What About License?
By Fred Pruitt
Someone wrote this to me some time ago:
I think this latest writing of yours is brilliant but the last few paragraphs throw up a question in my mind that I would be interested in knowing your views on. I guess bottom line it brings out the old question of licence.
We know someone who speaks constantly about knowing who he is and stating that all is God in his life no matter what happens or how it looks. However he can never keep a job for more than a few months (he has a superior attitude “always trying to put right those around him” and thinks he knows it all spiritually and can get very ‘super spiritual’ at work where practical solutions are being looked for etc) He is constantly in horrendous debt and takes no responsibility for anything. He always says this is the way God is taking him. I cannot agree with this, there has to be a time when we take responsibility for our actions and do not blame everything on God as this guy does.
Would be interested in your comments.
I’m not surprised some of my statements raised the “license” question.
Obviously, I don’t know the brother you refer to, or any specifics of his life, so I could not comment particularly about him and his apparent problems. I can only answer therefore in generalities.
I have no cognizance of what you mean by “responsibility.” “Ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Do we believe this? Where then does “responsibility” come in?
I know no answer except faith. Not faith in our doctrines, or in our mental beliefs, but in God Himself – only!
What doctrine would have you up on a mountain killing your son, saying God told you to do it? They would lock you up and throw away the key. The tabloid press would have a field day. What doctrine would have you turn your wife’s maid and your firstborn son out into the desert to die (for all you care, since you do nothing else to insure their survival)? What doctrine would have you marry your half sister? These days that is called incest, and they have laws against it and you can go to jail. Yet Abraham did all that, and we call him the righteousness of God, the example of faith. And none of that mentioned above sounds like “responsible living.”
Maybe your friend is just a flake, I don’t know, using these precious truths as a mask to hide his fleshly indulgences. Some people do. Or maybe your friend appears as a fool to you, but really portrays the salvation of God in the midst of his constant indebtedness and human frailty.
Where is your faith? What is your faith for your friend?
Or does his behavior so appall you, that you cannot have faith for him? That you cannot see him whole and complete in Christ?
The only answer I know to anything is faith. Faith in God. And faith in God in and AS our brother!
I died to personal responsibility the moment I realized I had no ability of any kind whatsoever to produce even one iota of a particle of the fruit of God. If God does not do it, it doesn’t get done. I quit living a responsible life with my face buried in the seat cushion of my wingback chair in 1981. I told God that was it, I was finished. Finite’. I couldn’t attain heaven, couldn’t keep myself from hell. If anything was going to get done, He would have to do it, period, no debate, I quit!
Maybe that sounds like dodging the bullet. Maybe that sounds like fleeing responsibility. To me it means I have died and now Another lives my life, and there is no going back on that.
Sure people can use these “truths” in a fleshly way to indulge in fleshly living. That’s always been a charge against the Spirit Life. So what?
Should we shy away from freedom simply because it has been misrepresented and by some misused?
Are we about fleshly appearances? Do we think that by our fleshly appearances, with everything neat and tidy, everything “just-so,” all “i’s” dotted and all “t’s” crossed, that by those appearances we will promote the kingdom of God?
Is not God big enough to protect His own reputation?
When I say you can do anything you want, I speak to spiritual adults. Those who hear these truths and have not yet come to adulthood (adulthood meaning a consciousness of God as ALL in the all, ONE PERSON manifesting Himself in all things), will crash and burn on these truths.
There is only ONE God. One Person, out of Whom we all are. Those who have other gods temporarily will find those gods wanting. Amen. We are put into bondage, not by our own will, but that we might understand hope beyond reason.
Hope beyond reason would seem to me to apply to someone hopelessly in debt with no possible relief coming forth, who seems in his humanity to have no ability or consciousness of responsibility toward a resolution of his insoluable problems, but who nevertheless stands on the promise of an inner word spoken in his heart in the silent watches of the night.
Maybe that does not apply to the brother you speak of. I have no idea. But it applies to me.
And I am not about license. I am not looking for a loophole so I can go out and cheat on my wife or pretend there is no accounting for how I treat others. I died, and the One who rose in me is about Life for others. That reality is all-pervasive in us – in our thoughts, desires, actions! THAT is who we are!
I don’t say that out of some prideful heart thinking I am somehow better than others. The faith to say that has come out of being someone who has realized to the uttermost his own absolute weakness, and finding in that absolute weakness the invisible, intangible Strength of the Living God. And strangely, this “God” manifests His strength not by making me strong, but by leaving me weak.
Finding that absolute weakness in myself, with no ability of any kind to bring forth God’s righteousness, with no ability of any kind to be personally “responsible” for ANYTHING, (how are dead people responsible?), in that losing my life, a new life – unexpected, unknown, and yet it is still me – arises. It may be discombobulated to the world, and maybe especially to my sometimes almost-too-disapproving-brethren. Nonetheless, in the midst of my weakness, failure and seeming indifference to consequences in the flesh, God shines in my MORTAL flesh.
Therefore, here is what I can say about license.
There is no such thing. There is either living in grace, in the kingdom of God, or in bondage, in the kingdom of the wicked one. No middle ground.
In the kingdom of grace all is free.
Strangely, in the kingdom of bondage everything is also free.
“Unto the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure, unto the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.”
Of which freedom are we?