To say something is total truth is the final word! Yet what else can I say if it is total to me? What follows has settled into me as Total Truth, as I have soaked in the Scriptures, always my final authority, these sixty years, and sought the interpretation by the Spirit and His inner witness. Other interpreters of the Word by the Spirit have been my helpers, both in print and in personal interchange; but always I have sought for and found the final confirmation for myself by the One of whom John writes: He who by His inner anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie.
I have to start with what in itself is the final word, and it is a staggering word to put in a few sentences; but all the rest of the superstructure which enables me to say Yes, I am, can only be built on this foundation. The Bible says, In the beginning God, and in the end, God . . . all in all (1 Cor. 15:28), as He will then be known by His universebut is already known by us through inner seeing (1 Cor. 2:1012). And, quite simply, if He is finally to be known by His universe as the All in all, He who is unchangeable from everlasting to everlasting has always been The All in all. And that means what it says. If God is the All in all, then all that exists is a unity of which He is the Center, and everything manifests Him, on one level or another.
That was what first truly opened my eyes to the One whom I had always thought of as a far off Person quite apart from His creation, producing a new seeing of Him, who is Spirit, as actually revealed in all created forms, even if they have been distorted from their original harmony. The beyond in the midst. That was a vast stride for me, for it gave me the single eye which Jesus said will fill the body with light. I began to be a see-through-er to Him rather than a see-at-er, in all that is in His universe, whether man or matter, whether evil or good. And I began to find the poise, calmness, hope and faith there is in such single-seeing.
I see also how all the universe seeks oneness, each individual part with the local object of its desire: as shown by the positive proton and negative electron which, united, form the atom; by the human marriage union of male and female; even by the searchings of individuals after political, national, and international union. All these are shadows and symbols of a desire for oneness with Himmost seeking with ignorance of the One with whom they seek union. But millions of us today are the privileged ones who have found that blessed oneness: Christ the Head and we the body. Jesus prayer is being answered: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us. And this right through to the final consummation we thrillingly await the marriage supper of the Lamb, whose bride, ourselves by grace, hath made herself ready.
Spirit is Self
We can know our oneness with Him, for as He is Spirit we also are spirit. Jesus had said to the woman of Samaria, God is Spirit; and we too are spirits, for He is called the Father of spirits. So spirit is self: He the I am Spirit, and we created spiritslike Father, like son. As spirit-self, I know; Paul said, What man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? As spirit-self, I love; for God is love, and we too all show love, whether rightly or wrongly applied. And as spirit-self, I will; just as He works all things after the counsel of His own will, so I have my freedom of will. This freedom was the first evidence of Adam being a person, in the Garden of Eden. So to be a created person in the image of the Creator is to be spirit as He is SpiritHe infinite and I finite; and I as spirit have knowledge, love and will. I know, I love, I choose; and my soul and body are the external agents of my choosing spirit.
He who is Spirit is He who is love. By the Scriptures, which reveal Him as love in the giving of His Son that we might have life, we know that His love is total self-giving love. He is the eternal Person-for-others. The reason why He is solely other-loving love rather than self-loving love we will see later. But its unchangeable consequence is that this universe becomes to us a safe and perfectly controlled one when we know that He manifests Himself solely in His other-love activities. We know that other-love can only be harmonious love, in which all that has its source in Him who is lovewhether animate or inanimate, on every level of existence from the subatomic upwardscan only operate in temperature (Jacob Boehmes term for normality or harmony) when each is loving the other; and to this the universe is coming.
Does the Ideal Exist?
But how full of contradiction to this is our present experience! We live in a world where self-love is the basic motivation. It seems we are in an inextricable chaos from which we can find no way outunless it were possible that all humans so love one another that we put the interests of others before ourselves, a condition which, we know, to the natural man is an unattainable ideal. Butsurprise of surprisesthe ideal has its reality. We who are born of the Spirit, joined to the Lord in one spirit, are loving one another! The eternal kingdom of love is already in evidence for those who have eyes to see it.
The world may point at Christians who dont appear to love one another, but the worldwide brotherhood of those who do love one another is a visible fact today, which cant be suppressed or obliterated; and we are part of it. One of the followers of Francis of Assisi said in those days to some who sought to water down his ways of perfect love: There is an element in the gospel of Christ so disturbing that the world will forever reject it, but never forget it; and the Church will waver forever between patronage and persecution. Yours is the present, for the world will ridicule or crucify us; but I think the future is ours.* And he was right. That element is alive in millions today, of whom we are a part; and we are going to see again in these pages the marvels of the way by which this has become our total reality.
So here we start with our Total: God Himself, in ultimate fact the only Person in the universe. God is Spirit (hence we know Spirit is Person), and God is love (and that means He is other-love). And part of this Total we, the redeemed, have now become in our union with Him.
The Universal is Manifested in Forms
Now we can see that a universal of any kind is invisible and meaningless unless it has its manifested form, for any universal reality can only be known by its manifested form. What is electricity? Who knows? But we can perceive it through one of its manifested formslight, heat, power. Even the living God, the one ultimate Person in the universe, would remain unmanifested for all time as that Person unless He had from eternity His manifested form, first called The Word, His beloved Son.
Why is He called The Word, this One who was in the beginning with God and was God? Because a word is the fixed final form that thought takes; and by that word the thought moves into action. Thought, word, deed. Father, Son, Spirit. So the eternal God, as the living Person, speaks His Word of self-manifestation into visibility in His only begotton Son, and that is why none but the Son knows the Father, and he to whom the Son reveals Him. That is why those in religious faiths who have not Jesus Christ at their center can never know the living God person to person, as we the redeemed do.
But if the eternal universal One is manifested only by His only begotten Son in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, then all further manifestations of Himself will be by His Son. To use a poor human illustration, this is much like the procedure of many a human inventor: to expand and perfect his invention he has his next level of cooperators, sons or executives, who do the developing. Henry Ford produces his first car for the people. His sons and managers reproduce it in further popular models (forms), and expand the enterprise as a worldwide Ford Company, applying in detail all the resources and genius of the founder.
The Word in Action
So now the Son (and later, marvelously, we discover a parallel in the sons) becomes Himself the Word in action, and by Him were all things created. Of what did this active word consist, of which it is said, In the beginning was the Word, and all things were made by Him? How did He speak this word? Quite simply, Scripture reveals. The first word was Let there be light and there was light. So the word was Let there be. That was no word of striving effort to obtain something. No, it was having the authority to understand what His Father purposed in love-action and was pressing through by His Son-Agent into further detailed manifestation. So the Son, the Word, makes a declaration of what we now call faith, which was also a command, Let there be The word of faith. This meant that the Father-Spirit, who is the eternal substance, would now come into purposed manifested forms of Father-love, channeled into visibility by the Son as His creating Agent. And there was light.
We are here getting a first glimpse, from the very beginning of the Bible record, of how faith works; in other words, the ease of true praying. The Son (or sons) has (and have) an inner understanding of the love-purposes of the Father. The Son then fulfills His prerogative of being the One who speaks the wordand a word, as we have seen, is a person going into action. He authoritatively says, Let there be (that same word which Jesus later told His disciples to use, Say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast ) Faith, as the Scripture says, is substance. And there was light.
Here is our first glimpse of how a person functions. A spirit-person, by his inner action of spirit-choice, speaks the word, the decisive word of faith, and that is really the Son interpreting the Fathers revealed love-purpose; and from the Father through the Son, the Spirit Himself, the Third Person of the Trinity, moves into His creating work. At the creation, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and one by one the six Let there bes took visible matter-form.
We have here diverged for a moment to take this opportunity of showing that from the beginning, before the human race was in existence, the only way a spirit-person (which is what we humans are) can function is by that simplest of simple spirit activitiesthe word of faith.
The Son and the Sons
But now back to Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. By Him, with His word of faith, we see all things come into beingthose six Let there bes, by which the Father manifested His Godhead in every form of marvelous visible creation with all its beauties, harmonies, perfectionby His Son. Indeed, we hear Gods recorded comment: It is good, . . . it is good, . . . it is good. But the consummation of those eight Lets is beyond our conceiving, except that it is revealed as His eternal purpose from before He started the founding of the world. When the eighth Let is recorded, it states: And God said, Let Us make man in Our image. The Father, Son, and Spirit converged in Their final summit Let. For it was the beginning of a vast race of sons . . . created spirits in the image of Him, the Creator- Spirit spirits who were predestined to adoption on the level of sons, to actually be co-sons with co-destiny, co-responsibilities and co-authority. Fantastic! our astonished hearts say. It is at such times we fall back on our final authority, the written Word. By what other means could these bold facts be revealed and declared?
So here we move from deity to humanity, to discover how we are lifted to the level of deity, because we are created spirits who can thus totally identify with Him the Spirit, and be His perfect means of Self-manifestation. How could we know what that means and implies if He, the uncreated Deity- Son, had not Himself become fully a human, and exemplified in human living what a normal human being is and how he functions as such? So that John can say, Because as He is, so are we in this worldnot ought to be, but are!
Then if at this juncture we now take the big leap into the eternal destiny of the human sons as brother-sons of God with the Son, we are quietly told, If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. We then quite rightly ask, What is the inheritance? And the answer comes back, The Father has appointed the Son as heir of all things, and that must mean the universe. Again fantastic! And we follow that by asking, What does it imply, to receive an inheritance? The simple answer is, After the first excitement at the news, then comes responsibility! An heir not only owns, but must manage and develop his inheritance. And God has entrusted His whole universe, in whatever its ultimate mindboggling developments are, to His Son and sonsourselves!
Just one thing is obvious. He must know that we are trustworthy; even as Paul caught sight of that when he said, near the end of his life, I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful. And how can we be trustworthy and counted as such by the living God? Obviously, only when we spontaneously are as He is. Christ is love, as His Father is love; so we as love are then safe managers of the universe because we shall be for its benefit, not it for us. We are then safe, spontaneous other-lovers, as are the Father, Son and Spirit. That is what we are by gracenot (as we shall see) ought to be, but are! Yes, I am.
*From Brother John by Vida Scudder, Quoted in Gold Cord by Amy Carmichael, p. 46.
For many years after his retirement as General Secretary of the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, Norman Grubb traveled extensively sharing the truth of our union with Christ. He also carried on a huge personal correspondence with individuals throughout the world. He was the author of many books and pamphlets, a number of which are available through the Zerubbabel Book Ministry. Norman lived with his daughter, Priscilla, in Fort Washington, PA. Norman P. Grubb entered the Kingdom at 98 years of age.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 17 No 2
- Our Foundations
- Editors Note
- Amazing Grace
- The Swaying Battle of Faith
- Zerubbabel Focus: The Book Ministry
- Tape Talk
- British Easter
- Commit Your Way to the Lord
- A Look at a Book
- BIBLE STUDY: MAN-A VESSEL
- Message from Norman
- A Movie Classic
- Garbage In… Garbage Out
- Gods Sovereignty in Success and In Failure
- Great is His Faithfulness