In today's religious marketplace, we are confronted by a host of hustlers competing for the Christian dollar.
Monthly in letters, weekly from pulpits, and daily over radio and television, their plaintive pleas arise, placing us under constant pressure to give. They make it sound like a matter of survival. They emphasize that obedience to God's financial laws is essential for our spiritual welfare, and don't omit to make mention of the fact that their financial survival will be jeopardized if we don't send them donations to pay their bills!
All of us want to help financially with the Lord's work. But how are we to know where to give, when to give, and how much? Are we left to fall prey to the various emotional and psychological gimmicks that preachers use? Is it a question of giving to the most persuasive of them, who somehow convinces us of his great needs? Perhaps in the end we begrudgingly respond because we feel guilty as a result of some trip that has been subtly laid on us.
What does a Christian do? Is there any help in the Bible?
When it comes to the Bible, preachers are divided, falling mainly into two camps. The first of these comprises those who advocate tithing.
The Tithing Fallacy
We don't want to get into a deep doctrinal examination of tithing, but we do need to clean out a few theological cobwebs which may still linger in some minds.
The first mention of a "tithe" is in Genesis. Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek one time. In that single act, the author of Hebrews tells us, the whole of the Levitical priesthood showed the superiority of Melchizedek over Aaron. It was a one-time, voluntary incident.
Jacob also tithed. If God would go with him, he would give Him a tenth of all his increase. He knew of no "tithing law", and had never been brought up to tithe by his father Isaac. He did this spontaneously, of his own free choice.
Tithing was instituted as a law in the second year after the Exodus, along with the other Levitical laws connected with the worship of Israel via the Tabernacle. It was intended to provide the Levites with sustenance and payment for their services. It was introduced when those services began.
Many seem to have overlooked the fact that God specifically designated the
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types of increase which were subject to the tithing law. The tithe was only taken on agricultural products - crops, fruit trees, flocks and herds. There isn't a single instance of anyone ever tithing on monetary increase, inheritances, or other means of gain. In fact, even spoil was no longer to be tithed, though Abraham had given a tenth of it; instead, it was to be divided among Israel in a prescribed manner.
The only ones ever authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. Ever since the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., it has been impossible to keep the tithing law. This is the very reason Orthodox Jews, who still believe in the validity of the old covenant over their lives, do not tithe! No one is qualified to receive tithes now that the priesthood and temple have gone.
There isn't a word in the entire Bible authorising anyone to tamper with God's law. It stands or falls as an entity. If one wishes to tithe, he must do so exactly as God commanded, neither adding to nor diminishing from the law. If we want to take up with keeping any part of the law, we are to do it all (Gal. 3:10; Deut. 4:2). We have no authority to pick and choose from among the various parts of the law, retaining the designated percentage of the tithing commandment, but applying it to income other than from agricultural sources, or disregarding to whom tithes are to be paid. Christian ministers are not Levites, and have no right to tithes!
Jesus' remarks concerning tithing were made while the old covenant was still in force. Right up until His death, He upheld the entirety of the Mosaic system (Matt. 23:1-3, 23). Those who quote Jesus in support of tithing should also quote what He said in regard to one who was healed showing himself to the priest and offering the prescribed sacrifices (Matt. 8:4; Luke 17:4). It is a simple matter of rightly dividing the Scriptures. Not all that Jesus upheld in His earthly ministry is retained after the cross!
During the early years of the church, Jewish Christians in Palestine basically continued in all the legal requirements of the old covenant. All who would be saved were to submit to those laws. This included the initiatory rite of circumcision, sacrifices, and no doubt tithing to the Levites who worked in the temple.
Paul, however, took a different course with Gentile converts. They were set free from the customs of the old covenant. Only four restrictions from the law were left upon them, in order not to offend Jews who lived in every city and
probably felt they needed to keep the law, even though converted to Christ. (See Acts 15.) God finally pronounced judgment on this mixture of old and new among Jewish Christians by eliminating the focal point of Jewish worship, the temple.
It is absolutely impossible for anyone today to truly obey the biblical law of tithing. But what are the alternatives?
A Law of Giving?
While teaching that if Christians don't faithfully set aside the first tenth of their paycheck they are robbing God, many preachers also know that tithing ensures a more consistent and greater income than if giving were left to the unpredictable whims of the people.
This presents a problem for those who reject tithing as an old covenant practice which is no longer binding. How are they to maintain the flow of funds into their coffers?
Many solve the problem by stressing that tithing has been replaced by a law of giving. They claim there is a moral duty for Christians to support their church enterprise. So they boldly urge financial support, and people are expected to give. Appeals go out in letters, from pulpits, and over radio and television.
Others carry the law of giving still further. There is gentle pressure for Christians to give at least as much proportionately as was required of Israel. If ten per cent was demanded of carnal, unconverted people, they reason, shouldn't we give more under the new covenant? Some suggest we haven't actually begun to give until we have bettered the ten per cent figure.
Naturally, the "tenth" is just a guideline, if you please, not a law!
But does the New Testament retain tithing even as a principle?
Surprisingly, God hasn't spelled out a framework to dictate how we should give. Neither has He given the church the responsibility of unilaterally determining when, where, or how much we are to give.
Giving certainly played a prominent role in the lives of early followers of Christ. But what many have done today is taken the art of spontaneous giving that was practiced in the New Testament and translated it into a binding
obligation. It has become one of the many "ought to's" of the church, and thus elevated to a position of law.
Why has this happened? Because of a fundamental flaw in understanding what is to motivate the believer's life and determine how we should live.
Is life in Christ an external set of principles which are imposed from without? Or is it a spiritual life-force dwelling within? This is the crucial issue. What is the direction of the process of change from the world's lifestyle to the believer's lifestyle? Is it from outside in, or from inside out? Does it proceed from law to life, or from life to law? Could it be we have gotten things not only upside down, but also inside out - or is it outside in?
The Way of Life
External "ought to's" can't create the Way of life. Adherence to all of the right principles cannot produce a renewed mind. Life in Christ is not a matter of being conformed to a code of conduct. It is being transformed by Life.
The mainspring of the Way of life is the operation of "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2). This law is remarkably different from a written code of law or set of external principles. It isn't a spiritually magnified code of conduct which puts emphasis on one's thoughts as well as actions. If it were, the list of do's and don'ts would make the nit-picking of the Talmud look like child's play. We would need to legislate on every thought, spelling out exactly how one is to think under any and all possible situations. The Jewish yoke of bondage would have nothing on the ponderous burden of such an ethic!
The Way of life spoken of in the New Testament isn't an external standard we strive to live up to. It isn't trying to copy the way Jesus lived while he was on earth. Though Jesus challenged people to try living as he lived, perfectly like his Father, that challenge was intended to show them their utter inability to duplicate such a life! He was pointing them to the absolute necessity of his own death on the cross.
The Way of life is Christ Jesus living his life in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. This isn't only the central fact of how we live, it is the ONLY fact. There is nothing we can add to it.
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The "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is the moment-by-moment unfolding of Christ's life in our flesh. It is Him responding to all of life's situations in and through us. This is the way, the only way, that "every thought" can be brought into "the captivity of Christ". It is how we "let this mind" be in us "that was in Christ Jesus". It is what Paul meant when he said it was no longer he who lived, "but Christ lives in me".
Jesus is the Way. The Way of life is Christ in us in His own way, responding to life's situations as He would respond. We don't try to live that life. It flows spontaneously through us.
Just as it is impossible to create physical life in a chemical test tube, so it is impossible to create spiritual life in a theological test tube. Though there are certain basic chemicals involved in all living organisms, mechanically arranging them in the right proportions will not of itself produce life. Neither will externally imitating and artificially arranging the basic beliefs and actions common among believers produce spiritual life. We may assemble the correct doctrines, and we may take up the correct posings, but life comes only from life.
For us to have life, we must have Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. "He who has the Son, has life; he who has not the Son, has not life."
Simulating life by urging external ought to's on people in order to bring them into conformity to the way Christ would act simply produces bondage. No matter how well-meaning we may be, we are saddling people with a yoke that will be fruitless. To measure up to the stature of Christ, we must take His yoke upon us so that His life flows through us. Life will then come easy.
This, then, is why giving, along with all other virtues, can never be reduced to the category of "ought to". It is a fruit of the Spirit, a manifestation of the personal presence of Christ in us.
The believer has become joined as one with Christ. So everything he has is available for the use of Christ. Not just ten per cent, but the whole of his income is under the control of the One who is his life. He has relinquished control completely.
Is new covenant giving left to the direction of the whims of the individual, as preachers fear it would be if they quit their pleadings? No, because it is "no longer I" who controls my finances, but Christ who lives in me! He is the one who has the final say. I cannot give ten per cent, or whatever figure I may feel is required, and then determine what I do with the rest. He directs all of my finances.
When giving is in response to inner spiritual motivation, it doesn't come from external pressure or a feeling of "having" to give. It springs from the direct inner commandment of Christ, in the heart, as his love constrains us (11 Coo. 5:14). Not even our own human concern and emotion are right motivations; our giving is to be an expression of the mind of Christ in us, as he thinks his thoughts through us. In fact, giving is one of the spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6-8). It is Christ reaching out and meeting the needs of others through us.
Unless it comes through his love operating through us, even if we give all we have to others it is utterly worthless! (See I Coo. 13:3.)
Though the Jewish brethren were in dire need at one time because of a famine, Paul did not put any pressure on the Gentile churches to give other than what they themselves had already determined of their own freewill. Every man was to give as he purposed in his heart, under the direct guidance of Christ, and not of necessity - not under a sense of compulsion (11 Cor. 9:7).
Some have thought that Paul urged the Corinthians to give in this situation. But the truth is that they had volunteered to help when they learned of the need, because they had already heard the command of Christ in each one's heart. It had not been possible, however, for the gift to be received immediately; now that the time had come for it to be delivered, Paul said that it was right for them to do as they had planned a year earlier. Still, he emphasised that any gift ought to be as a result of wanting to give at heart and not simply because there was great need.
This incident does not establish a precedent for asking people to "sacrifice" for the "work of the Lord"! It was a one-time gift, not a regular collection. Neither were the Corinthians asked to sacrifice. They "reigned like kings"; they had abundance. Since they had received help from Jerusalem, they now had an opportunity to equalise the situation by giving out of their plenty. If a person wishes to sacrifice, that is up to him. The Lord had moved the Macedonians to do so, and they had had to beg Paul to take it because they were not materially prosperous and he had been reluctant. Never did Paul plead for money! Besides, this money was not to support his work at all, but was for
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The major emphasis on giving in the early church is not for the planned expenses of a full-time ministry, but rather for meeting the needs of our fellow humans, such as family, friends, neighbors, even strangers, whether in or out of the church.
John said that if we have the love of Christ in us, we will not shut up the flow of compassion when we have the ability to meet a brother's need. Paul said that those who formerly sought only to get will want to labour in order to "have to give to him that needs." Jesus taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We are to "do good to all men" as opportunity arises, especially to God's people. The rich above all are to use their money "to do good", "contributing to the needs of the saints".
These and many other statements of the New Testament have to do principally with giving to individuals in need, not to giving to corporate "works of the Lord". Giving to our fellowmen is one of the most direct ways we have of serving Jesus Christ. When we do it unto "one of the least of these my brethren", we have done it to Jesus himself.
Too often in our age of organised, institutionalised giving, we relinquish the responsibility of distributing our gifts to others. We fail to be personally sensitive to the needs of those with whom we come into contact, and the inner voice commanding us to help is quenched. We miss out on the fulfillment that comes with the freedom of on-the-spot Christ-inspired giving.
When we know the daily reality of the indwelling Christ monitoring our lives and moving us into action, we realise that he brings to our attention and causes to cross our path those who are in need of ministry from him. Through us he continues the ministry of meeting men's needs that he began while he was here in the flesh. Giving, then,
moves from the artificial, mechanical fulfillment of a formula, such as placing an envelope in the collection plate each week, into the spontaneous ministry of Christ toward those he has chosen to have mercy upon.
What about the clergy then?
The New Testament does show people involved in full-time ministry. Paul told the Galatians it was good to provide for such people: "And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches." He also expounded the right of ministers to be supported in I Corinthians 9. If someone ministers to you, you will want to minister to him, just as a man in the armed forces has his expenses paid, or as a farmer eats of his produce. Notice, however, that it is the individual meeting of needs that is spoken of here, not a pleading for funds so that a minister can "do his own thing", creating his own empire.
The present pathetic scene of massmedia preachers begging for money so they can expand their organisations is totally foreign to the early church's experience. There is no record of any minister asking for money for himself! Paul never asked the church for financial support. If God moved people to minister to his needs, he was grateful; if not, he simply did a job. Many times he suffered want, but there wasn't a word of complaint. He took it that such was God's intention for him at that
111(1111 t' I 1 1
Who Should Survive?
There is a very simple, practical way whereby any "work of faith" can demonstrate both to itself and others that it is indeed a work God wants done.
The purest expression of a true work of faith is to totally trust God to provide whatever income he chooses to send. The verse that says "ask, and it shall be given to you" isn't authorising us to ask others for money, but to ask the Father who gives all good things. There is no biblical example authorizing ministers to urge people to send them money.
If a ministry is really the Lord's work, because he has given that ministry something of value to share with others, he will provide the financial support he desires that ministry to have. It may not be what we think we should have, but we can be content in all circumstances once we know that we are in his hands totally. He is the one who then opens and shuts doors, as he wills. So we make our requests known to him when we feel he is leading us into a particular ministry, not to men.
If God has begun a ministry and is pleased with the fruits being borne, he will move upon the hearts and minds of his people to provide for that ministry without any pleading for money. He will cause his people to give spontaneously. If a man really wants to know if God is in what he is doing, let hint LET CHRIST DECIDE WHO SHOULD SURVIVE!
Instead of listening to the pleas of men for support and dutifully contributing out of necessity, we need to hear the "still, small voice" from within. This is the voice of the Good Shepherd, and he has promised that his sheep will hear his voice and follow where he directs. We will know where to give, not because someone has asked or can demonstrate great need, but because he commands us in our hearts.
And as we "shovel out", the Lord will shovel back - and he has a bigger shovel than any of us.
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• And God said, "Let there be light, and there was light (Genesis 1:3). Just three little words, "and God said," but what power in God's spoken words! The worlds were formed by the words of God.
• God has inherently placed power in the spoken word. Medicine is just beginning to discover what takes place in our bodies when positive words are spoken. Opportunity-spotting brain cells begin to function; problem-solving brain cells come to life and determination-energysing chemicals are released into the blood stream. Our bodies begin to gear up to perform what our mouth has spoken.
• Of course, the opposite is true when we confess negative things from our mouth. Our bodies begin to prepare us for failure, for weakness, for fear, and so on.
• This principle is brought forth in the scriptures in James 3:2, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."
• With these principles in mind, there are negative words that we need to replace with positive words. Here are some examples:
1. "1 can't!" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
2. "1 lack!" And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
3. "I'm fearful!" For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline (11 Timothy 1:7)
4. "1 don't have faith!" For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has alloted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)
5. "1 am weak!" The Lord is the strength of my life (Psalms 27:1); But the people who know their God will display strength and take action (Daniel 11:32).
6. "1 can't overcome the enemy!" You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (I John 4:4).
7. "I'm a failure!" But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place (II Corinthians 2:14).
8. "1 lack wisdom!" But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. (I Corinthians 1:30)
9. "1 am sick!" But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
10. "1 have many cares!" Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).
11. "1 am in bondage!" Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Corinthians 3:17).
12. "1 am under condemnation!" There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1).
• Let us see that God is truly able in every situation and let us begin to confess what He is able to do.
"He is able to save completely all those who come to Him." (Hebrews 7:25)
"He is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18)
"He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him for that (lay." (II Timothy 1:12)
"Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without fault before His glorious presence." (Jude 24)
"He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20)
• Realising the power of the spoken word, let us renew our minds to speak only those words that will bring life to those around us. As lights in a dark world, we must continually confess the goodness of God and His Word.
Courtesy VISION Magazine
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In Philippians 1, Paul tells us that, "For me to live is Christ." To him, this is a fact.
But among God's children today, there is a big misunderstanding. They think "for me to live is Christ" is a goal to reach. They must try to so live that they may arrive at the goal. It is a standard to reach; it is their expectation. Let us remember, however, that Paul is not telling us here that his goal is "for me to live is Christ." He is not saying that he must go through many years, trials, and dealings of God before he can reach the goal. What he says is that the reason he lives is Christ. Without Christ, he cannot live at all. This describes his present condition, not his goal. This is the secret of life, not his hope. His life is Christ; he lives because Christ lives in him.
Galatians 2:20 is another familiar verse among Christians. The misunderstanding many have with this verse is even graver than with Philippians l. Again, they take this verse as their goal, as their standard. How they pray and wait and long to arrive at a point where "it is no longer I that live, but Christ Iiveth in me."
But is Galatians 2:20 a hope? Is it a goal? Is it a standard to arrive at? Many make it so. They hope that one day they will arrive at the place where they no longer live, but Christ lives in them. This is their goal. What they fail to see is that this is God's way of victory, not a goal or a standard. It does not say what I should do that I may live; neither does it say what I can do to make me live. It
simply says that Christ lives in me.
Galatians 2:20 is not a standard or a goal. It is not something which is set high above man for him to exert his utmost strength to reach. Rather, it is the secret of life.
A Substitutionary Life
What is the secret of life? It means that the way of victory is not a goal but a process. Do not confuse the process with the goal. This is a marvelous grace God has given us. It is a way by which the defeated may overcome, the unclean may be clean, the common may become holy, the earthly may be heavenly, and Christian life is really exhausting. Many of those who have believed in the Lord do feel this way. They toil every day, sighing as they toil. They strive daily but always fail. They try to maintain a testimony, yet they disgrace the Lord all the time. Thus many say they are tired and weary of being Christians. To be a Christian has become a heavy burden.
Many try to resist sin, but do not have the strength. Yet, if they do not resist, they will have no inward peace. Many want to be patient but cannot. When they lose their temper, they feel uneasy in their hearts. They have no heart-strength to love; but if they hate, their hearts condemn them. They really feel it is a heavy burden to be a Christian. It gives them the sensation of climbing uphill with a heavy load. Many people will tell you that before they believed in the Lord Jesus, they were
the carnal may become spiritual. It is a way, not a goal. The way lies via a substitutionary life. As Christ is our substitute in death, so is He our substitute in life.
At the beginning of our Christian life, we saw how the Lord Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that by His death we were delivered from death, our sins were forgiven, and we were condemned no more. Today Paul tells me that because Christ lives in me, I am delivered from living. The meaning here is simple: since He lives in me, I no longer need to live. As He died on the cross for me, so now He lives in my place. This is the secret of victory. This is Paul's secret. He does not say, "I hope I will not need to live," or "I hope I can let Him live." He just says, "No longer live 1, for I have let Him live. Now it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
May God enlighten us to see that man has no need to live for himself, because Christ can live in him. The day that you heard you did not need to die, you felt this was a great gospel. Now, in another day, you are hearing that you do not need to live. This is also a great gospel.
New believers often have lots of problems. If you instruct them how they ought to maintain a good testimony and live a good Christian life, how they should not love the world but resist temptation, how they must suffer, bear the cross, seek God's will and learn to obey God, they will think that the
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heavily laden with the load of sin; now, having believed, they are heavily laden with the burden of holiness. It is only substituting one burden for another: both burdens are tiresome and heavy.
If the situation described above is the case, it certainly means that these Christians have been misinstructed. It is wrong for a person to attempt to live the Christian life. We are not asked to do so. The word of the Lord says, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me." This is the secret of Christian living. The Lord in me lives the Christian life, not 1. If I have been trying to live like a Christian, in patience, love, kindness, humility, sorrow or cross-bearing, it is rather painful. But if it is Christ who lives in me, in patience, love, suffering, or cross-bearing, it is joyful.
So, when you find brothers and sisters who are tired of trying to live like a Christian, you should tell them that there is something much better. This will be a great gospel to them. Tell them they have no need to live such a weary life. They need not exhaust themselves to live like Christians; neither do they need to bear a heavy load. As they once thanked God upon hearing the gospel that they had no need to die, now they can thank God as they hear Him say they have no need to live. What a deliverance this is from a tired, exhausted Christian life.
Death is painful, but for us to try to live before God is also painful. How can people such as we, who know nothing about God's holiness, love, the Holy Spirit, or the cross, live in the presence of God? Such a heavy burden is unbearable. The longer we live, the more we sigh. The longer we live, the more frustrated we are. The gospel delivered to you today is that you do not need to live. God has exempted you from living. This, indeed, is a great gospel.
Jesus I am you: you are /. I am not you; you are not l. We both are together an entirely new being.
- St. Gertrude
gospel is preached to him, telling him that the Lord does not expect hint to do good. Oh, this is a great gospel. The Lord does not require you to do good, neither does He want you to will to do good. He wants to come and live in you. The issue is not whether there is any good, but who does the good.
It is painful for you to try to live before God, for you can never satisfy His demands. You have to confess: "Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter" (Matt. 25:24). You are totally unable to answer God's requirement.
How, then, are you to live the Christian life? Certainly it is not by taking a carnal, sinful person to heaven and making him a slave. It is indeed fortunate that no carnal person does go to heaven for, were he to do so, he would
speedily want to escape. He would not be able to stand it even for one day. How could he endure God's demands? How different his temperament, opinion, way and outlook are from God's. If he were brought to God, he would want to flee away quickly.
Therefore, God's way and His secret for me is not in asking me to imitate the Lord Jesus, nor parceling out power to me in response to my begging that I may be like Christ. God's way for me is what Paul expresses, "No longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me." Do you notice the difference? It is no longer you, for God will not allow you to live before Him. It is Christ who lives in you and stands before the presence of God. So, it is not my imitating Christ, not my receiving the power of Christ, but letting Christ live in me.
You have to cone to this point of not 1, but Christ. This is the believer's life. Formerly I lived but Christ did not; now I do not live but Christ does. If a person cannot say, "Not 1, but Christ," he has no knowledge of what Christianity or the Christian life is. It is evident that he is merely hoping to live that it may be Christ and not him. But Paul tells us it is not this way. He tells us that the way is to let Christ live.
(from pp. 109-114 of Not l, But Christ, by Watchman Nee., published by Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., New York. Used by permission.)
Not I, but Christ
As it is good news that we need not die, so it is good news that we need not live. For a person to strive to live as a Christian is really an exhausting, impossible task. To ask an impatient, ill-tempered, proud person to live humbly will soon wear him out; he will be worn out trying to be humble. No wonder the man in Romans 7 was tired! "For to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not." To daily will to do good, yet daily be unable to do it - how very tiring that is. Then one day the
"Henry has really progressed! He used to see himself as a cog in the wheel, then he saw himself as a digit in the computer, but now he knows that he is a unique expression of the living God!"
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by Nancy Gilmore
Paul made an astounding statement when he said that "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit ". This union of our spirit with the Spirit of God is the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer in John 17, "that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity."
The great secret of living that was given to Paul by special revelation is the fact of "Christ in you, the hope of glory". This was his special emphasis. But what does it mean for Christ to be in us?
Most of us start out by conceiving of God as an old patriarch who lives way off in the skies. Later, when we come into a personal relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ, we learn that instead of living a long distance from us, God lives in us through His Son. Yet we still tend to think of Him as separate from us, even though "in" us.
Paul, however, came to see the glorious truth that for Christ to be in us is for us to be joined as one with Him. There is no separation between us: we have become one spirit, just as He and His Father were one when He walked this earth as Jesus of Nasareth.
Continually Paul spoke of believers as being in Christ. He was referring to this spiritual union. To be "in" Christ is to be joined as one with Him, so that His life is our life.
Using the example of a sponge filled with water to the point that it can absorb nothing else aids me in understanding how two are one. You don't necessarily see the water, but it's there. Yet if the sponge is squeezed, the water appears. The water and the sponge are one, but the one does not dissipate the other. And through our life's experience, as we are "squeezed", the Holy Spirit flows out. From our innermost being, our spirit, come rivers of living water.
An illustration I like even better is to think of our human spirit as jello in powdered form. The Spirit of God is the hot water that is added to the jello to
make it what it is intended to be. The jello is of no real value until the water is joined to it.
The powdered jello absorbs the water to the extent that it becomes so much a part of it that you can't tell one from the other. The water is the "fulfillment" of the jello, enabling it to be what it was meant to be. So too with our union with Christ. It looks like me, but it is really Him; even as the jello looks like jello but is really water expressed as jello.
The flavors of the jello might represent our individuality. Grape is Nancy, peach is Marj, cherry is Jody, orange is Jenny, and strawberry is Mary Ann. We're all the same, and yet we're all different. Many flavors, but the same filling. Each of us is one spirit with the Lord, yet expressed in different ways. And of course we're all in different molds, different bodies, with our
various shapes and sizes and unique characteristics.
When Paul spoke of Christ as being "in" us, he meant that when we live it is really Christ living. For Him to live was Christ! He was simply the particular flavor of jello in which Christ chose to express Himself - Christ in Paul form.
Jesus was a unique expression of the Father. And He prayed that we might be unique expressions of Him! "That they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity." His name was Immanuel, "God with us." For Him to live was God; so too for us to live is Christ. He lives as us, expressing Himself through us just as the Father expressed Himself through Him. This is the meaning of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." O
The assertion that God is One, is part of the mystique of numbers. If' God is identical with the number one, He must have qualities in common with this number. There is no such thing as an Absolute One. "One" simply represents a synthesis of conflicting forces. Man is one because he is a synthesis of body, soul and spirit. These again are a synthesis of other entities. An atom is a synthesis of con-flicting elementary particles. The Hebrew language has two expressions ,for the word "One". Absolute unity and composite unity. God is called a Composite Unity - a plural word - `Eloheinu ". We maintain that God is divisible, because number one is divisible - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. All God's children share His divine
Nature. John 10:34, "Ye are gods. " (We are made god, but GOD remains ONE.)
The number one is also capable of being multiplied, but unlike all other numbers, because however much one multiplies it by itself' it always remains one. "One" is the only number whose square root is equal to itself: That is why Jesus, as man, was able to say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. "
So we have retained the saying of the early Christians, "Every time you look at a brother you look at God."
God has been called One, because every number is a quantity related to One and so the whole creation is related to God.
- Richard Wurmbrand
PAGE 10 UNION LIFE
The basketball game was proceeding at a frenzied pace. Receiving a pass from his team mate, the hometown guard dribbled toward center court. The defending team was employing a fullcourt press, so our player faked to the left and drove hard to the right, dribbling to within fifteen feet of the basket. There he attempted a one-handed jump shot which richocheted off the glass and caromed straight up off the front of the rim.
Amazed that he has missed the mark, our player stops in his tracks, his upper torso hanging limp in dejection. Looking toward the coach, he sobs his apolo
gies and laments his failure. "I'm sorry coach," he cries. "I'll try to do better." But focusing on the error only has a reverse effect that causes him to ques
tion his competency and capabilities as a ballplayer and hinders his subsequent endeavors.
But so is the other extreme, the player who, having missed the mark, shrugs his shoulders and says, "So what?" Repressing the actuality of his inadequate permormance, he turns down the court with a grin, glibly mouthing that flippant cliche, "You win some; you lose some." Such a fatalistic repression and refusal to admit responsibility is equally inappropriate in pursuing the objective of the basketball game.
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 11
On the other hand, the seasoned ballplayer has his reflexes conditioned to respond to those times when he misses the mark (as all players do!). Although never intending to miss, when he does so it does not shatter his identity as a basketball player. His basketball abilities are still intact; he is still on the team and in the game. He has heard the coach yell many times in situations like this, "Rebound!" lie is conditioned to
follow through. At the very split second when he recognises that the ball is not going to penetrate the cords of the net, he continues toward the goal to put the ball up again. There is but a momentary cognition of having missed the mark, during which his reflexes admit and concur with the appearance of temporary failure. But continuing his drive unabashed, he is lifted above the others to take that ball as it bounces off the rim and stuff it through the hoop. Victory is imminent in such a pattern of continuity which expresses a singleness of resolve to pursue the ultimate objective.
Are there not times when we as Christians feel as though we are in a "full-court press'?" Life is proceeding at a frenzied pace. Our Christian expressions appear to "miss the mark."
Witness the many Christians who respond in repetitive rituals of confessional apologies. Their confessions are but lamentations of wrong-doing that would seem to impinge upon the integrity and mercies of God. Focusing on
their failures, they continue to "get what they see", wallowing in the quagmire of sin and defeat.
Equally incongruous are those Christians who gloss over their transgressions. Refusing to admit personal responsibility, they often ascribe their sin to divine inevitability and culpability.
The relaxed Christian who understands his imputed identity and impart
ed resources in Christ, is not shattered by sin nor does he repress the reality of it. The momentary cognition of the inadequate manifestation of who he really is, suffices as the confessional agreement that God expects. Continuing then with a singleness of vision as to his identity in Christ, he experiences abundant victory to the glory of God!
PAGE 12 UNION LIFE
by Robby Knuck
Have you ever experienced victory over a problem in your life, only to later lose that victory?
Did you ever praise the Lord for freeing you from this or that wretched sin, and then find yourself right back in it? Have you puzzled over why deliverance appears to come for a time, only to end in a lapse back into old ways?
Most of us have wrestled with this enigma. We generally speak of failure being swallowed up in victory. But the fact is, sometimes God has a vital lesson to teach through victory being engulfed in failure! There are insights that can only be gained through the school of hard-knocks. Because of this, God is willing to let us take blind alleys as an investment in "the perfection of the saints".
No Corner on the Market
A key man on the European political scene is West Germany's Franz Josef Strauss. A possible future Chancellor, Strauss has turned near-disaster into triumph. He is a man who overcame.
Some years ago while a government minister, Strauss handled a delicate situation in a manner which projected him as an unacceptable leader of the German people. The incident caused a political storm. It appeared his career was shipwrecked.
- ' Strauss was down, but not out. He set
about, with the hell) of professional counsel, to overcome those personality traits which gave him a distasteful image. Through determination and hard effort, he rose again to prominence.
Herr Strauss is one of countless individuals in all walks of life who have learned to minimize their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. Through a course of self-improvement, thousands have reached the top against incredible odds.
Men have scaled mountains through discipline and determination. They have overcome despondency, bitterness, selfpity and all of the common problems that sap the vitality of human life, to
rise above themselves and accomplish great good in the world. While many of us can't resist the temptation of a second bar of candy, others have harnessed willpower and changed the course of history.
The ability to overcome is not unique to believers. We have no corner on the market of victory over problems. A believer may proclaim that he is free, free, free, but the Proverb rightly says that much vocalizing is a roadway for transgression. In our pride, we are quick to deal out harsh judgment on others who cross our path with the same problem, whether it be smoking, drunkeness, or a problem of a sexual nature. Because we are walking in the power of our own deliverance, our attitude is "I did it, so why can't you?" And we have done nothing more than the politician, author, or painter - in fact, chances are we overcame a lot less.
So God has to show us that we really can't do it. You can't, I can't, no one can. Sooner or later the path of self-deliverance will run its course. The victory of self-discipline will be swallowed up in failure. And then we will see that selfimprovement is not what God intends for our lives.
The True Overcomer
God certainly wants us to be overcomers. We are His heirs, joint-heirs with Christ of all that He owns. It is only to the overcomers that the crown of rulership can be given. If a man can't rule himself, he certainly can't be turned loose on God's universe.
But how are we to overcome? Surprisingly, not by trying harder, exercising self-discipline, or exerting willpower. Though this is how most of us set out, and though there may be victory for a time, this kind of overcoming is a long way short of what God has in mind for us.
The Colossians began to fall into the trap of trying to be overcomers. Listen to what Paul told them:
PAGE 14 UNION LIFE
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as 'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!' (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using) - in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (Col. 2:20-23).
The world's way of overcoming is through self-help techniques. Library shelves are loaded with "how to" books. People want to know how to change" themselves, how to improve the image. And a lot of believers have fallen into the same routine.
There is a popular concept among God's people which says that Christ has certain things to dispense among us so that we can be better people. If we lack peace, we plead with Christ to make us more peaceful. If we need love for an individual, we ask the Lord to help us to love. In a sense, Christ is viewed as a sort of apple pie, with so many pieces marked this and that. One piece is marked "peace", another "patience". To be delivered from a problem, such as lack of patience, we want God to give us a piece of the pie labelled "patience". Then we can be patient.
Instead of receiving "seven keys to patience" from the self-help experts, we seek our self-improvement from Christ. He has simply taken the place of the psychologist. But it is the same worldly system of overcoming that Paul told the
may have an appearance of value. There is nothing we can possibly need aside from Christ.
What is the answer to our problems? It is to recognize that in Christ Jesus we have been crucified; the independent "I" is dead and buried (Gal.2:20). Only as we recognize this fact can we know true deliverance. So too our resurrection life is Christ: "I am the resurrection and the life." And instead of living by a set of concepts or principles which we es-. pouse as truth, truth for us is no longer doctrine but knowing and experiencing the life of a Person: "I am ... the truth."
Do we need nourishment for this new life? Christ is the One who sustains us: "I am the bread of life." Do we require guidance? "I am the light of the world." Indeed, He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption (I Cor. 1:30). These are His attributes, and therefore ours because our life is now His. They are not things He gives us so that we can become something of ourselves; they are Him expressed through us.
This is the replaced life. Deliverance is no longer receiving help from God as though from a psychologist or counsellor so that we can overcome a problem; it is a Person, Christ Jesus, living His life through us. Overcoming is His life replacing our life. How different this is from the common conception that we must overcome. We are overcomers because He is The Overcomer, and we are joined as one with Him. As Paul said, we are more than conquerors through
It is no longer / who overcome, for I am crucified with Christ. But I am an overcomer, because The Overcomer lives as me!
A Replaced Life
The sum total of our life in Christ is in the Person of Christ. Anything outside of Him is completely foreign to this life, and of no use to us even though it
A Purpose For Failure
Why is it that full deliverance is not generally experienced at the time of the new birth?
The spiritual rest which we have entered was shadowed by the possession of the Promised Land under Joshua.
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 15
When God gave Israel inheritance of the land, they were told: "And the Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly" (Deut. 7:22). The entire land was theirs, but their problems were to be cleaned out little by little.
Perfect deliverance comes via the route of imperfect deliverance. God has a place for failure. He uses it to bring about good.
There is a law of opposites. A positive needs a negative to express itself. The creation is built on contrasts. For instance, we only know light in terms of darkness: it is only appreciated when it strikes a non-light surface. The universe would be dark except for the light emanating from stars and the reflection of that light on planets.
God manifests Himself by contrasts. We know Him as life, love and light; but we only understand these qualities when we have known their opposites - death, hate, darkness. Before the creation came into being, there was only God, and He knew Himself. It only became necessary for Him to manifest Himself through opposites when He as an infinite being chose to create and relate to finite man.
Evil serves a good purpose in that it reveals God. Many believers have a hard time with this. They have swallowed a neo-dualism which fails to see that God is using evil. Dualism is the belief that there are two powers in the universe of equal strength. In Chinese thought this is called Yin/Yang. (A brilliant rebuttal of dualism is presented by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity) But the concept of an evil being who is almost as strong as God, and who occasionally "gets one over" on God, is unscriptural.
Far from painting a scenario of the forces of good vying with the forces of evil, with good only barely prevailing, the Bible reveals a God who is in full control of His universe. Satan exists only by His express permission. God uses Him to His advantage. He "works all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11).
Because Paul proclaimed God's use of evil to bring about good, some accused him of advocating that we ought to sin all the more. He denied such a heinous conclusion vigorously. The fact that we learn by taking negative detours was never intended as an excuse to reek havoc in our lives.
Yet it seems to be a law that at some point we all must know failure in the person of self in order to know victory in the Person of Himself. The Lord is
very gracious in how He lets us "run our course" until we find the end of ourselves. Along the way is the experience of deliverance in the power of the flesh - the power of self laying down rules and laws "which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence."
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians Paul describes a soldier fully equipped for the fray. But one thing is strangely different with this man: his instructions, repeated no less than three times, are to stand firmly where he is! A more ridiculous statement to a ready-for-battledude I don't think I've heard. Yet this is how we are to overcome.
What a contrast this is to the fighting we are encouraged to do by fellow believers, in the face of so much evil. Or the much praying urged by so many who ask God to "sock it to old Satan." Much the worse are they, losing a perfect rest in knowing all things are in God's hands! Satan loves to get us into a battle of self-discipline and willpower. But God's way is for us to recognize that we have entered into the Promised Land of rest, and all we have to do is stand, assured of victory in Him.
The apostle John's listing of three stages of growth - little children, young men, fathers - shows us that it is the young men who are concerned with battling evil. The fatherhood outlook moves beyond this. Doing battle with the evil one becomes standing still in a perfect rest.
A personal incident may help illustrate this point. I had received an emer
gency phone call to contact home as soon as possible. Well, I tried and tried, but to no avail; there was no answer. So back I went to the office. Another brother in the Lord came over and asked me if I had turned the situation over to the Lord. As I thought on this, I realized how unnecessary it was to "turn over" anything to God, who already has the entire matter in His hands and has actually purposed it for a good end!
How my outlook has changed from one who would have turned a situation over to God, asked Him to move this object or that, pleaded with Him to "please break down the barrier", and agonised to get Him to put things into a configuration that seemed right to me.
Instead, my position right now is one of praise, thanksgiving, and affirmation. I praise Him for the wonderful Lord and giver of life He is. I thank Him for the abundance of love and compassion He is. I affirm that His hand is in all aspects of His creation, of which I am a part. In that sure knowledge I stand.
So I no longer try to deliver myself from problems or sins. Deliverance has become recognition of what is already true in Christ Jesus. And even if I do take a blind alley of self-effort at times, I know that God is working all things together for good, no matter how evil they may seem at the time (Rom. 8:28). The "good" is the Deliverer manifest in us; the roadway to that manifestation is the weakness of the flesh.
Paul had a firm grip on this liberating truth when he said, "Therefore I am well content with weakness ... for when I am weak, then I am strong." Weakness is the means by which strength - the Strong One - is manifested.
Ready For Battle
PAGE 16 UNION LIFE
It would be an utter waste of time and space in this letter to try to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to you and Brother Bill Mortham for your recent visit with me here in prison. I am quite confident that you were both aware of the joy and rapturous Christ-love I siphoned from you two beautiful brothers! Your mere presence was restoring.
Also, your counselling cleared up all the nagging problems and questions I presented to you.
I deeply regret that you were unable to take the gift of love (see photograph on this page) and its message back to the Union Life Center. Nevertheless, I am hopeful you will be able to pick it up soon.
I must say, I no longer feel the need to view any of Union Life's emphases with skepticism, nor with the fear that they might dislodge some principle or law which I have heretofore deemed absolute or inviolate. As a matter of fact, I actually appreciate the shock of these new truths which have compelled me to let go of many entrenched concepts which only served to stagnate my growth.
In my efforts to understand, or at least consider, seemingly contradictory laws, rules, or principles, I always insisted upon the tools of logic and reasoning. Even as an avowed Christian, and believer in Jesus Christ, I still wanted some objective proof, frequently accepting as proof such things as emotionalism, loud preaching, and anything that evinced religiosity. Oh, how I rebelled when these childish things were threatened! How strenuously I objected to even any suggestion that I and the Father are one!
In your article entitled "Man: Wretched or Wonderful", in the March issue, you illustrated the unity of two apparently contradictory natural laws; to wit, gravity and aerodynamics.
I was amazed to discover that the same unity can be both contemplated and illustrated in every other contra-law or principle I am familiar with.
Even more challenging is your statement in the June issue in the article "Personified Principles":
I am convinced that God introduced the contrast of seemingly conflicting principles in the Bible so that in his frustration man would turn to the inner Source ,for his answers...
You will probably be surprised to know how little thought I had given to this age-old directive - go to the Inner Source for Answers - before reading it in the context of "Personified Principles". As I read it, the thought suddenly became alive to me, causing me to realize that I contain within me, here and now, all that I will ever know of God!
Gone are the days of darkness and ignorance when I was smothered in a plethora of doctrines, ideologies and "isms", all of which held me bound to the objective world and which literally separated me from the true Source of Being! Gone is my entanglement with old dead concepts! I am now immune to the virus of ignorance sown by those who teach and preach duality.
I thank God for the Christ within who truly guides me into all truths; and as often as I turn to Him within, the paradox of relativity and the absolute is sweetly resolved.
So my dear brother, thank you for exposing me to the union life message that confirmed to me the truth of a fixed inner union.
Your brother, Oscar
On a recent visit with Oscar Patterson, Bill Mortham and Bill Volkman were presented with the beautiful model ship shown in the picture above. Oscar told us that it is symbolic of the long journey he has taken to cone to the full awareness of who he is in Christ.
The stainless steel name plate on the bow of the ship is appropriately engraved with the words UNION LIFE. It was so labelled because "it was the message of union life that finally brought me to true freedom and fulfillment."
Oscar's gift of love to us must have taken him at least 500 hours to build. It was creatively constructed from scraps of wood and other materials available in the prison hobby shop.
Though we were unable to take it out of the prison because of regulations, arrangements were made to pick it up later and it is now on display at our Glen Ellyn office. Thanks for the gift, Oscar!
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 17
Last summer I had an experience which really helped convert some of my head-knowledge to a heart-knowing. It was the privilege of attending a weeklong vacation seminar at the Union Life Center in Wisconsin. Let me share it with you.
The conference was just excellent. Dan Stone took morning sessions for an hour and a half, going through the six Union Life emphases. He is an excellent teacher who had been a Baptist pastor many years, later moving into the charismatic experience, and finally coming to a real knowledge of who he is - "Christ in Dan form" - through the teachings of Norman Grubb. He has been living on faith for some time now, touring with Norman and also on his own, bringing this positive message. Dan's were really good sessions, where everyone could just be themselves and talk openly - questions, comments, further viewpoints - without reserve.
Norman gave some tremendous insights in the evenings too, particularly his last one on the "fathers" stage - drawing from the life of Rees Howells and C. T. Studd, together with some of his own experiences with the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC), the Inter-Varsity Fellowships, and the Christian Literature Crusade. He showed the death, resurrection, and ascension aspects of Christ in us - children, young men, fathers. He explained that the broad majority know only the forgiveness of sins, death in our place by Jesus; some come through to know that they died on the cross - that the old man is completely finished with - and begin to experience the victory of the resurrection life of Christ lived out through us; still fewer get to the ascended life, where they truly live in the fourth dimension, the heavenly realm, taking up the cross and filling up the sufferings of Christ.
To the cross - on the cross - taking up the cross. The three stages. Crucifix
ion, resurrection, ascension. Children, young men, fathers. Or Romans 1-4, 58, 9-16, if you like. The trouble is, the broad majority have mixed up the three stages and taken scriptures which apply to one or other of these stages as if they were for all three! So we hear frequently that a Christian must "die", and keep on dying. It's based on the two-natures fallacy: you have to keep on crucifying yourself. Instead of recognizing that we have died, and that this phase is a finished fact to be basked in. Then we are set free to be who we are - Christ in my form - no longer concerned about ourselves, but living in a fixed inner knowledge that when we live it is really e living. This frees us for the ascended stage: we take up the cross to bring life to others. There's plenty of death involved! But it is all from a victory position, all from a state of rest, all his life being poured out through us - not trying to "die to ourselves", which is already a fact that needs nothing more than simple recognition.
Just to give you a few more of the insights that were brought out clearly. Each analogy in scripture is incomplete - that is, it shows only one side of the coin. You get just a part of the truth through the different analogies (each of them making up the whole), because spiritual truth cannot be contained in any one analogy.
So we have the analogy of treasure in earthen vessels. We are cracked pots. We should live in that constant recognition. We are "nothing" - just earthen vessels of no intrinsic value. We don't need to keep harping on this, as is the usual fashion - don't need to keep on going back to the first things of repentance. We just live in it as a fact. We know it. Through varied circumstances the Lord has broken the "sell", so that we recognize that we are utterly worthless. We also see that he is the treasure, the everything. And it always remains that way. We don't become something
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 19
better. We are just the vessel for him to pour himself out through for the world. He stays the treasure, we stay the vessel.
Now once we have that fixed, we go to another analogy. So far we have the "nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" part in focus. Not I but Christ! But it doesn't stop there. The next step Paul illustrated was "and the life I now live in the flesh, / live by the faith of the son of God". Not him, but me! Ah, now that is not something we hear very much about among Christians. In fact, they don't even get to the replaced life part most of the time - that for me to live is Christ. They are still back at the "I am crucified with Christ". But Paul takes us beyond the replaced life - not I but Christ - to the "I live". This is the third stage.
This third stage is illustrated by another analogy, the vine-branch analogy. The branches make up the vine. Now, where is the fruit? Where do you find the wine? Ah, it's on the branches! In fact you don't see the vine, you see its manifestation in the branches. The life of the vine, the sap, isn't visible. All you see is bunches of grapes, green foliage, and branches. But the whole is the vine!
That's the "I live" part! You get the grapes, and that's what you are interested in. You can't eat sap. You can't eat a vine. It is the grapes that give you the wine. And that's all the world ever sees - just the manifestation of the vine through its fruit-bearing branches. So when Paul writes to the Corinthians, he says that they are living letters. Not Christ, but them! Letters written by the invisible pen of the Spirit within, for all men to see.
When we get a letter, we don't see the pen. We see the words. We catch the life that is coming through the words - the meaning, the emotion, the warmth, the friendship. We don't see the pen, and we don't see the one who wrote it. We just see the letter! So we read in I John 4:17 that "as he is, so are we in this world". That's tremendous, because it takes us back to the words of Jesus: "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." If the world sees us, it sees Christ! We are Him in this world - His life manifested. And that is all they see of Him! They see the foliage, the branches, and especially in due season the grapes.
So we have this paradox. We are cracked pots, and yet we are chosen vessels! We ever know that we are nothing, and yet at the same time we
ever know that we are everything! Because it is not me, but He, "I am crucified" - that's the old man out. The old nature, Satan expressing himself through me, finished with, and him ousted from residence. "Nevertheless I live, yet not I" - that's the cracked pot. I am just his container, and my life isn't really me but him living as me. "And the life I now live in the flesh" - that's the branch, the living letter, seen and read by all, the only manifestation of Him in this world. And once I recognise that all three aspects are constantly true of me all at the same time, continuously, I just live spontaneously in them and God is manifest in human flesh.
How do we get into this fixed inner consciousness of who we really are? The thing that came out continually was the importance of what we confess. The battlefront is not between two natures. We express only one nature at a time. We were born as children of the devil, expressing the lusts of our father. That union ended in death. A new life began, and now we express the nature of our heavenly Father: we are indwelt by God through the Spirit. Norman stressed that "nature" is not a thing, or an essence. It is a person: either Satan indwelling man, or God indwelling him. We express the nature of our spiritual father. We did have a heart that was deceitful and desperately wicked, out of which flowed the lusts of our father. Now we have a pure heart, filled with the nature of the One who is in us - love, joy, peace and so on. And greater is he that is "in" us than he that is "in" the world. There is just the one person "in" any individual at any given time.
The battle then is between the inner man and the outer man. It is to believe what God says of us is true, not what the soulish life of our feelings or the external pulls of the world through the flesh tell us. We "fight the good fight of faith". That is, we affirm what God says is true, against all appearances. Or, as Paul elsewhere puts it, we exercise the "obedience of faith". Not by doing, but by recognising. By affirming verbally "saying" that it is so. That is the word of faith. We confess with our mouths what God says, and in due process of time we"really do begin to believe it and eventually live spontaneously from that inner realization. That's how headknowledge becomes heart-knowing.
It really helped to be in an environment where everyone was expressing this positive affirmation of what we are in Christ, instead of seeing duality as is frequently the case. It makes it easier to
recognise that we are "one" - the Father in Christ, and He in us - not He separate from us either externally or internally, but He joined in union with us, so that two become one. Paul said that if we are joined to the Lord we are one spirit; he likened marriage to our union with Him, whereby two become one. The wife receives from the husband and bears fruit: the husband expresses himself through the wife (Eph. 5 and Rom. 7:1-6).
Dan Stone brought home the fact that there are no "ought to's" in the Christian life of an external kind. The "ought to's" are the inner urges of the Spirit, the internal commandments of Jesus in union with us - the deep feelings of the heart. All of the New Testament teaching about practical living is to people who really know who they are. Paul's admonitions, for instance, are to people who know that they are Christ in human forms. They are not external laws. And the admonitions only take on meaning when the Christ within "witnesses" with the external admonition.
A good illustration of this is I Corinthians 14:37-38. Paul says that if you know who you are you will recognize that what he is writing is of the Lord. The external commandment will be reflected internally. In practice, that means that we never put another brother under law. If we are in a pastoral role, for instance, we are not laying down law. We are rather speaking what we believe Christ to be saying through us, and then leaving the Spirit to turn it into an internal command in the heart of the one we are teaching. In other words, the Spirit is the only true teacher! If he doesn't witness it in the one receiving the exhortation, encouragement, admonition, counsel or whatever, if he is operating on this level of really knowing who he is, then it is not for him, and we don't try to press it upon him. Of course, if he doesn't really know who he is, you have to start back at the beginning bringing him into this knowing. Otherwise all our teaching will just be law and produce only condemnation.
It came out over and over again that this is truly "the key to everything." When we know who we are, everything else falls into place. It is the gospel Paul preached. And it is really good news. It is the "tree of life." Before, we were partakers of the tree of good and evil. But as Dan Stone stressed, many Christians still are partaking of that same tree - only now they are trying to do the good part: but it is still evil because the tree is not the tree of life!
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When Jesus left this earth he promised never to leave or forsake his people. He would send the Holy Spirit to live within us forever. .
In the person of Jesus, the Word had become not words, but flesh. We were given a portrait of the life and character of the Father. Though Jesus would ascend back to his Father, the Holy Spirit would make known all the character and life attributes which he revealed. He would make them known internally.
After Jesus left, for the first three to four hundred years the "people of the way" (as they were called) lived for the greater part a life defined only by the Life within them. Active response to the internal voice of the Christ brought to fulfillment in them the qualities found in Jesus - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, self under control. No law - no vertical power structure - was needed to describe or defend this Life.
The horizontal relationships of love, light, life, good and right do not need structures for their existence. They do not need the support of vertical, pyramidical control. They are hindered from reproducing only in direct proportion as principles become separated from life, so creating the need for structures.
Evil, darkness, wrong, hate, death and force must be defined, defended, organized, promoted, structured. This is the vertical system of control on which the whole world has been built.
It shook Constantine and the Roman Empire to discover that the people of the way were taking over the then known world by undefined qualities of Life controlled by a loving Theocracy ruling from within men's hearts. How could the life of such a minority have such other-world authority? No weapons, no armies, no buildings, no earthly headquarters, no kings.
Constantine reasoned, we must join these people who are walking this way. Who is their spokesman? Do they have anything written? Send the captains into every country and city. Find out what they are teaching. We must know what they know (not live the Life they live) so we can gain control.
This is the satanic way. Position means control. Possession means authority. Power means self-love, a violation of life and reality.
The only trouble Constantine encountered was that he was unable to find the main body of truth being taught, for it was not written. It was being lived by the life of the Spirit. From life to life, heart to heart it was transmitted. Never again would God give men a written law. This time he would write it on the fleshly tablets of the heart. He would put a new spirit in man. He would take away the stony heart from man's flesh and replace it with a heart of flesh. Then he would put his Spirit within that new heart and cause man to walk in his statutes and judgments from within.
Constantine's men found some of the old corrective letters written by Paul to the Corinthian church. He also discovered the record of the coming of Jesus as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He discovered some of the other cities where strong corrective letters had to be sent by the apostles because the people had started in the Spirit but were returning to the power struggle of the three "P's"-position, possession and power-the way of the flesh.
These dusty old scrolls were valuable records of the inspired life and teaching of Jesus Christ. By gaining possession of the writings and adding to them the Hebrew scriptures of the prophets of old, the Roman Empire plunged the church into the dark ages. For now the canon, the Roman empire and the kingdom of heaven were fused as one. It was claimed that what man said was what God said; but it was the voice of humans, not the voice of the Spirit.
Perhaps there wasn't much of the life Paul and the early church lived left by the fourth century. Men have always preferred belonging to a system, a vertical structure. Wherever life isn't a response to the voice of the Spirit, it comforts the flesh to find oneself among a group. Where direct personal relationship with the living Word is lacking, it is secure to be told "authoritatively" what to believe, and what the party to which one belongs holds. It is abhorrent to the flesh to walk in the Spirit. Such an undefined walk is "dangerous".
By gaining control of scripture Constantine gained control of the people of the way. He had conquered the called-out ones. An authority other than the horizontal relationships generated by the Spirit held sway for centuries.
Then came the fresh new life that breathed into Luther's heart. As he responded to the voice of the Spirit, the record of Christ found in the scrolls began to live to him. But as he shared this new-found Life, the horizontal relationships which began to emerge from it threatened the vertical structure of Rome.
Now came the decision which would shape the whole of Protestant history. Would Luther and his followers remain defenseless, living life in love and thereby overcoming the structures of Rome? Or would his followers seek to define, defend, organize and build new structures which once again would stifle the Life?
History records that the latter path was taken. The god of this world made the greatest attack on the church ever. He deified the letter of scripture rather than the Holy Spirit. Now, with each revelation proceeding from the Spirit, division would be built in. The old vertical structure would always resist any new life. It would define any new revelation from the Spirit by scripture, defend it with organization, build physical structures around it - and the cycle begins over again, ripping and tearing the body of Christ.
Will the pattern started by Constantine in the fourth century, continued by Luther, perpetuated by Fox, Huss, Wesley, on and on, with more denominations, more church organizations, ever end?
Since the coming of the promise of the Father at Pentecost over 1900 years ago, we have had the indwelling potential for the horizontal life of the Spirit. But we have been hearing the voice of men with their misuse of the Book and their structures instead of the voice of the Spirit. Could it be that in our day the Spirit will break forth and free us from the props of a sick, weak church in the Western world? That in place of our vertical structures will once again emerge the horizontal relationships of life and love?
For the kingdom of God's sake, let us make those radical changes in our lives that are the responses to the Spirit. Then God will hear from heaven and heal us and our land.
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 21
Once God has opened our spiritual eyes to
understand His Mystery, which is "Christ in you", what shall we do? The Christ always does something - He creates. If we see that we are the individual expression of Christ in human form, then what do we express?
He is a creator now, through us, having first created us. We are made in His image, the image of a creator. We are creators, in part, a part of his creative Body. We create, as He has always created through others, by faith.
Others have built and created in His kingdom as they have seen the vision, the pattern of His kingdom, and let His Spirit operate through them producing an open manifestation of His kingdom, in part.
This world has not seen His kingdom because Spirit has produced various parts scattered throughout the earth. Only God and Christ see the whole, seeing in Spirit the whole Body joined in One, whether physically alive or dead.
Humanly speaking, we too see in part. We see our part and that of the immediate members to whom Spirit has joined us. We see the open manifestation of God's kingdom in living members, each of them parts of His kingdom.
No one can build and create in the kingdom of God until he first sees the inner vision of the kingdom. There is a spiritual pattern to be followed. It is not a pattern formed by man's intellect, nor by men poring through the scriptures and forming various doctrines and rituals then issuing orders and creating organizations in their own supposed work of God. Man's assumptions and speculations all come to naught. They are dead works.
Only the Spirit of God can create the kingdom of God. His kingdom is a living kingdom composed of members alive in Spirit, joined together by Spirit, the Spirit of Love. God is Spirit, and God is Love. Only the Spirit can create life, only the Spirit can love. When the members of God's kingdom are joined in Spirit they add to one another. The kingdom grows as the vision of it is created by Spirit within each member.
We find the pattern in scripture: it is the pattern of, faith. The living experience of faith is recorded for us in the lives of those who have gone before us in the work of building the kingdom.
God's kingdom cannot appear on earth in any other way than by faith, and the work of faith must be accomplished in each member of His kingdom. Faith working within the member produces something in the outer world of manifestation. We see it in action - creating - in the instances of Elijah and the widow's oil, Daniel in the lion's den, Moses lifting his staff to part the waters, Jesus raising the dead and feeding the multitude, and Peter and John healing the beggar at the gate.
Faith acts. It produces something to be seen. (The faith, His faith, remains hidden.) When the Spirit of Christ controls the member of His Body, the member is moved by Spirit toward the objective, the manifesting of the kingdom. It is the creation of God, not man. To raise the dead, Jesus was first moved into the vicinity of the dead. He did not raise the dead with His human hands; His faith in Spirit did the raising, giving life. Elijah didn't produce the widow's oil with his hands; the faith of Christ flowing through him produced it. Faith is what produces. Faith acts.
Our physical man doesn't do spiritual work. The Spirit of Christ does His own work. The physical man cannot build a spiritual kingdom. Only Spirit can do spiritual work. Physical man has his physical work - planting a garden, building an earthly dwelling. Nothing spiritual can be done except by Spirit.
The human mind can do nothing of the work of Spirit except it first by guided and controlled by the mind of Christ. We have seen in the scriptures that we are not to say we will move to such and such a city, getting gain, continuing a month or a year. We know not what shall be on the morrow, let alone the next year. Making great plans by the exercise of the human will, without the wisdom and understanding of guiding Spirit, is foolishness.
Only the Spirit of God can create the Kingdom of God. The human mind can do nothing of the work of Spirit except it first be guided and controlled by the mind of Christ.
PAGE 22 UNION LIFE
W We do not begin with hands to build the kingdom. We begin with the heart to desire the kingdom. The Father sees the desire of the heart and in Spirit brings His kingdom into and round about the spiritual child in open manifestation. As the kingdom grows in the lives of its members, ever increasing, it is the Light that draws the Gentiles. They see the brightness of a new nation in the earth, and a new way of life. e read in Genesis 14:18 of Melchisedec, king of Salem, who was also priest of the most high God. The Christ in us is after this order, king and priest in one. Here is the pattern for building the kingdom: we are the kings and priests of the most high God, of whom Christ is king of kings and lord of lords. We must know who we are before we can play our role in building the kingdom.
Man's pattern of the kingdom is to have fine outward buildings for worship, a separation between clergy and laity, an external priest standing above the people wearing an outer garment as a symbol of separation. God's pattern for his new nation of kings and priests is for each member to be the equal of the other, whatever the gift for building. The Christ of each of us is after the order of Melchisedec, king and priest.
We are a new nation, a new body, a new power in the earth. Yet this realization is mostly dormant in God's children, unrealized! The manifestation of the kingdom cannot appear until the pattern is communicated through the whole Body. Let us rejoice as the Lord clears all mysteries, opens every door before us, and invites us to partake fully of His spiritual and physical storehouses provided everywhere around the earth. He has waited patiently for us to receive Him as He is, the glorious giver of all things, giving a part to each member of His Body, joining us member to member in love, until we are all gathered together in one and the kingdom is fully manifest. 0
Reigning in Life
by John Whittle
The key to success in reaching out to the needy anywhere in the world is not in organization or strategy, even though they have an unquestioned place. The key lies elsewhere.
Just as the Creator has marked us for creativity, the King of the eternal kingdom has marked us for kingship. A king is not a king because he has no problems, but because he has the power and is in the position to handle them. Each of us, nevertheless, is likely to be "baffled to fight better," as Oswald Chambers has it in his book on the life of Job.
We each have received through Christ from the Father a kingdom -"'Fear riot, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk. 12:32). It is the Father's pleasure to see us each equipped and to know that equipment. 'I he effect of past sin-consciousness is to sink us in a sense of unworthiness, weakness, and uncertainty. But the word of Jesus is, "The kingdom of God is within you'' (-k. 17:21).
And then, to crown it all, Paul says in Romans 5:17 that we are to "reign in fife by one, Christ Jesus"! To reign is to be a king and to know one's resources. These are not meager, for Christ is within us. They arc ample for the bold in faith. Alas, we often sit down under the impact of the negative appearances of' circum stances and our own feelings about them. But to reign in life is to see the situation as Christ sees it, and to accept only that view in our inner spirits, whatever dismal thoughts may lay siege to our minds.
The final hook of the Bible speaks of believers as "kings and priests unto (God" (Rev. 1:6). "Washed from our sins in His blood," the previous verse says, "...and hath made us kings and priests"! That does not mean sonic are kings and others are priests - but we each are kings in relation to our commission in Christ's ministry in the world; we are priests in Our life of intercession and sacrifice for the world.
"Living like kings" does not mean in the affluence of this world but in the power of the world to come. But that power is the Person within us and cannot be separated front Him. ['he key, it we stay call it that, is therefore to act on that fact -- His resources made ours.
We are a new nation, a new power, a new body in the earth. Yet this realization is mostly dormant in God's children.
Many times, have I been up there on cloud nine,
And as often descended to earth, But now, that heavenly ship is mine; I'm the CAPTAIN in new birth.
I see not dimly thru a glass
My spiritual vision is clear I see not "at" nor through
For I AM there, and I AM here.
While I was still, He came today
-or so I thought,
But He was always here, He said While elsewhere, Him I sought.
You who are known, as you know
To each of you, the Christ "is come." There is no need to "tell and show" For ALL of us are ONE.
Bessie Behrendt (heal Bend, KS
All that matters is to be at one with the living God to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.
Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress, at home, at home in the house of the living, sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.
Sleeping on the hearth of the living world yawning at home before the fire of life feeling the presence of the living God like a great reassurance a deep calm in the heart a presence
as of the master sitting at the board in his own and greater being, in the house of life.
D. H. Lawrence
from The Complete Poems
PAGE 24 UNION LIFE
Shackled by bonds which I cannot see
my mind grows weary to be set free.
I have allowed my thoughts to control
the very depth of my longing soul.
My faith grows dim for it's hard to see
the end to the devil's double jeopardy. Lord why do I live if I can't be free,
don't you see these chains that shackle me? Help me to see that I'm really free,
my mind says no, but my faith says so! Which then is right, my faith or my sight?
devil you see plays double jeopardy.
I fight to the end to walk by faith,
but the lust of the world runs it's pace.
Then fear enters in, my strength leaves me,
and the devil plays on - double jeopardy. You see I know that evil old foe
who lies and deceives, that sower of woe.
The devil's his name, discouragement his game,
but by faith I will stand, he must show his hand. The victory is now oh tormented soul;
stand when everything seems out of control. When doubt brings fear of all things lost,
proclaim the truth no matter the cost. Jesus is Lord, Satan's power is gone,
no longer do we need be forlorn.
The purpose now clear to those who can see
was to bring us to faith in Christ as WE. The game is all over, we must only believe,
Satan will continue to try and deceive. Believe the lie and the Victory is gone,
believe the Word and life goes on.
His kingdom is now and dwells within,
no longer do we live in death and sin. Christ in His heaven in Spirit and free,
walking this earth as you and me!
Praise God we're free from external control,
for we are Spirit, expressed by soul.
With the eye of faith we see through the facade,
and say all's for good in agreement with God. So rejoice, give thanks to God in praise,
Christ is all and in all, hosanna we raise. The victory is ours for we are the son,
in unity with God-we in Christ are one.
Jerry T. Fuller
W. Columbia, -SC
"I AM What
I would soar with you from the cliff', On wings of passion to drift Into ecstasy and great exaltation; From nothing to everything And bring all to naught But the peace we besought. As Meteors are flung thru the sky, They burst into flame and then die When all is consumed, Contented to rest
On the pulsating breast Of the earth.
Shall we die and cling to the earth When the song of a nobler birth Fans the flame of holy desire`? That flame shall increase And never cease
In the Son of righteousness.
He appears on the wings of' His Truth; He conies with the dew of His youth When all is consumed, To declare over us
His unspeakable Name:
"I AM what you have become."
Mildred Benell Little Rock. CA
Selected and edited by Brenda Marcy
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 25
why weren't intelligent minds convinced? I realized that others accept that things are the way they are because in a given set of circumstances they could not be otherwise. Plants respond to light. Rain falls, sun shines, and grass grows. If we ask why it is this way, it might be answered that it has always been. "Ah, but that is a cop-out!" But when someone says God has "always been", we face the same problem. If God has always existed, why not laws?
The Bible certainly seemed like "proof" of God. Hadn't God said that Tyre would be destroyed and never rebuilt centuries before it happened? Wasn't it the most impregnable fortress on earth? But every empire has fallen down through history. And besides, there is a city called Tyre today. We might argue it is not the same city; but it is Tyre, in the same general location. BabyIon, too, seemed to "prove" the Bible right. But someone might reason that it was not overthrown in an instant, but gradually declined over many centuries. And though the Arabian was not to pitch his tent there, many Arabs live in Babylon today.
I saw that my "proofs", though helpful to me, were inadequate. People with greater knowledge could baffle me. And I began to question: is there really a God? Is faith in Christ truly viable? Former certainty diffused into doubt. If God exists, He ought to be real. And He wasn't, at least to me. I still felt He existed, but I couldn't be sure.
It was in this uncertainty that God began to reveal Himself in a new way. I didn't do anything to help the process along; but when I faced squarely the fact that my external crutches could be no more than pointers - that in themselves they could not make God known to me - an inner "knowing" began to formulate.
There are many whose minds tell them from the evidence about them that there ought to be a God. So they "take it on faith" that He exists. And that is fine insofar as it goes.
Actually, even the atheist has this kind of faith. He sees certain external evidence, such as all the suffering in the world, and reaches conclusions based on what he sees. Since he has access to only a fraction of the spectrum of knowledge in the universe, he cannot know there is no God. He must "take it on faith".
The life of God lived through Jesus' flesh spoke volumes. People saw God in Him.
This kind of faith is not what the Bible means by faith. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." It is not putting one's trust in an external set of evidences - I see certain facts and draw conclusions from them, then proceed to trust my conclusions. No, faith is an inner knowing - an inner assurance. It is not being convinced, but convicted.
Paul asked "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him", and "that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened" to know the Christ within. It takes an inner revelation to move into the kind of faith the Bible speaks of.
Now, I "see" God; not with eyes, but in my heart. I have moved from external trust to inner faith. I have begun to function in a whole new dimension, a different realm from the physical world I see about me. Faith has become substance, its own proof. I have experienced the wonderful little insight that "doubt is the seed-plot of faith".
But how can this help the atheist or agnostic?
When Jesus came on earth over 1900 years ago, God made Himself known in human flesh. Jesus "grew in favor with God and man." Thousands flocked to be with Him. Though all they could see with human eyes was just another person, Someone Else was "coming through" from within the veil of flesh. There was a concern, a love, a joy, a sense of peace in the face of tragedy, that was superhuman.
Tough fishermen in all their raw carnality were attracted enough to give up their livelihood. Thieving money-dealers began to go straight. Brazen prostitutes left the streets. Thousands were willing to be thrown to the lions or to undergo other similarly hideous deaths because of what they had seen in this man.
The life of God lived through Jesus' flesh spoke volumes. It accomplished more than all of the evidence of creation, the Bible, or any other witness to God's existence. People saw God in Him, and that reached them as nothing else did.
It is the same today. People are going to be turned on when they see God. Polls show that something like two-thirds or more of the American nation believe in a God. They are "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power" (II Tim. 3:5). Belief in the concept of God needs to move into inner faith, and for that to happen God must reveal Himself in human flesh. When the person with faith in an external concept (either of God, or of no-God) sees God veiled in flesh, he will be moved to desire such a revelation within himself.
So many believers focus on the Jesus of "good old Bible times", or on the Jesus of the second coming, that they haven't time to manifest the Christ of today. If only they knew that Christ is coming in human flesh at this very instant! Instead of running from meeting to meeting to learn about the Jesus of the past or the Jesus of tomorrow, they would live ordinary human lives that would manifest the Christ of power instead of the confusion and barrenness of religious form.
Do we really believe the historical Jesus upon whom we focus so intensely? Listen to his words:
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; ,for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, / will send Him to you.
You heard that I said to you, "I go away, and I will come to you. " If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because 1 go to the Father; for the Father is greater than 1.
Things are better now that Jesus has gone! Strange? Not if you know the Christ within. Although uniquely the Son of God made flesh, Jesus was just one man. He could affect only so many lives. There were physical limitations to how many He could speak to, live amongst, and manifest God to. But today, He is unlimited by a material body. We are His Body, and Christ in millions of people is far more effective than the man Jesus.
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father", explained Jesus. He was the image of the Father. John adds that "as He is, so also are we in this world." We are the branches who manifest the Vine. The world doesn't see the life of the Vine, it just sees the Vine in branch form. It sees us, and the fruit that we bear as Christ in this world. Yes, we are Christ in this material dimen
Things are better now that Jesus is gone! Strange? Not if you know the Christ within.
sion, even as your physical body is you as far as material eyes can see, though you are an inner spirit. We are the materialized form of Christ, His Body. (See I Cor. 12:12-13, 27, where in speaking of us collectively as the Body of Christ Paul refers to us by the words "so also Christ".)
"Oh, but I'm so imperfect!"
In the outward flesh, yes; but in the inner man of the spirit, you are the righteousness of Christ.
"But people will see all my faults. How can I look like God?"
Many found fault with the faultless Christ. Is the servant greater than his master? Sure they'll see the vessel as a cracked pot. But the glitter of the treasure within will soon take many eyes off the pot!
"I'll let God down."
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 27
Wonderful! Since when did you think you were the treasure?
Jesus was a clay pot too. Admittedly He was a clay pot without feet of clay, and we are clay pots with feet of clay. But when He walked the mountains of Judea, He got sweaty, and if He didn't bathe He smelled like you and me. His feet got dusty and needed to be washed. He was "like a root out of parched ground", not a tower of manly strength and the epitome of masculinity. He had "no stately form or majesty... nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him." He was such an ordinary looking Jew that Judas had to kiss Him to point out which one He was.
We've heard so much about feet of clay in our churches, it's time we put the emphasis on God living in human flesh. God can be manifest more today than in the man Jesus. Jesus said so! Despite all our weaknesses and failings, God's glory can be seen in us. Yes, glory! The foreknown have been predestined, the predestined have been called, the called have been justified, and the justified have been glorified (Rom. 8:29-30, past tense). As Jesus said, "And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them" (Jn. 17:22). Glory isn't just a nice charismatic word. It is God living in people, shining through the earthen vessel. Someday, it will transform even the vessel.
If any of God's people ever had feet of clay, it was the Corinthians. They encouraged sins worse than the heathen allowed, thrived on jealousy and disputes, created a babble of confusion out of the gifts of the Spirit, were drunk at the Lord's Supper - and still Paul called them "living letters" of Christ! "You are our letter of commendation," he told them, "known and read by all men."
So much stress has been placed on the outer vessel's failings that God's saints focus on the vessel instead of the treasure. Instead of "recognizing no man according to the flesh", we have looked at the clay pots and limited the glory that could shine from them by emphasizing what we aren't instead of Who we are.
God can be seen today. He lives in us through Christ. It's time we believe it and live in the fixed awareness that we are He in this world. We'd do a lot better to be ordinary people manifesting Christ in our homes and jobs, among our neighbors, than running to so many meetings to learn about what Jesus did or what He will do, when we've heard it all a thousand times before anyway.
If our meetings consisted more of two or three families getting together spontaneously, on a frequent basis, and simply inviting the people next door to join us for ice cream or a barbeque, sharing our lives together instead of trying to act religious, God would have a chance to show Himself to the world.
Putting our best foot forward with God is a waste of time.
Jesus held no regular meetings. When someone asked Him about His life, he didn't tell them to "come to my church at 10:00 next Sunday morning." He just lived, spontaneously - and people lived alongside Him, sharing in whatever He did. His friends weren't the churchgoers; they were the fishermen, the prostitutes, the ordinary blue and white collar workers of His society. And because He spent time among them - sometimes even going off for days with a great crowd of them together - they got to see the treasure that shone through the earthen vessel of His very ordinary human body.
Why do we make such a "thing in itself" out of believing? We have to have a special building, a special time, a special format. That was the way the old covenant was, and it served to keep people at arm's length from God. How radical Jesus must have sounded when He said that the physical situation doesn't matter a hill of beans!
Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father... But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; ,for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers (Jn. 4).
Christ indwells the whole of our life. Whatever we do, it is to be to His glory. That means God is seen in our work, in our family life, in our recreation, in our meal times, no matter where we are or what we are doing. No part of life is more "holy" than another. If I sing praises in a meeting with other Christians, he shines through my flesh; and if I sit in a coffee shop sharing experiences of the day with a workmate, He comes through. A love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and so on, that people know I don't have of myself, just "comes through".
Somehow, we've got the idea that to be "holy" means to act in a certain manner. When I say that "God is seen in our work, in our family life", and so on, that immediately conjures up the idea of really trying to "be like Jesus" in all of those situations. No, that's not what I mean! I'm not talking about trying to act like a believer is supposed to. I'm talking about being natural - being yourself - and through that everyday, normal you, comes LIFE. That is glory. Christ in us is our hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Putting our best foot forward with God is a waste of time. He knows we're just clay pots, so we're not fooling anybody. What He calls for is rank honesty -just being ourselves. Then He will live through us. It is His life that is going to be glorious, not our seeming limitations. Holiness is knowing that we are one with Him, and letting Him shed abroad love, joy, friendliness, concern through us as vehicles, where and how He chooses.
Playing religious games, trying to be good, doing what we are "supposed" to do, doesn't fool God - and neither do we fool the world.
Our playing religious games, trying to be good, doing what we are "supposed" to do, doesn't fool God - and neither do we fool the world. Religion turns most people off. Jesus was so right when He said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (Jn. 6:63). If we would just live where we are "at", being real, instead of putting on a religious act, God's glory would be seen in us.
The question is, do we believe it? That is the key. This glorious salvation is "from faith to faith"; it begins in faith, and it is carried out in faith to the very end. If we would really believe that we are living letters - that Christ is our real life, and that He is quite capable of shining through the veil of our flesh - the rivers of living water would flow spontaneously out. We don't have to try to direct them; we just have to live normal lives, and the lives of others will be watered, often without our even knowing it.
So we have come full circle. Faith is the way God lives in our flesh and is seen by those around us. But to have faith, God must reveal Himself in us; until that time, we are trusting only in an external concept. And the only way to break into this vicious circle is to be honest about where you are at.
If God has revealed Himself and you know Him within, be bold in it. Confess you are a living letter, despite the outer vessel. And if He hasn't yet revealed Himself within you, don't take crutches for a substitute but ask Him to create within you that fixed inner "knowing" that you and He are one. Then confess that it is so, and in due time the manifestation will come forth, and faith will become its own evidence.
Before you know it, the rivers will begin to flow and people will encounter Christ as they encountered God in Jesus 1900 years ago. And that, dear friends, is gloiy.
PAGE 28 UNION LIFE
Have you tried, recently, to put a square peg into a round hole? Life is full of such situations. To the point, some people are labeled "misfits." To find a nitch is a full time occupation for some. We know that the puzzle goes together, but where does of clumsy me fit in?
As Pilgrims in a weary land, Christians are often viewed as "misfits" by non-believers, and rightly so. This world is not our home; ours is Christ. Being a "misfit," therefore, is one of God's blessings, like a sinner jockeying into position. Sinners before saints; misfits before fits.
People, including Christians, need to see that a sincere "I can't" must precede a realized "He can" in all of life's situations. However, the "I can" will only be ours to enjoy when we see that "I" am really "HE," because the self of man is really "Not I but Christ." Therefore it is never God and I, but God alive as I!
Whatever the "BE" is to BEcome in our lives, we need to count that JOY, even when it qualifies us to be called a "misfit." Know assuredly that there is a large fellowship of "Misfits" in today's society. Even if you're one of them, honor them as God does: "Finished Products" - accepted in the Beloved. Hallelujah!
Needing to be entertained is an illusion of our youth today that is never satisfied. The higher the price tag, the more dissatisfying the entertainment and the less it cuts the mustard. The only thing left more empty than the wallet is the heart.
The fact is, our real appetite is to "entertain" rather than to be entertained. In God we are givers, not getters, born and then reborn to meet the need of others. In reality our having a good time is being the source of another's good time. Fun is not in laughing, but in making others laugh. Their happiness is then ours.
The best things in life are still free except for the high price of self-involve-ment. To be doesn't cost something, it costs everything; but Christ already paid it in full. Remember, "turn others on" if
you want to be turned on yourself. If you want to be entertained, entertain -beginning NOW!
Recently I was introduced to a teenager whom they called, "Flakey Bob." Later when I asked how he had earned that handle, I was told he was all "burned out." Without a "psychological" for reference, I took his peer friend's word for it and felt an ache in my heart to know that young man's true identity.
Symptoms of being "burned out" by "unnatural HIGHS" are indifference, apathy, and insensitivity to the basic needs of both yourself and others - carefree and careless emotional and physical characteristics like those of "Flakey Bob."
What a contrast to the Burning Bush of God that Moses encountered. One who burns yet never is consumed, for He burns as limitless energy as He burns for others. Instead of being "burned out" for selfish appetites and satisfactions, such a "Burned Out" lifestyle as His will be Christ, THE FIRE within you, consuming all dross of selfishness, affording you the "high calling" of selflessly BEing GOD'Self as FIRE to consume dross in the lives of others. Satisfying, we too are satisfied.
Not even Bob wants to be "Flakey Bob," whose condition is the result of looking for right things in wrong places, of incorporating self-effort for self-satisfactions, rather than a daily exercise of our discovered GODSelf as MYself alive and living for others. Meeting the needs of people can be your permanent HIGH, as your heart burns with a passion for souls for whom our Savior died and rose again. Yet we are never "Burned Out" but always aflame with God as our Sum and Substance, Subject and Object of all.
Every generation has its own way of describing what it's like when you have to reach up and touch bottom. Today's YOUTH refer to it as "The Pits." Lots of things in life appear to be a drag, with the weight of it all dragging us down, often to the point of wanting to throw in the towel.
.with Bill Mortham
Special editing by Dan Grubb
Unemployment among our youth and the offer of meager pay if employed is for many "The Pits," or the fear of no job and therefore no money, and if no money, no fun or independence. There is the inability to identify with most school curriculums and misunderstanding and disharmony at home and with the family. There is the fear of being used and misused by peers, the constant fear of nonacceptance robbing us of the freedom to say, "No," to their limitless demands and requests. There is the lack of challenge (inner and outer) of constructive and meaningful daily expressions and experiences. These and more are an integrated part of this alltoo-familiar scene that declares: "It just didn't pay to get out of bed, today."
One day, a teenager in the Old Testament named Joseph found himself in "The Pits," too, having been abandoned even by his loved ones. His way of escape wasn't one of self-effort, though he tried. Finally, in response to seeing who he was and where he was, he cried out for help and accepted it when offered. He was then lifted out of his "pit" never again to return.
Today's way of permanent escape from "The Pits" is the same as it was for Joseph who was then only seventeen years old. In utter honesty we must see it and face it for just what it is. There can be no substitute for honest appraisal of who and where we are and full realization that any amount of "self effort" is never a permanent escape, though we can and will grow weary in well doing. We are to "speak the word of faith" and look to this "Another" to lift us up from "The Pits" as e did Jeremiah of old, setting us upon this Rock Christ Jesus, the very One in whom we live and move and have our BEing, this One who in Himself levels the ups and downs of life. For as Betsy ten Boom (sister of Corrie ten Boon) found in Ravensbruck Nazi concentration camp: even in the deepest pit, He is there.
You too are of Royal Blood. Circumstances will never alter this. Claim your inheritance and press that claim. The ring is on your finger and the robe on your back. Full provision' is yours and sonic to spare as to share. See through "the pit" to the Throne, Beloved. There you'll find total acceptance and security.
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 29
I was very much moved recently by a sermon entitled, "On Being Christian." It made me think carefully about many things that have come up from time to time - and, particularly, to consider again what is for me a compelling issue: our identity as the people of God.
The emphasis on BEING is important to me. "On Being Christian"; I like that! Who are we really? Where does the notion come from that what one is must supercede what one does? It comes from God. God said to Moses, my name is "I AM" -or "I AM Who I AM." He did not say, "I do what I do." What God does is determined by Who He is - not vice versa.
In describing unregenerate humanity (all of us before we were brought into the Church in Christ) Paul says, "We were by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3). He had just finished explaining in that passage that our behavior was what it was (sinful) because of this nature. So then, to try to improve behavior without changing the nature that is expressing itself in that way is an exercise in futility. God does demand a certain kind of conduct, and yet humanity, without the indwelling Life of Christ, can't possibly behave in the way God requires. It's not what we do that is wrong; it is that we are wrong. It is our very nature to oppose Him. We find ourselves in an impossible double bind, and that is exactly the way it's meant to be (Romans 7). We can try to do all the right things (and I have), only to end up despondent, frustrated, disappointed and disillusioned. But if trying is not the answer, what is?
This brings us back to the original subject so perfectly put. The sermon was not, "On Trying to Be Christian", but rather "On Being Christian." There is a big difference. If we must try to be Christian, then one of the things implied is that if we work hard enough, if we are genuinely sincere, and truly determined, we can in our own effort
produce a Christian life, which of course we cannot. A thoroughly sinful nature cannot produce a Christ-like life by trying. We have nothing with which to work. And actually, that line of thinking is not too original. That was the serpent's strategy in Genesis 3:4-9, when he suggested that by doing something our first parents could become like God. We are all too familiar with God's judgment on that attitude and its consequences.
Why is this important? Because it is central to our understanding of who we are as the covenant people of God. There is no way that a person with such a nature, wholly given over to sin, can be co-heir with Christ, a child of Almighty God, a part of that holy called-out company of people called the Church. And yet we are. We are being Christian because we are Christian beings. What has happened to us? The answer is so simple - and yet within it is contained one of the most profound mysteries of God. We are the fellowship of the born-again. When we were born again (this time not of the flesh but of the Spirit), we came into a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17), the nature of the only person God said ever pleased Him - the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ now is our very life (Col. 3:4)! It is not a matter of trying to be like Him, but of trusting that He'll be Himself in us. That's what it is to be the Church - to have experienced "the explosive power of a new affection." Now Christ is our Life!
Nora White - Fairfax, VA.
Life for the average person is one of creeping, overpowering fear. In America fear is one of the larger problems of daily living.
Yet we who have died to self (Gal.2:20) understand that fear is not in our sphere of existence in Him. In Him we move and have our life and being. We know no fear. Perfect love exists in us, casting out all fear. Fear has torment. The world outside of us is very much tormented. Praise God we live in Him and He exists in us!
To come to know that the very hairs on our peculiar heads are already numbered is to come to know the oneness of life as Job did. We find that all things are tied to a single purpose, that purpose being God. So, even when the world bleeds, we can, like Job spear into the singleness of it all and know it is good. It is of God. He ordained it. And since He ordained it, it must have a positive conclusion in Him. Then we are able to approach life through the eyes of the all-existing One. We can say with Paul, "To live is Christ, to die is gain."
We are the very manifestation of God in Christ to the world. By knowing who we are, in faith we accept our oneness in Him and move out all fear along the wayside of life. "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Remaining the chosen vessels of Him, we are the manifestations of what confounds and amazes the world. We are a people devoid of fear. Fear is for the people of fear-hope is for the living. Being His manifestations, we are already alive in Him and we know no such limitation. Fear has limitations; it reduces a man. Love, the hope of God, frees man into that total expanse, to that place of no limitation.
B.L.-Wilkes Barre, PA
We are just amazed and excited at how God is revealing Himself to us, since Norman visited us in Hawaii and deposited seeds in our hearts.
As Christians, so many of us are caught up in doing this and that for God by copying someone else's program of success or even by copying the Word of God (Logos). But God wants us to be one with the Father, hear His voice and then step out and obey it (rhema). We are realizing by faith more and more every day that we are one with the Father, even as Jesus was on this earth. Hallelujah!
ON BEING CHRISTIAN
NO MORE FEAR
NOT PRINCIPLES, BUT PERSON
PAGE 30 UNION LIFE
"Christ in me" gives me a whole new outlook on life, myself, others, circumstances, etc. Although I would never do this officially or publicly, I can in essence change my name to Christopher Christ! Sound blasphemous? The scribes and pharisees called it blasphemy when Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Yet Jesus said we have that identical oneness that He shared with the Father (Jn. 17:21-22).
The voice of God is becoming a very real thing in my life. He has said that the "I AM" dwells within me. "I AM" is joy, peace, love, victory, triumph, faith, etc. We don't have to claim or grasp for or frantically get the victory, because we already have it in the form and person of Christ in us! We live so below our privileges!
People emphasize faith, love, victory and many, many other principles of God, and yet fail to recognize the principal One, Jesus Christ. We need to get our eyes off the principles and on the person of Christ, who is the fulfillment of all the principles of God. It is so often preached "how to", but it needs to be made known and realized "Who".
C.B.-Kula, Maui, HI
Please put me on your mailing list. I received Union Life magazine for a time and then requested that I be taken off' the mailing list because I found I was choking on what I called bones. I realize now that I miss the meat terribly and fall back too often to seeing doubly rather than with a, single eye.
J.H.-Center Valley, PA
Several years ago I came to understand the truth of God dwelling in us-resulting in a new creature, the son of God!! Before that time, I had led a life of holding precious knowledge, with no one to communicate with. Recently though, my husband and I have come in contact with other beautiful people who believe the same thing.
The God in me and the God in you is that Great Creator who gave promise to Abraham, "Because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you"-and so Christ, the seed of Abraham, is "the beginning of the creation of God." We, as new creatures, are "God multiplied"-one of the great promises of Abraham. This has been happening from the point in time when Christ was manifest in the flesh. It is happening today too. I used to see this promise of being a son of God as something vague and far off in the future-one day, zap, God will give it to me and I'll be perfect from then on.
But now I see it as we are, born of incorruptible seed by the Word of God which lives and abides forever. A new creature exists. He is my inner life. This great promise to Abraham is happening today. Christ said in John 10:33-38, "Is it not written in your law, I said you are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken," then what about those today unto whom the word of God is "made better"? What about those to whom the Word of God, glorified and raised up, has come? God himself calls them gods unto whom the Word of God has come. And the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the sons of God.
We are today involved in promises God made in the past. Though we wait to be outwardly changed, a miracle is happening in us, today. And therefore we have a strength and a power within us to do all things now, this very day, through Christ who dwells in us.
God bless you for the blessings that come into my life through your magazine.
I know I have my union with Christ positionally, and praise God, I am slowly coming into the full realization of it consciously. In the past few months I see an acceleration of this experience. One thing I know is that it will take place, for I have His promise from the written word. I believe I have come to
His precious banqueting table and it is time for me to begin eating, not merely standing aside and admiring it. How very patient e is with me! The other day I actually felt a little push from Him, confirming to me that He is just as anxious as I am that I taste and see that He is good.
Enclosed is my check for the continued support of your magazine. Praise be to God for your wonderful ministry of love.
My thanks go to our Father who spoke to me through the article, "Sin No More". I really started to live with that article. I've known for a long time inside and had many experiences; but I just couldn't see how I was to stop always condemning myself for any little wrong thought, etc. I was sure illness was punishment, so you just took it because who was to know which sin in you caused it when you felt you had so many to be free of. (I could have written Nancy's letter on smoking word for word.) So, of course, I was thinking I had to be perfect and it was an impossible task and I even got to where I just wished I could forget all of this God stuff; but fortunately, that is impossible too.
In my upbringing, we sort of ignored that word "blood". Later, I did go to other churches and study groups, but I was, I guess, closed to this. Of course, I had been utterly confused with all those verses you quoted-I'd studied all of them before-and learned hundreds of verses that were just words, also.
It finally came through to me that I shared in that experience at the cross. I had died to that old man and buried him and 1 am alive with Christ-Christ as Betsy. I am so glad that you also wrote, "In time she would have her full inheritance of freedom from all condemnation. She would learn to live by the inner reality of the PERFECTION of her union with Christ, not by soul (sense) appearances." There it is-love, forgiveness and perfection. It really helps to know that when I'm tempted to forget my Identity!
B.B.-Rail Road Flat, CA
LIVING BY INNER REALITY
EAT THE MEAT, DISCARD THE BONES
GOD DWELLING IN US
STOP LOOKINGSTART EATING
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 31
The Philistines had assembled their armies at Soco and were encamped between Soco and Azekah, in Ephes-dammin.
Ephes-dammin meant "a boundary of blood" and was named in memory of the great price Israel had paid in possessing the land. Soco had been secured by God as a result of shed blood. It was Judah's by right, given by God to the praise of His glory, as Judah means praise.
The enemy of God was assembled within His territory illegally. Yet when Israel heard the words of the enemy's champion, the giant Goliath, "they were dismayed and greatly afraid."
David was a man who knew union with God. He recognized that nothing happens outside of God's love, that there isn't one circumstance of our lives in which God is absent. Understanding this, he viewed all life's situations as opportunities for God to manifest Himself and to prove His absolute love. He accepted all seemingly evil situations as disguised epistles of divine love.
His oneness with God made David the personification of true self-sufficiency. He had total trust in the God who was at work through him. Even though his brothers possessed qualities of appearance and stature above David, God had chosen him to be the next king, because he was not found to be striving for greatness but was content to be faithful in his seemingly humble task as a shep herd.
David didn't have to work at removing all of the obstacles that stood in the way of his rightful rule, but trusted God "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." He continued in his contentment as a shepherd.
In due time Jesse sent his son David to bring news of how his brothers fared in Saul's army. Even as he had not needed to vie for the position of Saul's musician but was recommended by a servant of Saul, so now God purposed through war to bring His chosen vessel into favor in the eyes of king and people. Saul's fear became the avenue of David's introduction to his designated position.
God 'didn't miss a lick; He never does. He was at work in this situation. David saw through the appearance of things to another opportunity for God to manifest Himself through him. All Israel had the same rights and privileges as David, because the enemy was in God's territory. But they saw only the appearance - they could not see God.
Because he recognized God in the situation, David did not concern himself with lack or inadequacy; he simply made good use of what he had at hand, five small pebbles. Saul's burdensome armour was cast aside. The weapons of his warfare were not physical but mighty before God for the overthrowing of strongholds; they were the weapons of faith.
David knew that the battle was the Lord's! "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied." He was a man to stand in the gap, an intercessor for the preservation of Israel. The word of the Lord was fulfilled in him: "And the word of one shall go forth, Cast up, cast up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people."
With the knowledge of whom he represented, David uttered the word of faith. His voice against Goliath was the voice of God. When he had slain Goliath, "Saul took David that day, and would not let him return to his father's house." All things had worked together for good according to God's perfect will.
David's authority was that he came "in the name of the Lord." We today have that same authority as a result of our union with God through Christ. We have been made right with God by the blood of Jesus, and we have been made one with Him by the body of Christ. We operate as Christ in all situations, taking His name and speaking His word. Standing with God always makes a majority. He is operating in the thick of all situations and through us He will continue to manifest Himself to all people.
The whole universe is God's, yet the enemy has encroached upon that which is rightfully ours through Christ. We know that the battle is the Lord's, and the world is overcome. Since we are one with Him, we are of good cheer. We are but to speak the word of faith and stand in the Spirit of love and obedience. We can be assured that any circumstance or situation that appears to be dark and bleak is only greater opportunity for us to let our light dispel the darkness, until all creation is delivered into this glorious liberty which is ours as the sons of God.
PAGE 34 UNION LIFE
This first issue of the Eighties is significant in more ways than one. Not only are we moving from a quarterly to a bi-monthly publication (made technically possible by the addition of Jan and David Ord to our editorial staff), but are also adding a full-color cover incorporating four additional pages, beginning with this issue.
During the past four years we have emphasized the need to expand our awareness of the fuller implications of the Gospel. We have gone beyond the good news of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, with its promise of past sins forgiven and the promise of a future heavenly reward. Because we realize that looking back and looking forward is of little help in day-to-day living, we have sought to emphasize the Mystery of the Gospel: Christ in us, and as us, as our hope of present glory. Christ's death covers the past and the future; his resurrection life is our basis for living in the NOW.
We have encouraged our readers to move from a Romans Seven ("0 wretched man that I am") to a Romans Eight ("no condemnation") outlook. Because of the replaced life ("It is no longer I who live, but Christ that lives in me"), we can accept ourselves and others. This new focus on our union life in Christ has brought many of us to a new freedom and rest.
But there is a further emphasis which needs to be made: that each of us as unique expressions of God has been endowed with extensive creative ability and skill. Freedom and rest are wonderful; but creative freedom and creative rest is much more fulfilling.
Jesus said to the Jews: "Do you not know that your Scriptures say, 'You are gods'?" We have the same Scriptures which are equally applicable to us. Because of our union with the Father through Christ, we are gods! It is heresy to say you are a separated "godlet", but is is not heresy to see yourself in your union
as a unique "god". It is only the latter understanding that opens the door to a fulness of creative life and expression.
We have been saved from something to something; from the chaos of separation, to the creative harmony that results from a unified perspective of life. The coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives at conversion was meant to enable us to cope with all the exigencies of life, as well as to live and die as intercessors for others.
God always makes full provision for those who are chosen to fulfill any commission laid upon them. When the temple was to be built by the Israelites, Bezalel was called to supervise and bring the assignment to completion. And he was competent for the task, for God had put the wherewithall within him. Moses announced: "And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftmanship...so as to perform in every inventive work" (Exodus 35: 31,33). Six more times in the same chapter it talks of the people's hearts being "moved" and "stirred" to give and work so that the job could be done.
We all have our intercessions and commissions. And we too are competent to creatively and innovatively accomplish that which we are inwardly led to do. This covers all areas of life's responsibilities: family, vocational, professional, political, social and economic.
There are untapped resources within each of us. But a satisfying, fulfilling life does not become a present reality until this creative potential is personally experienced. Who are you, and what resources still lie dormant within you? Are you experiencing the dynamic of your Spirit-filled life?
In the months ahead we purpose to share many more teachings and illustrations by those who know something of the creative potential that is meant to flow out of us as part of the "rivers of living water". Expect to see a much greater emphasis in the magazine on the last two Union Life Emphases listed on page 2: Part V -Sons in Spirit Action by the Word of Faith, and Part VI - Sons in Body Action as Intercessors.
Little children and young men are still waiting to receive more from God: fathers who know who they are in union "call into being those things that do not exist" by creative words of faith, and then frequently implement those words by personal creative action. Creativity for the blind world around us will always flow from the mature man who has grown "up in all aspects into him, who is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). We can not stop until we see Christ formed in each one around us.
UNION LIFE FEBRUARY 1980 Page 35