The Way Is the Obedience, Not of Words, but of Faith
There is the faith entry into who we all really are. That is why our real obedience is that which Paul names it to be in almost his first and last word in his Romans letter (Romans 1:5 and 16:26)—the obedience, not of works and self-effort, but of faith, which requires only our inner heart acknowledgement of the actual truth concerning our Lord Jesus Christ as given us by Him. This is as real a faith committal as was our first act of saving faith, which then produced the Spirit’s witness. But this second faith committal may be said to be more difficult and radical because that first faith committal only concerned our sins and their hold on us and the guilt and fear rightly produced by them.
This second committal is our very selves, the apparent producer of the sins, and self is all we have. This is why this further total committal cannot be fully made until the fundamental fact has been cleared in our understanding, by the Word confirmed by the Spirit, that we never had a false self-acting self to give up its apparent selfhood. This was Satan’s lie. We were never more than containers, vessels, branches, etc., with no such self-relying, self-acting self; and so this second step, or rather stride, is only a recognition of a given fact about us as participators in Christ’s 2000-year old body death and resurrection. This is serious and radical because we have had these deceived concepts of our independent selves in action, and that includes what we might call our “good” selves. It is radical to see in fullness that all the good we have done by our self-activity has been Satan-good (that “good” aspect of the false Edenic Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil).
Thus trying to be and do good is as much the product of our Satan self-for-self nature expressed by us as are any of our “bad” doings. Perfect flesh living is really perfect sinning. Paul said in Romans 7:21 that “when I would do good, evil is present with me,” and that: was a “law,” a set principle, from which he by himself could not escape. By this he meant that while resolving to do good was right (“to will is present with me”–Rom. 7:18), the actual attempt to “do good,” though unknown to himself at the time, was that same self-for-self, self-relying Satan-spirit operating in his apparently good self efforts (Phil. 3:4-6). Just as an apple seed can bring forth only an apple tree, with apples being its only fruit (some good for eating and some not), so too the seed of Satan can bring forth only Satanic fruit, some good and some bad. Therefore, we cannot easily give up our total selves and move into our God relationship until we know that there never was any good in ourselves (Rom. 7:18)–that is, until we know the lie of independent self.
We cause great offense to our fellow believers when we make such statements of faith as this one: “Once only Satan-I, now only Christ-I.” They still think of us as having a sinful nature. As a result, our opposition often comes from churches and pastors so long accustomed to self-condemnation in our apparent sins and failures. To them, it is like blasphemy to say nothing was ever wrong with our human selfhood. This is why this snide of faith (really only the acknowledgement of fact in Christ) is well called by Kierkegaard (who deeply knew the human self) “the leap of faith.” When taken, it must be as serious and openly confessed and once-for-all as was our faith step into receiving Christ. Once made, it is as marked an act as a marriage vow and ceremony.
It took me live hours in a Congo forest to say with finality that I, Norman Grubb, have been crucified with Christ and thus, in His death to sin, I have died to sin as an indweller. And then to say the “nevertheless I live” of Galatians 2:20. But no! There is no such tiling as independent living and therefore, with Paul, to say, “yet not ‘I,’ but Christ lives in me” (where before it had been Satan living in me). That was as far as I really got on that crisis occasion, confessing with my mouth, together with my precious wife doing the same, by writing my statement on an old envelope which was all I had deep in that forest. But, once said, my confession of faith became fixed and was never to be gone back on.
The witness of the Spirit, the substance of faith as in Hebrews 11:1, comes when the believing is established enough to receive it. In 1 John 5:10, the inner witness is a given part, of the believing, and while we do the believing, the Spirit gives the witness. Sometimes that takes time—for me two years; for my wife two weeks! I never went back on my established, spoken, written word of faith. The witness is from Him to me, not from me to Him, so I must avoid any seeking of it, or questioning of my faith. No! Any delay only stirs me to confirm my “obedience of faith’’ in that five-hour act of faith I made, and I just went on with my normal activities until one day He must have seen that I was in a right condition, mid the sudden quiet light was lit in me: “Yes, it really is Christ, in me, expressing Himself in my form–He as me, He living, thinking my thoughts, speaking my words, doing my deeds.” This was so total that. for a time I almost thought I was Christ! That didn’t matter while the glory of the inner recognition settled in me.
- God All in All
- Jesus, the Second Man
- We Humans Have No Nature
- Pairs of Opposites: The Operating Law of the Universe
- The Fallacy of Having Two Natures
- No Such Thing as an Independent Self
- At Last Operating as a Truly Liberated Self
- The Way Is the Obedience, Not of Words, but of Faith
- Then Daily Living
- Trials Are Adventures, Temptations Are Opportunities
- When Temptation Becomes Sin
- The Difference Between Soul and Spirit
- The Finality! We are Royal Priests
- Death in Us, Life in Others
- God Meaning Evil for Good
- Speaking the Word of Faith
- The Lamb on the Throne
- The Spirit’s Drive in Us
- The Gaining of Specific Intercessory Objectives
- Children, Young Men and Fathers
- A Missionary Mother’s Intercession
- To Sum Up