By Fred Pruitt
Continuing from Part Five
Yes, you are right, that you do keep speaking your faith word back to appearances. But here is maybe a little different way of seeing that, which I pray rises up in your spirit as His word in you. And that is to begin to believe, against the appearances, that what God has said to you is true as you are, even in your mundane moments. Who are you to judge whether Christ is being expressed by you? What criteria do you use? From what eternal perspective are you able to make a judgment of yourself?
O.K., I will assume that Christ is expressed by me at all times. Doesn’t that mean when I happen to sin (not in my new creation self which cannot sin but rather in whatever that alternative self is that and in which we do sin) that I am yet expressing Christ? Christ cannot be in that. Christ cannot be in anyone’s doubt and unbelief. The Bible says that we ARE to judge ourselves:
1 Corinthians 11:31-32
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Sure when we are taking care of world business, we may yet be expressing Christ, but, for example, when we fail to see others as Christ sees them, with the same mind/attitude of Christ, as when we judge one another erroneously and not according to truth, then it is not Christ in me expressing Himself in the earth. That is the perspective from which I judge myself. This is wrong?
Yes, in a sword fight I can give you my scripture to refute yours and visa versa. But consider this: we may rightly judge ourselves when we are seeing by spirit reality instead of fleshly reality, i.e. when we no longer judge ourselves after the fashion of human reason and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but instead out of the oneness of selves that God has accomplished in us, where we have come to an inner realization by the Spirit that we are one person in the Lord.
It is the same difference that the spies outside the Promised Land said, “We were in our own sight as grasshoppers,” and thus by that focus failed to go on in faith, as did Joshua and Caleb. Both Joshua and Caleb as well as all the other ten saw the same obstacles. It was merely a difference in where their sight stopped. The “ten” saw the giants and then looked back at themselves. Nothing wrong with that, because we all start there when we come up against an obstacle greater than us. But the ten’s sight stopped at themselves, and they rightly saw the did not measure up. And that was that for them.
But Joshua and Caleb, seeing the exact same walled cities and giants in the land, looked past themselves to the Living God Who had brought them there and had promised to give them the Land. Joshua and Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for the Lord is with us.” The ONLY criteria for them walking into the land of Promise was faith — believing God and what God has done overriding anything we can see with our fleshly eyes.
When we have entered true sight from the Father out of Whom we live, we see out of His eyes, and realize in His sight we are the “beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” We choose ourselves because He has chosen us. We accept ourselves because we are eternally accepted in the Beloved. That is the judgment we judge ourselves with, as it is given us in the Father who lives in us and does the works.
If we err or sin, then One greater than us is there to tap us on the shoulder and bring us out of our momentary slip. And in God’s economy we learn and are increased in the riches of Christ for our experience, even as Abraham had an increase of his goods in both his “she is my sister,” incidents with Sarah – one with Pharaoh in Egypt and with Abimelech in Gerar. And of course Abraham’s increase of worldly good, cattle, sheep, etc., was not the point the Spirit was making, but instead the increase of the real riches which do not fade away.
It is plain in 1 John and Romans 8, to name just a couple of places, that living and abiding in Him we do not sin. We are no longer “of” sin and it has no more dominion over us. Therefore we BOLDLY say that sin is no longer our focus! Christ our righteousness is our focus, not in some figurative way, but in actuality, truth and by experience. This is unknown and unseen by the natural mind, but known in the Spirit through faith which operates by Him in us.
Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water.” It’s automatic! Believe on Him — in you as you in the now (not by sight) — and there ARE the living flowing waters. Do you see them? Doesn’t matter. Believe ANYWAY!!! Faith IS substance! Faith IS evidence! Dare to believe!!!!
We are speaking of what is true NOW by God’s word, and who are we to say it isn’t active and fulfilled in us, if He has said that it is?
Yes, I have seen, for example, people’s favorable reactions to my presence which I attribute to Christ, the Anointed One with whom I am anointed. I understand that the rivers are flowing all the time in that sense. But if I were to exhibit road rage, or grocery line rage, etc., that would not be Christ flowing out from my belly and He would not be ‘fulfilled’ in me, and though He never ceased to be in me, I would have ceased to be in Him if only in terms of behavior and I’d be looking at a bout of chastening.
You know, I’m not totally certain what Christ may necessarily act like in a given situation — how emotional he might be, how loud, what expression he might have on his face, whether he would look folks in the eye or not. Are you always so certain how he might be?
I have found in my life many many many times that I have had some preconceived notion or thought about “how” Christ would be or should be in some situation, only to realize I have no platform from which to judge such a thing. You throw up some behaviors to me like a challenge saying, “Yes, I can see Christ in me when I’m like I think Christ should be, but what if I did THESE THINGS? What about then?”
I will give you an answer, but before I do I want to tell you that you can quit all this questioning and “what if this?” and “what about that?”stuff and just believe right at this moment Jesus Christ lives in you and has you and will walk in you in righteousness and holiness. That’s all it takes. Just say, “Lord, I do not understand how this works, I do not know the ins and the outs of all this, but I’ll trust you to uphold me and live in me and be my life.”
And the reason I say that is simply because all these intellectual difficulties you are having with all this are just that – and really a smokescreen to still retain some of your “self” to guard, watch, protect, etc. Frankly, you really haven’t realized your own death in Christ as long as you think there is all this stuff for you to do. You’re DEAD! How can you guard the hen house from the fox when you are dead?
But to answer what you asked, I figure that God is big enough to provide correction and understanding and will do so, but you might be limiting God just a tad to think he’s going to be only between certain behavior parameters that you have conveniently figured out, and I think he might prove you wrong.
That may be the area where you get to ditch the responsible self (filthy rags) you are so strongly holding onto. But that’s his business and not mine. And again, who are you to attempt to spare yourself a “bout of chastening”? I’m pretty sure every bout of chastening we got comin’ to us, we’ll get, but now that’s not a bad thing, and certainly not punishment for bad behavior (as we all used to believe), but training and molding as all God’s children get.
The ultimate “chastening” is that we realize we are nothing, that God may be all. Because until we realize we are “nothing,” (Gal 6:3), we still think we are “something.” It is the same with seeking to save ourselves we lose ourselves, or losing ourselves we find ourselves. If we think we are “something,” we might be in for some knocks for us to realize to the uttermost we are “nothing.” But that is not the end of the process. Because, once we finally see we are “nothing,” or are “dead,” and that only God is “Something,” and only God is “life,” then through Him we become “something,” and through His death we find our life – hidden in Him from eternity, but not available to us in fullness until we are emptied out of any notion of being able to keep ourselves, guard ourselves, save ourselves, be obedient, be led of the Spirit, keep the commandments, or anything else. Dead is dead and dead people don’t do anything. The only thing someone dead needs is Life, and a dead person cannot give Himself life. Only God can give life, and only God can BE life, and only He in us can express Life through and “as” us.
God’s purposes are all redemptive, meant to uplift, NEVER to condemn and heap shame and guilt upon anyone of His, and you have to understand we never catch Him off-guard. His purpose is always the “trying of our faith” that He might refine it to a pure gold — i.e. fixed faith on Him Alone — and He is always ahead of us.
In fact, He’s running things. Everything. Even things that seemed to have departed from His original plan He somehow instantaneously made every one of them work out for the good of those who He has called according to his purpose, which is anyone who hears and desires to be chosen. That is a pretty daunting task to engineer everything from the smallest subatomic particle to the farthest galaxies in the universe, and everything in between, for all time, to work for our good. So if He’s engineered all that and made it all good, which He has, then that means that it is something that is operative NOW and not only over in glory, and that covers a whole lot right NOW! (Pretty much everything, today, yesterday, and tomorrow.)
If you can do something — some way to hold your mouth, some set of words to say, some measurable time of prayer or bible study that would be sufficient and fulfill the requirements, applications of laws and biblical principles — that would make God come out of heaven and be “real” to us in some detectable way — then faith is void and we all have a lot of work to do. But you know the truth here, and it’s nothing I need to tell you.
Yes, I understand that Christ in/as me is not dependent on me or anything I do, but the expression of Christ can be limited by me and what I do. I guess that is why God’s Word tells us to submit to God and draw near to Him, for in doing that the devil will then flee upon our resisting him.
You know, it never ceases to amaze me how folks will fight and fight and fight for the opportunity or ability to thwart God, to NOT be led of the Spirit, for the ability to “limit” Christ, or to have “free will,” which what they are really saying by that is they are holding on to the right or ability to sin. And all that under the guise of being “humble” and not presumptuous. I have never understood (once I was on this side of things) why someone wants to hold onto an ability to “not” do God’s will.
(So, listen, if that’s what you want, according to your faith, go out and thwart God, limit Christ, etc. If you call that “submitting to God,” and “resisting the devil,” frankly, of course that option is available. The whole world knows that. As Jesus or Paul said, you’ve got Moses or the law preached on every corner. People believing they are still sinners, or sin every day, or “can” sin if they want, to (and actually, you can!), is as common as mustard on a hot dog. There is, however, another option to this life, a pressing out of the prison of Romans 7 and into a real, experiential life in the Spirit of Romans 8, a life of crossing Jordan to start possessing our possessions. THAT IS AVAILABLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES. But of course, the wilderness where we are always grasshoppers to ourselves and never quite measure up, well, that’s available, too. Your choice.)
The self responsible for itself reserves all power for itself, though it gives lip service to being dependent on God. You agree that God will do stuff if you do your part. But if you don’t do your part, God doesn’t do his stuff. That’s the old testament — blessings and curses — of the law. You have a part and God has a part. Under the law of course, we cannot ever fulfill our part, and so the curses are always operative. In the New testament God does all the parts. That’s why it’s by faith, because “no flesh” (independent, self-responsible self) shall enter his presence.
A great brother among us who just passed to glory last year was Dan Stone. Dan used to talk about the “holy but,” meaning in his jargon, that “the truth comes after the but.” This is what Dan meant.
People would say, “Yes, I see that Christ is living my life, but my life still has a lot of messes in it so I don’t think it’s always Christ.”
And Dan would say, “Turn that statement around on the ‘but’. Say instead, ‘My life has a lot of messes in it as things appear, but I see that Christ is living my life.” See the difference?
A key word is ‘always’ which is not repeated in the reversed statement. Am I to see that Christ is ALWAYS living my life including making a mess of it? I’m not sure of Dan’s logic here. I feel that if I ignore the ‘messes’, then I’m sticking my head in the sand. Ignoring the messes won’t keep me from the promised disciplinary action. Instead I see it as a fight of faith – a good fight, inasmuch as I always eventually win after I pull my head out of the sand, confess and get cleansed from all unrighteousness. I prefer to have Christ expressed/exhibited through this body at all times and I’m looking for help to do exactly that.
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
My help comes from the LORD. The ability to be perfect comes from the life of Christ within me. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. And while I am consciously “in Christ”, then I walk perfectly. I know that when I sin I am yet the righteousness of God in Christ, position-wise; however the Bible does tell me to confess any sin and be confident of the truth that I will instantly be forgiven and cleansed. Is this wrong?
No, I don’t think you’re “wrong.” If we sin, of course we confess it and move on. But why is that ALWAYS your focus? And what’s this “if I’m conscious of Christ,” THEN I walk perfectly? How do you do that? Some set of thoughts you have in your mind all the time, or try to? Do you try to imagine Jesus, or try to keep up a running conversation, which of course is interrupted all the time because the things of life keep getting in the way? You sound like a Christian James Brown (the hardest working man in show business). If you commit a sin, confess it, no big deal. God knew a billion years ago you were gonna do it so why do you fret the possibility so? He took care of it at Calvary so why do we still make a big deal about it?
And at Calvary the Father was already Eternal, so the Father covered you and me for all time with the blood of Jesus. Why do you always go back to that sin and lack stuff, instead of beginning to rejoice that you ARE the righteousness of God? You counter every faith statement I make with a “what if” I sin? or “what if” I don’t have my mind on Jesus? or “what if I’m just doing something mundane?”
Man, “I I I I I I I I I I I I!!!!!“ If I say, “How about taking a ride on the freeway with me to San Francisco?” and you say, “I’d like to, I really would, but we might have a wreck, so I cannot go. Cannot take a chance on having a wreck.” So you don’t go to San Francisco.
Please understand that you are no longer that fearful mind-on-itself “I” you were from birth; you are no longer some non-existent self-important self-responsible “I” that thinks it’s something when it is nothing, because you have found that you can only find life in yourself by confessing your own death as already done (as the scriptures testify) and finding the life of Another in you, whom I believe you will also find to your absolute JOY and AMAZEMENT, in that He also DOES the works!
Jesus said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” In that is your rest, when you realize the “I” that you are, is no longer just “I” alone, (never has been) but now what is “I” to you, is Christ within you joined together with you as one self, one “I” so that you ARE the righteousness of the Father, and when you see that almost all these questions that are so eating you up will cease, because most of them are to my mind the death throes of a self that is struggling not to accept the death that was already accomplished in it at Calvary.
Continuing in self efforts and sin consciousness, we’ve got lots of stuff we’ve got to keep up with, but finding total rest in God, knowing that He’s got us, top to bottom, A-Z, inside to out, and is closer than our breath, and that we can find our sabbath rest in Him, ceasing from our own works as He did from His – it’s like a breeze by a lake on a warm spring day, and so much more.
End Part Six