The Missing Truth
This article was included in the Jan/Feb 1993 Intercessor, the first issue published from our Boone, North Carolina Total Living Center. We reprint it here on our twenty year anniversary.
It is our privilege to once again proclaim what sounds so boastful: that God has entrusted the missing truth to us for our generation of the church of Jesus Christ, just as much as He entrusted the truth of justification by faith to Martin Luther for his generation. This missing truth is THE TRUE MEANING AND OPERATION OF THE HUMAN SELF.
This is the era of the self, since Freud and others turned the attention of the whole world to what the human self really is. It has become the absorbing theme of psychology and psychiatry, and of a hundred other claims of answers to the question. Indeed, it has become the danger point in the efforts of many seeking to give the answer.
The danger, as ever, is in the offering of some form of self-development or self-completion. We who are believing Christians at once recognize the falsity of all this, when the basis is a supposed sufficiency available in the human self. This was the reason, after the Fall, for that flaming sword of Genesis 3:24: to block any such way to the Tree of Life by the lying deception of Satan.
The only true way is through the replacement of the fallen self-effort life (operated in the human self by the Deceiver), by the substitutionary death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then can there be the finding of thetrue human self: by the exchange of Christ for Satan as operator. But it is totally by grace, through faith in His death and resurrection for and as us. And thus, we see also our co-crucifixion and co-resurrection in and with Him.
But the problem is, that though these glorious facts are recognized by the Bible-believing church of Christ, yet the church has not given out the total solution. Actually, the solution appears to be largely unknown and recognized by the whole of the church. This is a strong thing to say, and said most unwillingly. But if this is indeed the fact, then why is this so, and what is missing?
There is an increasing number these days who know and preach a gospel, which goes beyond that first great truth of justification by faith. They do know, and by many thousands experience, the reality of that new birth of the Spirit, by which believers become new creatures in Christ. The fruits of the Spirit are manifested in their lives. Many rejoice in and use the gifts of the Spirit. There are also those who know that further revelation to the believer, given by Paul in Colossians 1:24-27not only Christ for us, but Christ in us, the hope of glory. And yet the full solution has not been found. Why?
The Selfs True Purpose
The reason is that the true purpose of the human self has never come into focus in knowing and application for bornagain believers. The purpose is realized by the relationship of the human self to God thought Christ in His deity Self, and before that, alternatively, to the god of this world in his false deity self. The scriptures give us ample illustrations to show that our human selves were created only to be containers and then expressers of Gods divine Self. Our human selves were never self-operating and cannot be. So, there is no such thing as self-reliance, though the whole world seems to be built on it!
We have constantly pointed out, in the pages of our Intercessor magazine and through Bible illustrations, that there never has been an independent human self. Such illustrations picture us as being: vessels to contain a liquid (Rom. 6:21, 22), temples to manifest the presence of the deity (1 Cor. 6:19, 20), slaves at the beck and call of their owner (Rom. 6:17, 18), bodies activated by the head (Eph. 1:22, 23), and even wives reproducing the seed of the husband (Rom. 7:4).
These examples all teach that the Only One, who is the I AM of the universe, is the love, power, life, truth, and finally the All in all. And He created us human persons solely to be containers of Himself. Our one function, then, is to express by all the powers of our human faculties what He wills and does of His good pleasure by us (Phil. 2:13). Now this portion of truth is, to some extent, recognized and applied by faith by present- day believers. And they will say, as Jesus said in His John 15 Vine-branch illustration, that apart from Him we can do nothing. Many will say that.
But it is just at this point that, so far as we can tell, the great majority of the more advanced believers, who will say that much, have failed to find and share the true and total solution. (This group includes the preachers and victorious-life teachers and writers.) The reason they have come short is that they have missed the vital truth that everything in the universe functions only by pairs of opposites, the one using the other to gain validity and application.
Light is seen only as it swallows up dark: sweet, bitter; soft, hard. And the list continues as infinitum, right to the positive and negative of electricity, and the proton and electron of the atom. The same is true of our personhood, since it can be motivated only by the self expression of one of two types of beings either a self-for-self, or a Self-for-others. And this is the truth of God Himself, when it is revealed that He never remained a One alone. In the eternal begetting of His beloved Son, He has forever been the Self-for-others, the otherlover, rather than a self-lover.
When God purposed to bring into being a vast family of persons like Himself, He designed that they could only know and express their personhood by being confronted by alternative trees in the Garden. Partaking of the Tree of Life would impart to them His Otherlove, Self-for-others nature, to be expressed in their human personhood or, partaking of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil would give entrance into them to the disobedient self-for-self nature of Satan.
In his created freedom, Lucifer had rebelliously chosen to become what God was not and was therefore cast out of heaven. And then this false god enticed the human race to go his way and express his nature by their disobedience. This then meant that we humans, created to contain and express the being and nature of an indwelling deity-spirit, were taken captive by the spirit of error. Mankind has been naturally adept in expressing the total drives of self-for-self spontaneously, ever since the Fall. That includes when we do good things, which really have the self-for-self motive behind them.
The Great Deceit
Now this has been the vast deceit, which has blinded the whole human race (Rev. 12:9). We have been so deceived that we do not recognize that all of our self-for-self drives, which produce the misery and chaos of our world, are really Satans drives expressed and operated by us. They are never our own initial drives, because the human was not created to be controlled by himself. And that is the key to the widespread misunderstanding which exists among churches, preachers, and victorious-life teachers, as well as to the world itself. And it is this deceit which has blocked believers from entering into the liberty that is theirs and enjoying the total knowing and being of who they truly ARE. Practically all think of self as being the culprit in their selfishness, hates, fears, lusts, negative reactions etc.
There is no such thing as a self-driven self. We have not been created with that capacity. We are only and solely expressing the drives of the deity-self indwelling, and thus joined, to us. Therefore, the whole outcry by teachers in the church to shape up, to improve, to be bettered by prayer, by Bible reading, by good resolutions or what not, is pure vanity. With enough trying to become, believers do experience the miseries and condemnation of Romans 7, which they hate but cannot be rid of.
But as Pauls cry, Wretched man that I am, is every mans cry, so must also his illuminating discover become ours. Paul found, by Spirit relation, that his humanity, his soul-body, his flesh was created whole and good; and so was ours. The problem was never us in our humanity, but it was the Garden of Eden intruder, SIN, which is the operating nature of the god of self-for-self.
At last, when we are desperate enough to have the remedy, the Spirit opens up the simple truth to our eyes, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 7:25). That Satan sinnature was by infinite grace the Saviours sin-nature, as representing us on Calvary (2 Cor. 5:21). In His bodydeath, out went that sin-spirit, and in the tomb, in came His own Spirit. And we, every redeemed member of the body of Christ, are freed forever from the domination and indwelling of that sin-spirit, and given forever the Holy Spirit of God. We are free, free, free!
Our human selves, indeed, remain physically mortal until we receive our resurrection bodies; but in our spirit selves we are whole persons, human spirit united to Holy Spirit. Then we go boldly forward, as walking Christs, in place of what we formerly were: walking Satans. NOWWE ARE WHOLE PERSONS!
Even though many do go so far as to know and recognize the indwelling Christ and say that they can do nothing apart from Him, yet we must reluctantly say of the church of Christ in general that they are in deadly ignorance, having fallen into Satans snare. The unrecognized stumbling block is that false, lying, conscious sense of a supposed self, which causes us such trouble, such failure, and such condemnation.
We are even told we must die to self. What an absurdity! How can we die to a precious humanity, which God created for His dwelling place and means of God-manifestation and action? God forbid! It does seem that Gods new day is now dawning, when the church will throw off these graveclothes of misunderstanding about our beautiful, Godmade human selves. But this cannot be accomplished by some sort of affirming about our being good selves. No! No!
Our Total Freedom
Only by our total recognition of the Truth, can we be totally free. Do we see that we never have been self-run or independent selves, but that all of us formerly were Satan-indwelt and Satan-expressing people? Do we see the site of the work done as Calvary, and not ourselves; and do we see the Saviour as Christ, and not us? And do we know that the Gospel is not an exchange of a bad self for a good self, but rather an exchange of indweller in the human self? It is clear that I now live as Him and for others because of Christs death for me and as me? This is all marvelous grace, through faithby our simple recognition; it is not by some important-looking commitment of the self.
And so we boldly say that the Gospel is not an improvement of the self, but an exchange of indweller, by our simple recognition of the exchange forever having taken place at Calvary: Christ for Satan in ourselves. Then, as Jesus said, When the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.
Because this is the missing truth in the church of Christ, I outline this once again, and never tire of doing so. God has given us to know and bring back this truth to the whole church; the true meaning and operation of the human self.