From Spirit Action to Body Action
Continuing our examination of the foundations of our Total Truth, Norman explains how we operate as Christ in bodily intercession today.
We have seen how the Holy Spirit flows out of us in rivers on our fatherhood, or ascension, or royal priesthood levelSpirit through our spirit, by the launches of faith unlimited. Being on such a level means advancing from faith as the almost subconscious background of our life in Christand that is marvelous in itselfto faith consciously recognized and continuously used as the Open sesame, the Aladdins lamp, to Gods unlimited treasure chamber. Not an incident or condition of life is outside its reach: All things are possible to him that believeth. The word of faith may be applied to even the commonest daily incidents, such as the loss of a pin or the loss of a job, or to the salvation of the unsaved and the changing of a community. It is applicable not just to so-called religious activity, but extends to all of life, for we now know theres really no difference between the secular and the spiritual.
Once the Spirit has revealed faith to us as the principle of achievement in all life, the key to the handling of all evil as well as good, we can say that life is never less than the adventure of adversity (as I called it in that little book Touching the Invisible). And it is. I would not be writing this if it were not so. But again I say it is conditioned on this third-level understanding of the word of faith as the weapon of our warfare by which we fight the good fight of faith, and not works. From our new position in the heavenlies we are not being handled by life, but rather are handling it.
So we now move on to the other channel through which the river of the Spirit is flowingour bodies. Here again there is what I would call the normal level of His working and the revealed special level. The normal level is that from the moment the Holy Spirit takes possession of our bodies at the new birth, both as His temple and lighthouse, we cannot help ourselves. We are under a new drive! My body formerly was used for fleshly self-satisfaction; now it is for benefiting others. As one has just written me: Im learning the times I am fulfilled are when the Lord is using me for others.
Precisely. The God of other-love has taken us over at our new birth. There is that something in us which gives us no rest until we share with others this priceless treasure which is now ours. We cant help it. Knowing we once were on the road to eternal death, but now have eternal life!we have to tell others. We cannot but speak of the things we have seen and heard. When Christ became real to me at the age of eighteen I was not yet a vigorous witness, but I had to write of it to my mother from my English boarding school, Marlborough College; and I had to tell my closest friend at school (now a bishop) what had happened to me. In those days, at our English public schools, it was a rare thing to find a master or boy who had any living experience of Christ, and indeed when I told my friend what had happened, he commented, If that is Christianity, none of us have it!
So Im saying the normal is that by some means or another we are witnesses. As Jesus said, men dont light a lamp and put it under a bushel but on a lampstand, so that it lights the whole house. The Spirit in us compels us to be His witnesses by one means or another. Our bodies are used by Him so that by work or word, Jesus is reaching others.
Our witness is intensified as the Spirit is consciously given full control of our bodies. In my own young life, a few months after my new birth, His uncomfortable challenge came to me through a small booklet to break the one close friendship I had with a girl who did not want to go all the way for Jesus, but just remain a good church girl. I knew God had spoken, and I wriggled this way and that for weeks. But the Spirit kept saying to me, You cant have Christ and anti-Christ in your heart. The final break cost me plenty at the moment of doing it; but with my body-interests now freed from a lesser attraction, the Spirit at once took right over. I had just received my commission and was joining my regiment as a soldier in World War I; and it simply grabbed me that I must get eternal life to my fellow soldiers, officers and men as we would soon be facing death in the trenches, for we all joked about becoming cannon fodder. My colonel did not like my effort and I lost promotion by it, but I did witness.
So there are varying degrees of intensity in the Spirits use of our bodies to bring Christ to others, progressing from our new birth to our conscious body-commitment to Christ. Indeed, we cannot be born again by the Spirit of other-love and not have our first urgings to share Christ with othersand this is really the beginning of the fatherhood level, for in actual fact, all levels are already in us in Christ.
On to Intercession
Now when we come consciously into this third level, the Spirit all the more consumes us with the desire to bring others to the liberation which is now oursnot only in the new birth, but in the fullness of the Spirit-filled life, with Christ in us as us. Not one of us can be in this union life without this desire beingeven if manifested in a hundred different waysthe only basic aim we have. We are bondslaves. The zeal of Gods house eats us up. Our love of Christ, as Jesus said to Peter, takes the ceaseless form (as God brings folks to us or we go to them) of feeding His lambs and feeding His sheep. We become a fiddle with one string. Christ is our main topic of conversation. In place of sharing the scandals of life, we are thrilled to share what we see of Christ leading captivity captive. We are scandal-mongers of a different type!
But just as in our inner faith-activities in the outflowing of the Spirit through our spiritwe move on from the normal faith-level of all Gods redeemed people to the total use of faith in the management of all life, so now in the Spirits use of our body.
This body use we speak of by the Bible word intercessor. Nothing can be tied down to a word, but intercessor does conveniently explain what the Bible tells us of the Spirits action through our body. It is really the Spirit making full use of His body temples, precisely as He did of the human body temple of Gods own Son, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot unto God. We see that the final glory of being a person is the saving of others at the price of ourself. It is as with Jesus: He saved others; Himself He cannot save was how they mocked Him as He hung on that cross.
So we are now reaching the final and highest point in Gods world-purposes through His family of sons those who respond to His call to be intercessors. This is Pauls pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The body is the localized individual means by which the Spirit reaches out through us. By our human spirits He can reach out universally and can encompass everythingby faith unlimited. By our bodies He can do only one specific thing, and a different one by each particular body. So this is His highest personalized activity for us, and the highest for each of us. It was said by Jesus, A body hast Thou prepared Me; and by this one special body-commitment the Son said to the Father, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. In this world of body people it was only by His body that we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus once for all. By that one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10:5, 7, 14).
Therefore it is only by our bodies that God can fulfill His saving purpose in this body world. Let us have this plainly understood. Our service to Christ is only fulfilled by some body action of oursby body dedication. Only by this means does redemption reach the multimillion bodies of our human brotherhood. There still is for us a body death and body involvement by which Gods saving purposes are fulfilled, as by His own Sons body. This is intercession.
This is a far cry from the loose way in which we Christians continually talk of intercession in terms of intercessory prayer. Intercession is the whole mountain of which prayer is one peak. There are only one or two places in Scripture where the word intercession is linked just to prayer.
So let us lift it out and put it in its full perspective, and see that we ourselves accept our highest privilege as intercessors, who are also saying A body hast Thou prepared me . Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God; and each in his unique calling into intercession.
Intercession is revealed in the Bible as God looking for special men by whom He will give some special deliverance. In Isaiah 59:16, God wonders that there is no man, no intercessor, among Israel in its backslidden condition; and then the prophet leaps on from Israels failure to have theman- for-that-moment to speak of the- Man-for-the-whole-of-history: And the Redeemer shall come to Zion [for] My Spirit is upon thee (59:2021).
So we see the intercessor is the Spirit Himself through His chosen bodies. And the way of intercession is death in the soul and body of the human intercessor that others might live. Of Jesus it was said: He hath poured out His soul unto death and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isa. 53:12).
And that means a completed task. It is finished; and when finished, the intercession is gained and the fruit of it appears. It was said of the ascended Jesus, Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25). That was the completed intercession of the great High Priest.
So it is the calling still today of us as priest-intercessors to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His bodys sake. It is the law of harvest: Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. If a corn of wheat remains comfortably in its bin, it feeds no one. If it is sown into the ground, wrought upon by rain, snow, and frost, it disintegrates, but reappears as food for the world. That is the general body principle of intercession, just as we saw a general spirit principle of faith.
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 22 No 1
- From Spirit Action to Body Action
- Editors Note
- The Chocolate Soldier Part One
- Bible Study: Choice
- Thank GOD For The LawThe Guide to Our Manhood in Christ
- Tape Talk
- Where Lives Are Changed
- God Does Nothing by Halves
- Train Up A Child
- The Intercession of Rees Howells – Daniel
- A look At A Book
- Letters from Norman
- Christ in the Drivers Seat
- Words to Live By
- Body, Soul, and Spirit Part Two