Each year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we reflect on the true meaning of the word love: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” The Son of God born into time and space as a helpless human baby. Why? To do for mankind what we could not do for ourselves—to free us from bondage to sin/Satan and make it possible to be restored to our relationship with our Father—as sons, joint heirs with Christ in His kingdom, the Body through whom Christ now lives out His love nature.
This issue of The Intercessor explores how Jesus Christ is living that same outpoured life today by and as us, the redeemed. In our lead article, “Love in Action,” Norman makes clear the principles by which we operate in our Christ-union. We see how Jesus responded to the pulls of His humanity to walk out the Father’s will for his 30 years on earth; today He lives out His love-nature in us/as us. When we by faith “take up our cross”— die to appearances and the pulls of temptation—and step out in faith to align with God’s will in our specific circumstances, Christ lives out as us to accomplish His purposes.
In “The Answer Completed,” Norman makes clear the totality of our redemption—”not He helping us to live, and we in partnership with Him; it is He replacing us. His blood in place of our sins, His self in place of ourselves.” Read on because replacement is radically different from the self-improvement so often promoted even among Christians.
In that same vein, check out Laura Hawley’s feature, “Just Be Nice,” for further enlightenment on God’s restoration of us to our true being—and the unmasking of Satan’s lie that we are self-operating selves. The article is also a delightful personal glimpse (and experienced by most of us) of the folly of “self-improvement.”
“The Total Truth,” taken from Norman’s final book, Yes, I Am, is an overview of several key biblical revelations in his lifelong search to know God. He begins with God as “all and in all“—and all creation as a unity with Him as the Center. Norman emphasizes the love nature of God, and how we, the redeemed, are “part of this Total…in our union with Him.”
Two fresh voices in this issue explore the hardships and sacrifice that Jesus promised those who take up their cross to follow Him. Elliot Coatney’s “The Privilege of Sacrifice” gives a vivid picture of the calling of the Cambridge Seven—the cream of the crop elites of Victorian England—athletically, intellectually, and socially—who stood apart from others of their day to boldly share Christ with their peers on campus, and then whole-heartedly and gladly gave up their earthly treasures to seek and save the lost in China. Their sacrifice resulted in thousands of souls saved and the firstfruits of a wave of well-educated, stalwart missionaries who followed in their footsteps, opening unevangelized fields worldwide.
Of special interest to readers of The Intercessor is one of the Seven, C.T. Studd, Norman Grubb’s father-in-law and the founder of Worldwide Evangelistic Crusade (WEC). For a taste of C.T.’s fiery admonishments urging passive Christians to take up the Cross and boldly follow Jesus, be sure to look for “My Disciple,” featured in this issue.
Drawing on both the Old and New Testaments, Rebecca Jane Cooper’s feature, “God’s Purpose in Dark Times,” tackles the ancient question, “How can a loving God permit suffering?” She states plainly, “Suffering is determined by God; we experience it for His purposes.” Looking closely at the hardships Jesus endured to complete God’s plan of redemption, Rebecca Jane points out that God’s purposes for us, as containers of Jesus Christ, are likewise worked out in our lives by His Spirit through our dark times—whether for our inner spiritual strengthening or as witnesses to others of God’s continuing faithfulness.
In “The Life of Faith,” Norman gives a fascinating personal account of his lifelong quest to understand and operate the principles of faith. The way of faith captivated Norman early on as he studied George Muller’s life, and was fueled later on by God’s call to join a faith mission. He describes the years of great illumination in the way of faith, including “those necessary conditions for its healthy growth—difficulties, frustrations, impossibilities.” Experiences pressing him to learn for himself how faith can be applied to receive deliverances. Over time Norman found his answer—“a faith that works first in our own lives [that] can then, and only then, be applied to the problems around us.” It’s a fascinating read.
Finally, wrap up this last issue of 2018 by checking out the crossword, “God’s Gift to Us—His Son” for a look at some less familiar verses that illuminate the impact of our Savior’s birth. And reflect one last time on Christmas 2018 with Steven Prewitt’s lovely Nativity (on the back page).
Ring in the new year by exploring the latest addition to the Zerubbabel website—Free Streaming Audio. Currently available are Norman Grubb’s talks on Daily Living, and on books of the Old and New Testament (Available at Zerubbabel.org/online-audio/).
We wish you, our readers and supporters, a very blessed New Year!