The Restoration of Humanity
As we continue our investigation into the foundational truths of our union reality, we look into how God regains His property humanity stolen and deceived by Satanboth removing his infection from His created sons and restoring them to their destined sonship.
We shall now turn to the subject of the restoration of us humans to our true being, to the condition in which the Living God, as love, is naturally operative in us and we are without blame before Him in love, as God originally intended (Eph. 1:4).
The first problem is our blindness. How can that be removed? A basic necessity is to recognize that the whole human family has always had its being in God. We were created in Gods image and likeness and are only Satans stolen property; and for that reason we all instinctively know that we should be living in the likeness of our Creatorpeople of love as He is, love which fulfills all law. We all know the law inwardly before we come to know it in its outer written form. Genesis tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness in the years when the wickedness of man was great upon the earthand this before the giving of any written law. Joseph, when tempted to commit adultery with Potiphars wife, answered her by saying, How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? He, too, knew Gods law inwardly.
Glimpses of the reality of eternal law are in the writings of men of history like Lao Tse and Confucius of China; in the Vedas and Upanishads of India; in Buddhas precepts; in Zoroaster and Jalal alDin of Persia; in Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato of the Greeks; in Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus of the Romans, and countless others lost in the mists of time. Paul puts it in one word in Romans 1: that all men know in themselves what may be known of the invisible God by His visible creation, but have held down the truth in unrighteousness and so are without excuse. All the great religions of the world legalistically demand that their followers adhere to certain standards by their own self-effort. This is a total impossibility, for it is in direct contradiction to mans fallen, self-loving nature, the nature of that spirit of error in the children of wrath, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Eph. 2:3). So whether it is by Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or by Marxism or any other secular philosophy of life, we humans who know what we ought to be are more confirmed than ever in our blindness of heart by these self-effort religions and philosophies. We build up our own righteousness and call it the righteousness of God, while in fact it is only this same Satan-in-dwelt self-loving self-producing its convenient good-and-evil fruit of the fallen self.
The Mosaic Law
In Romans 2, Paul mentions both the law written in our hearts and Gods external, written law given through Moses. What was Gods purpose in giving us the Mosaic law? It was to prepare a way by which mans blindness can be removed. In that unfathomable wisdom of His, He uses the pronouncement of an outward law not to falsely establish fallen man in a phony selfrighteousness (as though he might keep ita slave to Satan keeping Gods law!) but for a totally opposite purpose. The law was given to expose the deceit of mans self-righteousness, thus stripping him naked of any righteous grounds for standing before God, outside of grace. So the sending of the outer law by Moses was actually part of God approach of grace to man! Pauls inspired understanding focused Mosaic law to this.
We will follow this through now, both in its preliminary effects on us and to its ultimate completion. This makes Moses the greatest of the law age, to be replaced, as he foretold, by one like unto himself, yet greater than he, as the son is greater than the servant in the house. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The outer law, given as a code of ethics on that mount to Moses, was not God coming in fullness of grace to His people, but was inserted as a necessary preliminary. God came to them at Horeb precisely as He eternally isas the One who rescued them from bondage and brought them out as on eagles wings to be His peculiar treasure. But, even though they were His people, through the Passover and Red Sea deliverance, many of them were like carnal Christians today: they did not know the Lord in their inner consciousness as Moses did. These people, therefore, not yet realizing the exchange of deity in themselves, were wide open to the lying controls of Satan, their former indwelling deity, and thus carnal, sold unto sin. So to expose their blindness to their Satanic slavery, God added the necessary demand which is the purpose of the outer law. God said to them through Moses that they would be His special people if they would obey His voice and keep His covenantthe very thing they couldnt do, but this they did not know. And so they gaily responded, Of course we will keep it. They had to respond like that, for this first claim of the law on them was precisely to expose their still unrecognized and therefore uncrucified self-reliance, which was Satans nature in them.
So the famous law followed on its tablets of stone but significantly it was not given to Moses directly by the Lord Himself on the mount, but by angels (Gal. 3:19), because God Himself is the law lived as person and not in a demanding code with no power given to fulfill it. (It was later, in his second forty days on the mount, when Moses saw Gods glory pass by, that the merciful, gracious, longsuffering, forgiving nature of the Lord was revealed to him in its full realityand no wonder his face shone!)
Sin is seen to be sin
Now the years were to follow in which a few always saw through to gracemany thousands more than the record shows, as we can surmise by the seven thousand who were preserved by Gods enabling in the days of dark apostasy under Ahab. If thousands then, maybe tens of thousands in better days. But for Israel in general, sin was now exposed as sin by the law, and it is Paul who brings out the truth that by the law is the knowledge of sin and sin is not imputed where there is no law. Under other dimmer codes, wrong might be recognized as against the doer and society. But only by Gods law through Moses did wrong have its total exposure as sin against God, leaving man on the eternal deathroad unless there be some way back to total alignment with God. Only Gods law through Moses makes human wrongdoing totally serious. How significant it is that in these our days, wrongdoing is never acknowledged or confronted as a moral destruction, but only as a social inconvenience or human mistake. No secular nation calls sin by its true name, and that is why the only true light that can still come to our modern world is by the holy nation, the church of the redeemed who still proclaim the total word of Scripture, and who are the only true nation there is.
The Last Adam
But with the law of exposure comes the grace of restoration . . . the first Adam being replaced by the last Adam (Rom. 5:1221, 1 Cor. 15:45). We all have been born in sin and all have committed sin, and the evidence is seen in us all being under the reign of death, with no escape from its sentence of condemnation. Yet this very reality of sin, condemnation and death, making its appearance in the first Adam wasfor any who have enlightened eyes to see and who know the character of the Father of Love the necessary pointing finger to the first Adams replacement by the last Adam, who would blot out of existence this diseased condition of humanity. He would be the last Adam, not just the second Adamas though the two are on a level with each other and a simple exchange made. He would totally dissolve the death-existence of the first Adam (and thus of us, Adams earth family) and, as the last Adam, bring into being the ultimate changeless reality of the eternal life-existence of the heavenly family. Where the first Adam was the parent of a human family of living souls (selves for self), the last Adam would be the parent of an eternal, unchangeable family of quickening spirits (selves giving life to others) (1 Cor. 15:45). And this would be the last family, with none ever subsequent to it for Christ would be the end of the law for righteousness. So in this sense the first Adam was only the shadowfigure of the last Adam (Rom. 5:14), this bright sun who would swallow up the shadow as if it had never been.
But with one tremendous difference. The whole human race is caught up from birth into the syndrome of sin and death. But the destined coming of the last Adam to transmute our living souls into quickening spirits was not a had to be. It was a pure product of voluntary love. It only had to be in the sense that love by its very selfgiving nature is always a debtor, and needs a creditor (which was why Paul the missionary called himself a debtor to the Gentile world). Christs coming was the spontaneous product of autonomous love, for He is love. So Paul, in this magnificent replacement declaration of the new creation for the old in Romans 5, continually repeats that what we have in our last Adam is the free gift, the gift of God, the gift by grace, the gift unto justification of life; and coupled with that, says again and again that all of this has abounded to many with abundance of grace, grace that did much more abound. Paul was caught by the glory of the grace manifested through our one man Jesus Christ and so are we!
Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ
So now we will take the first outward look into the details of this transition which so totally solves the problems which prevent us from being real persons and living the real life we are meant to live.
I know I am writing to those who know the historical details of the coming into our spacetime world of the Son of God, taking flesh as Son of Man (His favorite name for Himself). He issued from the womb of a virgin mother, with a Holy Spirit father. His early years were under the outer regulations of the law of Moses, during which He profoundly studied, absorbed, and understood the Old Testament Scriptures. His commissioning was at His water baptism, accompanied by the coming of a dove (seen only by Him and John)and with the dove, the word of confirmation: Thou art My beloved Son. His acknowledgement of that confirmation that He was the promised Savior, foreseen by the prophets in both His sufferings and glory, was by His public declaration of it in Nazareth. He was established as the unsullied pioneer of the eternal kingdom of Spirit, the kingdom of lovequite different from any earthly kingdomby his rejecting, during forty days of testing, any selfcentered life (Satans deathlife, with which he infected the first Adam). His years of public ministry were of compassionate love combined with manifestations of the power of an unseen world in the visible form of healings, material provisions, counteraction of the force of gravity, and even of physical death itself. These He combined with His ruthless exposure of false, selfexalting presentations of the Living God under the guise of religious practices. He concentrated on training those whom He saw by faith to be His successors, constantly seeing them as what they would be by the coming of the Spirit, in place of their frequent displays of vacillating humanity. By faith He plainly accepted the known prophetic statements about the suffering Messiah, and recognized their truth in the obvious threatening clouds of opposition from the religious authorities which pointed to His coming death. In Gethsemane He took a final agonizing stand of faith: that though He should drink the cup alone, for us, His death would be surely followed by His physical resurrection. By faithby a declaration which we may call a word of faithHe also plainly prefaced His ascension to the Father with a promise to His disciples of another Comforter, whereby He would make His abode with them in His true Spirit-reality. By faith He commissioned them by the Spirit at Pentecost, and thus equipped them to be Himself in His many body forms. Through their witness He has entered into millions of further disciples, making them also fellow sons by the Spirit and citizens of a new nation. These now await His personal return and the public joining of Head to body then the marriage supper of the Lamb, Bridegroom with bride . . . and finally, His ultimate rendering up of the universal kingdom to the Father, who will then be seen to be what He actually always is to the seeing eye of faith God the All in all.
All this is a mere repetition of glorious facts known to all of us. But these form the background, in outer fact and history, of what we must now see as totally applicable to our own inner selves!
The First Stage of Restoration: The Precious Blood
We will now see the way by which this combination of the law given by Moses and the grace and truth by Jesus Christ is not only the Total Truth, but the Total Truth to me in my personal experiencesee how it is the only answer with a totally workable application to every situation, whether mine or other folkswhich makes it possible for me to say to myself, Yes, this is it, and then declare it to the whole world within my reach.
If this takes further digging into details (with Paul as our guide) to find out the total solution, we will be like a German pastor (quoted by Karl Barth in his Epistle to the Romans, p. 24) wrote:
God needs men, not creatures Full of noisy, catchy phrases. Dogs he asks for, who their noses Deeply thrust intoToday,
And there scent Eternity.
Should it lie too deeply buried, Then go on, and fiercely burrow, Excavate untilTomorrow.
Some of us have been doing this for years. I could not stop. I must be satisfied. I must have the complete answer. It must be wholly workable in all of life. And we boldly say we have come up with the answer: not our own, but revealed in the Scriptures and confirmed by the Holy Spirit in personal inner revelation.
The law given by God to Moses in its outer written forms, underlining the outer standards of conduct such as the sins of stealing, lying, adultery, murder, malicious destruction of anothers character, is obviously intended to produce outer responses. So it does, and for the simple reason that in our blindness we cannot penetrate into sin at its source, but can only recognize its outer products of committed sins. So the first purpose of the Ten Commandments is to pinpoint our guilt before God and produce in us a realization of His wrath, judgment, and our coming condemnation. This it effectively does by awakening in us the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Most of us were stirred from slumber by some person or event alerting us to the reality of our condition as lost, guilty, and hopeless sinnersunless there be some means of pardon. At such a time we neither considered nor were concerned about our inner sinful condition, but saw only our sins and their fearful aftermath. Verily, for this was the law establishedthat by it all the world may become guilty before God.
Replacement of Condemnation by Justification
Now comes the revelation by Paul of the first deliverance stage of the cross of Christ, the amazing but solid replacement of condemnation by justification, as if the sinner had never sinnedthe overplus of grace by the shed blood of His crucified body. Paul speaks of Christ Jesus being set forth by God on that historic cross as a public, outward demonstration that He had truly died. That meant that as the penalty of sin is death, so He who bore our sins in His own body on the tree really died, having taken our place in death.
But bodily death is but an outer detail. The real meaning of death is not body but spirit destiny: Where do I, an immortal spirit, go? If lost, I shall be among the spirits in prison; if saved, among the spirits of just men made perfect, Scripture reveals. So Peter proclaimed in his Pentecost speech (using Davids prophecy in Psalm 16) that the Savior went to hell where we were destined to go. But hell could not hold Him, for Satan had no hold on Him, and so His soul was not left in hell. But He could not rescue Himself, for He was there representing us in our lost sinnerhood. He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.
So through the Lambs shed blood, death, and pangs of hell, all that should come to us by way of guilt, condemnation, curse, and uncleanness has disappeared forever for all men. God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. So no man now goes to hell for his sins, but only because he has rejected the light of Christ as Saviorthe light which has shone into the world. But until the Spirit does His convicting work in us, we love our darkness rather than that light and refuse to come to it.
The Final Stage of the Restoration: the Crucified Body
We now turn our attention to the area of our daily living. It has been wonderful to have the disturbing questions of our past and future settled, for, however the world may try to hide it, until we have that settled, it is true of all men that through fear of death we are all our lifetime subject to bondage. However, we live not in the past or future, but in the present. Have we an answer for its immediate needs? Yes we have, we are boldly asserting, or we would not now be talking it over. Paul puts it quite simply as he directs our attention from past to present needs. He asks the question, Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? In other words, what about our present condition? Let us get down to brass tacks about our daily lives. Have we a genuine one-hundred-percent life-level which matches the kind of statements scattered throughout the New Testament: joy unspeakable and full of glory; peace that passeth understanding, having all sufficiency in all things that we may abound unto every good work, reigning in life; more than conquerors, out of our innermost being flow rivers of living water; perfect love? Or is there only a hit-andmiss attempt at such standards, with more miss than hit? (And we all know there is more miss than hit.)
Paul does not shrink from a faceto- face tackling of such questions. He provides us with both a total answer and the basis for that answer. It is best given in his famous Romans 6-8 chapters, into which I personally have never tired of digging further and further until I have at last come up with what I believe is the right understanding and application of what he is saying. It has taken me a long time to be simple enough to let into my head and heart what Paul is really saying, and not what I might think he is saying. The very fact that he adds these chapters to his completed new-birth presentation in chapters 3-5 shows that he realized the matter of full, present total living in our new Christ-relationship needed some more thorough examination and explanation a further turning of the key in the lockto establish us solidly in Christ as the new person we are.
He again hangs his answer round the final completion of the operations of Moses law on us. He explains how in our new-found sincerity, with a zeal to live consistently (as we should) on totally holy and righteous standards walking as He walked, loving as He lovedwe find ourselves in a struggle between flesh and spirit. We know the law and its commandments; we aspire and we strive; but we largely and disgustingly fail. What we should do, we dont do; and what we hate, we do!
That, as Paul says, is because we have by no means yet been enlightened and experienced the total exchange which has taken place in our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. First of all, we never had it clear about the totality of our former identification with that false deity who had stolen us as his dwelling place that we were never anything but individual expressions of him, manifesting his nature, not our own. So our present confusion and ineffective living stems right back to that as its source. We have always felt at home with the idea that we are self-running selves: that we ourselves are responsible for the good and evil in our lives.
Because we were blind to our condition, God in His grace first sent the law through Moses to expose our bondage and reveal to us the nature of the false deity expressing himself through us. In this first exposure, however, we saw no more than the sins we had committedthe breaking of outer lawsand by no means did we penetrate within ourselves to note the sin natureSatans nature expressed by us. Therefore our first response to the greatness of grace shown in our Lord Jesus Christ was simply to recognize our outer sinfulness, to believe that our guilt and curse had been removed by His shed blood, and to rejoice that God would remember our sins against us no more, as guaranteed by His resurrection.
But what we did not know then (and were not within reach of understanding) was that this was no real salvation if it delivered us merely from the outer penalty of our sins but left us as vessels of wrathstill containers of the inner sin-person, that old serpent the devil, still reproducing his evil fruit by us. Complete salvation must rid us of producer as well as product, cause as well as effect, sin as well as sins.
This total salvationthe totality of Christs cross-redemptionis the deeper discovery which Paul himself didnt see in its full implication until he lived three years in Arabia. This is what he speaks of in his Galatian letter as the gospel which I neither received of man, nor was I taught it, but [I received it] by the revelation of Jesus Christ. That revelation was centered around not the blood but the physical body of Jesus on the cross. And what is the importance of that? It is because a living body is the dwelling place of the spirit, and therefore when a body dies, the spirit is no longer in it.
Therefore Paul (when writing to the Corinthians for whom he was an intercessor, and thus having insight into the full meaning of the Saviors intercession for the world) opened up its total significance as no other did. We are convinced, he in effect wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, that when the Savior died on our behalf it was a body death, and this means that if He died for all, then we all died. And what did His body represent before God? Paul tells us in verse 21 that God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. Please note: sin is not sins. By His shed blood He bore away our sins, but in His crucified body He was made sin. This is fantastically deeper than bearing our sins, wonderful though that was. Made sin is almost unthinkable; for sin is Satans label, just as we might say love is Gods. Satan is, as it were, Mr. Sin, the spirit of error. Where does the spirit of error live? In human bodies, ever since Adam and Eve partook of that forbidden fruit. So when Jesus in His body hung on the cross, made sin, that body represented all the bodies of humanity, which are all containers of sin. Yes, He in His body on the cross was made the representative for all the bodies of the human race having Satan, sins originator, living within.
There that body died and was buried. When a body dies, the burial is to make it plain that no spirit remains in it. And so it is that Paul can so authoritatively state in Romans 6: in that He died, He died unto sin oncenot, in this context, died for our sins, but died unto sin. (That is why the blood is not mentioned by Paul after Romans chapter 5. From there onward the subject is His body death.) Christs burial was to signify in plainest terms that no spirit remained in it.
So now Paul just as boldly states that we believers, being buried with Him, are dead to sina truth way beyond being only cleansed from sins. We are no longer containers of sin (the same thought as being containers of Satan), and we are to state this truth and affirm it as completely as we state and affirm that we are justified from our sins. The body of sin is done away with (Rom. 6:6 NASV), meaning that our bodies are no longer sins dwelling place. And we are to reckon this as fact (Rom. 6:11).
Many of us commonly use reckon to imply uncertainty. If, with a book in his hand, someone says to you I reckon I have a book in my hand, he is likely implying to you that though he believes it is a book, yet he is not absolutely sure. Were he sure, he would just say I have a book. But in the Bible, reckoning means considering as actual. To reckon a thing to be so, to count on it as fact, is the first stage of faith that affirms. And reckoning will later become realizing which is faith confirmed. But we must start with the reckoning!
Dead to Sin
But to consider myself dead to sin is no light thing, especially when I do not yet appear to experience it. We hesitate to declare I am dead to sin, because we are thinking about how often sin still seems to turn up in us. But the issue is plain. Will we obey Gods Word? In this same chapter, Paul says that we have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto us. Have we, really? So let us go to it and be sure we boldly affirm and declare what His Word says we are. Let us not compromise (as many folks doeven teachers of the Bible) and seek to get around this by saying it is our position but not yet our conditiona lovely little evangelical wriggle. Let us rather obey, and declare what we are told to recognize, attend to, and say. Then let us go further, after our word of faith and obedience, and find out how this is a present fact in condition as well as position.
But if it is a fact that we are dead to sin, then it is also a fact that we are alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ (6:11 b). As the spirit of error (Jesus made sin2 Cor. 5:21) went out of that representative body when Jesus died, so also the Spirit of truth entered in three days laterand therefore the Spirit has entered us through Christs bodily resurrection. We see the vastness of the implication of that because, for that reason, we who were called the old man because of the old spirit of sin in us, now are called the new man because of the new Spirit of the living God in us. The man, our human self, has not changed. But the old indwelling deity, of whom the man was but the expression, has been totally replaced by Another. And thuswith our whole self totally and solely at His disposalwe joyfully recognize our new Owner. Because of His new management within us, the old owner, Satan, has no control over us. He can shout at us from without, but he has no further place within. We have changed bosses! We are in the employment of a new Firm!
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.