Pauls Key to the Liberated Life…Romans 6 to 8
Pauls Key to the Liberated Life…Romans 6 to 8
by Norman Grubb
Norman delves into the very heart of these key chapters, where Paul takes us from the fact of being right-righteousselves through the fruitless struggle of self-effort to live up to this fact, and finally to his unique revelation of no independent human self as the key to the abundant Christian life poured out for others. Normanmore than any writer we knowgets to the core of Pauls radical and life-changing gospel. His penetrating analysis is invaluable, and we are privileged to be able to share it again.
I suppose every eager searcher after Gods truth for the liberated life knows that the biblical key to opening the door lies in Pauls letter to the Romans, chapters 6 to 8. I have been a persistent searcher for years, and these pages of my many Bibles have been well worn! I think now, in my nineties, as never before, I have in working focus what Paul is saying. So I am writing this for those who also are diggers, and hopefully finders.
I will assume that we are already born-again knowers by Gods Spirit (Rom. 5:5). As confessed sinners, in our guilty and lost condition, we found peace with God through Christ, who was set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood and raised again for our justification (Rom. 3-25; 4:25; 5:1, 5, 10).
Now we come to the practical question of Romans 6:1, as up to date today as when it was first posed. Is there as sure a provision for daily consistent and holy living as for having the past blotted out? Yes, surely, says Paul. Dont you know that is all part of the gift of a full salvation? So in these chapters he begins to explain himself, and we will follow along.
INTO DEEP WATERS
Paul starts by taking for granted that his readers have a deeper quality of spiritual understanding than most of us today had at our new birth. Know ye not, he asks, that when our Lord Jesus Christ hung on that cross, He represented us all, and therefore His dying there means you and I died there? Water baptismour being immersed beneath the waters and lifted out againis a symbol of the fact that when He died on the cross and was buried in the tomb, by faith we died, were buried and then were raised with Him (Rom. 6:3-4). And as the Holy Spirit entered the resurrected Jesus body, which represented all of ours, the same Spirit entered us, delivering us from Satan, whose sin nature had entered our bodies and taken us over at the Fall (Rom 6:5-6).
Therefore, we have died in Christs death to the indwelling and operation of Satans nature in us: we are dead to sin (Rom. 6:7-11). Sin, however, isnt dead to us as an operating power in our world, and thus we experience its pressures on us. But in our bodies we have died to its false claims to be still dwelling in us and thus expressing its self-for-self nature by us. Equally, the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is dwelling in us and living His quality of other-love by us. Thus, we are expressers of Gods holy nature, just as formerly we were expressers of Satans sin nature (1 John 4:4, 6).
So, Paul says, based on the historical fact that Christ settled the sin question once for all (Rom. 6:9-10), we now reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God (Rom. 6:11). We therefore no longer yield ourselves as agents of that self-for-self sin nature, but as agents of Gods other-love nature. This is strong meat, packed into a few sentences. But does it really work out in our lives?
A STARTLING STATEMENT
A much deeper problem needs to be solved in order to make workable the life of being dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. We must be dead to Law as well as to sin. But why? Is not the Law a safe-guard to keep us from running into loose living? No, Paul maintains. You have a much deeper reality to learnthat you have no independent human self that keeps or doesnt keep the Law. You are really just a slave to the deity who owns you, and it is his law you keep.
Paul slips in a statement here which sounds startling, but which turns the key in the lock for us when we know it. Sin shall not have dominion over you, he states, because you are not under law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14). But what does that mean?
Many would ask, Is not the Law the standard for right living, announced by Moses in those Ten Commandments and demanded of us by God, with the penalty of judgment and wrath if we disobey it? Is not the Law the means by which God exercises His control over us and by which we endeavor to live? Obviously we would go wildly into lives of self-gratifying license if the conditions of the Law were removed.
But this is our vast error. We have been under the Satanic delusion of being independent selves who can and must respond to Law. And while we think this, we are actually still slaves to Satan, who compels us either to try to fulfill or to resist Gods laws, thereby obeying his own law of sin and death. So the more we think we should obey Gods Law, the more Satan is aroused to make us break it. And we shall always have this problem while we blindly think we are independent selves who can keep the Law.
THE GREAT DECEPTION
The main consequence of our yielding to Satan at the Fall was that he deceived us all (Rev. 12:9) into thinking that we have a human self which can operate and manage itself, even as he lyingly thinks he manages himself. In fact, we are only operated and managed by a deity selfthe Spirit of Truth or the spirit of error (1 John 4:6)who owns us. This was symbolized in the Garden by receiving the fruit of one or the other of the two trees. So when the Law, which is meant to expose Satans lie, comes to us in our deluded condition, Satan has the laugh on us. We obey his self-forself sin laws, being his slaves, and cannot obey Gods laws.
We who are saved admitted our sins in their outer forms and received forgiveness and justification through our Lord Jesus Christ and the new birth of the Spirit. But we were still too blind to recognize the depth of Satans deceit in us. We thought that as saved and new creations in Christ we could still take a share in managing ourselves.
Paul explains the full meaning of redemption through our dying in Jesus death to Sin-Satans indwelling and becoming alive in His resurrection to Gods Spirit now indwelling us. But it is meaningless to reckon and say that we are now dead to sin and alive to God while that root deception is not yet out of us and we think we are more than a people managed only by the deity spirit in us as vessels, branches, temples, slaves or wives.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
In order for us to learn this indwelling principle to its depths, Paul challenges, Just try to keep the Law, and youll find the very opposite occurring. You have been a slave to Satan and sin and are now a slave to Christ and His righteousness. But that change of owner and indweller doesnt truly lay hold of you in its reality while there remains some sense of self-relying self in you as if you are not just a slave. So just try to keep the Law and live the Christian life; and you will find you cant, because there never was a just you.
Your trying is really the remnant or Satans deceit on you that you are an independent self. Then you will respond to his sin controls and fall on your face in your failures to keep the Law; and that failure will at last expose to you this lie that you can act and respond independently. There is no such thing. Your I can is still Satan having his lying hold on you.
Then at last it can become real to you that Jesus dying for and as us, and His rising by Gods Spirit for and as us, means a change of ownership. But we never did own ourselves. Satan owner is out for keeps and Christ owner is in for keeps. Now we just know we are Christ-managed, never self-managed and no longer Satan managed.
The outer law is now meaningless. We are dead to it because our I is solely the expresser of Gods life; and He operates His laws and nature spontaneously in us, by us and as us. That is our answer to every false claim in this Satan infected world that Satan has a hold on us. Christ in us is our law; and He fulfills it by us, just as Satan used to fulfill his by us. Satan is out for keeps, Christ is in for keeps, and now we can actually live what we said we do live in Romans 6:11dead to sin and alive to God in our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:11).
THE BASIS OF THE SOLUTION-ONLY CONTAINERS
In eternity, God begat His Son, thereby transmuting His own fire self into a light self and becoming the self of other-love. We understand from Genesis that our first parents were created in Gods image, to be containers of His Spirit and expressers of His nature by means of their humanity. To symbolize this planned union, the Tree of Life with its precious fruit was set in the midst of the Garden.
Satan, on the other hand, turned his self of fiery desires into the self-for-self nature of consuming love. And this nature of his is what he infused into us at the Fall, as though it were ours. So man, who was designed to be united with the Spirit of self-for-others, was tricked into yielding to the Satanic spirit of self-for-self (Eph. 2:1-3; John 8:44).
In the present, we have learned and by faith put into practice our Lord Jesus Christs Calvary identification with us, as us. As a result, a tremendous change of indwelling spirit has taken place in us; and that deceiver no longer indwells and controls us.
When Paul tells us that we are no longer under that former outer Law of Moses, doesnt that mean that we shall be given over to a spirit of license? God forbid, pronounces Paul. In our new life our human selves are motivated by, controlled by and spontaneously express the nature of God, by His Spirit united to our spirits. Laying the foundation of this assurance, in Romans 6:16-7:6, Paul there presents one strong evidence after another that there is no intermediate, independent me to be taken over, unless we foolishly believe it.
First, he says, we were always slaves, and a slave just obeys his owner. We had handed ourselves over to owner Sin-Satan, to express his signature. Now, however, we have become Gods willing slaves through the obedience of faith which takes Him at His word, and we express His nature of holiness.
Put it this way, Paul explains. We were free in our sinning, with no response to Gods law. Now we are free in our right living, with no response to Satans laws. And there is no you, with an in-between or independent life of your own (Rom. 6:16-20).
Next Paul introduces a second illustration; a fruit-bearing tree. He describes how we are now producing right, good fruit in our lives, whereas we were ashamed of the former fruit (Rom. 7:4-5; 6:21-22). He wants us to understand that we are only branches which have changed trees. We never produced fruit without a tree!
To sum up, we learn through the slave and branch analogies that we never exercised any kind of in between life as self-operators. We are slaves of either one owner or another, or branches of either one vine or the other. Therefore, the idea that we humans were self-operating selves and had a nature or quality of life of our own has been a vast human illusion there never was such a thing. We have been created to produce the way of life of our Deity Creator and Operator. Only first we had to experience and discard through Calvary that false deity operator, who produced that opposite, negative way of life.
In Romans 7:1-6, Paul uses one further powerful and convincing illustration the law of marriage, which he speaks of here as the law of the husband (Rom. 7:2). The wife is legally bound to her husband so long as he lives, and he is her lord (1 Pet. 3:6); she receives his seed, conceives by it and produces their family.
We humans were married at the Fall to our Sin-Satan husband and became his sin family, he working in us the motions of sins which produced fruit unto death (Rom. 7:5). We had to do this according to the law and demands of marriage, as any change of husbands would have been an adultery. It looked hopeless; our husband was not going to die.
But there was One, representing the whole human family, who died as us. So the marriage was dissolved because we died wherein we were held (Rom. 7:6). The dissolution of the first marriage and release from that husband meant that in Christs resurrection we were immediately married to another, our risen Savior, and are now under His law.
The law of marriage in Romans 7:1-6 is therefore a continuation by Paul of his two illustrations from Romans 6. For just as we have always been slaves to an owner and branches producing the fruit of a tree, we have always produced the fruit of a husband. We have never been widows conceiving without a husband.
A FRUSTRATING COMPLICATION
Now comes the burning question. If the new relationship has replaced the old, and given us our fully satisfying life, rich fruit, happy service, loving union and communion, and the conscious ability to be who we long to be and help others to be the same, why doesnt it happen? What is wrong? Where is this completion in Christ, loving as He loved, walking as He walked with the faith that overcomes, being more than conquerors, easily living out the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus said we would, as lights in the world? Hasnt Paul made it plain to us that we have been crucified, been raised and ascended with Jesus and inwardly confirmed by the Spirit? Then where is the snag?
This burning question has greatly disturbed and seemingly disrupted our first faith statements, by which Paul told us to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God. It has also caused many sincere, born again, Bible-rooted believers to use a nice little cliché: our position in Christ is one thing, but our condition in its outworking is quite another. And they usually add, Of course, our condition does not level up to our position. But this is precisely what Paul says does level up! Our position in Christ and our condition in living this Christ-life are one and the same.
Next Paul reaches the least understood and most misused section of his Romans letter, or of all his writings. But when understood through Pauls own explanation and experienced by the inner confirmation of the Spirit, this section gives the desperate believer the one key that turns the lock into the whole freedom he seeks. In his need, the believer must find the full and final meaning of life, for which he was created and is now redeemed by grace. This section extends from Romans 7:7 through 7:25 and then is fulfilled in Romans 7:26 right through chapter 8.
We have seen how Paul pointed out that in our redeemed experience of justification by faith and new birth of the Spirit, we do not continue in sin. The reason is that as our Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again as representing us, we then died with Him to being sin-indwelt and rose with Him to being Christ-indwelt, as symbolized by our burial and rising in our water baptism. So now we live yielded to God and expressing His right living in our members.
But this is based on a further startling fact of a different kindthat we are no longer under law, but under grace, and that we are dead to law as well as dead to sin. We are thus not only freed from the guilt of broken law, but from responding to and having to operate law at all!
But, steady! If we are not under law, do we not mistakenly conclude that we shall easily slip back into sin living? Paul then opens to us the basic radical delusion that we have lived in since the Fall, under the Satanic lie of us being independent, self-managing selves who must therefore see to it that we respond to law by our self-efforts. But the actual fact is that we were never created to be independent human selves. We were deceived into that delusion by Satan at the Fall.
Paul then points out that in fact we have always been just slaves, either to the sin-owner or the righteousness-owner: branches bearing the fruit of either the false vine or the True Vine: married and producers of the seed of either Satan-husband or Christ-husband. There never has been such a thing as us being independent, self-acting, self-producing human selves, and responding by ourselves to a law of evil or good. Paul now proceeds to explain his own experience of discovery and release from his false deceived bondage in this radical misconception, and thus his freedom in Christ to a totally liberated life.
BACK TO HIS BEGINNING
In Romans 7:7-25, Paul turns from general statements to the strictly personal. How do I find that the Christian life works? How do you? To explain this and to identify with us all, Paul does a big thing. He deliberately backtracks from his actual present experience as dead to the Law and aligns himself with every born-again believer, using the present tense of I, I, I. He starts with his new-born experience, then shares with us his early years of spiritual adolescence, and finally his searchings and wrestlings right through to the final answer for himself, and thus for all of us.
Pauls use of the present tense about himself in sharing what he had long left behind has been misunderstood through all these succeeding years by millions of sincere believers, who have themselves not entered into the release of the liberated I. Thinking that the furthest a believer can know in life is humiliation, struggles and constant failures under sins apparent dominion, they have falsely deduced a two nature condition, as if we humans are permanently caught up in the opposing strife of sin and holiness natures. If, as they say, these natures were both a part of our very selves, then we would have to oscillate despairingly between them and take them for granted as our normal experience.
The truth is that our God-created human self is merely a neutral vessel, or container. In Romans 7:17-18, Paul described it as being in itself neither the good nor the bad, which he was only then discovering was the sin dwelling in him. It is merely the fruit producer of whichever vine it is a branch of, and it can never be a branch of both at once (Rom. 6:20-22). And though vast numbers of Gods people still labor under that mistaken interpretation of Pauls present tense, we say he boldly stepped back in order to identify himself as a true intercessor with what all believers must go through to find their permanent deliverance. So he is now saying, I see myself with you. I am back with you confronting that old outer law, to which in actual fact I am dead.
In order to underline that final necessary confrontation with the Law and its final depth surgery on him, as on us all, Paul describes in detail his past dramatic experience. It was the sudden impact of that tenth commandment, with its Thou shalt not covet, which so rudely awakened him. He had been blissfully ignorant of its having any personal impact. I was alive without the Law once, he says (Rom. 7:9); and that is how all the world lives until confronted by the Law. Paul had been delighting in the Law (Rom. 7:22), as everyone new-born of the Spirit delights. But under the lie of independent self, when that Thou shalt not covet struck him, he blindly thought: No, of course I wont and dont. He was under that fatal delusion of us all that there is such a thing as self-management and self-control.
TROUBLE WITH I
Then the blast hit him. Paul found an inner uprising over which he had no control, which he named sin and which wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (Rom. 7:8). He was devastated, not that there were these sin drives, but because he thought he ought to be able to control them. That was his condemnation and bondage.
This is how Paul put it: In my newly-born and responsive condition, in which my whole desire is to fulfill the Law and produce the fruit of the Spirit, there is this disturbing experience that when I want to do good, there is an evil presence controlling me (Rom. 7:22). Yes, I want to and will to live by Gods Law. I would do the good and not the evil (repeated in verses 15, 14 18 19 and 21), but I am driven by this humiliating condition to say that something grabs me and enslaves me.
I am carnal and sold under sin, Paul continues (Rom. 7:14), and there seems to be no escape. Here is the Law, which I delight in, hammering at me with its godly standards. But I find myself helpless and hopeless. I have the will; but there is nothing in my fleshmy human makeupwhich has the capacity to combat this negative power drive, which has me in its grasp (Rom. 7:18). I am a wretched man (Rom. 7:24): new-born, but still a sin slave! Where lies the trouble? Is there a remedy?
The trouble is in that deceived, independent I (popping up 32 times in those 19 verses)the enormous delusion, which the Law came to expose. Independent self reaction is first of all Satans delusion about his own created selfhood, and then the lie which he imparted to us all at the Fall.
SELF-EFFORT IS SATAN-EFFORT
We are all forms of Gods fire-self, the self of infinite desire. But God, by the begetting of His Son, transmuted His fire-self into the light-self which is eternally the self of other-love. Satan, however, turned his self of fiery desires into the consuming love of self-forself, and imparted his own fallen nature to us as though it were ours.
So all self-effort is actually Satan-effort, whether good or bad in appearance. Pauls good self-efforts to combat his uprising sin desires, unknown to him, were still Satan masquerading as Paul. And our desires and self-reactions, good or bad, are still Satans self-for-self expressed as us. Paul described his experience this way: When I would do good, evil is present with me (Rom. 7:21).
The great light is lit when we finally see that our precious humanity has every ability to respond on soul and body level; but the forms the responses take are not ours. There is no such thing as plain self reactions. Through the Fall, our responses formerly expressed Satans self-for-self nature, whether in apparent good or evil form. But now through Calvary, having learned that our Romans 7 delusion of independent self-reaction is Satan, our responses express Christ in His self for-others nature. This is who we really are, as we shall see further in Romans 8.
SLAIN BY THE DELUSION
In his self-delusion Paul was so ashamed and humiliated that he said he was like a slain man (Rom. 7:7-11). In fact, that was what had happened. He had been slain by the delusion that he was an independent self who could manage himself, when there is no such thing and it was really Satans self effort. So he said, Sin, taking occasion by the commandment (as if he could obey it) deceived me, and by it slew me (Rom. 7:11).
What a universal deceit in all us humans, and what an exposure and deliverance! The shame and humiliation of Pauls defeat was just the necessary negative God used to make him desperate enough to find the answer, and thus that final usefulness of the Law in exposing the lie of self-effort. So down Paul had fallen by the exposure of his self-relying self, not yet knowing that self-effort is Satan.
Having used his own dramatic experience to underline the necessary negative operation of the Law on us, Paul then asks, Does such an exposure by the Law make it a death-dealing and dangerous weapon? The very opposite! he answers (Rom. 7:12-14). Only by that sharp, personal law exposure of his helpless self in response to those self-gratifying desires could the roots of the independent- self lie be exposed. At first he struggled, wrongfully condemning himself instead of Satan-Sin. But this drove him to the great final discovery: not of an evil human self, with the false self-condemnation, but to the great light of a right, God-made human self, with the sinner in him really being the sin spirit.
Paul knew, by the revelation he had when in Arabia (Gal. 1:11, 12, 17), that Satan-Sin had been cast out by Christs body death on Calvary (2 Cor. 5:14, 21). (We shall explain this in detail later.) But he had not yet come to the necessary point of personally appropriating that tremendous fact. He was still confused by the self-condemnation of false, independent self, instead of laying the rightful blame on sin. So by the use of the vivid present tense, as though he were a young, struggling believer, he underlines the value of the Law in its disturbing effects on me, me, me! But finally there would be a right adjustment of the human me.
A DESPERATE DISCOVERY
Have not I, like Paul, vainly thought there should be some way in which I could combat and overcome this evil bias in myself? Does not the whole world operate by doing its own stuff? Isnt I must, I can, I will or Im going to the sole, absorbing incentive of human living? Yes, it is. That is humanitys vast, lost blindness, even though sin is not imputed when law hasnt yet confronted us (Rom. 5:13-14). All of us in this fallen world, with no exceptions, really live by that Satan lie, with which we were inoculated at the Fall: that self by itself, in its apparent independence, can run its own life.
While in our deceived, self-relying stateliving in pleasure [and yet] being dead while we think we live (1 Tim. 5:6)we have to be confronted with the Law and the standards by which the universe was created to function. These laws were first embodied outwardly for our enlightenment in those Ten Commandments, from which any deviation finally brings total destruction. We are forced to accept the realization that first we didnt fulfill them (conviction of sins), and second, we cant fulfill them, which is the final discovery of this Romans 7 chapter.
Why are we not able to keep the Law? It is because we created humans can only function by the deity self who manifests his nature through our forms: our Creator-Fathers divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), or alternatively, so that we might experience and get the opposite into focus, Satans self-forself nature (Eph. 2:1-2). Always we humans are vessels, branches, slaves, body-members; or in modern terms, we are computers, who can only develop what is programmed into us. There never was such a thing as a created selfhood which could operate by itself.
Paul, recounting in this Romans 7 crisis statement his former experience, was compelled to discover that he could not manage himself. And now we all, with whom Paul links himself, are compelled to discover that we cannot manage ourselves. To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not (Rom. 7:18). Precisely. Yes, I am a slave, sold under sin (the nature of self-for-self), with no escape. However much I want to, resolve to, or try to keep Gods law, I cannot, because I was never created with the ability to manage myself. I am a managed person.
Through the Laws impossible demands on me, I have to discover that I started my human life in sin. In sin did my mother conceive me (Ps. 51:5), as a slave, a branch and a vessel. Of whom? Of that false upstart god of this world, that spirit working in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). He is that spirit of error, that father of lies, that devil who sinneth from the beginning; and it is his lusts I have been doing and cant refrain from doing (John 8:44).
Then at last, as Paul says in Romans 7:14-25, I am driven to my limit. I am finally among the desperate ones who seek the highest and then find I cant reach it. The poet Browning wrote, A mans reach must exceed his grasp, or whats a heaven for? But in my desperation, at last I can see my deceived limitations. A tremendous seeing!
I see plainly now that the disrupter is not the Law, for the Law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14). And it is not me, because I hate these things I do. It is the intruder: the sin that dwells in me! Paul says that twice (Rom. 7:17, 20). This is a radical revelation, because all my trouble and the whole worlds trouble is the deception that we are the operators of our lives. We are not! We are the containers, the manifesters, the vessels of wrath or mercy (Rom. 9:22-23).
A vast weight, which burdens every believer in his false self-condemnation, lifts off us when this understanding comes. In our former delusion we would say: Im the culprit. Im the trouble. Im ashamed of myself. I should be better. No. That is a lie and a delusion; it never was I. The whole intent of the cries of I, I, I in Romans 7:14-25 is that I don’t like myself. I hate what Im doing, when actually I am a God-made, beautiful self (Gen. 1:26- 28). At last I see it; and I had to be brought to my limit to be able to see it.
A BIG DIFFERENCE
All the worlds people, including us the born-again, have always taken it for granted in their delusion that they were self-operating and therefore self-responsible persons, who could and would improve themselves. And at last I find that there never was such a person! Now I see I was always a slave of Satan-Sinsold under sinand it is he who is to blame. In my unsaved days I went along with Satans sin activities. In my saved days I have hated my slavery, been ashamed of it and wrestled vainly against it.
Sin is this other law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin in my members (Rom. 7:23). Now I have it clear that it is not I, but this evil power controlling me. Paul cries out for us all, as he had cried out for himself, Am I tied and bound to this death in my body, or is there a deliverance? (Rom. 7:24). At last I have come to my limit. In my hatred of this intruder of my body, I find that I am not to blame, but sin. Is there a deliverance from sin for me?
Now I can see what Paul had already revealed in its completeness in Romans 6:1-13 and which had become his own liberation. Yes, thank God, there is deliverance for me now by the personal application in my desperate need of what I had accepted in my head and reckoned on as told to do (Rom. 6:11). But while I remained ignorant of there never having been such a thing as human self-effort or human independence, I had not realized that all my own efforts to live a victorious life were really Satan expressing himself as me. And I had not realized that until I had made such a failure of attempts to live it. Only then was I ready to see that the only way to live the life is if Christ lives my life as me, in place of that self-effort which was really Satangood or bad.
Paul had explained the key to total liberation (Rom. 61-13), and we had reckoned on it as fact as best we knew how. It was this: my death in Christs death to indwelling sin power, and my life in freedom from that power in His resurrection. But now I also have the human self in true focus as only the container and expresser, but never the originator. So I could see that the death and resurrection union with Christ which I had reckoned on as fact means not Him and me in action in place of Satan and me; but rather, Him as me, (with me the human expresser) in place of Satan as me (with me the human expresser).
The big difference and final liberation comes when, after my exposure by the Law, I have myself in my true eternal relationship to Him: not as kind of co-living with Him (or formerly Satan) as two on the same level of action, but as only He living His life in me, as me. I now spontaneously, delightedly and easily express Him with all the vigor of my God-endowed humanity. That is different! Seeing this as my total life, I move in from reckoning to realizing. Yes, I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord (Rom. 7:25).
FREE AT LAST
The doors of my prison swing open by this one key turned in the lock! It is now possible for me, as it was with Paul, to do one simple thing. And it is not some self-effort act of consecration, as if getting out of the prison depended on me. Rather, it is recognizing, by heart affirmation now combined with my understanding, that I have always been a person released from sin, as from sins. Jesus settled that 2000 years ago on Calvary in His body death, in addition to His blood death. But I have been slow to recognize and receive what He had settled for me, as me, because I still had that Romans 7 delusion about myself.
And what was that prison? I had to find what I was blinded to at first: my only prison was myself. Taken captive by my false owner, as we all were at the Fall, I had been deceived into thinking I managed myself, as he thinks he manages himself. The lie of lies! So down I had to fall in my many failures of self-management, compelled to follow in many false directions, until at last it dawned on me that actually I was the one who was managed and utilized by my thieving owner. At last, in my misery, I was ready to call for help.
Was there any way out of this prison? It was already provided. My True Owner had already paid the full redemptive price to release me, so that the false one has no further claims on me. So now I am joyfully free from that wearisome lie of self-management (which in fact never was) and love every new interest and enticing adventure of my True Owner. And he is really not so much Owner, as Father and Lover. Along with multitudes of other freed prisoners, I share with Him in His multiple plans for the blessing of His whole huge universe.
With the veil of that independent self lie removed, I can and do see that Christ freed me, a servant who had changed his ownernot change of me, but change of him! I AM free. I just recognize, affirm and thankfully praise. I say, along with Paul in Romans 8:1, that there is no more condemnation, because there is no illusory self-effort self to be condemned. The reckoning of Romans 6:11 is now Pauls and my word of realization in Romans 8:2the law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ entering and indwelling me as He did Christ in the tomb has set me free from those lying claims of the law of sin and death. No longer a prisoner, I am now free forever in Christ by His body sacrifice on my behalf (Rom. 8:3).
The Spirit bears witness to what I affirm in faith (1 John 5:10). Once I affirm, the settling in of that witness is His timetable. For me, it was two years; for my wife, it was two weeks. But hold steady, maintain your affirmation, and He makes you a knower.
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.