My dear Friends:
I had entered in earlier years, by God's grace, into a living experience of the Living God-Father, Son and Spirit. Through the Word made alive to me I recognized that not only had Christ died for my sins, but that He lived in me. But I still longed and searched for a completeness. I saw the answer to completeness in Paul's constant use of the word "all" in his own experience-"all sufficiency in all things," "I can do all things through Christ," "strengthened with all might;" and in James' "perfect faith" and "royal law of liberty"; and in Peter's "after ye have suffered awhile, stablish, strengthen, settle you"; and in John's "perfect love, for as He is so are we in this world."
I also saw it as I read the lives, past and present, of those who had entered into the fullness of union with God. So I continued my search and pursuit until I could say with the Psalmist, "0 God, my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise." Jesus said rightly, "Seek and ye shall find." So I have found what is to me, by His grace, the Permanent Union, the Unchanging Presence, the Total Sufficiency, including the entire rationality of Revealed Truth.
Life is no longer a personal search and hunger, but involvement in another kind of hunger-for others-with its sufferings and glory (such as Paul the Intercessor reveals in his 2nd Corinthian letter of his outpoured life for others). I have found that there is the full equipment and authority for all of life, right in the midst of its storms and frustrations. The transition is from the daily dyings of the Lord Jesus, to His manifested life in our bodies; from the release from the twopower outlook of the Fall, to the one Power-God Only in all things.
Bill Volkman, with the help of others of us, has been moved by a strong conviction that we should share with others by this "Union Life" magazine what God has made so real and total to us. This is the first issue of a quarterly magazine which will link many who, having come some distance by grace (but not having yet attained), "press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." May this be a portion of living bread to many.
Much love to each one, Norman Grubb
Norman Grubb is best known as an author. Many of his more than twenty books were written since his retirement from the post of international secretary of Worldwide Evangelism Crusade.
His latest book, Who Am I, was published recently near the time of his 80th birthday. At a time when others retire, Norman Grubb continues to share the liberating insights of union-life across this land and abroad.
His wife, Pauline, youngest daughter of the late C. T. Studd, has stood with Mr. Grubb through all the years. They have lived for the past twenty years in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, at the general headquarters of WEC and Christian Literature Crusade.
PUBLISHED BY MARANATHA CENTER
God's purpose in Eternity is to Father a vast family of Sons who will forever be fully-functioning, conscious persons expressing His Love-Nature in the Universe. Toward this end, God made man in His image. He made persons like Himself.
There is tremendous responsibility in being a person, because the basis of personality-the basis of ALL BEING-is consciousness. And you can't have consciousness without the awareness of opposites and the corresponding necessity of choosing between them.
We are conscious of a thing only because we see it in contrast to its opposite. We know a truth because it isn't a lie. We appreciate light because it dispels darkness. We desire love over hate. We prefer sweet rather than bitter ... kindness instead of cruelty.
Although we prefer the positive over the negative, we must fully experience the negative before we are ready to choose .. . and appreciate the positive. We all want the positive. We want to know who we really are and what is our proper relationship with God. Until we do find who we are (containers and expressers of the Living God), we will not be content. But to find who we are, and to appreciate being that forever, we must first be conscious of ourselves as a total negative in contrast to God as a total Positive.
God accomplishes this by exposing in us the complete opposite of What He is. Where we want to do good, we are bound by evil; where we desire unconditional love, we find judgment, criticism and hate-toward ourselves and others. We experience sin and death rather than abundant life. But this is good; because we have to experience what God is not before we are prepared to know what God is. We have to feel the full exposure of the "notGod" side of God. When God has thus prepared our hearts, we are ready to acknowledge Reality.
Reality is a Person-Jesus Christ. As perfect man and full expression of God ... and representing man ... Christ took the whole negative exposure of man to its eternal destiny of Hell-eliminating it forever. He visibly conquered sin and Satan and Death by being raised in newness of life to sit on the right hand of the "Majesty on High." As a man, He was "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
That's where we fit in because the Bible says that we also died, and we "walk in newness of life" in Christ Jesus. "Christ dwells in our hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:17; 2 Cor. 6:16).... and it is "by faith;" for faith is the key.
Faith is my acknowledging Reality. As a
Paul Leinthall lives with his wife, Lynn, and their children, in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania.
free person, I intelligently choose to believe what God has revealed in Christ and I make my commitment by outwardly confessing what I inwardly believe. When I do that for the first time, I take my first step in walking in Reality. I become God's son, created in Christ Jesus; in spirit, I am joined to the Lord; now-God and I are ONE (1 Cor. 6:17).
But this is just the beginning of discovering who I am-and who God is in me. Up to this moment, I have lived thinking / was the one living life and handling my problems. However, it soon becomes evident that I still face problems and temptations. The question is: How do I now handle them? How do I live this Christian life?
The answer is simple (though it may take much further exposure of my self-independent efforts before I see it)-! don't live this Christian life. Christ does! (Gal. 2:20) My only problem comes when I slip into the illusion of thinking I must do something, or be something.
There is only one thing I do; recognize continually that it is not I doing it; but Christ doing it in me. This is the secret that Jesus knew. He said, "I can do nothing of myself . .. the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (Jn. 5:30; 14:10). If I wonder whether, or not, this applies to me, I read, "As He is, so are we in this world" (1 Jn. 4:17).
You see ... what I am, is He. I am His person-His container-His form of expression. He is Himself. .. through me. He, in me, handles my situations.
Yes, I still have tough situations; I still have problems. But every tough situation and every problem becomes my opportunity to become involved, in any way I see fit; because now I am His fully-functioning, conscious person ... expressing His LoveNature in my universe. ". . . and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God This is union-life in a nutshell.
"When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy (a fellow missionary) was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote: 'But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.'
"As I read I saw it all! 'If we believe not, He abideth faithful.' I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, 'I will never leave you.' 'Ah, there is rest!' I thought. 'I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me-never to leave me, never to fail me?' And, dearie, He never will!
"But this was not all He showed me, nor one half. As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in having wished to get the sap, the fullness out of Him. I saw not only that Jesus would never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine now I see, is not the root merely, but all-root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit: and Jesus is not only that: He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for, or needed ...
"The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient."
Harriet Beecher Stowe
"How does the branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; not by vain struggles for those vivifying influences which give beauty to the blossom, and verdure to the leaf: it simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union, and blossoms and fruit appear as of spontaneous growth.
"How, then, shall a Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles to obtain that which is freely given; by meditations on watchfulness, on prayer, on action, on temptation, and on dangers? No: there must be a full concentration of the thoughts and affections on Christ; a complete surrender of the whole being to Him; a constant looking to Him for grace. Christians in whom these dispositions are once firmly fixed go on calmly as the infant borne in the arms of its mothers. Christ reminds them of every duty in its time and place, reproves them for every error, counsels them in every difficulty, excites them to every needful activity. In spiritual as in temporal matters they take no thought for the morrow; for they know that Christ will be as accessible tomorrow as today, and that time imposes no barrier on His love. Their hope and trust rest solely of what He is willing and able to do for them; on nothing that they suppose themselves able and willing to do for Him."
"The great secret of victorious living is not to flog the will in a heroic struggle to live like Christ, but to surrender the will and let Christ live in us and through us."
When I was in the British army, God very plainly called me (though I'd planned another career) to join a little independent missionary group just starting in Africa.
But I wasn't there very long before I deeply felt my inadequacy. It wasn't that I was lukewarm for Jesus Christ; it wasn't that I had turned away from Him to some other interest. I was a servant of His and my whole interest was set on introducing my brother Africans to Him.
The inadequacy I felt in myself first of all was the need of love. I deeply felt, when I got among them, that I just didn't have that love which bridges the gap. With that went the need of faith-and with that the need of power. All of these were linked together.
To begin with, my attitude was that God should improve me. Well, I'm a servant of Jesus Christ, I thought. I've been redeemed by His Grace, I belong to Him. I must ask God to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ. I thought He should channel some love into my heart, some faith, some power, some holiness-and improve me. I had to learn sharply that self-improvement is both a sin and an impossibility. It came as a considerable shock.
But though my idea of how God should answer my problem was completely wrong, my sense of inadequacy was good. It sent me to the Bible. And my first discovery came as I read one famous verse in the first letter of John: "God is love."
That set a new trend of thought going. I began to relate this to my other need-of power. And I suddenly found a verse in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians where it says that Christ is the power of God. Not Christ has the power, but He is the power.
Then I came to the one thing every Christian claims to have. Every believing Christian accepts the fact that he has eternal life. He takes it that he has a life which will go on forever in Heaven. ("The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.")
JOHN N. GLADSTONE
4 (Readers: Please send the Editor quotes like those above as you come across them in your reading.)
But I suddenly found that eternal life is not something I can ever have-for Jesus did not say, "I have the life to give you"-but, "I am life." Once again I had found that something I had thought I had-eternal life-is one Person only, and that's not I. Jesus Christ is that "eternal life."
But where did I fit into all this? Finally I came to a statement which gathered all together and finished off my investigations by its absoluteness. The verse was Col. 3:11, where it says of believers in Christ that "Christ is all and in all."
Christ is all, not Christ has all. And if Christ is all, what's left for me? Not much by my mathematics! I had thought I was somebody and that I could get something. I had found God had taken the lot. Christ is all. I had found the link. Christ is all and in all.
Then I saw for the first time that the only reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something, but to contain Someone.
'Christ liveth in me;' this is the transforming secret. If Christ liveth in me, His life must, in the very nature of things, be manifested in my mortal flesh, and I cannot fail to be changed from glory to glory into His image.
"It is not by effort or by wrestling that this conformity is accomplished; it is by assimilation. According to a natural law, we grow like those with whom we associate. . . It need not seem mysterious to us that we should become like Christ by a spiritual union with Him."
"At last I realized that Jesus Christ was actually and literally within; and even more than that: that He had constituted Himself my very life, taking me into union with Himself-my body, mind, and spirit-while I still had my own identity and free will and full moral responsibility. Was this not better than having Him as a helper, or even than having Him as an external Saviour: to have Him, Jesus Christ, God the Son, as my own very life?"
Evil - A misuse of self; a person misusing freedom.
Sin - The action of a person who is for himself, not God.
Carnality - To be under the influence of the visible, tangible, and temporal -instead of the invisible, intangible, and eternal.
True prayers - God's prayers prayed thru us. They issue from God's mind, are taught us of His Spirit, are prayed in His faith, and are thus assured of answer.
Freedom - The ability of making choices; the necessity to choose between alternatives.
On September 5, 1964, Alan Redpath, noted Christian writer and pastor, fell paralysed with a cerebral hemorrhage. Soon thereafter a series of tests were taken and during one of these a main nerve in the back of his neck was damaged and for the next seven or eight weeks he suffered intense pain. Mentally, physically and spiritually he was reduced to a child, unable to read his Bible or even pray.
It wasn't long before he found himself being attacked by tremendous temptations, the like of which he had not known for twenty years or more. It seemed that the devil took advantage of his helplessness to throw everything he had at him. Sinful thoughts, temptations to impurity and bad language tormented him constantly. Finally he cried out to God, "Oh, Lord, deliver me from this attack of the devil. Take me right home! I would rather be in heaven than stay here any longer and know that the last memory my family would have of me would be a man living like a cabbage . . . Please get me out of this situation."
Then, for the first time in months it seemed the Lord drew very near to him. No visions or dramatic touches of healing, just a deep conviction in his heart, in which He
said, "You have this all wrong. The devil has nothing whatever to do with it. It is Me your Saviour, who has brought this experience into your life to show you two things. First, that this is the kind of person ... with all your sinful thoughts and temptations, which you thought were things of the past ... which you always will be, but for My grace. I have never intended to make you a better man. In the second place I want to replace you with Myself, if you will only allow Me to be God in you, and admit that you are a complete failure, and that the only good thing about Alan Redpath is Jesus."
Though Pastor Redpath had been a Keswick speaker for years, and he had preached identification with Christ's death and resurrection, it was in the crucible of suffering that union-life became real to him. Now the Spirit of God was his teacher.
Physical healing accompanied his new insights into union-life. The specialists were amazed at his complete recovery from such a damaging attack. Today Alan Redpath praises God for straightening out his warped life. He praises God for his recovery, and most of all he praises God for taking him through illness to heal his spirit as well as his body.
BY NORMAN GRUBB
Death - Moving from one dimension to another.
Glory - Manifested Love.
A principle - What God is at a certain level.
Matter - Spirit slowed down to the point of human form and visibility.
Activity - The by-product of receptivity.
Joy - An apt way of putting in one word all that life at its fullest should mean to us.
The Wrath of God - Man's projection on God of a rejection that is really in themselves.
ALAN REDPATH AND GOD
Adapted from the Christian Inquirer, June 1974.
Let me share an experience which has totally altered my life. I was a pastor when it took place. In fact, I had served several churches when God showed me this "new thing."
As so many young theological students before and since, I had wrestled with the various schools of thought concerning Jesus Christ and who He was. I settled for an external Christ whose death was a substitute for the sin of the world. I knew my sins were forgiven. My past was clean. This was the Christ I preached.
I was less concerned with the future. Actually I was not very emphatic about the future because I felt a pastor only needed a word on the future at funerals. I trusted God to take care of the future, for the Bible said I had eternal life.
This then is what I had. The past was forgiven; the future was covered by a wise and provident God. I had confidence in what Christ had done for my past, and I knew that life after death was in His hands.
But where did this leave me? It left me with a great big void in between. It left me with the day-to-day existence to handle. And that day-to-day existence was without the awareness of the Abiding Christ. The day-to-day is the arena of action, and here I was in deep trouble. I had experienced the truth of Romans 1-5; but I had not been mixed with the truths of Romans 6-8 (though I sometimes preached about it). I lived a miserable, unfulfilled, Romans 7 Christian life ("wretched man that I am").
I sought to prove my love for God with acts of consecration. I failed repeatedly. The Holy Spirit's life within a believer was a vague, vague concept to me. (Notice, I said "concept" rather than Person). I served the Lord from the 'flesh' and taught others to do the same. Try harder, do more, prove yourself, these were my themes.
Then a major crisis came (though there were many minor crises before then). My crisis was in the form of one of my dejected moods. This one was particularly severe. It was to result in a learning experience I desperately needed.
During this period of intense depression, some friends had invited me to teach at an interdenominational prayer retreat. However, a second teaching was also taking place at that retreat. One I was doing for them, and one God was doing through them on me. I observed a life-style and an attitude in them that was radically different from what I had ever seen before. It was surely different from my own life. Most important, they were talking about Christ living in them with power.
By the end of the retreat, the teacher had been taught. I left recognizing 'Christ in me.' I finally had something (really Someone) for daily living. From the past and the future to power for day-to-day living. I was thrilled to discover "The Helper." No longer did I need to battle Mr. Everyday in my own strength.
I had learned my first lesson, but I still knew nothing of a fixed awareness of the Person in me. Since I was still subject to moments of exhilaration as well as moments of dejection, I assumed that the power of the Presence of Christ in me varied in proportion to my emotional temperature. I tried to maintain my "high" by seeking "spirit-filled people" and "spiritfilled leaders" and "spirit-filled meetings." All of this resulted in an up and down "high."
The problem was that I was not locked in. I did not understand that faith is fact regardless of the emotional confirmation. But one can not run from "spirit-filled meeting" to "spirit-filled meeting" forever. God in me was getting tired of that jag! You see, I had not learned I was caught. I ran the whole gamut of feelings. In desperation, I cried out in anger for God to let me alone. I said, "If this happens to a person who is spirit-filled, who has consecrated himself to You, then just go on Your way and leave me alone."
This experience caused pain for others beside myself. In the end I saw that God had set me up to expose me to myself in an area where I had thought I was untouchable. He showed me what could happen if I did not learn His lesson for me. When all my hostility subsided I said, "I'll stand on the truth of 'I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me' if I never feel another thing emotionally."
I had discovered the awareness of a fixed union. It was no longer just Christ in me, but Christ is me. The inner witness of the Spirit said, "It is so." I was cemented in a Person. I was no longer my problem or even my opportunity. I was His problem and His opportunity.
Finally I understood what Jesus meant when He said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; ... apart from Me you can do nothing."
Dan Stone is an ordained Baptist minister. His most recent service has been in an administrative position with Georgetown College in Kentucky. At present, Dan and his wife Barbara have been called by God to an independent faith ministry. Since July of 1975 he and Barbara have been leading living room Bible studies in several cities in Kentucky and Ohio. He is available to churches and other groups who want to discuss the principles of union-life. Contact him at: 208 South Broadway, Georgetown, Kentucky 40324; Telephone: (502) 863-2140.
A vast number of believers accept as absolutes such concepts as the existence of separation between matter and spirit, of the existence of wrath and love in the same God, that evil is not the will of God, and that prayer is begging (or at least reminding) God to act. No amount of clever debate or vehement argument alters these conclusions. They are bastions of typical Christian life.
Union-life does not accept these positions as absolutes but as illusions or shadows.
Are we anxious to accept a new idea or to change a belief as long as what we have offers a measure of security or reassurance? I think not. What presses us to consider a faith position like union-life? Dissatisfaction with the results of our Christian life, or a personal need so strong that our present belief offers no help may be the soil from which comes the willingness to push deeper into our experience with God for more relevant answers. It takes quite a nudge to press into something new.
Believing that God utilizes inner disturbances to His glory, I offer this over-view of Union-life.
For us to know the reality presented by union-life we need to transcend the present realm in which we move and think. This other realm is the realm of spirit or fourth dimension. In the realm of the spirit faith is substance, union is truth and spirit is reality.
An illustration of this position is seen in the familiar evangelical truth that persons outside Christ are dead. Obviously they are not dead. The statement is true in the spirit realm, though it blatantly contradicts what the eye of the body sees.
We will never get through to complete spiritual victory applying the obvious of the temporal order to the spirit realm. One must become a "see-througher". For the most part believers are "see-aters" only. What do we see if we are "see-aters"?
We see matter as permanent, and separation as reality. The inability of believers to appropriate the truth of our inner spirit union with Christ as taught in Romans 6 and 8 as believers are able to appropriate the truth of Romans 1-5 results
in our adopting the illusion of an external relationship with God as the ultimate one. Speaking personally it was the very lack of the appropriation of this Romans 6 and 8 that produced my own sense of separation. The reality of forgiveness of my sins was settled in my mind. The day to day living was inconsistent.
I felt God was far off in heaven and I was here on earth to handle my own matters as best I could. Even prayer was addressed to a distant and remote God. After all, there were no miracles in my life. What did I know of the Holy Spirit as the Inner Person in me? Very little! I was aware of the presence of good and bad deeds, good and bad feelings in my life, but the Holy Spirit was a vague concept to me.
With the emphasis upon dedication of self to God and the improvement of self as my goal, I met defeat after defeat. I had never experienced the position of permanent victory that was my inheritance. I may be different, but I gained victory when I came to know Christ living in me. However, it was some time later before I became aware that I was also in Him.
In discussions with other believers I have found the truth of Romans 6 and 8 a most difficult one to accept. That type of victory is assigned to the future, after death. The believer carries over from the old man the illusions of self-improvement of our human nature, we are still seeing and believing in the concept that I am here and God is there helping me. I mean we believe God has attributes of character to bestow on us. Many believe we attain these qualities of character after long prayer vigils, or through earnest and sincere acts of consecration of ourselves upon some altar, or by confessing every known and unknown sin, and through those ever available good works. In the end we believe our humanity will change. We think we will become Christlike in our outward character. To take this position is evidence enough that we have missed the fact of Romans 6 and 8. To miss this truth results in our becoming involved in the problem discussed in Romans 7.
A believer is not a mixture of good and evil. Separation concludes he is; union-life says he is not! We think our lives are a mixture of good and evil because we judge by
outward appearances. Union-life says we are containers of the one spirit we are. We must be an expression of that spirit alone. We let Paul say it for us, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20 RSV)
Let me say it again. We are not mixed spirits, we are fixed spirits. We are sanctified, or sealed into Christ, and fixed as containers of Him.
Union-life says take this union position naturally and spontaneously as your life and live it freely, trusting the Spirit in you to manifest Himself to His own choosing.
If we dare to believe the full truth about our redemption in Christ, we would be in Romans 8 immediately. However, unable to accept this great grace truth we shove ourselves into Romans 7. We become trapped by the law. For to be out of a position of full grace is to be in the law.
The law sets forth a demand; a "thou shalt" or a "thou shalt not"; but the same law does not provide the power to meet its own demand. The satisfaction of the law depends upon a perfect response every time it is presented. The flesh, the organ that must make the response, cannot meet the expectation of the law.
Scripture judges the law to be good. Wherein lies its goodness? Its goodness rests in the work it performs and the result it brings. The law presses, forces us, into a grace position! "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (Romans 7:24, 25 RSV)
We do not surrender easily. We are pressed, pressured as it were, into agreeing with God about our condition as believers trying to do good. We cannot always do good, we cannot refrain from doing evil. We want to, but we cannot. What can we do? Only one positive act. We can accept God's full and complete work in the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ; not only the justification teaching but also the sanctification teaching. A full victory! We are then agreeing with a fourth dimension conclusion about ourselves. Do not be alarmed; we have already accepted a spirit conclusion about the forgiveness of
our sins. As I say we do not always look forgiven!
Now ... out of separation into union.
Our Bible does not commence with matter forms and separate entities. It begins with God only in spirit form. "In the beginning" has to refer to the stepping down of the unseen spirit into observable matter forms. The God who exists from everlasting to everlasting is Spirit. God must be expressed in form for anyone to know Him. He brought forms into existence by His word, "Let there be."
A universal must have a particular form through which to express itself. Union-life says God (Spirit) stepped down into form and manifests Himself through the various forms we see. Thus all forms are vehicles of manifestation. He has expressed Himself in His own Image in mankind.
To be in God's image involves the use of choice. Choice demonstrates our consciousness. Choice means selecting. In this physical realm this means right and wrong choices. Humanity is now an expression of the choice made in Genesis three. Our first conscious choices are but a revelation to us of what we already are; fallen. Our choices bring to us an awareness of our identity with the human race and our separation from God. We are in union with that choice. We are in union with a misdirected spirit and are sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2 RSV).
We do have a choice, an ultimate choice. We have the choice presented in Christ, the choice of dying and being in union with the life-giving spirit. The exercise of that choice fixes us in God (Spirit), makes us containers of Christ and expressions of Him through our humanity. All choices that so concern us in our daily Christian lives do not affect our ultimate choice and its effects upon us as God sees us. In the spirit realm "you are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Cor. 6:19, 20 RSV)
Union-life has to say that the only improvement humanity can make is to improve in its awareness (faith) of an already existing perfect relationship in the spirit realm. Union-life stays out of the trap involved in the idea of self-improvement. Union-life says this union is expressed now through our humanity as befits us.
Union-life takes seriously the full meaning of Christ's work as taught by Paul in Romans. We teach that justification and sanctification are the results of the same Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ which cannot be separated one from the other or from the work of Christ. We are
more familiar with justification, and as believers we have appropriated this truth for ourselves through faith. We are able to do this for we conclude that it is our former sins that have been removed and forgiven rather than all sin. Romans 6 places us in the body of Christ and says we died with Him, were buried with Him and now live with Him. Paul makes this same bold statement in Ephesians 2:5, 6 adding "made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Above I am citing Romans 6:6-11. Verse eleven is worth special mention, "so you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." (RSV)
We see the spirit realm as the realm of reality. In this realm the believer's "I" is "Christ in him." Christ is the perfect one. By faith we see Him expressing Himself through our humanity as He wills. This is by faith and we call faith the substance (Heb. 11:1). It is all done. In the spirit realm everything is NOW!
Union-life sees through the outer appearance of good and evil conditions to the God purposing them. If God is responsible for freedom and choice in His creation of mankind, then God can use for good what we call evil. He does bear responsibility for our choice. He lets us make them and then He uses them. He uses them to press us into Him. We see through evil to the God who determined it and turns it to His own use.
The purpose of this over-view has been to compare the permanancy of the spirit realm with the non-permanancy of the physical realm. It has been my intention to show that in the spirit realm only spirit and union exist. It has also been my desire to show that spirit is the essence of God and the created order is a form through which He manifests Himself, not in separation from Him. You must judge if the goal has been attained. If you say "yes" and seek entrance, then the purpose for writing has been reached. As to "how", I must tell you this. As Jesus bid them come to the marriage feast, He bids you come to full possession. The step of faith is the only "how" I know.
As long as you see hope and security in any other position, or if personal dissatisfaction has not overtaken you in such measure to make you "desperate," or if an inner need of such proportion has not yet arisen to produce a sense of "defeat," I doubt you will take this statement seriously.
But persons who have experienced union-life know Romans 8 to be victory. It
teaches many of the concepts we hold true. We accept God's opinion concerning our position in Him, rather than what outward appearances dictate. We accept joyfully "no condemnation," we excitedly embrace "no separation," through union we see "that in everything God works for good," we revel in the fact the chapter says, "all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."
In union-life we know ourselves as no more than vessels who contain Him. We are His vessels of manifestation to the created order of humanity. We know God does not have attributes of character to give, gifts yes; attributes no. He is The Gift expressing Himself by us in diversity. We do not accept the illusion of two spirits in one person, but boldly confess our inconsistency is really His consistency. We dare to believe that our lives are fruit for others. We trust God to display that fruit to whomever He wishes.
It is dangerous to express ideas with capsule statements. Having warned myself, I will do it anyway. "See yourself as God sees you, and possess your full possession, for what you take takes you and you become an expression of what you take."
I sought for Jesus.
I sought Him in study
in friends and found Him not.
I sought Him in family
in faith and found Him not.
I sought Him in church
in prayer and found Him not.
I sought Him in service
in saints and found Him not.
I sought Him in my mind
in feelings and
in the search itself and found Him not ...
... even in the very best. But suddenly He came and found me; I saw Him and then I finally found Him
And now!?! I find Him everywhere, even in the very worst ... ... in the very best ... in me!
The Bible seems to be a new book for those who come to have a fixed inner consciousness of God's presence in their life. They experience the truth that "you have no need that any one teach you" because "His anointing teaches you about all things" (1 John 2:27). Because of His life within us, we can all "fully carry out the preaching of the Word of God, that is the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints" (Col. 1:25, 26). (Since this is our first issue, most of the insights below are from the Editor. Please forward, in abbreviated form, those insights into specific verses that the Spirit has given you, so we can include them in subsequent issues.)
WE ARE APPROVED
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of God. 2 Tim. 2:15
Fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith. Heb. 12:2
To see our identification with the co-crucifixion of Christ, is to see Him as the author of our faith-our Salvation. To see our identification with the co-resurrection of Christ, is to see Him as the perfecter of our faith-our Sanctification.
NOT IMITATION, BUT A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Most of us have been taught that we should diligently study the Scriptures so that we will change, and our performance will ultimately be approved by God. How relaxing to know that the verse really means that we should study the Scriptures to see how approved we really are to God because of Christ's life in us. Laurie Hills, Alexandria, Virginia
ILLUSION OR REALITY?
'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them' . . . and the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6:16, 17
Illusions are feelings that contradict God's pronouncements (reality). Elisha's servant was fearful when he saw an army encircle the city in which they were. But what he thought was reality was actually an illusion. True reality is seeing things by faith from God's viewpoint. When we see Him who is unseen with eyes of faith, we see only sufficiency, completeness and unity. Therefore, Elisha did not fear, because as a man of faith he knew that one with God is always a majority. The three-dimensional revelation to Elisha's servant was necessary that the servant might learn. But Elisha himself probably spoke the word of faith before he even saw the horses and chariots, if he saw them at all!
SEE CHRIST IN YOUR MIRROR
For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Heb. 7:18,19
Attempts at imitating Christ by obedience to commandments is fruitless. Years of effort at keeping the Law convinces most people sooner or later that there must be another way to perfection. That "better hope" is union-life. It is not performance, but a new perspective.
And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumsion of Christ. Col. 2:11
The answer to the major problem of "the flesh" is to be aware of spiritual circumcision. Every Christian has been separated from his flesh by the circumcision of Christ. This spiritual circumcision is based on co-crucifixion and co-resurrection. Irrespective of what we see and feel, we are not in the flesh. That is why Paul could bluntly say, "However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit" (Rom. 8:9). Acknowledge your awareness of spiritual circumcision, and be released to life on a new level.
WE LIVE IN ANOTHER WORLD
But whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. 2 Cor. 3:16, 18
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? Col. 2:20
The veil that needs to be removed is our separated, dualistic outlook. We must acknowledge the Lord in every situation, and in every person, beginning with ourselves. As our spiritual eyes are unveiled, we gradually see in our mirror that we are Christ in our individual form. We have no problem in accepting ourselves, because in union we are the glory of the Lord. Transformation comes not by effort, but by more clearly seeing ourselves in union with Him who is our Life.
Union-life can be defined as "living by a new perspective rather than by the performance of self-effort." The submission by many in the current emphasis on authority, discipleship and shepherding in many circles, can easily result in their unnecessary bondage. The Law comes in many forms. It is always "a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). Once we find out who we really are, we no longer live in the world of bondage and Law. We live in a new world of freedom and self-giving love.
/ will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or the mule which have no understanding; whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check. Ps. 32:8, 9,
William W. Volkman
Stubborn men seem to learn best by the reproofs of bit and bridle. Though we would like to train our animals and our children by a soft word or with a glance of the eye, alternative methods are sometimes necessary.
Can you remember as a child acting up at the dinner table when company was eating with you? Do you remember watching your dad's eyes to see how far you would dare go before getting the word to "fly right or else?" Like many an earthly father, the Lord prefers a glance of the eye, but both are frequently relegated to tougher tactics.
The process of growth and maturity is a process of moving from illusion to reality. This transition from illusion to reality is implemented by disillusionment, that is, a separation or a freeing from illusion. Disillusionment in a single word means "disenchantment." Our affections and enchantments must be transferred from the illusion of self-effort and separation to the reality of union-life. The negative contrast of disillusionment is the necessary path for all of us to a position of true spiritual reality.
These necessary disillusionments of life can be called reproofs of life. They take the form of authority figures, rela
tives, enemies, friends, spouse, health and every conceivable circumstance of life. Reproofs of life are common to all men. "And reproofs for discipline are the way of life" (Prov. 6:23).
The pace of our growth is dependent on our response to the reproofs of life. Proverbs 15:31, 32 are prime verses to show the infinite value of reproofs, adversity and discipline
He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will
dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline
despises himself, but he who listens to reproof ac
When our eyes and ears are trained to see and hear God in every situation, the result is life, wisdom and understanding. The needed change is in our negative response-in our inner disturbance-not in the outer circumstance. The outer circumstance is the bit and bridle-the reproof-to bring us to the point of disillusionment. We all must go the wrong way before we will go the right way. The Romans 7 disillusionment always precedes the Romans 8 reality.
It is hard to think of anyone who was subjected to more pressure and adversity than God's righteous servant, Job. But it is plain to see that the reproofs in Job's life had a positive, redemptive purpose. After all the smoke had cleared Job could say, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees Thee" (Job 42:5).
Isaiah promises us new ears and eyes as a result of the lifegiving reproof of bit and bridle
Although the Lord has given you bread of privation
("adversity"-KJ) and the water of oppression ("afflic
tion"-KJ), He, your Teacher will no longer hide Him
self, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. And
your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the
way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to
the left. Isa. 30:20, 21
God's desire is to counsel us with His eye, or with no more than a still, small voice. But, as necessary, He will use bit and bridle to bring us to disillusionment, until we see who we really are.
But never see bit and bridle as punishment. God does not punish. Under comparable circumstances, we would punish offenders. Therefore, our tendency is to project our attitudes on God. Rather, we must learn to see God's redemptive purpose and design behind all the reproofs of life.
COMING IN OUR JUNE ISSUE
SIN IN THE BELIEVER-By Alan Parker (Attorney) UNION-LIFE MUSIC-By John Whittle (Editor of Floodtide,
PRE-EXISTING SUPPLY-By Gil Pugh (Host at the Meaning
of Life Center in PA.)
(Since this is our first issue, our correspondence has been quite limited. However, we anonymously share the quotes below from a few recent letters to Norman Grubb by friends who have received significant union-life insights.)
Plain Ole Human Me
"Now I see who I really am! I guess I thought for a while that since Christ was my life, I was supposed to be some kind of 'super-human.' But, thank goodness, I don't have to be. I can be plain ole human me, because my weakness is just an opportunity for His might. No wonder Paul says he welcomes infirmities and persecutions and distresses-hence the necessity and usefulness of temptations. I have been fighting them instead of using them. Whew! Am I thankful to be out from that load!"
"Through studying the Bible with a friend, I have learned much about real freedom. I saw that Jesus really emphasized the union relationship. He wanted His disciples to understand that just as His Father was in Him and He was in His Father so they were in Him-they were one with Him. In John chapters 14 to 17 He can hardly contain this Truth any longer, so He pours it out-union, union, union. Finally I began to realize what all this meant. When I became a Christian, my spirit was joined to His Spirit forever. My old self was dead (crucified with Him), so it was no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Thus I was now the Sue form of Jesus. Wow!!"
"What freedom it is to know that I don't have to try anymore. All Jesus wants is for me to realize that I cannot be like Him. All He wants is for me to allow Him to live through me in whatever way He chooses. I am the container for Him to fill. I realize that I am helpless and meant to be that way, and then He pours Himself out through me. If I am afraid, I know that He is my courage. When I am weak, He is my strength. So life becomes a continuous recognition of who I really am (Christ in me), and a realization that He in me can do anything. That really releases me to just live. This is why Jesus said, 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light,' because He's the one who bears it all for me. It all depends on Him, not me; and He has shown me He is perfectly able to do whatever comes along."
"Whenever I am confronted with what I used to call a problem or a need, I see it as another way God is providing to show me something more of Himself. My need is just the reverse side of His answer, so I begin to see things from His perspective, not mine, and that makes all the difference. Because I am seated in the heavenly places with Him, I look down and see things as they really are-not as they appear to be. Heaven is here and now for us! Wherever we are are heavenly places, because Jesus is there. His kingdom has come in our lives!!"
"I used to see them as bad kids to be made good; now I see them as good kids to be made better (as conformed to His likeness). This philosophy is positive and unbeatable. We see neither dropout, copout nor disappointment. Such positiveness is contagious, even if first seen through jealous eyes. Sooner or later, other staff members come to 'see why,' and we spontaneously point them to the 'Who'.
"For too long I appeared 'unnatural' in demonstrating God. Now if it feels good, I do it. All chips will fall on good ground with God only on the scene. Thrillingly we no longer need to 'demonstrate' truth, just spontaneously allow the invisible to become visible, as the 'just live by faith.'
"He's put the ring on our finger and the robe on our back. We're HOME in Him, and the 'fatted calf' sure tastes good. These days I'm feeling glorious and free. I've become alive as a victor over sin and death, seeing both only as in the eye of its Beholder. How the world seeks to know Him in whom only Good prevails, and in whom there is no condemnation. Every letter coming across my desk and every soul crossing my path has this cry of heart. How wonderful to introduce them to or expose them to further increase of God Who seeks to be their very Breath of Life.
"As you know, it takes more time to come out from and be separated from your beliefs than from your unbeliefs. I'm just beginning to hear 'God's voice,' as did Rees Howells and C. T. Studd."
-St. Petersburg, Florida
"Just recently my wife and I have gone even more deeply into the All and in All. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and all the substance belongs to Him. We find that He owns it all and if He owns us we own it too. It's great to be in the Oneness with God. As you have said so many times, 'There's only one personality in all the universe-only one mind and that's His mind and we think His thoughts.' It's great to be part of God."
"God in His perfect way has chosen to take me aside for awhile for the final crucifixion that will stabilize me into a more perfect union relationship with Himself. As Job has said, 'the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me.'
"What I greatly feared is fear itself. It so gripped me and possessed me to take me to unspeakable hell. I can see now that my liberation has not been completed, as I thought it was. If it had been completed, this fear would not have caught me so. Now I see my loving Father pressing me on all sides so there will be nothing left to shake.
"I have been fearing intercession and the cost of it. I was afraid of losing my husband, children, home, etc., mostly centered in my husband. The more I feared losing him, the more I hung on. I watched his every move, always afraid he would lose interest in me and find it in another.
"Oh, how deadly! That horrible self will always try to preserve itself. Of course, this element of self had to be dealt with. This fear is negative believing, but it will ultimately bring about substance. I thought I knew this, but the law caught me out again-trying not to fear.
"I can see now that we are only liberated from the law, and all the rest when we are one with it. I am the law. I am positive faith, not fear. Thanks be to my Father for shaking me on all sides until I come to a stabilized union relationship in which I can not be shaken. Tempted always, yes, but not possessed by it."
A New Freedom
From a Teacher
of Delinquent Youth
Deliverance From Fear