By Fred Pruitt
Continuing from Part Six:
(Still on the “holy ‘but’” and “messes” themes)
Which one is faith? The first statement is just believing what you see. Doesn’t really matter what your “doctrines” are at that point, because what you really “believe” is the mess, and the mess is your truth. That is how everybody lives, just believing what their physical eyes tell them, and what their soulish feelings feel, and take that as our condition. The second statement starts from the Divine perspective, and makes the faith statement that no matter what messes are in my sight, we remain steadfast in His Word as He has revealed it in us, that He is living in me as me, right now, in this current moment.” The “messes” are His messes now, because He’s taken on ALL of me, including any “messes.”
And so He will then confess His messes and be cleansed? I think I need clarity on this.
Well, see, it’s all about sin again,eh? I’m not really sure why I chose the word messes, or even specifically what I meant by it. People get into all sorts of things. I can’t sort it all out nor always identify (nor do I take it upon myself to do so) what is sin and what isn’t either in my own life or another’s. I do not really think about sin but leave that to the Spirit.
I guess what I mean is that in whatever state the Lord finds you and begins to live in your life, He is not looking for “you” (since He knows our capabilities) to be able to do anything. The thing is, we do not start out knowing our lack of capability. We think we can do it; we think we can choose correctly, and we are responsible.
The Spirit teaches us within that He does the works; He does the doing; He does the daily choosing. We generally learn this by repetitive failures coming from believing we have some measure of requirements “we” have to fulfill to make the life “work” in us, when the real truth is that is not the case. He has done it all through the Cross and Resurrection, and there is nothing we can do to add to or make happen what God has done. Our “part” is to just accept it as the gift that it is, which is our expression of faith.
He does take responsibility for all of me and therefore He will continue to press me into the mold to conform me to the image of Christ. I do see that. I’m still looking for a quantum jump to that perfection of the Father exhibited at all times through my body. Maybe it is only a goal or hope to be realized at a later time when we are all changed in a blink of the eye and put on immortality. And I should just do my best to allow Christ to live His life in me and stay out of His way. But I think it is possible NOW – a life without messes. How do we make the possible our reality in the here and now? I do know: It’s a matter of faith. Help my unbelief then should be our plea?
You say, “I think it’s possible NOW — a life without messes.” (When I say, “mess,” I am not speaking necessarily of sins. I am talking of all those areas and events in our lives where things just seem incomplete, confused, lacking, etc.) Again, that depends on the definition of messes I suppose, but you sound like somebody looking for the Fountain of Youth or the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Or Utopia. We are not looking for an elusive “Shangrila.”
Why? Because God is right there in front of you in the right now, displaying and demonstrating to you and in you, all of Himself in everything you perceive, and far beyond all that. There is no reason to go off wandering in the mountains of Arizona to find some treasure in some desert, because you already have the Total Treasure in you right now.
The LIFE WITHOUT MESSES is Jesus Himself, as the totality of all things, not some earthly cushy existence where nothing ever goes “wrong.” To Abraham God said, “I AM thy exceeding great reward.” Not some earthly deliverance, not some promise of lands and gold and fruitful wives, but GOD HIMSELF WAS HIS REWARD. NOW THAT’S a LIFE without messes.
When we see (faith “single”sight) God All in all in the present moment in our lives, everything is tinged with the light of the divine. “Unto the pure all things are pure.” Something which is “pure” is something 100% what it is and not mixed with anything else. That is who we are now in the new kingdom of Christ within us. We are “pure” because we have been washed clean in the blood, and inwardly swept clean and then filled with the Spirit of God who has come to reveal Christ in us, even as God revealed “the Son in” Paul.
We are NOW partakers of the purity of God which of course springs out of the divine nature of which we now are. And we are now privileged to see all things as pure, seeing out of the single eye of purity Christ working and manifesting Himself in all things.
Now that’s first things first. When we are ready to make the statement of faith that we are now, this moment, “Christ manifesting in our form,” we are always speaking of the Eternal God (Infinitely beyond and “greater than” us) who has taken residence in clay pots – us – to manifest His eternal glory. Let us pay attention to this vital fact: God does not change us into Superman. Jesus was not “Superman,” either, but a Man who walked in every way like we do, touched with the same pulls and incompletion of the world and the flesh. So even as Jesus was “crucified in weakness,” in the same way, it is by means of our mortal (dying, weak, fearful) flesh, that we live the life of Christ. We do not “become” strong. If we do think we have become strong, at some point we will find out that we are not. We say with Paul, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
I recognize Christ in me and I recognize the weakness of the flesh.
Good, then now recognize that the flesh is not an “entity” that has power over you. The flesh is a mindset, a consciousness, and not something physical or psychological, though that is where it operates and manifests.
Look at Romans 8:2. There is a law that sets us free from “the law of sin and death.” It is called the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” It is like the law of aerodynamics vs. the law of gravity. It is impossible to make objects made out of metal and that weigh thousands of pounds to defy the absolute law of gravity — unless one knows a higher law that negates that law. The laws of aerodynamics and thrust, when applied correctly, override the law of gravity, and I am thus able to get into such a contraption and fly to the west coast. A higher law negates a lower law; that is the point.
There is a law, that when I function as if I am myself alone, thinking somehow I can fulfill my part or should or ought to fulfill my part in fulfilling the will of God, that I am trapped in my own self-efforts — efforts to overcome or resist sin or produce the fruit of God. Every time I function under that “law,” I find myself failing or falling short in some way. No matter how hard I try to obey God, or to love God, or to produce the works of God, I fall short and it is never enough. Now that’s the life of the flesh and the law. One never arrives through the law. In the law we can’t go on to higher things (intercession) because our focus is still on ourselves.
But we are not left there. Even though knowing the no-condemnation of Romans 8:1 is so tremendously wonderful, that in itself is not the answer, though it is a divine comfort. The answer of the Spirit is when he reveals through Paul this principle, that this higher law, which is God’s life in us, is God in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. That is the life of the Spirit.
When the truth lesson of Romans 6 finally sinks in, after the hell of Romans 7, that we truly died with Him in His death, we come finally to this fixed reality, which is that we were raised to newness of life in His resurrection.
But it is not only that. This is the most liberating news there can be to the tired self-condemned human self: through the Cross, He has made our members — i.e. our human faculties of spirit, body and soul, to be HIS instrument.
Our humanity, that we are so afraid of, that we try to keep penned up because we’re so afraid of it (thinking the humanity itself is the “flesh” and not realizing that “flesh,” in this sense, is a false independent separated consciousness in the humanity, but not the humanity itself), has become THE INSTRUMENT OF THE SPIRIT.
There is nothing wrong with the human self that God made. It, and all its capabilities and faculties are God-given and precious. They have just been operated by the wrong master, the sin-master, but now in Christ, we are operated by the righteousness-master. And once we get this straight, that HE has come into us to indwell us and be the everything of everything within us, and HE’S the one who’s now responsible for my life because I gave it up, that’s where we realize that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus HAS (right now, already) set me free from the law of sin and death — the law that says I HAVE to sin and am continually a slave to it. We have found a new law now, Christ in us, and rejoice in being set free from that lesser law that held us captive for so long. So even though it sounds humble and not-presumptuous to testify of our “weak flesh” keeping us forever in the conflict of Romans 7, at some point that thinking becomes unbelief because God has provided the remedy, and when we see it, we rejoice in weak flesh, because his strength is made perfect in weakness.
So, I return to: It’s the will of the flesh that is the culprit. And probably the only solution is simply a matter of dying to self as an on-going conscious exercise – “I die daily”—and that BY FAITH.
I suppose that verse has traditionally been seen that way. But I do not hold to the traditional view (you may have noticed.) I do not think Paul had to get up every day and go over all the spiritual ground he’d already covered, i.e., give up his flesh, find God, dedicate himself, etc.
One thing I’ve learned through the years is that we grow into different vistas of faith, and we normally function on each plateau for a while, and then God moves us on to a different plateau. Once we have arrived and gotten our footing on that new faith “level,” there is no necessity to repeatedly go back and go through again what we have already learned which has become a “fixed” truth in us.
I remember after my initial “new birth” experience, for a time I kept questioning whether it was really so, because one day I would “feel” saved, and the next day I would not. Even back then, more mature believers told me to just take it by faith, which I did. And after a time I no longer questioned whether this new birth had really occurred, even on the days I did not feel it. There was no need, therefore, to “get saved” all over again.
Now some may interpret Paul in this way, that Paul never “arrived” himself, but always struggled with his flesh and with sins, etc. Those are often quoting Paul’s statement, “I die daily,” as “proof” of Paul’s continual daily rededication. Some see it as an ongoing struggle to “die to self.”
But we do not “die to self,” because we ARE spirit-selves and cannot help but be that. So we cannot die to being what we are. Rather, Paul is finding out that we HAVE died, and what died was the “old man,” which was the false infection in the self of separation and independence. We were deceived selves, indwelt and run around by the wrong master, but selves nevertheless. The answer is not some continuous daily struggle to “die,” but to realize once and for all we HAVE died in the Cross with Jesus, BUT, as Paul said of himself (representing all of us), nevertheless we live! But, it is no longer I who is living, but Christ. “Christ in me.”
There is a big difference. One (dying to self) is a work of the flesh trying to fix itself which is an oxymoron, and the other is our living reality which is ours the moment we are born again. We just do not know it yet!
Therefore, we don’t go through a process of dying to self, but rather simply realize by faith recognition that we died with him in his death and that our old man is/was crucified with Him. This isn’t something we pray to happen but it is revealed to us that it HAS happened.
We ARE dead (the old man), we HAVE died, in His death, and the life WE NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH is Christ. We may not understand what that means or be able to explain it clearly and concisely in a way that would please the theologians or the doctrine police. That does not matter, however. It is a great simplicity, because just as we know when we are born again but can’t prove it to anyone else, in the same way we see our death in Him is already a done deal. We cannot prove it, but still we “know” it. We realize it is not something WE have to make happen but something HE DID through Calvary. We say He has done it, and we rejoice in His doing. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
It only takes a leap, stand or word of faith, to say, “Yes, Lord, it is no longer I who live, but You who are living in me.” THAT IS the entering in, instead of waiting until I look or feel like it. After all, what need of faith if I “look” to myself already like Christ. Once Isaac has been born, no need to expend any more faith toward that goal. Until we know the birth of Isaac, we are like Abraham, who “being not weak in faith, he considered NOT his own body now dead … neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb … staggered not at the promises of God through unbelief, … being FULLY persuaded that, what he (God) had promised, He was able also to perform … and he called “those things which were not as though they were.”
That is the kind of faith we are speaking of.
End of Part Seven.
(The next portion will center on the “greater works shall you do” issue, and will be the final portion of this series.
1A great brother among us who passed to glory a few years ago 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?