Are We Still on Target?
This message was delivered by Norman Grubb to The Worldwide Evangelization Crusade Conference in 1984. Norman was the General Secretary of the WEC from 1931 until 1965.
You have given me a special, and I must say unexpected, privilege of being with you in this InterCon. Leaders Conference, when I am really a kind of Methuselah has-been among you, and you have given me the additional special license of no-time-limits, to my delight, if not to yours! Thank you all very much.
Now the first thing I must say is that I come among you with a fullness of joy. Because, after my sixty-five years as a Weccer, from the year Pauline and I joined our C.T. Studd in the heart of Africa right up to today, I do not believe, that in essentials, we as a WEC, have deviated from our very high calling, in living out our God-given and C. T. Studd-established four pillarssacrifice, faith, holiness and fellowship. But I am this morning re-examining with you to what extent, during these seventy-one years, we need some re-polishing and re-sharpening as a sharp threshing instrument having teeth of our basic principles. Though I am joyfully and thankfully not questioning our basic wholehearted allegiance to them, and our desire to be full operators of them.
The Pillar of Sacrifice I am not going to question, though our ways of living, on a sacrificial level of course, vary with the outer changing circum-tances of our world today. I wholly believe the same readiness and purpose of living on the level of outer material identification with the precious peoples to whom we are called to bring Christ, is as much ours today as when C.T. reached the Congo, where he first built his Buckingham Palace on the banks of the Welle River at Niangara for £8. That was geographically the very heart of Africa, of which Charlton Smith, our loved British WEC artist, painted the impressive picture now hanging in the hall in Bulstrode. Incidentally, our principle (the second Faith Pillar) of living simply and solely by what the Lord leads His people to give us, does keep us on the apostolic level of simple living; both, because the amount the Lord thankfully sends us only allows for that, and furthermore since we are responsible for the right use of the sacrificial gifts of His people.
Our First WEC Distinctive Holiness (Wholeness)
But I will turn now my attention to our third Pillar of Holiness. It is here that I have a burning concern, and I cannot say nor see signs of this taking the outstanding precedence among us, which the Holy Spirit evidently meant and means it to take. I express by the term Holiness, not some particular interpretation of how the sanctified and empowered life is experienced and lived. I would rather use the term Wholenessof God’s people being wholly what they have been redeemed for to be in Christ. I see this as Paul’s revelation given him during his three years in Arabia, and declared it with total boldness to the Galatians (1:11, 12, & 2:20). He puts it most plainly in his Colossian statement, that he has a two-fold ministry (Col. 1:23- 29); the first, to take the salvation Gospel to the world (whereof I Paul am made a minister: 1:23); and then, that he suffered special affliction, in what he called fulfilling the word of God to the church, which is His body whereof I am made a minister (24, 25). He specifically called it a second ministry with the added significance, that it was a fulfilling of the word of God, implying that the first word and its effects is thus only partial.
Put in our WEC terms, I am saying that our founder, C.T. Studd, was a commissioned pioneer, by no means merely of the precious blood that cleanses sinners, but of the Holy Spirit who fills them that second fulfilling of the word of Paul’s. Studd was a burning preacher of holiness. He ate and drank both the Blood and the Spirit. His famous statement in his praying puts that significantly in a phrase, Lord, we are out here to see Jesus Christ running about in black bodies! Outer forms meant so little to him. When he found that water baptism had so often meant mere profession, he both said drastic things and did them! On my very first meeting with him in Nala in 1919, I remember the effect it had on me when he said, We have baptized plenty here, maybe 10,000, but I don’t know if ten of them are going to heaven!! Then later he was deeply shocked, (I was with him at the time) when about 3000 were partaking of our form of the Lord’s supper, consisting of sliced bananas and water coloured pink by permanganate of potash, and when he found brother Africans condoning sin, and yet saying that they had been eating the body of Jesus. He arose and wiped water baptism and the Lord’s supper altogether out of the young churches, for ten years. This resulted in many people learning that the true baptism was inner burial and resurrection with Christ, and the Lord’s supper the inner feeding on Him.
Now frankly, I don’t catch this kind of emphasis coming out of the accounts given of the workings of God from our fields. Nor do I find this emphasis standing out as an essential of the inner experience for our new recruits, and thus, neither the passionate urge to transmit this total gospel to those to whom they are sent. The field letters are full of so and so many baptized (who cares, unless that has plainly meant experience of the baptism of inner union of Rom. 6,4), and our considerations centered round churchplanting but never a mention of Holy Spirit-planting in the lives of the church members. And in our prepared reports, even for such as this InterCon. II, very few references are made to our ONLY REAL PURPOSE of our HIGH CALLING to do what Paul called Present every man PERFECT in Christ Jesus(Col. 1:28). My life’s drive.
I must say, by God’s grace, this has been my burning drive in the Spirit since my earliest days with Studd, which maybe I have derived somewhat from him (and therefore from God’s essential primary purpose in the existence of the Crusade!!) It was partly also from my own earlier sense of frustration in what I was really bringing to my fellow Africans, of Christian faith. That meant, as I have put in print in my many books and in my own biography Once Caught, No Escape, a drive by the Spirit, as just a beginning missionary, to know my own true foundations. And those I found, by God’s grace and the Scriptures, through the inner enlightenment of the Spirit.
One Yet Two
Here I will go further for just a few minutes, for this one reason. All of us Weccers know, and probably also affirm in our own lives as our reality by grace, Gal. 2:20. I hope so! But I have found this radical difference, and got and still get in trouble for it, even among my Weccers. In this point I suppose I go further in emphasis than many Victorious teachers and writers. To me the true significance is that He, The Spirit, in making Christ an inner reality to us, lays the emphasis on HIS taking over of us, rather than on our maintaining that taken-over relationship. Quite simply, the emphasis is that He is now The-Real-One in me, and that it is not in, in the sense of two in a link between each other, but the two who have now become ONE. In other words, it is the in, in the true Spirit meaning as found in 1 Cor. 6:17: He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Jesus and then later Paul, explained in to mean you in me and I in you (John 14:20); Abide in me and I in you (15:4): He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwelleth in me and I in him (John 6:56): Thou, Father, in me, and I in them, that they also may be one in us (17:21). Plenty more added by Paul and John as well. In simple and clear words, that sense of separation into which we fell through the Fall, and the fellowship restored by justifying grace, has now become, not a new or outer relationship, but a BEING ONE, and in thus meaning in union with. It is one, yet in the strange paradox of still being two in the one. Red-hot iron. Which? Fire or iron? Both! But it is the iron manifesting the fire! You are the light of the world. But Jesus had said, I am the light of the world. How then you? Actually we are the lamps. Electricity remains invisible until it has an external medium by which it can manifest itself as light. Thus also the lamp. Yet the light so out-shines the existence of the lamp that we don’t say, Turn on the lamp, but Turn on the Light! So we are the lamp-light!!
Now my serious point is that very many, including many of us Weccers, until the Spirit has given the inner illumination, are still more conscious of being two rather than one! And thus are more concerned with having to keep the oneness instead of just BEING one. Here is where I meet much resistance, and this is why such a witness as the present Union Life magazine seeks to present is so widely spreading.
Only Two Deity Natures
The way I came to the final clarification is put into words in my last book Yes I Am. (I have copies with me to be gladly given to any of you, as perhaps my kind of last earthly bequest!). It was when the light came to me, by gathering the Scriptural illustrations together, that the truth revealed clearly that we humans actually HAVE NO NATURE OF OUR OWN, despite our very common use of the phrase human nature. What I, and I believe also the Scriptures are saying, is that we have been created in the image of God, from whom we have our Being (Acts 17:28). That is our total and absolute human make-upspirit, soul, bodyall our tremendous capacities, appetites, and potentials of our human selfhood. That is our quantity. But the quality of ourselves, the kind of persons ex-pressed by our personhood, is quite another matter: and that is not ours, but is He. He is the One in the universe, expressing Himself in His nature by us. Quantitywe. Qualitythe divine nature of 2 Pet. 1:4. He divinely expressing Himself in our human forms. HE, The Invisible Person, creating us to be in His image as persons by whom HE can express HIMSELF. The One I AM Person re-expressed by His derived, created persons.
I saw that, first, in my early dealings with God in the Congo in my Gal. 2:20 union with HimHe made it plain to me, when seeking more love, power, faith, victory, that He is love, not has it. And therefore it was not a matter of me becoming a loving, powerful, victorious person, but containing Him who is that, (is ALL, Col.3:11). And then, when I know as a settled fact, that He is permanently fixed in me (dwells, not just visiting in my heartEph. 3:17), I do express Him. I got that at that time by the sudden seeing of Col. 3:11 Christ is all and in all. I had begun to recognize His is-ness, but then I saw the in-all, and thus the I containing, and not I becoming. The Bible illustration that then came to me was the threetimes use of describing us people as vessels. Gradually I began to see that it is not the nature or quality of the vessel, but of the liquid which it contains to make it available. So I passed on to Vine-branch (a little closer in a union); again it is not the nature of the branch, but of the Vine producing its fruit on the branch. And then coming to the temple; the importance is not the nature of the building, but the God manifested in it. And so the body as well, not its nature, but that of the head who operates it.
Then furthermore I saw also that the universe operates by pairs of opposites. Nothing can be known except by its opposite: heat, cold; light, dark; hard, soft; the elements of positive, negative electricity; and proton, electron of the atom, each using the other as its means of expression. And equally also if all external objects have their opposites, so a self cannot inwardly be a conscious self, except by being the expression of the oppositeof self-loving or self-giving. I saw that in God Himself, The God of the universe, when it says God that cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). Therefore there is such a thing as a lie, an obvious expression of a self-loving self. Then I saw the wonder of God as a Trinity, who never had been a one for one, but by the begetting of His Son, His whole nature is other-love, each for the other. The Third, the Spirit, is the reproducer; and all the universe in its ultimate form of Him All in all (1 Cor. 15:28) is an expression of self-giving love, each for the other. Then I saw how, because persons can only be themselves if they are free, Lucifer made the opposite choice and thus became the spirit of error, of self-loving self, and was therefore cast out of heaven.
Where We Have Been Deceived
I then began to see how God actually uses the negative for His own perfect purposes; He used Satan, one of His creatures, as His purposed agent for maturing God’s predestined family of sons, who are to manage His universe. Adam and Eve had to be confronted with the opposites in the form of the two trees in the Garden. Thus they were awakened to the consciousness of being selves, by the temptation of wanting something for themselves, which God had forbidden. Then followed their deceived response to Satan’s damnable lie about their perfect Father. In such manner we humans were taken captive by this false spirit of error, called the god of this world, who then occupied the human temples as his stolen property. However his chief and final necessary work of deception was to infect us humans with the deceit which had infected him, of being an independent, self-running, self-acting personfor there is no such person in the universe, except The Living God.
The value and necessity of us being deceived in that way is, that to become safe (as well as saved) sons in the positive union with His Son, we must first go to the bottom of the total negative falseness, total sin, which is independent, self-relying self (since we only reach the top through the bottom, before we can be settled in the positive self-giving selfEph. 4:9, 10). Having no nature of our own, we become unknowingly the spontaneous expressors of Satan’s self for self nature (Eph. 2:1-3). Yet under Satan’s lying deceit, of making us think that we are independent selves, we wrongly thought that they were our sinful propensities. However Jesus made the truth plain, when He said to the opposing self-righteous Pharisees, You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do (John 8:44)not our lusts, but his.
That deceit of the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9) keeps us still in bondage even after our new birth. Indeed, we are conscious of Christ’s new nature in us producing the fruit of the Spirit, but we remain falsely struggling against and falling through what appears to us to be our fallen nature (in Rom 7). We remain under the deception of being independent, self-relying selves, as if we were producing our lusts, fears, hates, etc.
At last Paul’s revelation of the second deliverance of Calvary comes clear to us, which is symbolized for us by the two elements of the Lord’s Supper. We understand the wine as the precious blood, but why the broken bread? Paul explains it in 2 Cor. 5:14, 21. The broken bread symbolizes the body death of Jesus, where His body represented all our bodies (v. 14). Our bodies manifest the nature of the deity indwelling usSatan in his sinnature. Thus Paul, by the Spirit. said that while He had borne our sins (though not His sins) in the shedding of the blood, now in His body, as ours, He was made sin who knew no sin. That holy body thus manifested the sin-nature of our fallen bodies. But at death out goes the spirit. So in His death, as us, out went that spirit of error, He (we) died to sin. And in His resurrection, as us, in came His own Spirit of truth, replacing forever that spirit of error.
So now, as we have become sufficiently desperate about our failing struggles to fight our apparent lusts, our eyes are finally opened, (as were Paul’s in Rom 7:17) to this great deceit that those are not our lusts, hates, self-activities, etc., but the activities of sin dwelling in me. No, not I, but that sin. So then the dawning light can come to me, that nothing was ever wrong with my humanity or with any of its faculties and appetites. God made me, and He makes no wrong things. All the wrong had simply been their misuse by Satan in me, lyingly, making me to think that it was me. And now, this same precious, God-made humanity (which never operated by a nature of its own) is right, not wrong. It is no more a wretched body of Rom. 7:24, but now a precious body functioning as members of Christ. And when this enlightened knowledge was lit in me, that the root problem was not me, but the intruder, who got into me by the Fall and was cast out by Christ’s body-death, only then did I see the ease of faith, in that, as with Paul, what I reckoned as fact in Rom. 6:11, (but really didn’t think it worked about me being dead to sin), I can now not just reckon, but actually realize (Rom. 8:2). I can now shout that shout of faith, that this law of the Spirit of life hath, (not will or might), set me free from that old false Satan law. There is no struggle, for there is no change to take place in my humanity. There is now only the recognition of the exchange in my empty center (with no nature of my own): that lying false owner is out for ever, and is replaced by my Holy Spirit Owner. Where it was in Rom. 7 sin dwelling in me, it is now in Rom. 8:9, 10, Christ dwelling in me. Glory!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 21 No 1
- I Was a Fool
- Gods Great PurposeBy Us
- Here We Stand
- Moses Stage 4: The Intercessor
- Seeing Through the Lie
- NO EXCUSES FOR FAILURE
- Editors Note
- Tape Talk
- Are We Still on Target?
- Further Reflections of a 12-Year-Old Scribe
- BIBLE STUDY:The Letter to the Romans
- A Look at a Book
- Letters from Norman
- Co-Saviorhood: the Third Level