facilities had been terminated as of August 1 5th, exactly six months from opening!
We began fixing up, painting and decorating to make our new home an expression of us, all the time getting acquainted with real bakery equipment and keeping up with our steady customers' orders. As we worked, we realized we needed a REAL baker, so we put an ad in the paper, with not one response! We then asked the Lord to send us His man for the job, and one week before we were to open the shop front, in walked Phil Leyva, an experienced and excellent baker-just curious to see if the new bakery needed any help! Did we ever-and he bakes the best bread in town, or so our customers tell us.
PAGE 22 UNION LIFE
On October 19, 1978, the front doors officially opened on Bethany Village Bakery's new home, and it's been nothing ever since but glorious experiences of BIG needs arising and our God supplying! We began with three young women and three older ones full time, plus five part-time women. We now have twelve full time and ten part time with numerous ones coming to fellowship with us from time to time.
Where does our money go? Obviously, the bulk of it goes to support the young people as they learn the things of God in a very practical and life-changing way. We also support several missionaries, and give wherever the Lord shows us a need.
Through all this there has been a glorious growing experience in our Christian lives. We're learning daily what it means to be troubled on every side yet not distressed, perplexed but not in despair! We're learning the meaning of losing our life that we might find it We are proving to ourselves that He truly will never leave us nor forsake us and that we need fear not-for He is with us! We have proved the truth of His Word time and again, practically, in that He is our strength for long hours of hard work, our joy for dark times, and our peace both personally within and corporately without. He truly is a God worthy of praise, one Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or think. We are daily living in the truth of His word that says, "Faithful is He that has called you, who also will do it!"
The Lord is still keeping us in a place of total dependence upon himself for the finances. It seems that every month we have a financial crisis. And right at the last moment, He comes through.
This month it came as a donation. The check was for $2,000.00. Just the amount we needed to cover our bills. The donor knew nothing of our need, at least to my knowledge. We are seeing the Lord's deliverance on a daily
basis as far as the work is concerned, and our business seems to increase every month. Even with increased wholesale and retail sales we still have not been able to pay the girls each week as we would like. We are trusting that God will prosper us to pay them weekly.
We are beginning to see tremendous growth in the girls through the many struggles and encounters, as flesh rubs against flesh, like two grains of wheat rubbing together to produce fine flour. We are seeing the sweet fragrance of Christ flowing from one to another. There have been many hardships and many, many trials. The flesh would have given up long ago. To be in a body cost everything. You can't hide or be an independent individual anymore. You know that you have been bought with a price and you must let the cross do a work in you. The self life has to let go, because Christ's life is totally for others. He was the grain of wheat that had to fall into the ground and die. So we too have to die to our pride, our self-centeredness, our jealousy, our envying, and our being an independent individual. As we do, we see a glorious miracle take place. We see the spirit in each one bring forth victory. Where there is strife he brings forth peace; where there is pride, he brings forth humility; where there is enmity and division, he brings forth harmony and love.
God has been revealing so much to us in the area of love and mercy. It seems that we just think that we are beginning to grasp something of the height, depth, length, and breadth of Christ's love, and then He brings up a situation that seems to demand a love response beyond our present knowledge and experience of love. This shows us that we haven't even begun to grasp what His love really means.
He tested us first with the previous tenant of the Bakery. He had demanded a payment of $5,000.00, and then kept coming back for equipment which we felt did not belong to him. This meant we had to replace several hundred dollars' worth of equipment. Then there was a test with the landlady.
As if these testings with outsiders weren't enough, God is bringing it even closer to home. Now the testings seem more severe as they are from within our group. There have been incidents with one of our workers that have threatened the whole bakery in many ways. And yet as God began to speak to the hearts of each one of us, when our human reactions would come up to judge and condemn this worker, God challenged us by revealing to us more of His Calvary love for the worker. Then our sacrifice seemed small in comparison with His great love.
So I have seen that the love of God is great and more powerful than any force in the universe. To experience harmony between twelve women of different backgrounds, personalities and hang-ups is truly a miracle. Only by His spirit could there be what we now have here. He has and is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond anything we could think or ask. Is He faithful? Yes, He's proven it here. In every way He has shown us that those who put their trust in Him will never be put to shame.
God is now beginning to add men to the Bakery and to expand our outreach as He is bringing more and more people in. So we are thrilled to anticipate an even larger outreach to our city. 0
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 23
MARY, THE VIRGINAL MIND, was over-shadowed by the Spirit,-and she conceived and brought forth Jesus. This mighty illustration is the key to ALL manifestation.
You are overshadowed by the Spirit,-the urge of God to find a Temple or a point of expression. Every desire that comes to you is that urge attempting to come into being,-and all desires are good when properly interpreted.
But when the idea is passed through the thick veils of human belief it is still-born at best. The human mind places its interpretation upon the desire and in its effort to bring it to pass, descends to any level to accomplish it. Thus a bank robber's original idea to possess the substance of life is as good as yours, but his interpretation is wrong. To him, the only means of expressing that desire is to rob a bank, and the law ensues. You may be so defeated by the human
Walter C. Lanyon
belief that your idea cannot possibly take form,-and then you are sent into the wilderness of despair.
On the clear, placid surface of the waters the NEW image is formed. When the consciousness recognizes its heritage and releases all its preconceived nothings of the how, the why, the when and the where, then this wonderful over-shadowing takes place.
Mary, the Virginal Mind, could not by any means understand how she was to bring forth a child without the offices of man,-and neither can you understand how the desires of your heart can come into being.
There are helps given you, and one of them is that "Mary pondered these things in her heart". She kept the secret and contemplated the Power of the Almighty with its ways which are past finding out. And when you do
likewise, the thing will take place, -the conception.
From the instant of conception, the new idea draws its embodiment unto itself. This does not have to come under the prescribed human laws of time and space. It can "look again" and see the fields are white,-in spite of all the findings of man who says it is yet four months to the harvest. The extension of the sight enables the awakened soul to see the finished product before it is visible to the eye,-just as this book is already complete while it is being written. The John Smith then lends itself as the temple through which the manifestation will come. The mechanics of the birth processes will take care of themselves.
Jesus always started with the idea that "it is consummated" before He asked. So sure was He of this fourth dimensional Power, He even thanked God for the completed and perfect manifestation before it was visible. He rested His case with the statement, "I know this is done",-making a concession to the human thought of His listeners who thought something had to be done, in the form of verbal prayer. Your affirmation, as was His, should be a statement of a finished thing, and not a process of endeavoring to create a thing. He made the affirmation because He knew the thing was already formed in the Mind of God, but awaited the recognition and acceptance of Jesus (John Smith). The moment this recognition took place, the manifestation came into being.
The teachings of Jesus were by parable-but parables which were manifested in tangible flesh-andblood. All other teachers "talked" of heaven to come. Jesus showed forth the WORDS He spoke and delivered the manifestations to the earth.
When the masculine knowing and the feminine feeling and receptivity come together, conception takes place. The secret is protected from the vagaries of human beliefs which would "laugh you to scorn",-but what can they do who see the manifestation, but fall down and worship God?
What can you do but surrender all the foolishness of human thought
PAGE 24 UNION LIFE
when you come into the Presence of God? What do you imagine you can do to change the Mind of God? Where did you get the desire you have for a NEW manifestation? Did it come out of thin air? If desire is not God pressing upon the diaphragm of your mind for greater expression, then from whence does it come and why? And if a particular desire were not peculiar to you, why would not every man have the same?
No two men having a given desire will bring out an identical manifestation. If you desired substance, the measure you bring forth would be different from the measure of every other man who desired the same thing. Each one brings out the degree they are able at that time to accept. What is wealth to one might be poverty to another,-and yet it is all one substance. No limitation is put on the measure except the degree of acceptance.
"In my Father's house are many mansions",- many stages and stages of manifestation. As soon as you have finished with one "mansion", you enlarge the borders of your tent and move on to another. The degree of acceptance is wholly up to you and it is not determined by your human desires,-but by your ability to accept this wonderful revelation of Christ Jesus.
"Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the Truth?" You have blamed everything from birth on to the people and conditions about you,-and will continue to do this until you discover that YOU hindered yourself. No one holds you back,-no one stops the flow of Light through your body-temple. At first this is not easy to accept. It is bitter to the taste,-but sweet to the digestion As a good surgeon cuts deep with the first incision instead of cutting away the difficulty bit by bit, so you rid yourself of the hateful habit of blaming everything in the world for your present plight.
As you stand today, you are the sum-total of your consciousness of God. If you do not have sufficient manifestation of Life, you can do nothing about it on the outside. It MUST be done from within.
The NEW idea must and will be born when the NEW conception takes place,-when you have recognized the urge within you as God coming into expression through your templebody. The moment this takes place, the temple is filled with LIGHT and carries out the inner instructions. If it is told to "go into a City", a NEW state of consciousness, and "there
meet a man who will lead it to the banquet room", it is ready to go or to do, without question. For instance, when the book, or the picture, is conceived in the invisible, it must and will pass through the temple-body through which the mechanics must be performed.
All of this is in the deepest secrecy. "Tell no man" must be brought to us again and again,-else the Herod comes forth and attempts to destroy the idea before it is able to stand alone.
The human mind in its darkened temple believes little actual good of itself and less about you. It is a "liar and the father of it" because of the terrible fear from the acceptance of the false law that it was "born of woman, few of days and full of trouble".
The Spirit is like the "wind that listeth where it bloweth and no man (not ANY man,-teacher, priest or holy man) knoweth whither it cometh or whither it goeth". Yet the human mind will attempt to plan a way for expression of God. He will think so hard and search far and wide for a solution or a possible "wind-fall" that might change his life pattern. But not until he enters within,-into the Virginal Mind,-will he be able to feel the overshadowing of the Spirit and know that the conception of the idea has taken place. And this 'click' or conception will be so precious that the secret will be guarded. It is the pearl of great price, which when a man finds, he sells all, he releases every former notion,-and buries this NEW LIGHT in a field, a consciousness which is Virginal and which knows that "All things are possible with God".
The understanding of the human mind concerning creation is so limited that it positively cannot accept the Word of Jesus of itself, and the "miracle" of manifestation can take place all about, but it would not be able to see or understand. "Here am I in the midst of you". The disciples saw Jesus in His resurrected state for but a few moments because they could not sustain that state of consciousness.
Conception takes place through agreement. "When two shall agree as touching any one thing, it shall be established on the earth."
Any wonder, then, that you are commanded to "be still and know that I AM God"? When the jabbering human mind becomes quiet, then the Voice moves upon the face of the deep and out of this comes the dry land. Always the impossible, as the
Immaculate Conception indicates! Dry land coming out of wet water is enough to set the old human reasoning off at a tangent which will prove to itself the utter impossibility of such a thing taking place.
"I shall STAND upon my WATCH and SEE what the Spirit has to say unto me."
Yes, you will cease the old begging and beseeching a tribal Jehovah and "be still upon your bed",- and then the blessed annunciation will be made unto you,-"A child is to be born",-a NEW and WONDERFUL idea is to be set upon the earth through you. It does not depend upon outward conditions. Sarah was ninety when the annunciation was made that she was to bring forth a child,-which caused Abraham to laugh long and loud. He positively knew it was impossible!
So the healing that you seek,-the old Abraham thought knows it is impossible,-that it just couldn't take place,-and yet the annunciation is made to you. Can you accept it? Will you go within and magnify the Lord instead of spending time in human thought and appearances trying to understand how such a thing could or would take place?
What you accept comes to abide with you,--good, bad or indifferent. Likewise, what you reject is passed on into the oblivion of the race consciousness. The decision is with you.
Everything works from within out. It is always in the SECRET place, the HIDDEN place that the idea is conceived. Be still, then, and KNOW (do not try to know) that I AM God. My Ways are not your ways, for My Ways are as high above yours as the heavens are above the earth,-they are past finding out. That blessed event which takes place within you and brings to you a new and more wonderful idea of Christmas than ever before, is sacred and must be a secret thing until "the child is born".
Draw close unto ME and I will draw nigh unto thee. See the naturalness of the omni-activity of Spirit in and through you. "Be not afraid,-it is I",- no matter what old temples are torn down or set aside.
"Marvel not, then, ye must be born again!" The conception of your NEWold self has again taken place in the heart. The moment it is recognized, it starts building its body. "For unto us a child is born,-and His Name (nature) shall be called Wonderful,-filled with Wonder,-the Mighty,-the Counselor,-the Everlasting". O
Taken from The Important Dawn, now out of print.
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 25
I m so grateful for the letter that came from your office several weeks ago. My Father's timing "in you" was perfect.
I was very desperate to really know this Union Life truth. I was so down because although I knew it was true in my head, I felt awful. I was walking home from the bus and tears were welling up as I begged Father to confirm by His word that I am Christ in Rose form and that I do have worth and am more than a nobody. I was very desperate, in a depressed, subdued sort of way.
Anyway, I walked into my home and there was your letter. As I read it, it was as though warm oil was poured over me and love permeated the whole room. I cried and laughed and danced a little and praised my Father a lot.
You may have even found the letter a little difficult to write, but in the Spirit it was as though I was being embraced by someone who knew and cared just for me.
I have recently been through an awful time, mostly in my mind, but I would not want to turn back.
Today, at work, the Spirit quickened a truth to me that has set me free from some of my bonds. I attend a "charismatic" church, but have never felt the leading to be particularly physical in my worship. Therefore, I tend to feel sort of left out. Even though my spirit has been reaching out for fellowship, somehow I cannot seem to make contact on the spirit level. I had been feeling so alone all the time except when I was listening to Norman's tapes. (But of course I realize that this life is more than listening to tapes.)
Anyway, the Lord by His Spirit revealed to me today that He in me is not a carbon copy of He in anybody else. My Christian life is not an imitation of anyone; rather, it is a well springing up within me, taking me
where He wills. It is He being in me what He wills, using my body and soul to manifest what He wants to accomplish by me.
Previously, if you were in the Spirit and I was in the Spirit, I wondered why my reactions did not parrot yours and felt that I must be "wrong" if we didn't react the same. Praise God, I don't have to feel intimidated by anyone anymore.
My name happens to be Rose, and the Lord recently used that fact to illustrate this truth. A rose bush planted next to a violet will still look and smell like a rose even though the roots are fed by the same nutrients as the roots of the violet. The nature of the rose is within itself, not in what it eats. Also, the rose does not have to feel second rate to the violet because it is not performing like a violet.
Thank you for listening to me. I love you in the Lord even though we have never met. Praise God!
SELF NEVER CHANGES
I've been listening to the tape on I John, and my spirit has been so blessed. Though I am filled with questions, the tape has confirmed much that I have always known in my spirit, but of which I was not consciously aware before.
Does this tape mean I really was never meant to become any better, that I don't have to become any better, that it's all right for me to respond the way I do to outer circumstances, because that's the way I am? Oh, how it always bothers me when I find I don't like someone very well, or I find within myself this capacity for jealousy, or that resentment or even hatred. My human responses make it so obvious to me what I am without Christ.
I used to develop pride if I was able to "overcome" my anger, or jealousy,
or whatever. But it seems God is revealing the wickedness of my heart to me, not to condemn me but to show me that I without Him am a complete negative to Him. What freedom to know I can just confess, "Yes, that's what's going on inside of me", and say "God, You take care of it."
No more judgement and futile attempts to try to do better. No more feeling badly about myself because I don't measure up to my own standards. I can just say, "Well, look at this gossipy part of me, or this desire for self-gratification. I see it, Lord. Won't You be my supply and supply Yourself through me to others?"
Oh, to be able to walk in this recognition always. Will it ever be that I am able to? Not through self-effort, that's for sure. I see that only God takes us there. Or rather, we are there but just not fully conscious of it all the time. What freedom must come when there is a full awareness.
THROUGH "ISMS" T O FREEDOM
I have been reading your magazine since Norman Grubb and Dan Stone came to my church back in October, 1978. I found many of the truths being taught at the conference were filling in the gaps of the Christ-life theology I had been teaching in the Bible school.
I am writing because Bill Volkman's editorial in the June 1979 issue of UNION LIFE really witnessed to me. I have been in several denominations, some with contradictory theology, and have gone through fundamentalist, modernist, and charismatic theology; as well as Eastern Orthodox mysticism and most recently, the Christ-life theology of Dr. Warren Litzman.
I often worried about my "lack of stability" by church-hopping so much, but at last I am beginning to see that everything was set according to God's pre-determined plan and not some nebulous "permissive will" of God. If I did not have that assurance, I would be destroyed spiritually, as I would have believed that I had totally failed God. Praise the Lord, at last I have freedom in my service to Him because I now realize that it is really His service to Himself through me!
I have several friends who subscribe to a "faith-message" where everything is faith, blessing,
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prosperity, and healing. They try to convince me that you are in deadly error. I believe that God is interested in much, much more than merely these things, important as they are, because so many who are caught up in this cease believing that God is interested in them during times of adversity. It really is freedom to know that, if everything is from God (even Satan, who is merely His tool), then He is ready, willing, and able to bring us through to His own glory!
R.B. -Dallas, TX
THE GATES ARE OPEN
Today is wonderful because I've seen the "light manifested into Light". It's in this realm that I've come to know the unselfish giving of our precious Father to all who will receive.
I had found my four years as a Christian dim to the point that "the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew... ", beating off the scales until my blind eyes could be opened. Now I can say, "Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." It is this Power that I've finally had the confidence to believe in. Isn't it forceful? You can't run or hide. Now we "come today to fulfill all righteousness." Bring the water and I shall make thee wine!
Now the Fatherhood level is ours. It was here before the world was formed, but not mine until I dared to open myself to receive it! I can actually laugh at this magnitude of Power which has been turned over to me through my willingness, and so can you, and you, and you! The light has been turned on in a dark room, and the Godhead is manifested unto His saints.
The very existence of light is manifested by Light-not the materialization of a light, but the spiritualization, the Ultimate Light. Praise God from whom all these blessings flow.
The secrets of the ages have been revealed to God's saints. His gates are already open, so enter in and receive. It's only in your human thinking that they seem closed! Stretch forth in your mind and body and fill your soul with His goodness-just believe. This is the Power of Oneness that Christ talked of. Quiet! Listen and believe as I turn this dead body back to life again. I'm sure that these are the type of thoughts the Lord Jesus had when the people of his day wanted only the effects instead of the cause of his ministry. Jesus wanted them to see the Light, but they only
saw unmanifested light. They saw the effects and had scales over their eyes concerning the Cause, as many in the churches still do today.
Thank you for being a perfect expression of God in action. Continue to see the world through God's eyes which are your own!
TAUGHT BY NO MAN
(Written recently to Norman Grubb)
Our time together this past Wednesday had us walking on air for a while. What a joy it was to meet someone to whom God had revealed the same truths which we have learned! In the two and a half years since the truth of oneness in Christ has been a reality in our lives, we have met with opposition, with the exception of a few who had not previously been taught the accepted evangelical views.
When my husband, Larry, spent a month with the Lord, he was taught many things that he had never heard or read before this time. He shared a few of these truths with me and, although I could not understand it immediately, it did have that unexplainable ring of Truth to it. As the days and weeks went by, I perceived a complete change in the way Larry thought and acted. God came through
so clearly that I also wholeheartedly agreed that Eliane is dead and only Christ lives. Praise God for all He has taught me through His vessel named Larry!
You certainly can understand that it's not easy when no one else shares your new revelations. Therefore, it was exciting when a friend of ours said, "Your teachings sound just like Norman Grubb's." Could this really be? Finally someone! You can imagine how thrilled we were to find that you were indeed a brother who saw clearly that God is all in all.
Later when I read the Union Life magazines, I kept saying to Larry, "This is amazing-it's exactly what you've been saying." Our Spirit is rejoicing and the soul is agreeing.
Thank you for dying in order that the life of Christ may be manifested as Paul says in II Cor. 4:11,12.
UNITY WITHOUT UNIFORMITY
Your magazine is certainly a fountain of Life. I thank our Father for that member of the Body who placed me on your mailing list.
I have just received my second issue. My reading of the first issue sent had me in "joy unspeakable". In fact, I had to re-read it a number of
UNION LIFE DECEMBER 1979 Page 27
times just to make sure that I was really reading what I was reading. Upon receiving the second issue I eagerly opened the cover and began to devour its contents. It is Life.
I read the letter from "V.S." and the reply with special interest. Blessed is that man who is not offended in the brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We. are called to go without the camp, bearing His reproach. We are also called to bear the reproach of His, and our, brethren. Every man, in his own order, will come into resurrection. We must walk in that to which we have been called, knowing that as we do so we find ourselves participants in the ministry of reconciliation. Perhaps we may not always understand certain elements in the will of our Father, but to obey Him who knows the end from the beginning, the God of all Purpose, is enough.
No one can touch "Christ in me, the hope of glory", without wanting to share it with the entire creation. After all, it's the best news that's ever been, or ever will be. It's Life. Yet, it seems at times that in our desire to share this Life we seek to mitigate the force of what we have touched by attempting to place it in a package more readily acceptable to those around us.
Now, while I realize that we are "all things to all men" for the sake of the Gospel, I also realize that we can be all things to all men for our own sakes, in order to avoid the Cross and the reproach that lies without the camp.
I have many brethren with whom I do not agree on a great many things. Some I consider of minor importance, others not so minor. Some indeed I place great emphasis upon. I have some brethren who I wish, quite frankly, would change their way of thinking on some matters ... and yet they are still my brethren, and whatever they are into is for a purpose, a purpose for the glory of God, yes, and even a purpose for my own benefit. Though I make my own views as clear as possible, I also make it clear that they are my brethren, bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.
Those who partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will always find a negative somewhere, somehow. It is the natural result of double vision. On the other hand those who are exercised in the Tree of Life find themselves progressively knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ is priority number One. He is in fact the only priority, the A and the Z, the beginning and the end, the I AM.
I hope two things. One is that Union Life will continue to function as a vital part of the whole - that its perspective will never be lost, causing folks to think of it as the whole. That is, let's not have another denomination. The other is that the liberty which has undoubtedly allowed you to progress to your present position will continue unabated, to the glory of God. The Lord Jesus is our security. The bringing in of the creation to the glory of God comes not through Crossavoiding compromise, but through obedience.
In short, while I appreciate what V.S. is saying, and while I hope that others likewise do, I also appreciate the honest, clean liberty of expression which I witness in your publication, and hope for its continuation.
B.W. -Baltimore, MD
A NEW BREED
The retreat in North Carolina was just what I needed! I didn't know there was such a group of people existing. The fellowship was glorious.
On Sunday, just before the afternoon meeting, the Lord made me to know that surely this is a new breed of people who will go in His name and do the works He did, because they know the secret of Christ in them. I'm so thrilled that He is in me to accomplish my ultimate purpose-my full inheritance in Him.
Greetings to all of you at Union Life in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
What a blessing it was to have a friend share the March '79 issue of your publication with me. I am praising God for the cooperative efforts I know are required by so many dedicated people to provide us with this wonderful magazine. I am always thrilled to discover any written material which shares the joys of knowing Christ, but I'm especially delighted to find that you are celebrating in creative and stimulating form the most precious aspect of our relationship with Christ-our spirit union with Him.
May God continue to bless you individually and collectively as you continue in this marvelous ministry!
Please place me on your mailing list!
THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
The June issue of Union Life is great! I am enclosing several addresses of friends that I think would really benefit by this issue. So many, including myself, are still trying to achieve the "being" without knowing experientially that we already are.
I was very interested in your description of your own personal pilgrimage, because it parallels closely the way our very small "Connection" here in Lenoir has travelled as far as the various stages are concerned. We find that we can't use labels anymore. As a matter of fact, we haven't found any words yet to describe where we are. We seem to be in a period of unknowing, unlearning-almost in limbo. We are "just being", living life as it comes, hopefully without question or doubt, accepting everything in complete detachment.
Recently I ran across the following in a little paper and thought perhaps your subscribers might find it beneficial:
Many also are experiencing the "Dark Night of the Soul". Those who are suffi-ciently evolved are being tried and tested in such a way as steel is tempered in the fiery furnaces of life. During this dark hour, all file supports are pulled away from the soul, belief patterns are taken away, and the soul is left strictly on its own. fl' it can continue to operate through its own momentum of good until the reconnection is made with its own True Sell' the Christ Sell, then it passes safely through the night. (Otherwise, it is /cep in a desert of its Own making until it can come to terms With itself and take the necessary step forward.
I appreciate UNION LIFE's attitude of desiring everyone to travel his own path, learning truth as it comes to him without condemnation from others who are travelling different paths. I recall that Emerson once said, "Thou shalt not obey the voice of another if it agreeth not with the voice of thine own soul." This is real liberty, both for the one freeing and the one being freed.
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Though the editors, directors and members of Union Life Ministries generally embrace the evangelical position and doctrine set out in the Apostle's Creed (including the emphasis on the need for salvation and the full provision found in the atoning work of Christ), the primary emphases of our magazine heed the suggestion of Hebrews 6:1,2 (NAS): "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, etc."
We believe that maturity (spiritual fatherhood as defined in I John 2:12-14) is only found as each person sees the fuller implications of the mystery of the gospel-"the mystery once hidden, but now made manifest to his saints... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col.1:26,27). So do not be offended that the emphases of most articles in our magazine go beyond the "elementary teachings about the Christ". We have concluded that a large segment of the Church of Jesus Christ needs to be called back to certain Biblical emphases which are virtually ignored or even denied in many evangelical circles today.
Therefore our magazine will continue to stress what we have labelled "The Six Union Life Emphases":
A Word From Our President
by Dan Stone
Recently, a very sincere statement was made to a group of us. "You are not evangelistic in your magazine. Why don't you have more articles on basic evangelism?" This statement came from one whose own insights include the "Christ in you" message. His question prompted an answer which we wanted to share with our readers.
Those of us in this ministry do not generally see ourselves as having a calling in the direction of basic evangelism. To include large doses of such an emphasis would say that we think something is wrong or inadequate with what is presently being done in that area. No, we purpose to share a message that complements basic evangelism. As Paul said to the Corinthians, "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world." There is the side of "knowing nothing among you save Christ and Him crucified", but there is also the side of speaking wisdom to the more mature (to those who are ready for "comparing spiritual things with spiritual").
No magazine that is presently being published addresses itself to this area! Believing that love exists to meet need, the life of Christ in one of us pushed through him with this magazine. We feel that UNION LIFE fills a definite void in the Christian literature scene.
On a recent speaking excursion I had the distinct privilege of speaking to and then answering questions from a group whose primary emphasis is soul-winning. Praise God, they are totally committed to that objective. The Spirit of Christ in me said to them, "You and we are involved in all that matters. You are sharing the death side of the cross, and we are sharing the life side of the
cross. Our message is Paul's hidden mystery (now mostly re-hidden) of Christ in you being the real you living His life as you."
It is not a matter of not being evangelistic; indeed the reverse of that is true. We are flooding the message of the historical Jesus Christ with all the fullness of the Godhead. We are presenting this total spiritual Christ (2 Cor.5:16) to God's believing ones. The response has been gratifying, thus ensuring us that what we have believed is true.
A vast number await this total good news. We are filling up the void between having a Christ adequate to forgive the past and to guarantee the future with a Christ who is adequate for the present. Any Christian should know deep within himself that he cannot keep the law by selfeffort. However, modern fundamentalism offers nothing else, no matter how it is disguised. Our complementary message fills the void left from elementary evangelism and moves on to the total Christ. We are going on (Heb.6:1) to the perfection of the inner Christ who is the strong meat of Hebrews 5:14.
You too may have wondered at the absence of basic evangelistic materials in Union Life Magazine. It is not because we are not evangelistic. Rather it is because of our appreciation of all of the other ministries which are zealous for souls and for the job that they are presently doing. We feel that our primary calling is to continue to offer a ministry and a magazine that shares a truth that has been substantially overlooked -- the mystery of the Gospel, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Indeed, it is a message that will better equip the whole Body of Christ for evangelism as they experience more fully the Life and Light who indwells them.
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