Vol. 1, No. 4
By Norman Grubb
The perspective of life which has made the real difference to me (to which Bill Volkman gave the title UNION LIFE) is the perspective of totality of spirit-God only, God all in all.
In my younger days as a missionary in Africa, I had the inner confirmation that Galatians 2:20 was the ultimate fact in me-that is, that it really was Christ living in me, not just He living kind of side by side with me (which many read into the phrase, "Christ liveth in me"). Yes, in actual fact He had replaced me as the Real Me. I had the basis for this radical belief in Paul's words, "I live, Yet not I, but Christ lives in me".
Just knowing this was wonderful enough, but then I began to live on the inner consciousness that I living, thinking, willing, and acting was really He, not I. This was replacement, not just relationship between the two of us. I have lived in that inner consciousness all the years since. I must again repeat that this recognition began to mean not an inner consciousness of the two of
PUBLISHED BY MARANATHA CENTER
us, He and I, but the One-just He.
Yet that awareness was only the stepping stone to the more radical revelation of God as the "all in all" in the universe. Only that recognition has brought me to a sense of being completely "at home". Now I was truly "in the Father's house", and had come to the final joy-note of David's 23rd Psalm, "dwelling in -the house of the Lord forever".
These discoveries really began to focus for me when that simple, allembracing phrase was lit up to me, "God is love". It immediately struck me that if God is love, then all the love in the universe (and I was to see later that the whole universe is love-in-action) is That One Person. And if "Christ is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:24), then all power is that One Person, THE SON who is God in His Self-manifestation. That revelation began to be enlarged as I saw such phrases as "God is my exceeding joy"-not the joy of God, but God is joy; and "God is my peace"-not the peace of God, but God is peace; and so on.
Now I was being stretched from seeing the triune God as being the Only One in me and really being me, to Him being all there is! All that appears to be separate expressions of Him or manifestations of Him is really HE ONLY. It was imperative that I see that. I remained disturbed as long as there could possibly be any form of anything which was not He (whether in temporarily distorted form through the misuse of freedom, or whether in its redeemed, reconciled, restored form). And at last, several years later, the total realization of Truth became as bright as the midday sun to me. The linking up of the statements, "in the beginning God," "God is spirit," and "God is all in all", brought me to the final recognition. Now all is Spirit, for all is God, and there is nothing else. Nothing but God exists! All outward forms of what we call creation are only shadows of the true Spirit-patterns which Moses saw on the mount (Heb. 8:5)-only temporary (2 Cor. 4:18), only appearances (Jn. 7:24).
That in turn brought me to the emphasis of basic oneness in Jesus' final prayer in John 17. One, One, One! I
noticed the oneness of Paul's "unity of the Spirit" in Ephesians 4:3-6. It seemed that the heart-search and heart-cry of every living being is for oneness, even to the stumbling human attempt at the United Nations!
And from that I began to practice a change in my inner seeings which, of course, are always expressed in our outer beings. I began to be a See-thruer instead of a See-at-er. I began to see why there is only one sin (Jn. 16:9)-that of unbelief, that of seeing (believing) anything in the universe but HIM. It is important to understand that unbelief is not having no belief, but rather it is having negative belief, that is, believing in something as not being He (though even that is a distorted form of Him). I began to see that my only basic activity in life is to replace the seeing of things or people in their outer appearances, by the inner seeing of HIM ONLY in all. This replacement is immediate inner light to me, for HE is light, and I am light as His and my seeing are one.
So life is basically very simple. That is why Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The sufferings which stream in on us in every human form, whether physical, material, economic, social, national, or international, are God's purposed groundwork. Scripture reiterates this many times: "tribulation worketh patience, experience, hope and sure confidence" (Rom. 5:3-5); "our light affliction for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17); and ''count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (Ja. 1:2,3). These sufferings give us the only means by which our inner seeing (our faith) can become established to see Him Only, everywhere in everything, (for a thing is only established by the conquest of the opposite). The sufferings become present inner glory, though the outer condition may remain or worsen. We are those who are living the life of faith-in-action, using our sonship authority as "gods" (Jn. 10:34,35), being rooted down in the eternal present in our destined sonship life, in which we shall ultimately take our full
inheritance and manage the universe. So all this life is adventure, thrill, daily newness, faith-achievements and faithendurances, though our outer man may be perishing or suffering.
The foregoing is the broad scope of what God has burned into me to share ceaselessly, which accounts for why I've had to be a compulsive repeater of the same teachings ten thousand times over. But now I know why, as I see God bringing UNION LIFE into being, and as I see many others taken with these same glory-revelations. Among and from us certain seemingly radical emphases have developed (all with proper Biblical foundations). They might be summed up by the following seven headings: Not God first, but God only; The Union experience; Liberating living; Satan as God's agent: Replacing negative with positive believings; Using our Sonship authority; and The meaning of intercession. Our intention is to share each of these in detail in future issues of UNION LIFE. (Editor: Mr. Grubb's recent book, WHO AM I, covers all of these areas.)
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.
Temptation touches us where we need to be touched, for its origin is our own stimulated desire (James 1:14). Temptation, therefore, establishes us in sanctification; it presses us into Christ. It exercises us in conscious abiding; it compels us, by trial and error, to find our helplessness with no hope outside of Christ living in us. We shall continue to be tempted where we are most vulnerable; that is God's right way with us, until at last it dawns on us that appetites do not change, human responses do not change, and temptations do not change. There will never be a hope of relief or release, not after forty years any more than after one year, except in the Absolute Other within, who is the Positive that negates the negative, the Light that swallows the darkness. That fact only will stabilize us in the only way of deliverance, the daily walk of faith.
Trials are for another purpose. They come from outside and for outside objectives. They are the normal pressures of life upon us. Right from the time of our new birth, we are told to glory in "tribulations," which in the original means pressures. All of life is surely pressure. The question is why? The answer is redemptive opportunity. Temptations are for our redemption; trials are for the redemption of others. Every negative situation-this need, this frustration, this catastrophe, these difficult people, this church, family, business tie-up is the very place where light will shine out of (not into) darkness. They are the negative which has as its polar opposite the positive, as south has its north. It is a dialectical relationship, where the two are related to each other, belong to each other and fulfill each other by being the opposites of each other. Need linked to supply, weakness to strength, problems to their solution, and the rest.
This is what turns life into adventure; but it is the adventure of faith-not of sight. Disasters, disappointments, shortages don't look like adventure; but it is the same old story. This life is repetition, the repetition of faith. The world which lives on the surface of
things must always have novelty, for repetition is sameness and sameness to them is boredom. Children of the kingdom within never have boredom, for the same daily activities are always new; for they are God appearing in new guise for new ventures of faith. The sensational novelist always makes a lot of courtship and marriage; it is something new. A serious writer will examine how forty years of married life work out, for he knows that real life is repetition. Can every day have the freshness of the honeymoon? Yes, every day with Jesus is new, and therefore new with one another.
How can this be? By handling our circumstances in the same way as we handle ourselves or our temptations. We move back from appearances to reality, from the external to the internal. Who puts us in this situation? Man? Devil? Our own foolishness? Our own disobedience? No, that is not taking it far enough. The Bible makes it plain that God as purposively sends the unpleasant as the pleasant. No reader of the Old Testament, or of the comments made on God's foreordination in the New, can call that in question. God's will and its outworking in our lives is not permissive, but determined. That makes a decisive difference to our outlook. When even Satan is only God's agent, and evil men only fulfill His foreordained plan (Acts 4:27,28), we can start off by praising God for adversity, and by counting it (not feeling it) "all joy when ye fall into divers trials." That means we have transferred our attention from the situation and our natural dislike of it, to its underlying source, and we only do that by the act of faith. So we are back again to our familiar friend-faith in the absurd. That adversity it prosperity in disguise. Those assaults of Satan, or "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," or the contradiction of sinners, when our eyes are opened, are Christ walking to us on the waters.
Paul calls that "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus," and being "always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake." That
means that we are accepting unpleasant situations or daily pressures rather than resisting them, even as Jesus accepted Calvary, indeed, that it is He Himself in us continuing His death-process-"the dying of the Lord Jesus"-in our daily lives. This has nothing to do with the death relationship we have with Him in His once-forall death to sin, which is never to be repeated in Him or us. That death was for our deliverance. These daily deaths are for the deliverance of others through us. That was the death of the old man. These are the daily deaths of the new man. It is not wrong that we dislike difficult situations; it is merely human. But these are deaths to our human reactions. We deliberately accept these things as ways in which God, not Satan or man, is coming to us, and therefore all we can do is to give thanks. "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Consider this and come to your own conclusion on Bible evidence. It is important externally, just as it is important internally. We are only free within, if we are unified, Christ and I without inner rival, though there are plenty of attempts at invasion. And we are only free without, if also we are unified: that is to say, if what comes to us comes from one source only, with one purpose. I cannot think it is sufficient, nor indeed Scriptural, to keep calling unpleasant situations "the permissive will of God." God does more than permit. That is not the kind of God the Bible portrays to us. There we have a God of an eternal purpose. He does not stand by and allow a thing to happen. He ordains it. If He passively permits things, may He not be equally passive about removing them? But if he sends things, then I can at once rise up in spirit and say, Here is a purpose of God. What is it? And I can assuredly start praising, for, "as for God, His way is perfect."
Life is unified. First we see Christ only in ourselves through grace. Then we see Christ only in all men, either
shutting men up in their unbelief that He may have mercy on them (Romans 11:32), or being formed in those who have obtained mercy. Finally we see Him only in all things, working them all after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11).
If we have this settled in our minds, and appropriate it by faith in each given situation, then we are ready to ask another question. For what reason does God come to us in adverse circumstances or in contradictory people? The answer is that it is not only for our personal benefit, for our testing or further sanctification or something. We are so used to relating everything to ourselves in the spiritual life as much as in the material, that we tend to interpret everything in that light-what is God doing or saying to me through this? Not at all. God, who is pure outgoing love, has other ends in view. We are now His body, and a person has a body, not for feeding or clothing or coddling, but for using. So Christ in His body. He lives over again in us in all sorts of circumstances to reach others by us. Now that turns adverse situations into adventure. They are not for the dreary purpose of some more self-improvement (an impossibility anyhow!) they are the outflowing of the rivers to others. It is pitiful to hear so often even elderly saints still regarding their trials, physical or material, as some further lessons from which they are to learn, instead of the freshness of the outlook: here is God, even in old age, opening further doors for our sharing Him with others.
God is wholly outgoing through all eternity. We have begun that life for eternity, for He lives in us. What a vista! And God specializes in giving Himself for those who are most unpleasant to
Him, sinners and enemies; and now He specializes in doing it through us. That puts meaning and content into every possible situation a human can be in. Love is unstoppable. There is always opportunity to love. This is "the life also of Jesus manifest in our body," which Paul says (2 Cor. 4:10-12) always replaces the death. In that death we accept conditions we would naturally reject, and in doing so, we "die" to our reactions. This now makes possible seeing things as He sees them and thinking about them as He thinks; and His thoughts are always redemptive and reconciling. This is the risen and ascended Person living in us. It affects us physically and mentally. Just as the fire of God in the burning bush refuelled the bush, so He in us quickens us, body and spirit. A quality of life is manifest in us, though we may not know it. Faith and love in a person cannot be hidden. The medical profession today tells us plenty of the effects of mental attitudes on the physical; then how much more when it is the Spirit of God in us producing the laugh of faith, peace and poise, a relaxed outlook, and a freedom to bear other people's burdens.
But that is only incidental. Christ's risen life is manifested in our bodies. His ascended life flows out of us to others. So Paul continues, "So death worketh in us, but life in others." We do not make that up. Flowing is effortless.
Once we have taken the place of death in daily situations, accepting them as
sent of God, there arises in us spontaneously the realization of Him in His outgoing love. He has a purpose for others in this. What? He will doubtless show us. It will certainly bring faith to birth in us, for the next verse (13) speaks of having "the spirit of faith"
(not, therefore, our faith, but the believing Spirit within); and it will be faith that the God who has put us in a place of need already has the supply on the way. We think there is the need first, and that we must now seek the supply. God has the positive supply first, and sends the need to be the receptacle for the supply.
So every situation is a situation for faith and love. It may not all be a matter of a great crisis. It may just be daily living. But as we said, daily living is repetition. Faith is always a necessity, for all life is only a series of appearances. Things and people seem to be what our outward eye sees them to be - and that is ordinary, the same, maybe the wearisome, the tiresome, the boring, the irritating, the carnal. But faith sees differently. Faith sees Jesus resolving problems or providing needs that are beyond man. And love means that God has put me just there to love through me, not to pester, not to judge, not to drive, but freely to give myself - patience, meekness, service, sometimes faithfulness; and in the secret of my spirit always "calling the things that be not as though they were"
Adapted from Chapter 14 of God Unlimited, by Norman Grubb, Christian Literature Crusade. Used by permission of the author.
Norman Grubb, known throughout Christendom as a missionary statesman and penetrating author, is a graduate of Cambridge University. He served with his wife in the Congo and in more recent years was International Secretary of Worldwide Evangelization Crusade.
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word; Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own; Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.
Once 'twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says: Once 'twas constant asking, Now 'tis ceaseless praise.
by Dr. A. B. Simpson
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be; Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me; Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One; Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.
Once 'twas painful trying, Now 'tis perfect trust; Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost; Once 'twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me
Once 'twas constant drifting, Now my anchor's cast.
Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know lie's mine, Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail, And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the
Once 'twas busy planning, Now 'tis trustful prayer;
Once 'twas anxious caring, Now He has the care;
"Let me ask, do you believe in the Incarnation? And if you do, let me ask further, was Jesus ever less divine than God? I answer for you, Never. God is man, and infinitely more. Our Lord became flesh, but did not become man. He took on Him the form of man; He was man already. " (George MacDonald)
form of a servant" Phil. 2:7
"A body thou hast prepared me" Heb. 10:5
God is Spirit. Though Spirit is essence, it manifests itself in form. It is depicted in Scripture in symbols such as fire, water, and wind. God delights in form, in bewildering and overwhelming variety. But what of His masterpiece called the INCARNATION?
God enters this scene "for us men, and for our salvation" (to quote the English Prayer Book), in the familiar form of man. The nature was not unfamiliar to Him, but the form was new. One can almost sense the divine anticipation as the destined moment arrived for heaven to disclose itself in this loved form, for Scripture says, "his delights were with the sons of men" (Prov.8:31).
This was not a mere demonstration of God's nature in order to confront man with his lostness. This was to be a marriage that in the heart of God had always been a reality, and was now declared to be the purpose of the eternal existence. Man must recognize that he loves God, for only in that loving can man truly love himself.
The vibrations of the holy excitement shook the world then, and shakes it now in a myriad of historic nuances and personal human reactions. It is felt either as a strange uneasiness of mind or conscience, or as an inner harmony and joy, depending on the "eye of the beholder", and his perspective of the God-man.
No, the Incarnation is not primarily a demonstration of what God is like, but a gentle and inexorable wooing of the "many sons" that He is to bring to glory. It is a declaration of the profound and all-consuming purpose of an allconquering love that must at all costs free man from the false concepts of power and glory. How was this to be done?
"The form of a servant" is the answer in part. For the first time in history, there merges a new and absolute direction for life. It is Love's way of pain and glory. What is God really like? Who cares, except those who long to know His purpose? Who cares, except those who are looking for meaning (rather than a miracle), for purpose and for a transfiguration of life? Only these will behold in wonder and awe. They will find nothing static, or final, or even conclusive in the incarnation. To them it is more than an event, It is a profound movement in the universe that impinges on all lives, with a greater or lesser intensity of awareness. But it moves all on, carrying all to an unguessed, an unimagined end. The end can only be a new beginning, for we are all the sons of the uncreated God.
Christmas and Easter on our calendars testifies to the strange and unshakeable effect that His timely appearance has made, though few will admit it the extent of the resultant impact on humanity. Again, one feels right in saying "who cares?" But love is moving undauntedly to its goal. Even those who are careless of life's meaning are not untouched by the hand of the God-man. In the drastic dealings of life (life being, as someone has said, "the greatest evangeliser"); in the making and breaking of for
tunes; in the futilities and the frustrations; the breath of the "hound of heaven" is upon the necks of all, without exception. It is a painful wooing, but all must be brought to Love by Love in order that they might love. Yes, God is "on the job" with all the sons of men (as well as all of creation)
So Love is the disclosure, the new direction in which the universe is moving to its ultimate fulfillment. "The form of a servant'-this is the final lesson that must be learned by us all, however long it takes. God, a servant! Man's illusory outlook gives him severe problems with this whole idea. Let me state, tongue-in-cheek, as it were, what troubles man about the Incarnation. "God is so unmanageable, so inconsiderate of the normal standards of procedure and operation for the handling of such universal problems as He and we are faced with. He becomes a babe, when He should be an archangel heralding a God-like program. He becomes a lamb, when it is obvious that only a lion will give true performance. He becomes a malefactor dying helplessly upon a cross, when He should be sweeping our enemies and His into oblivion by a majestic show of power that would convince men of His divine origin.
"Then when resurrection is claimed for Him, He only shows Himself to a comparative handful of people, suddenly disappears completely, and has never been heard from since. This is not a very impressive God. He obviously does not understand the meaning of power, as man sees it and hungers for its use. In fact, one of His chief apostles admits that He is foolish and weak, adding something rather mysterious about God's foolishness being 'wiser than men' and God's weakness being 'stronger than men'-but who can understand all that double talk?"
Yes, we admit the appearance of confusion here. Bethlehem looks like weakness, and Calvary looks like foolishness, for One who claims to be-all-powerful, all-wise and all-knowing. But something new is afoot in this powerriddled world, for this God-man says that to win all, he must become the servant of all. This is the matchless message of the Incarnation. God comes not as a king upon His throne, but as a servant upon His knees, washing His friend's feet. On the throne is a "lamb as it had been slain" (Rev. 5:6). The manifestation of power is found to be quite different than we would have imagined.
He now takes us up into His incarnation in what might be called "the extension of incarnation"-'I in them and Thou in me", as His prayer says it in John 17. And upon the whole world is a new light shed-the light of love. In secular circles, loving caring, and acceptancing are elements recognized as an absolute necessity for harmonious living and working. In such circles, these elements may only be a by-product of that eternal love which came into the world, but they should be seen as something that is preparing the way for "the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). The incarnation is a continuing movement, as well as en event, and the whole universe is touched by it.
Yes, the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea, as Isaiah said it. And the glory of God? What is that? It's not a mystical luminosity, but a l world full of God-men, who, like Berdyaev in his book on Dostoievsky, have discarded the man-God for THE GOD-MAN. And "of the increase of His kingdom there shall be no end". What a "kingdom"--a kingdom of servants and sons for love of Him who "took the form of a servant".
Q What is meant by the commonly-used expression ' "One Nation under God"? Since Pentecost there has only been one nation on
A. earth. Peter called it "the holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9)-the Spirit-nation-though its members dwell temporarily in flesh bodies. Its head is the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ, and its membership is composed of those from out of every earthly nation who have been born again of the Spirit. According to Galatians 3:28 all human, national and racial distinctions are dissolved into a Spirit-oneness in Christ.
Its character is best outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, or described in one short phrase-universal love, with no earthly enemies. Its members maintain no hold on earthly possessions, for they are "strangers and pilgrims" with their citizenship in heaven. These heavenly citizens are "one nation under God". They have only one absorbing interest-to bring all men into their privileged sonship and eternal inheritance in Christ, who by His blood has reconciled the world unto its lost Father-God.
But in these centuries before Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom in its final glorious form, the existence of earthly nations has been a temporary provision of God (Acts 17:26), for the growth and protective development of His human family (Acts 17:28). By this means we have been able to discover and express something of the enormous potential of our humanity made in His image.
But because we are a fallen race, enslaved by Satan In self-centeredness and self-interest, our national pride, competitiveness, fears, and jealousies will end in self-destruction. God has written on our hearts, and in outer forms such as the Ten Commandments, the differences between good and evil behaviour. He has always promised blessing on those who seek to conform to His Laws and to order their national life upon them. Such ordering of a nation's ways according to God's laws can, however, never be more than a stumbling approximation, for we plainly recognize that in the end disintegration awaits every nation, such as we have seen in all the empires of history.
So by God's mercy and long patience, there is the intervening period for each nation and the world, in which a nation can conform itself to God's laws and, insofar as it does, receive His blessing. This is the point at which a nation can claim to be a "nation under God". Such a nation will continually call its people to a humbling of themselves for failure, to thankfulness for His goodness, and to prayer for His continued good hand on its people. Above all, we should be a giving nation which shares its benefits with others and has a world concern for brotherhood and the well-being of the whole human family.
This is also the point at which on every level of government there is a definite need of lawmakers who are born-again and have the inner line to God for
guidance and faith. Only such lawmakers can properly influence governmental decisions, as well as be the light which points all to Christ by their personal witness and public life. So we are thankful for all such men and women in our governments.
Yet it is essential that none of us deceive ourselves into mistaking our nationhood for the kingdom of God. There is an element, call it the offence of the cross, in which every born-again member of God's "holy nation" must experience contempt and persecution; for Jesus said, "If the world hates Me, it will hate you", and "the disciple is not above his Master". Self-interested self can only be the enemy of redeemed Christ-centered self. So we must always be among those who are knowingly with Christ "without the camp bearing His reproach"; and this must be particularly true for faithful ones in earthly high places. Perhaps one of the chief evidences of their faithfulness is when, as occasion arises, they will not only use the name of God, which is used by practically all outside the atheistic nations, but they will boldly confess that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour.
Q. What is Paul trying to say in Romans 7?
We are not meant to live in Romans 7-get out of A• it! Romans 7 is for you only if you still think you can do something. Left to yourself you can only be selfloving. But the real you is the Spirit of Christ in you, as portrayed in Romans 8. Visit Romans 7 as little as you can!
Q What does it mean in Romans 8:10 when it says
the "body is dead because of sin"?
This verse refers to our bodies. It means that we A. are in a corruptible body-we are stuck with it. But we must learn not to worry too much about our bodies. The Bible does not promise us a perfect body in this life. Life should be manifested in us no matter what the condition of the body. Healings there will be, perhaps, but that is not the most important thing. Don't be a body fusser; be a spirit realizer.
Q Since we have learned that we are dead to the
• law, how can we convey this freedom to our children without undue permissiveness?
It is only by the law that there is knowledge of sin; A. so we must present our children with laws. Even though we have learned that laws are dissolved and turned into liberty, we know that our children must pass through law and sin. But we must seek to sow seeds of Christ in our children, rather than seeds of self-effort. You do this by practicing your freedom in the normal family situations. Don't work by a "system". Just do the next thing as the occasion arises, whether at the time it is more law or more grace. Spontaneous life, rather than preconceived principles, is the only way I know.
WRITES TO HIS
(On a recent trip in England, John Whittle spoke at a church where his brother, Rev. Ray Whittle, is the minister. The following letter was written by John to his brother after returning to the U.S. It is a clear statement of the transition of one man ,from the usual evangelical posture to the further reaches and implications of union-life.)
I was very happy to have the opportunity of sharing some thoughts with your people on that Sunday morning in your pulpit. The response of one of your members that what he had heard constituted for him "a new dimension of Christianity" was especially gratifying. Many accept such ministry at face value as being what they have always heard and read through the years. But here and there, there are those, like your friend, who suddenly see the implications of the spirit dimension, and begin to enter the expanding realm and perspective into which it can bring us.
Ray, from the time I was a young man I could not be satisfied with just the historical concept of Christianity. I knew there was something of an inward union of the Spirit which existed and which alone could satisfy man and God. Yet I also learned early to distrust the tendency of many to rely unduly on subjective experiences with God. The element I sought had its roots in a living relationship which lay behind and beyond mere experiences. For me it had to be part of the revelation of God in Scripture, otherwise I was unable to build upon it or teach it to others.
To be more explicit, I was increasingly troubled that our evangelical preaching, teaching, praying, as well as our hymnology, centered solely around justification, and failed to deal effectively with the fact of union. I had personally begun to see union through the indwelling Christ as the real goal of the gospel for the individual. But in the main, we were left with a limited concept of man-cleansed, forgiven, reconciled, justified, and readied for service (as aided by the Spirit), but still having a fundamental sense of separation instead of union.
Gradually I came to see that there was a much deeper note sounded throughout the New Testament. Jesus, John and Paul all speak in terms of a union of Spirit in which duality is transcended by unity. See Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 6:17, and especially Jesus' words in His "I in them and Thou in Me" passages. Then there are the statements of Jesus about the Son doing nothing of Himself, but the Father being THE ALL. These illuminated for me the sort of relationship that the redeemed have in God. I concluded that the heart of the gospel is God IN people-not merely God FOR people, great though the latter is.
From that I began to see the error of putting people under pressure to become something, when what they really needed was the recognition that, they contained Someone! That Someone was their living, their loving, their being. In this emphasis lay the true release and liberation and rest of which the gospel speaks. Here is the rest promised by Jesus, in contrast to all the struggling and striving which is so much a part of most teachings on spiritual development and growth. Any attempt to grow is, at best, a phase in which I learn that change does not come that way.
I also saw clearly that this was not an attainment, but the pure recognition of what IS-a matter for moment by moment acceptance by faith, just as justification is by faith. "Whom He justifies, them He also glorifies." Jesus describes this glorification as a present experience "I in them and Thou in Me" (Jn. 17:22, 23). I also saw that this was the fact for all redeemed ones and only awaited our recognition and acceptance, as in justification.
I do not approach this from the viewpoint of it producing "super saints", but of it being the purely necessary groundwork for effective daily living. So-called Christian service is the spontaneous result of this joyful recognition. Since such service is the fruit of the Spirit, its form is God's affair. It is not to be understood as "my work for God".
Here I will leave it. I have never moved aside from or underestimate the immense value of the foundational truths of the evangelical church. But the church's message often seems to be somewhat incomplete in the minds, experiences and inner knowings of many believers. True release, freedom, rest and joy seems to escape so many, just as it escaped me as a young minister. We are "reconciled by His death-saved by HIS LIVING IN US" (Rom. 5:10-Phillips).
Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? or that which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that there should be yes, yes and no, no at the same time? But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 2 Cor. 1:17,18
We had just arrived in Florida for a two-week vacation when the family doctor called us. Grandpa, my wife's father, had taken a turn for the worse in the nursing home, and wasn't expected to live. Our family had a difficult decision to make. Should we pack immediately and drive home the twelve hundred miles, or should we take a wait-and-see attitude?
Though we were all distressed by the turn of events, my daughter Val, 12, was the most visibly affected. Val was especially close to both Grandpa and Grandma. Between sobs she said, "I want to go back to be with Grandpa and Grandma, but I also want to stay in Florida."
At the core of her being (in her spirit), Val loved her grandparents and wanted to be with them during this time of crisis. But humanly she was looking forward to spending her Easter vacation in sunny Florida. This conflict in her feeling was not an evidence of a lack of love. Rather, the mixed emotion underscored the depth of her love.
Our temptations, our humanity, and even our sins are all evidences that we are real persons in a real world. They underscore the fundamental reality of our new life union with God through Christ; they do not bring our union into question. This vacillation on the soul level is a surface struggle, and never touches us where we really live. We are inner spirit persons. We are fixed in our inner being and nothing touches us there.
What looks and feels like vacillation according to the flesh must be denied as an illusion. Apparently Paul was misunderstood and condemned just like we are (by ourselves, as well as by others). His answer to the accusations that he was vacillating in his decisions was that though it might look that way, actually he had no alternative in his spirit. Because "God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no." As God's promises are nothing but "yes" (v. 20), the responses of His life through us is "yes" and "Amen" in all situations.
What many conservatives and fundamentalists call a "two natures" struggle is merely a soul-level vacillation between the spirit and the flesh. God has wisely purposed that we retain humanity with flesh tendencies, so that we will constantly be thrown back to the reality of our one nature-oneness with Him in Christ.
Do not condemn yourself, nor allow others to condemn you for feelings of mixed emotions. That mixture is only on the surface, and serves the important purpose of reminding you of who you really are. "For in your faith you are standing firm" (v.24); for in your inner being there is no vacillation.
Our family made the decision that we should stay in Florida even though Grandpa's condition was critical. As it turned out, Grandpa bounced back from his death-bed, and we had many visits with him before he died a few months later. But the mixture of Val's feelings of love for her grandparents and her desire to stay in Florida was a good object lesson to all of us of the truth of "vacillation within fixation".
GODS AND NO-GODS
Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, I said, you are gods?" John 10:34
However, at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. Gal. 4:8
When the Jews at one point took up stones to stone Jesus for blasphemy, Jesus reminded his antagonists that they were gods (John 10:31 -34). He referred them to their Law (Psalm 82:6),. where it says, "You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High."
How could Jesus address them as gods when they were in the process of stoning the only begotten son of God? The answer is that all living beings are gods in the sense that they are created in the image of God. Of course this is far different from becoming "conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29).
To be created in the image of God means to have the
capacity to know, to choose, and to love. These God-given capacities are common to all men. All men know God in their hearts, but many will not "honor Him as God or give thanks", hence they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20-21). All men are constantly making choices-though many or all of those choices are negative choices. And all men love in the sense that their lives are fundamentally for others. All living beings, including Satan and his devils, are forms and manifestations of God.
Many of you probably strenuously object to the concept that non-Christians, the Devil and his demons are manifestations of God. But have you ever considered that you might not be a Christian today if it wasn't for these anti-gods? The hellish destiny of anti-gods provided many of us with the necessary motivation to receive the Truth written in our hearts. They provided us with "the ultimate
UNION LIFE READINGS
contrast"-the concept of Hell.
Their misuse of freedom, and consequent negative manifestation of God, was part of the contrast that brought us to a decision for Christ. In this sense, all beings manifest the self-giving love of God, even if that is not the motivation or purpose of their choices and action. The life principle of 2 Corinthians 4:12 even operates in the lost-"So death works in us, but life in you." Have you ever considered being grateful to the ungodly and those lost? In the same sense, Christians that misuse their freedom by embracing evil (that which destroys and tears down, rather than edifies and builds up) are a blessing, not a curse.
Yes, all men are always forms of God, even though they might be misused forms. No-gods or anti-gods are still forms of God. God is seen in positive manifestations of Himself, as well as negative manifestations. No one and nothing can obscure God. Even Satan-Anti-God himself, evil personified-is a form of God, with redemptive design and redemptive purpose. Satan was among the "sons of God" who "came to present themselves before the Lord" (Job 1:6).
But by nature, all men are either god or no-god. Though all men are created in the image of God, not all men are gods in the positive sense. Whether we are gods or nogods, depends on whether we have embraced the spirit of
By Bill Volkman
truth, or whether we cling to the illusory false spirit of error (1 John 4:6). Once we acknowledge God through Christ, we are born again. Until then we "were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Eph. 2:3).
Eight out of ten of those who read this will deem themselves to be gods by nature, not just forms of God. Most of you call yourselves Christians, and are confident that you are born again. But what is the ultimate test that determines who are "in the faith"?
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine
yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about your
selves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless you fail the test?
(2 Cor. 13:5)
Notice that recognition of spiritual union is the ultimate test, not just seeing Christ as an eternal Lord and Saviour. Most of you who read this have already come to see that you were chosen to be gods-positive manifestations of Him who is all and in all. Substituting your name, you can say with me, "I am God (or Jesus) in Bill Volkman form." You know this is not blasphemy-this is reality! Those who fail to meet the above test are no-gods by nature. Recognition and acknowledgement of your oneness with Christ, based on His substitutionary death and resurrection, can instantaneously convert you from a no-god to being a god.
SEEING "ME" AS "I AM"
Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilt y. I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself: I despise my life. Job 9.20,21
When Moses was first commissioned by God to go to Pharoah to obtain the release of the Hebrews, Moses felt a lack of authority. So God told Moses that when the Hebrews asked Moses who had sent him, that he was to say, "I AM has sent me to you." God's name is "I AM"-a name that underscores Him as the "Eternal Now", the "Eternal Being".
Jesus told the Jews of his generation, "Before Abraham was born, I AM" (John 8:58). He did not say, "I was" but "I am". He knew that because of His oneness with the Father, He was the Eternal Being in the present now in His Jesus form.
"I AM" seems at first to be a rather strange name. The verb "am" is a transitive verb which requires an object to be grammatically correct. But because God is All and in all, to insert an object would be wrong, as this would limit Him. God is love; but He is also Peace, Power, Sufficiency, the Universe, etc. God is Totality-the All in all state of being. When properly seen, there are no separate objects to which He can relate. So we see that His name, I AM, is very appropriate.
Because of our separated, dualistic, self-centered outlook, we think in terms of "me". Everything is "for me" and "to me". A major key to life is seeing that we are not "me", but "I AM". We must see that "me" is ego-fallen, self-centered, separated, independent I (who was crucified with Christ). We must also see that "me" has been' replaced with "I AM"-unified, dependent I ("the life / now live in the flesh." Gal. 2:20).
The confusion in who man is dates back to the Garden of Eden. Our text, from the book of Job (the oldest book in the Bible), shows that Job was frustrated by the same question. A paraphrase of Job 9:20 might be: "Though I know I am God's perfect expression in my spirit, my soul actions in the flesh frequently condemn me." Though Job knew that he was positionally righteous ("I know that my Redeemer lives"), he was allowing the paradox of life ("we have this treasure in earthen vessels") to confuse him. His failure to see that God's grace is greater than all our sin left him in condemnation.
Job was ever so close to an awareness of the Indwell Truth, but at this point did not quite see it. His words "I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself" contained the answer but he was still confused. We could paraphrase that verse as follows: "Because I know who I am, one with God in union-life, I can ignore myself." So the temptations and slips of humanity need no longer cause us condemnation and confusion. We can ignore our crucified egos as we see "me" as "I AM"-as union-life good swallows up the appearances of evil.
Job wrestled with his "friends" and God for many more chapters. But at the end in Job 42:5, he says, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees Thee." The key is the "single eye". Finally Job saw from a unified perspective. Then life became a unity for him, because he saw himself as a whole man-one with God. We too must see with a single eye, so that "me" will become "I AM". Then the paradox of having Treasure in an earthen vessel will bring us joy rather than confusion and frustration.
'However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. " Rom. 8:9
My daughter, Val and I love the world of magic. We love to watch Bill Bixby and other magic shows on television. We love to go together to live magic shows. The most fun is seeing an incredulous act, and then looking at each other in disbelief as we join with others in clapping our hands in approval of the magician's skill in the art of illusion.
Most professional magicians are careful to refer to all their tricks as "illusions". Though hundreds watch the magician's every move, and though the tricks look impossible we know we are being fooled. The pretty, young assistant is not being sawed in half. The girl that disappeared and was replaced by a live cougar in the final act of the last show that Val and I attended, did not actually turn into a cougar. It only looked like she did.
There are also "look-alikes" in the areas of the flesh, sin, law, Satan, death and the world. Irrespective of how many people agree that these things are real, their actual effect on us as spirit persons is illusory. These areas might seem very real as they touch our soul life of feelings and appearances, but they need not touch our real selves-our inner beings.
Where is darkness when light is shining? It is there, but it is not there. Remove the light, and darkness is evident again. In the same way, sin, flesh, law, Satan, death and the world are here, but they are not here. Just as light swallows up darkness, so "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2) sets us "free from the law of sin and of death" (as well as the flesh, Satan and the world).
We know that if (not "when") we walk in the Spirit, all these things are swallowed up by the Spirit, and can properly be called illusory. But we experience condemnation because we do not always, feel that we are in the
Spirit. But it is at this point that we must deny the illusions of our feelings.
God has pronounced, "however, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Rom. 8:9). Does the Spirit of God dwell in you on a continuing basis? Then you are in the Spirit on a continuing basis, irrespective of what you feel and see.
Reality is the sum total of all of God's pronouncements. Illusion includes anything that varies from God's pronouncements. No matter how real anything appears or feels to us, or how many people agree with us, if God says differently we must learn to call ourselves in error. "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar" (Rom. 3:4). The magician is speaking the truth when he says his tricks are illusions even though everyone thinks they see something else.
But temptations and humanity are not illusions. Our capacity to respond and choose a positive or negative way to a particular temptation does not change. As humans, we will always be open to solicitations, even as Christ was ("One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Heb.. 4:15). If in our freedom we make a negative choice (not the same as a wrong choice), we confess it (we agree with God) and go on with Him.
Some call the negative choice "sin" or "evil". Others say with Paul, "I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me" (Rom. 7:20). Some like Paul distinguish between their spirit and soul level, "On the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin" (Rom. 7:25). But from my union-life perspective, I prefer to call the negative choice, "an illusion with a redemptive purpose." As a unified person, spirit and soul are seen as merged. The Spirit-of life in Christ Jesus in me swallows up all darkness, and only Reality remains.
"WHAT SHOULD I DO?"
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants. Deut. J0:19
We have all heard the cries of frustration from the people around us. We have all personally cried out to ourselves (if not to others), "What should I do?" or "What is God's will for me?" Frustration and disillusionment bring all of us to points of decision.
When people come to me for advice, I initially refuse to rehash all the applicable laws, commandments and principles. Decisions are not properly made by comparing the
alternatives and then determining an absolute answer. In a sense, there are no absolutes (except our union with Him who is All and in all).
My answer to the question of, "What should I do?", is "Don't do anything, just he yourself." The problem is not the decision of what to do, but the fact that we do not know who we arc. Once we find out who we are, we find out that there is no choice. For the Christian there is only one way to go-the way of love, the way of self-giving. The life of Christ which operates as us knows nothing of alternatives. There is no good and evil.
Therefore, a counsellor should always steer the con
UNION LIFE. READINGS'
versation to the ultimate questions, "Who am I" and "Who are you?" When we know this, what we thought was our problem no longer is a problem. We don't have to make a decision or do anything; we just spontaneously live. Because of union-life we are competent to take action, confident that we are doing God's will, because we are His will, because we are He.
God's advice in the text above is, "So choose life in order that you may live." The alternative before us is always the same-life and death. In His sovereignty, God has made us volitional beings (not robots) with free choice. We either choose death by continuing to embrace the basic illusion of separation from God, or we choose life by affirming our true selves as being in union with God. Actually once this basic choice is made, and the spirit of error is replaced with the spirit of truth, thereafter there is no choice. In our immaturity and dual vision, we have the illusion of choice, but really there is none.
Our nature has changed from being a self-lover to being a self-giver-from self-interest to love for others. Thereafter, any feeling of choice or alternative should clue us in that we are involved in a surface illusion. The only option for us who have an inner consciousness of union-life is to
By Bill Volkman
deny the illusion of temporary separation, and embrace the reality of absolute union. Then we can just spontaneously be ourselves and do what comes naturally, trusting the God who is our life.
Yesterday I had two major encounters. A practicing psychologist wanted to know if he was in the will of God as to his profession. A woman came to my office later wanting to know what the will of God was with respect to her pending separate maintenance action and her husband's counter suit for divorce.
In both cases I cut through the circumstances and their perfectly natural human reactions, which they thought were their problems, to their inner beings and nature. I affirmed to them who they are in Christ. I showed them that they are competent to take action without fear or condemnation because of who they are. As they saw more clearly their union with Him who is THE PRINCIPLE of life, all their questions about principles dissolved. Both persons came to my office expecting that I would give them specific answers and advice concerning their situations. Both left my office with few specific answers and little advice, but with a new awareness of their competence for life because of union-life.
DIVISION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit. . . . Heb. 4:12
Our constant confusion of soul and spirit results in our constant frustration, anxiety and condemnation. Only as we learn to recognize by the word of God the division of soul and spirit will we experience the Sabbath rest promised to us in Hebrews 4.
The pressures of life evoke soul reactions from all of us. It was quite natural when my daughter expressed feelings of fear and anxiety yesterday as she laid in the hospital bed awaiting oral surgery for the removal of her four wisdom teeth. Who doesn't cringe at the thought of "going under," and at the sight of a giant "pre-op" needle?
But our problem is not our initial soulish reactions and responses to the outer appearances of a situation. Our problem is our failure to discern the difference between our soul and spirit. We forget that we are spirit persons in our inner being. It is only as we come to know that we are "inner" persons that we will recognize and experience the rest and composure which is our fixed position. Nothing can change that. Feelings and appearances can not touch our fixed inner beings.
The source of any proper division of soul and spirit is the word of God. But do not limit or equate the "word of God" to Scripture. Do not think you need a proof text for everything you believe. There is an inner knowing by the word of God apart from Scripture (though it will never conflict with the written word). The word of God is the "thought" in every thought-word-deed sequence of life. We have the mind of Christ. Therefore, our every thought is of God in our inner beings.
As we acknowledge our union with God, in the face of soulish feelings and appearances of separation and distress, we are speaking the word of faith. This, in turn, brings the deed-that peace that passes all understanding.
On the other hand, if we continue to embrace the illusions of the soul, which are at variance with what our inner spirit tells us, we will be temporarily taken and overwhelmed by our feelings. But even these seeming defeats have redemptive purpose, for each encounter is God pressing in on us for our good.
My daughter cried out in fear just before going to surgery, "I feel scared, daddy." But I did not condemn or admonish her. I just held her and told her to go ahead and cry.
Then I added, "Everyone has feelings of fear before surgery. That's natural and human and good. But I know that in your inner being you have no fear. So don't let your surface feelings of fear overwhelm your inner knowing that nothing can touch you. Your earthen vessel is scared, but the real you isn't!"
So do not disdain or deny your feelings of weakness and humanity. Jesus had comparable feelings. "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are" (Heb. 4:15). Our humanity is our soul letting us know we are real persons in real situations. Accept your humanity, but allow the light of the living word of God to divide the surface emotions of your soul from the fixed inner being of your spirit. It is only by a proper division of soul and spirit that inner rest will swallow up such surface feelings and external appearances.
Some nine months ago the Lord Jesus brought my wife Vicki and myself together in marriage. The instruments and the workings of God by which he initiated and accomplished our union as man and wife were nothing short of the miraculous, and we yet glory in God's grace to us manifested by making us one in Him.
About three months ago, Vicki and I began to be plagued by thoughts that the Lord may allow death to separate us from one another. Even though we recognized that these should not overcome our position of rest, neither of us could seem to find victory over them. Eventually the Spirit showed us that God had purposed these fears for one reason-that we might fully give each other back to Him, recognizing that He is our source and our surety. One night the Spirit dealt with me very specifically on this matter and presented me with this command-'Give Vicki back to me and trust me to be your all in all." When I came to a place of full surrender, the Lord quickened the following words to me in my spirit:
"Jesus is our all in all."
"Anything outside of Him is darkness-that is, unreality. If our eyes are single, we see that there is no ending, no separation, only oneness and unity. But if our eyes do not see light, we see separation and death."
"Vicki is my Immanuel-God with me in His flesh form. She is Grace-because God gives Himself to me in a form I can appreciate as I too am flesh, for now. He wills that through this flesh manifestation of Himself, I would see Him who is my all in all."
"Jesus stands at the Father's right hand. Because of His great love He extends His arms earthward and gives me part of Himself- in His Vicki form. When He in flesh form is
taken away, there is no separation-only unity."
"When I look at Vicki, I see darkness and my darkness is great. When I look through Vicki to Jesus, my vision is restored. I see Him who is my all in all. He is my Alpha and Omega. There is no death, no separation, but only unity manifested in its splendid and diverse forms-God with us, Immanuel, Christ our all in all!"
Mike Sigler Dothan, AL
Sometime ago, I had what to me was a helpful revelation on soul life. I had been exposed to a series of teachings on subduing "wrong" emotions (anger, hatred, jealousy, etc.). We were told that we should submerge the soul, try to kill its existence, etc. In effect, the speaker was trying to put all of us under bondage and selfcondemnation.
I always hurt for those who try to follow such teaching, as it ends in guilt and frustration (which just continues the chain of despair, since these also are emotions). But this time I realized that, instead of "looking down" on soul, we should be immensely thankful for it. After all, soul is what makes us individuals. We are all one in Spirit since we are all one with and in Christ. The thing that differentiates us as persons is our diversity of soul. This frees us to love our own soul, complete with its fear, hurt, etc. It is precisely the soul which the Lord uses (1) to bring us to Him as the All, (2) to be all things to all men (e.g. different kinds of witnesses-each tailormade for someone), (3) to provide a variety of fellowship in the body, (4) to think His different thoughts, (5) to rub rough edges off other souls and in the process rub off some of our own, and (6) to keep us as individuals.
Someday our souls will be changed and raised without sin stains, but they will still be different. But "dying to self" does not mean killing the soul. Rather, it means subjugating it to the Spirit and using the soul for God's purposes.
Asst. Professor of Mathematics
("Affairs" in Christian families are all too common. The, following letter written to Mr. Grubb illustrates the new freedom that one wife has, though her husband continues a relationship with another woman. As a '.'free spirit", this wife remains with her husband; another might be led to a different path.)
When I wrote to you last time, I could tell from your reply that you still knew something that I didn't know. Well, now I do know! I cannot regret anything that has happened in the past or condemn myself. I see now that what happened was God's pushing me into the promised land.
On the surface my marital situation looks worse than ever; in fact, sometimes I even think I am fooling myself. But down deep I find that I am even more sure of the promise that the Lord gave me years ago that our marriage would be as it was meant to be and that our household would be put in order. When my husband came back after we were separated two years ago, I became more and more afraid that he would leave again. I didn't realize this until he finally said that he was thinking again about it. The fear was manifested at that point, but somehow it has been changed since then for perfect love. I can now see that my fear had made it impossible for me to be the wife and mother I could have been.
At the present time I know there is another woman, and I have told him I know. I told him that it seemed as though he were trying to make me throw him out, but that he couldn't make me do it. I said that I would not try to stop him, and that I meant it when I said that his eternal welfare is the most important thing to me. I can hardly believe I can take this blow, but I realize now that the Lord has been setting me up for this ever since a Faith at Work conference years ago.
At that time, God put me with a doctor and his wife, as well as another woman whose husband was into adultery. The doctor had also been
But What About
The "Other Woman"?
My Wife: My Immanuel
Some Reflections On Soul-Life
guilty of this. At the time I had wondered how I would handle such a situation.
I do not know how far my husband has gone, but there were times in the past when I wished he would find another woman. In any event, I can see that his relationship is hurting him, and I am even able to be concerned about the other woman, whoever she is. I knew there had to be a rest in the middle of impossible situations like this, and now I know what it's like.
I have not told my family or others about my husband, nor do I feel I should. However, I did tell one friend that my husband said that he was thinking of leaving. Her ex-husband and the new wife live near me. My telling this friend brought out her deep bitterness, especially toward the new wife. I see that she is still in bondage to the situation. It is good to be able to pray for her, that she may be free, so that the Lord can in turn work on them.
How awesome to know that I can now ask anything I want, as His will is my will. But I well know I am not here by my own efforts; it seems as though I barely had any choice. It's as though each step of the way was forced. It was either leap, or perish. I didn't actually decide to trust God-I just couldn't stay where I was.
Now it seems to be a matter of gathering the spoils of the battle already won.
What brought the truth of union-life right for me was the fact that the word "One" in the verse "Behold Oh Israel, the Lord our God is 'One' Lord" has the basic meaning of "a united one", not the word meaning of "an absolute one". In Genesis it says, "And God said, 'Let us (a united one) make man.' "
Again, Scripture says, "They twain shall be 'one.' " We are joined to Christ being one Spirit, yet the Bible also says, "Thy maker is thy husband." (Isa. 54:5). There is a oneness in our unity just like the oneness of the Trinity-each functioning in a different manifestation and ministry, yet there are not three but one!
Adienne Klassen Vancouver, B.C.
I just want to share my experiences with Union Life since becoming involved in a Bible study under the leadership of Dan and Barbara Stone.
Before I attended these studies with my husband, I did not know a Christian could experience real peace and rest in the day-to-day problems and worries we face here on earth. I did not know just where I stood with God, or what was His will, or how to be free from guilt and condemnation.
What a wonderful revelation to me-I am perfect in Christ. I have been clothed with His righteousness! He is the One living my life here on earth and handling the problems.
For awhile I struggled to make this union experience really "mine". I had heard Dan say, "What you take, takes you." but it wasn't till I read Norman Grubb's book, Once Caught, No Escape that I understood what the phrase really meant.
I had been seeking that inner awareness as though it were something to be found and claimed. Now I know the experience was "mine" from the moment I had accepted it. This is true peace to know I am no longer separated from Christ but am one with Him!
Harriet Smith Mason, Ohio
(This recent letter to Norman Grubb mirrors so clearly the experiences of many o/' us, that we set it out in full below. Except for a couple minor editorial changes, this letter is reproduced as it was received.)
August 19, 1976 Norman, This is Richard Zenith, who visited you this past Saturday with Laurie and a few others. I wish to share my joy with you, which was effected in part thru our visit with you. I better go back a few years to explain. Up until age 15 my life was centered around one thing-a consuming ambition to be great. I was especially politically ambitious. I had terrible insomnia, because I would lie on my bed at night and plan, plan, plan what I would do in the future to achieve my goals.
In my sophomore year of high school the Lord confronted me and I fought for two months; but He soundly defeated
me and soon I was His. That was five years ago. Well, as a believer much of my ambition immediately died, but not all of it. I had a new ambition-to become a Spiritual Giant, so people would look at me and say, "Oh, Richard, you're such a good Christian!"
And before long people did say such things, for I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a legalist par excellence. I read 10 chapters of the Bible a day, I prayed for an hour a day, and I went out street witnessing two times a week. In my senior year of high school I began a fellowship which attracted great numbers of people and many came to Christ through it. I was put up on a pedestal and my ego loved it. Now I was teaching "Christ in you", but I felt I had to do things for "testimony's sake", to prove that He really was in me.
Almost exactly two years ago, after three years of "God-needs-my-help" sort of thinking, I suddenly became very depressed. I realized that though I was making quite a show with my flesh, there was something drastically wrong within. For two weeks ! thought and prayed and tried to theorize just what was wrong. But one Saturday morning the Lord finally spoke and wiped out all my theorizing. He said, "The problem is that you don't love." That burning truth was certainly a slap in the face, but I sorrowfully saw that it was true. I was forever doing things for other people, but it was not a natural outflow. It was to achieve my goal of being a "good, loving Christian".
For about one week I was extremely depressed. Then I met Laurie, and she explained that God is all, and that He's the new me; that it is not for me to love but for God to love through me; that I am one spirit with Him, so I can know that at my centre I am love, regardless of what I feel. The Lord had His perfect timing, and of course I ate up all these truths. Shortly after that I read and said Amen to Who Am I.
So it was two years ago when God first showed me the truth of unity-the unity of me and Christ and Life and Love and the Universe. But these two years have seen much testing of that truth. I was tempted by many other Christian viewpoints-perspectives which I do not say are wrong, they simply are not what God has for me. Many times (I'm exaggerating-only a few times, actually) I began to think, "Hmmm, some of this Norman Grubb stuff sounds like it might be bordering on heresy." But God was in it all, taking
No Longer Seeking
Our Oneness Like The Trinity
me the wrong ways (wrong for me) in order to make more solid His right way for me. So for the most part, in these two years through good and bad I have kept affirming, "I am the Richard Zenith form of Christ, and though at present I may ,feel hateful and envious I know that I am love . . ."
But during this past summer a wonderful thing happened. What I have kept intellectually affirming for two years has become a settled fact! I no longer have to remind myself that I'm one with Him, anymore than I have to remind myself that I have brown eyes. I still have soulish reactions of hate, but I know that I am what I am at my centre, in my spirit, which is love. My soul life is just where God plays His tricks on me and my spirit has a good time laughing at my negative reactions.
This fixed inner consciousness was all the more confirmed after our visit to you. I went to bed very late Saturday night, and so got only five hours of sleep. So, on Sunday evening I was rather tired and I took a nap at about 7 p.m.. But when I woke up after only an hour, I was overwhelmed with the awareness of unity-that all is God and therefore, all is good, and that Christ is the sum of all things, whether in heaven or in earth.
Words cannot explain the experience, because it was not an intellectual awareness. I could not sleep that night, so first the Lord had me write something (which I have enclosed), and then I was reading, playing the piano, and other things. But underneath all this activity was this tremendous sense of Oneness. I would call it praising God, but it was different than my past experience of praising God. Before I, Richard Zenith, was praising God, a separate Person. But now I saw that I am praise. Instead of looking at a picture and saying, "How beautiful", I was in the picture and saw that the beautiful picture included the whole universe. I was not thinking the word "God", but overwhelmed by all of Life, Who is Jesus Christ, God manifested. I did not tire until 7 a.m., when I went to bed and woke up at 7:45 a.m., well rested.
Laurie calls this experience "ecstasy". I don't know what to call it, but I know He used our visit to bring it about, so I wanted to share this with you. I was impressed with your freedom to be yourself., When we see ourselves as lovers, how could we want to be anything but ourselves.
Love from Richard
A Personal Word From Norman
My Dear Friends:
My latest book, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, is the story of an obscure small-time Baptist pastor who 'caught on' to how a person truly believes God (much like Rees Howells). He jumped in one leap, with a group of his like-minded churchmembers, into the largest church-Christian School in the South. That leap of faith alone in its details is of sufficient interest, but what especially attracted me to write the story is how God has brought this pastor into the personal secret of a life in union with God, so that he can live relaxed, free, and joyful amid his many 'heavy' responsibilities. This to me makes the chapters on "What goes on inside the Pastor?" the most illuminating.
At his request I also included a few chapters on what God has taught me of the principles of faith-in-action, and the "union life" in Christ, and how to know God's will, etc., which I had spent many hours discussing with him.
I think NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE would be an excellent little book to get into the hands of any pastors or fellowship-leaders you know, perhaps as Christmas gifts. I know all of you as readers of UNION LIFE will personally profit as you once again meet with God in His creative Self-manifestation through one of His special sons.
(Editor: This new book is now available. See the last page of this issue of UNION LIFE.)