Possessing Our Possessions Two: Foundations
By Fred Pruitt
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (KJV)
“So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian – you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you in the foundation, God’s messengers and prophets, the actual foundation-stone being Jesus Christ himself. In him each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbour, grows together into a temple consecrated to God. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his spirit.” (Phillips)
As I stated in my previous, to me the “sons of God” of this generation are standing, figuratively, on the brink, on “this side of Jordan in the wilderness” (Deut 1:1). And I thought it good, like “Moses, the man of God,” to pause at this juncture and rehearse the ways and acts of God Who has brought us here, and the foundation of His Life, into which we have been engrafted by the broken Body and shed Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I began this phase of work in Christ over ten years ago, in 2001, when I first began to write and send out to friends the things which the Lord had placed in my mind. There were only a few at first, and I did not do it for any particular reason, other than sharing what the Lord had given me. I was not trying to “develop a ministry,” build a following, or start a “work.”
And though over the years this has evolved into what I might call a more aggressive and intentional outreach, in an attempt to get our “total truth” out to the whole church in the whole world, it has nevertheless retained its “friend-to-friend” flavor and feel. That really is all this is, friends getting together with other friends, and telling them the great things the Lord has done for them. I see that more and more.
The “Body of Christ,” the “Church,” is first and foremost a family, the whole of which is Christ, All and in all. We are members of one another, living in love for each other’s benefit, for the edification of the Body of Christ. As we are members of each other (e.g., “You’re the right hand; I’m the left hand”), each of us individually is a unique perfect expression of Christ, His “members.” This is quite literal. Simply put, our physical bodies, as well as our intangible souls and spirits, are His. They do not belong to us, but now that He has come to dwell in the house which He Himself built, they (all that we are in our humanity) belong to Him and for His exclusive usage.
Now of course, when we say we are “members,” we do not mean we are in His club and our names are written down in a membership roll. We mean it in the most literal physical sense. Our “person,” our totality, (spirit, soul and body), are as much “members” of His body as my own hand is a member of my body. And as the hand on my body does not control itself, but carries out the instructions of the brain (Head), it is the same with us in Christ. My “hand” does not know how its actions contribute to or make up the whole; it just acts as it is commanded. And again, it is the same way in Christ. To carry the theme a little more, if my place in Christ is to be His “hand” in some endeavor, then that is what I find myself doing – even though I may have little awareness of what the “other” hand is doing on the other side of the world. As the Ephesians passage above says, the building is “fitly framed together” by the Head, and each part is a particular brick or stone in the household of God.
This is the “oneness” of the Body of Christ. The true church of Christ is not divided; there is no schism. How can I say that, since by appearances just the opposite is true? I say it because it is true, and the Ephesian passage above gives witness to it. Paul does not tell the Ephesians they have to work on being “one” with each other. He does not exhort them to find out their particular niche and to make sure they are in agreement with the others.
He simply says, “You ARE … fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
He simply says, “You ARE … built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”
We do not “become” this. We “ARE” this! Oneness in the Body of Christ is intact! Every part fits perfectly into the building for the total benefit of the superstructure Christ is building. That is why we can exhort with confidence for each to be himself, as God has made and molded us. By finding our “true selves” hidden in Christ (Col 3:3), we slip naturally into living daily the part God has preordained for us from the foundation of the world. Each individual member walks as Christ in the world. As Jesus told the crowds at the Sermon on the Mount, “You ARE the light of the world; You ARE the salt of the earth.”
This is not conditional. It is fact for all in Christ. This promise is applicable to every member of the body: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10).
Bringing it a little closer to home, I mentioned in my previous article in this series (Possessing Our Possessions One – On the Brink), that we have all been involved in the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:12, “the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” These past years in Christ, I have realized more and more that this is my individual calling to do. Each of us participate in this in myriads of unique ways. For me, I have often remarked to friends that I seem to be an “evangelist” for just one thing – that each individual member of Christ would realize in his depths Who he is, that is, “Christ in us” as “one spirit” (one person), within us. (1 Cor 6:17). Almost every article, every talk, every email, every video, has been about this very thing.
I have been writing about this one thing for thirty years. Now I am in my seventh year of touring with John Bunting and others. Almost every place we go, we are seeing eyes opened, hearts softened, and the enlightenment of the Spirit in the individuals we have been with. It truly has been glory every moment!
But I must also admit to some bit of frustration, because I am sensing within a growing urgency to go farther, to dig deeper, to delve more fully into the “deep things of God.” This is not knowledge for knowledge’s sake. In discussing and looking into these things over the years, I have observed that it seems like it takes a bit of time (some more, some less) to really believe that we are He expressing Himself to the world “in our form.” So we have rightly spent years, year after year, to resolutely strike this one central note, that we are in a union reality with God through Christ.
The Spirit walks us through all sorts of experiences and circumstances to bring this home in us. We are daily confronted with temptations that mainly assail our personal identity in Christ. We are presented with opposite-appearing circumstances, so that by the contrast the Spirit teaches us faith against opposites, that no matter what we stand in the revelation the Spirit has given us as to Who we really are.
So, in some sense, all that getting settled and grounded (“fixed,” as Norman used to tell us), has been about “me.” It has been absolutely necessary to get that into focus, before we can move into the final (on earth) possessing of our possessions. It has been the Spirit’s school, and all the lessons the Spirit teaches us during this “get to know my true self” time, are the foundation that enables us to press on into the final consummation of our callings.
I have never made it a secret that I was involved in “Union Life” in the 1980s, or that my main “father in Christ” is Norman Grubb. What a glorious way the Spirit took me!
Back in those days, when “Union Life” was a magazine, we immersed ourselves in union with Christ, using what we called “The Six Union Life Emphases.” For the past ten years especially, my primary focus has been communicating on the first four. This has not been a “plan” I concocted. It is just simply what has happened, while I have been going around “being myself.”
Here are the first four “Union Life Emphases”:
- There is one “Self-existent” Person in the Universe, expressing in Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It is this One Person Who fills All in all, so that the entire universe, visible and invisible, is a created expression of Himself, existing to testify of the glory and love of God.
- Knowing the universal by means of particular forms. Jesus Christ is the first and foremost “form,” being the “firstborn of many brethren,” and we find ourselves, once we know His life and identity in us, as “forms” expressing a greater reality than ourselves. (Gal 4:19).
- The “Negative/Positive” relationship is a part of God’s plan. We learn that negatives point to the positive, need and lack point to sufficiency and abundance. We learn to “see through” all the negatives and impediments to see only God (that no matter the source of problems or negatives, man or devil, we see the Father’s purpose in it, and recognize that “He works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11) – which we call “single-eye seeing,” something which we have written about many times.
- Replacing appearances with Reality. Here we are daily exercised, quite purposefully by the Spirit, to “work our faith” against temptations to the opposite. This is our “faith-learning” time, where we practice over and over this “replacement.” This “replacement” means I “replace” the lies of temptations coming my way with the Word of Promise the Spirit has given us. It takes a while maybe to get our “sea-legs,” but as the Spirit exercises us every day in this, He is preparing us for our intercessory life, for we are all called to be intercessors, if it so be that we are in Christ.
As I said, almost all my writings and talks for the past ten years have been mainly in the realm of these four “emphases” above. I began to notice it a couple of years ago, and asked the Lord about it. The answer was to continue on day by day as I had been doing, and in the Spirit’s time a shift would come. We MUST first take care of ourselves – not selfishly, but for the sake of others. It’s the same reason that parents on jetliners are told in the case of an emergency to place the oxygen masks on themselves before they put them on their children. The parents are there to protect the children, but they must be alive to do so! So for the past ten years I have been exhorting myself and others to “put on the oxygen” of Christ – to receive it, to believe it, to stand on it, and to walk in it.
Now, for me anyway, the shift has come. I am sensing that the time has come, for vast multitudes of us, to move out of this right-for-the-time“self-concern” (getting ourselves grounded and settled in the inner knowledge of Christ), toward a final forgetting of ourselves, as we become more and more aware that we are the expendable means, those “accounted as sheep for the slaughter,” the ones “bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that Christ would be manifest in our mortal flesh!” (2 Cor 4:8-13).
Here are the final two Union Life Emphases:
- Sons in Spirit action by the word of faith. For much of this past time, our faith “practice” has been mainly on ourselves, i.e., standing in who we are through manifold temptations. But that is only the precursor to using “faith” on the other side of the Jordan. We are no longer children. We are not concerned with “getting things” for ourselves. Now, rising as fathers in Christ, our faith activity is now geared toward others. We are no longer those looking to fix ourselves, or to amass “stuff” to make our lives happier. Our faith now is turned outward. I am who I am. I do not have to go over that anymore. It is a done deal, a fact. And on that basis, we stand in Christ as givers and no longer receivers (though of course inner receiving is continually happening because of the “river of life” in us). We are ready to “spend and be spent,” ( 2 Cor 12:15), that others might come to Life!
- Sons in body action as intercessors. This is the ultimate, the summit. This is taking our place as “royal priests” unto God. What does a priest do? He goes to God for the people, and gives to the people what God gives him. Jesus said, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.” (John 12:24). The “intercessor” spirit is really our inner Spirit-unction of the love of God, using our bodies, minds and spirits, to “bring forth fruit unto God.” Jesus promised in John 15 that we would “bear fruit, and your fruit shall remain.” (John 15:16).
And, God permitting, that is what we will primarily be moving into in our writings and talks, as we begin to put our toes in the Jordan.
Thanks be to God.