A Lawyer Tells It Like It Is
The following pages are a brief sharing from my heart of what is for me the Total Truth of the "mystery which hath been hid from the ages…which is Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26,27). This is the truth lived out, in, through, and as me. Some have suggested that putting this into print might help other members of the Church understand what I and those of like mind with me believe.
My Conversion to Christ
I was born again twenty years ago, having received Christ, as the Holy Spirit worked in me through a Sunday School teacher. The truth she shared set me free from the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:21) and made me Christ’s slave, or as the Scripture says, "servant(s) of righteousness" (Rom. 6:18).
I had come to realize that I desperately needed a Savior. I knew what Paul meant when he said that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), and when I received Christ, I rejoiced that I had been redeemed from under the law and had received the adoption of a son (Gal. 4:5). I knew putting "off the old man with his deeds" (Col. 3:9) and being reborn was the result of grace (Eph. 2:8,9), and from that time to this day I continue to be enamored with Him of whom the Scripture speaks (John 5:39).
Immediately after my conversion came a glorious period during which God focused my attention on the Scriptures, soul winning and right living. Then and now I take all I know from the Scripture-infallible, inerrant-as the Holy Spirit interprets it to me. From the first, my confidence has been: "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:15-17). I became very active in all phases of church activity. My wife, four children and I were regulars.
First Failings as a Christian
Soon after that glorious period, which so many enjoy immediately after being saved, Satan (the deceiver-Rev. 12:9; "a liar, and the father of it"-John 8:44) seduced me into believing that although saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8,9), somehow I was called to live by myself. Thus, my life, begun in grace and ending in grace, had to be lived out in between by me.
Although (with Paul) I found myself wanting to live right, no amount of Scripture reading, soul winning, rededication, surrender, quiet time, prayer or submission worked. I just could not live right. I sinned when I didn’t want to and couldn’t do what I really wanted to do (Rom. 7:15). It seemed that the harder I tried to be what I knew inside I wanted and was intended to be, the more difficult and more impossible my life became to operate (Rom. 7:11).
Obviously (and almost everyone I observe also experiences the same thing) I began to believe that the misery and defeat of Romans 7 was the "normal Christian life." I missed the Biblical principle that sin-through things which were described as good and which I believed were good-deceived me into believing that I could actually do those good things. The result was total death in me. Paul expressed it thus: "For sin, taking occasion from the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me" (Rom. 7:11).
Then I began to learn one of the key Scriptural principles: "Christ is all and in all" (Col. 3:11). In a very difficult time for me, when everything else had failed, I decided for the first time that I would speak against what appeared to be true and say that indeed Christ is "all, and in all" and that "by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17). I began to agree with God that having "begun in the Spirit" (Gal. 3:3) by grace (Titus 3:5), I would likewise live by grace-God in action. When I began to agree with the Scripture that God was all and in all, I began to see that God was all and all in me; I could begin to say that He was not only my salvation but all of my sanctification. I came to understand that the problem wasn’t me, but the "law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:23).
Over the last several years, that understanding has unfolded to me more and more. I have come to know that if the problem isn’t me, then I am simply a container and have always been a container. The problem, therefore, must be in who I contain; thus, I have never operated apart (independently) from the deity which lives in my container. Before I was born again, I was a container for Satan to express himself by me, masquerading falsely as "just me." As a Christian, I am a container for Jesus Christ to be all in all, in and as me.
All of Us Are Containers
As a result of Adam’s fall, the human race entered the world in sin and as sinners! I’ve known this since I received Christ. What I have discovered is that in addition to Adam as my physical father, I have always had a spirit father too! As an unbeliever my spirit father was Satan (John 8:44, Eph. 2:24). Hence the origin of my deity nature.
Other helpful passages are: 1 John 3:8, 10; 1 John 4:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:26; Colossians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 6:16; and Romans 5:12-21.
Since this point is central, I will cite some of the numerous passages which teach that I don’t now, nor have I ever, operated independently Vine/Branch: Christ is the vine, I am the branch, I "cannot bear fruit" of myself (John 15:4-5).
Servants: We are always servants of a master-once of sin, now of Christ (Romans 6:77).
Husband/Wife: Christ is the Husband, I am the wife. I bear the fruit of the Husband (Romans 72-4).
Vessels: We are vessels of wrath or vessels of. The difference is what deity the vessel contains (Romans 9:22-23).
Temples: Obviously the issue is which deity lives in your temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Head/Body: The head of the body (me) is Christ. He controls the body, which does nothing unless the head first tells it to act (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Old Man/New Man: The "old man" is Satan, the "new man" is Christ. There is no middle man or independent nature (Colossians 3:9-10).
Satan the Main Culprit
Therefore, prior to being saved, I had housed Satan, and they were his deeds that were being done through me (Col. 3:9, old man with his deeds). As Christ said to the unsaved: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8:44). Earlier in the same discourse Christ said, "Ye do the deeds of your father" (John 8:41). I was responsible for my wrong believing and agreement with Satan and his deeds, and therefore deserved perdition and needed a Savior. My sin was in my believing, and as I believed incorrectly, Satan did his living out through me.
Now I realize that the Cross changed my original Satan nature eternally, since when I died with Christ, the sin nature went out, and the Holy Spirit came in with His nature. As Peter wrote: "…by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…" (2 Pet. 1:4).
The Deceit of There Being a "Just Me"
I began to understand the truth of Galatians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 6:17, and John 17. Yes, I and those who also see this, boldly say now that the problem has always been that Satan deceived me and the rest of the world into believing that there was a "just me" which not only needed improving but was capable of being improved. Actually, there was nothing wrong with me, the container: the Cross cleansed and threw all that out. The sin producer who lived his life out through me prior to my rebirth experience was no longer present within me. I was "dead to sin" (Rom. 6:2) and "dead to sins" (1 Pet. 2:24). Thus I came to learn that I had no "independent human" nature. I had always been a container of one deity or the other.
I realize that the problem of frustration and defeat I had experienced after my salvation came from the original Satan lie, the lie that I had a nature that was bad. In fact, my sin was in wrong believing, and then Mr. Sin did his deeds through me. Once I received Christ’s gift of eternal cleansing from the just reward of my sin believing, I could then see that my container was all right and always had been.
I previously believed that I had a nature of my own, independent of Satan operating me. The problem arose because I believed that my nature was "independent." I know that I am not some inanimate thing-I know I have a spirit or force serving as my constitution-the spirit that directs, controls and maintains me; or as Webster defines it, a "nature" (I paraphrase Webster’s definition of "nature"). I now know I have no independent "human" nature and live by the discovery of my "divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4). I know now that my nature-which is the spirit or force that drives, directs and maintains me-is the Holy Spirit joined with me (1 Cor. 6:17).
The Place of Faith about Myself
Early in my reborn life, I was taught that we walk in the Spirit through more prayer, Bible study, surrender, getting "self" out of the way, etc. Now I see that these efforts at correcting and improving my container were fruitless and doomed to failure (Rom. 7:11). Now I have learned that I "walk in the Spirit" by simply recognizing by faith that Christ’s great prayer in John 17 has been fulfilled! I recognize and receive by faith that Paul was right in Galatians 2-20:. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I say by faith that 1 Corinthians 6:17 is true! There is a "me" (a container) joined to the Lord, and the result is one spirit! One spirit! Unbelievable, yet true! God manifests Himself to His world, for which He is eternally giving Himself through the Word; and the Word (as the expresser of God, for that is what a word does) expresses Himself through me, as I "walk in the Spirit."
I, therefore, accept as true Christ’s prayer in John 17 that we would be as He was with the Father. And further, by faith, I accept John’s repeated assertions in the "as" verses in 1 John that I am as He is because in actuality it is Him as me!
I do not say that I am Jesus Christ. That is absurd and a blasphemy. I simply believe 1 Corinthians 6:17 that I am joined unto the Lord as one spirit and Galatians 2:20 that it is Christ’s life that is lived out through me, as me.
What about Sin?
We must learn that only Christ can live the Christian life in us through our being joined to the Lord as one spirit. It is actually Christ’s life being lived out through me and as me (Gal. 2:20).
The question always asked when people first hear this is, "What about sin?" I do not say that now, having received Christ, I cannot and do not sin. I can and regretfully do. I agree with the Apostle John on this (1 John 1:8-10). What I do say is that by faith I agree with Paul when he says to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).
Sin Must Stem from Unbelief
When I am not believing in faith that I am "complete in Him" (Col. 2:10) and that in Him I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28), I am not believing what God says about me. That unbelief is sin (Rom. 14:23). By that deliberate yet deceived choice not to believe God, sin then operates me from the outside through my members (Rom. 7). I have fallen for Satan’s lie that I am a needy, lacking, etc. person and thereby have agreed with Satan’s deception that I am somehow "independent" of Christ who lives His life out through and as me.
As I believe that lie, Satan’s way for me is to be for myself (as he is) and not for others (as Christ is), and therefore I grasp, I envy, I take, I lie, etc. By confession (1 John 1:9), I am again cleansed and I take His forgiveness.
What Is Temptation?
I have learned that temptation is not evil and that to experience temptation is not to experience sin. There is a difference between temptation and sin. Christ, the most tempted self in the world, spent 40 days and 40 nights answering Satan’s question, "Who are you?" and the following challenge that if He was who He said He was, then He would perform some miracle (Mt. 4). Each time the temptation came, Christ’s answer was to the effect, "I am who I say that I am."
The big question was and is, "Who do you say you are?" I answer, "I am the Tom Prewitt form of Jesus Christ, who lives His life out through and as me" (Gal 2:20).
I know the temptation is to believe that I am not who He says that I am: joined to Him as one spirit-full and complete and needing nothing. This is the real temptation.
How does Satan work this deception? He knows he has been cast out of me forever, but that he can still gain a foothold in my members if he can induce unbelief in me. So he doesn’t identify himself to me as the one still wanting to control me, because he knows I am a child of God, and I know it (1 John 5:19). He knows, then, that I won’t believe him if he exposes himself to me, so he masquerades as "just me"
Satan tells me:
"That is just the way you are."
"That is just the kind of person you are."
"You are certainly entitled to that opinion."
"You are certainly entitled to that thing."
Satan is trying to deceive me into believing that I am "just me." Then, when I go with that (James 1:14, 15), I fall for his temptation and agree with Satan by echoing back:
"I am just that way."
"That is just the kind of person I am."
"I am entitled to that opinion, that thing."
Thus, I have agreed with Satan that I am a "just me" and not joined to the Lord, and I have fallen for his great trick! I have believed that I am an independent self! By my own choice I have chosen to believe his lie, and sin (Satan) therefore begins to operate in my members, even though I am a Christian. I’m not being operated from within by any "human" nature, and certainly not by Christ, but I’m experiencing sin operating through my members (body and soul). (Read Romans 7.)
I pick up on Satan’s lie and believe it, and thereafter Satan translates that wrong believing into action, with him being the operator or doer of it. It looks like me and feels like me, but it is actually Satan operating me-the reverse of the wonder by which I normally live: Christ as me!
It may be said that this isn’t accepting responsibility for our actions. From the "age of accountability" forward, human responsibility is based on choice. And freedom of choice is not simply something with which God chose to endow the human race; freedom finds its source and root in the very being of God himself, who freely and eternally "chose" to be a self-for-others. Man’s freedom is part and parcel of him from the act of creation, as he was made in the image of his Creator.
The unbeliever after the age of accountability lives from his own choice to have Satan as his operator. When I received Christ, I made the eternal choice to have Christ become my operator. The Lawgiver in me is also the Lawkeeper in and through me. When I am tempted, the real (and only) temptation to me is to disbelieve that Christ is my operator. My believing that He is my operator is my choice.
So, responsible? Of course every human is responsible for, not his acts per se, but his choice of operator. All lesser choices are willed and done through me (see Phil. 2:13) by my operator.
If man were not responsible for his choice, only Satan would experience hell, not the unbelievers who are his tools. But Jesus Himself warned of persons who would end in hell if they chose to reject the Light (John 3:18). I know that I am responsible for my choice of operator and therefore for the consequences of that choice.
"Be Ye Perfect"
I know what it means to "be ye therefore perfect" (Mr. 5:48), as we are instructed by Christ Himself to be! I simply take it by faith that the real me-my spirit self joined to the Lord, resulting in one spirit-is in fact Him "being perfect" (1 Cor. 6:17).
What I have so briefly capsulized is life changing and total. I know there are those who, like me, have found living under "ought’s" and "should’s" impossible. The law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12). I seek to ease the tension within the Church where so many labor under the burden of repeated instruction and admonitions to be more Christ-like!
How do you "honor your father and mother"? What appears to be honor to some is not honor to others. How do you rear a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Does anyone really think that he, in his own power, does that? If you think you do, you lie and the truth is not in you (Gal. 6:3). If you think that Christ does the honoring and rearing, so do I and I say so.
Do any of you who read this actually believe that you, on your own, satisfy the Biblical standards? Certainly not. Surely, all glory is given to God. Then why is it surprising that I also give the glory to God saying it is His life being lived out through me, as me? There never was nor ever will be a "me," just myself, independent from and operating on my own, and not being operated from within by Satan initially and by Christ subsequently.
Life Really Works!
Thank you for this opportunity to present this thumbnail sketch of what I know. What I know works! I no longer live in the defeat and delusion of Romans 7, but instead live in the day-to-day reality of Romans 8. I agree with Paul:
14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy upon the Israel of God.
17. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. -Galatians 6:14-18
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 2
- The Origin of Evil-Here and Now
- Forward Ever, Backward Never
- The Origin of Evil
- The Mind
- A Life That Works
- Questions? & Answers!
- Birth of the News
- Moments with Meryl
- A Lawyer Tells It Like It Is
- FAITH SWALLOWS UP DOUBT
- FREEDOM FROM SELF
- INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD
- THE MAILBOX: PRAISES SUNG
- An Easter Message
- Mini Fellowship Weekend
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 6 and 7
- Annual Business Meeting
- No Independent Self, Part One