by Fred Pruitt
From an email:
Regarding why Acts does not get into “union” life – yes, I agree with you – and whether it has anything to do with the purposed “blindness” of the Jews until the last time or not, I do not know, but I do think the church in its infancy was not ready for the fullness of Paul’s revelation of Christ in us. It is all there in the writings, just like all of grace is hidden in the Law of Moses, and like the Jews of Jesus’ day did not see grace because they were still blinded by the law, I think the church and the world were not ready for the fullness of union life yet in its infant days, not through anyone’s fault or opposition, but it was just not yet the Spirit’s time. The main thrust then was to get the believers in and the “church” established, their full maturity being another matter entirely.
Here we are 2000 years later, and I believe we are beginning to see the church starting to grasp its true identity, as individual believers begin to grasp theirs. I think it is for such a time as this. I have long been saying that what we are doing is in fulfillment of Eph 4:12-15 …
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
I cannot tell you how many times I have shared in my talks that this is all about our being “no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine …” That sure sounds like an indictment of the church in our time! In my years in Christ, I have seen many different “this is it, this is the big deal” Christian “fads” come and go. By saying that I do not necessarily mean the Spirit was not in it, because He works in us according to the Light we have, but I am speaking of things like different movements, different books that have come out (Purpose Driven Life, Prayer of Jabez only two of the most recent things of this type), that people congregate around for a while because they think “this is it!”
But then after a while the newness wears off and many are still “stuck” where they were, still not having that all-inclusive “answer” to releasing the Life of God within us, until the next “this is it” thing comes along and we think that one will do it. Something (usually despair, failure, disillusionment, sin) has to come along and knock the stuffing out of us to get us off that perpetual ministry merry-go-round. We must have our Roman 7’s, run up against the divine brick wall that self-effort cannot penetrate – “no flesh shall enter my presence.”
But it is a way the Spirit takes us, bringing people through that narrow gate from dead to sin, dead to law and dead to the lie of independence, over into a whole new quality of life through Romans 8:2 – “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” Only then do we begin to consciously live in the total, and the partial will not do anymore. Therefore there is no more chasing revivals or movements around the country or world, no more searching and reading Christian “how to” books for methods and formulas that will “make it work,” no more anything except, “as He is so are we in this world.” That gets us off the ministry merry-go-round and onto the Solid Rock!
I believe God has been keeping this truth “hidden” (from the mainstream, since many many over the years have seen it) purposely, in order to bring out the Sons in the last time. We may be in that time or close to it. Jacob Boehme says that at the time of the end all the mysteries and types and shadows will be all unraveled and revealed in plain sight, and I believe we are beginning to see that in our time. We may see it, or it may be the next generation or the next who sees it in its fullness, I don’t know, doesn’t really matter, since all we are required to do is to be faithful in our own generation, and to “find faithful men … who will teach others also.” That way we insure the next generation may build on our shoulders as they are in Christ, as we built on those who came before us.
I do want to say something about this “power for service” issue also. It is the “same” Spirit, but when speaking of the “anointing,” or “power for service” aspect of the Holy Spirit, it is somewhat different than our daily walking around in that same Spirit. Though my church background from my family was Episcopal (Anglican), when I was first born again we joined an “on fire” Pentecostal church and spent our first 7 years in Christ there. Of course, most Pentecostal doctrine requires speaking in tongues as “proof” of the “Baptism in the Spirit,” and I participated in all that. When you’re in that kind of group, doing that kind of worship, one is tempted to think that anybody out there in church-land who does not do that, does not “have” the Holy Spirit. Of course I had to learn that was not the case when I left that group.
Since then I have not regularly had fellowship with charismatics or pentecostals, but almost exclusively with people who have never “spoken in tongues,” etc., but who could deny the work of the Spirit in the brethren who have sold all to follow him? Norman never spoke in tongues but there has been no man in my lifetime that I have met, who so fully embodied Christ, and the “fruit” of Norman’s life speaks for itself, as to whether he was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. There is no question in my mind whatsoever. And that goes for many many others, as well!
But as far as “power for service,” well, in some senses and places it is over-emphasized, usually concentrating all “anointing” of that type to the pastor or ministry leadership or speaker, but since we are all royal priests, this “office” of the Spirit works in us all. (1 Cor 14 is totally clear on this. There is no mention of “everybody be quiet so the clergy can speak to us,” but total participation from everyone there. Anyone could speak or give a word from God in Paul’s group!)
The “difference” I am meaning is this: anytime, night and day, we are Christ in ourselves, being ourselves which is Christ as us. This “anytime” person we are is just our regular “self,” our humanity in its normalcy, meaning our selves, our bodies and our souls living as instruments of Christ. The “service” situation comes up as we are called upon in certain circumstances, to give a Word speaking as “oracles of God,” as Paul put it. Here we see the difference in “office.”
Have you ever wondered why Paul seemed to be speaking out of what we would call “separation,” when giving the guidelines for marriage etc. in 1 Cor 7:6, 10, when Paul says “I am saying this, not the Lord,” and again when he says, “It is not me saying this, it is the Lord.”? Why does Paul seem to talk as if he is a completely separate entity?
I have heard some say that this is the “soul man” who is this “separate” person. I don’t really think so, however. Both “offices” of ourselves, whether we are walking around in the world doing normal human things, working a job, going to the market, eating at restaurants, being with relatives – whatever our “normal human” living is – that IS the Spirit in and as us in that human normalcy. We are always “one,” always “as He is so are we in the world,” in every activity we do or condition we find ourselves in.
However, from time to time a different “office” of the Spirit in us, speaks in the authority of God as God, not as “ourselves,” but as He. It comes up in a moment, often in those same “moments” of normalcy. Someone might say something in normal conversation but for some reason the Spirit rises up and speaks some “Word” for that particular moment and person, a word of faith or something other, and then it is as if it is “gone” and we are back in normalcy and regular “speech” again. I cannot speak for anyone else, but often I “know” when that has occurred. Like Jesus knew when the woman “touched” Him, when people were touching Him and pressing against Him in a great crowd. Her touch, you might say, had “faith” in it, and He responded to that!
I think we can see it was the unified Paul speaking in both instances, one as their human brother giving his opinions and reasons for those opinions, and the other speaking as the oracle of God in the authority of Christ, for the sake of the “work” or “intercession” or a burden (another term from the old days) to see through or bring about. This is what Jesus described when He told them if they were brought before rulers etc regarding their testimony of Christ, to not pre-figure out what you’re going to say, because‘It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matt 10:18).
It is not something complicated we have to figure out how to do; rather, it is more automatic. We will be whoever we are supposed to be in the appropriate times and in the appropriate “office.” I have found out that even though I have a consciousness of it, I can’t work it, i.e., it is not in me to “turn it on” or “turn it off.” It is just that I first believed and now have seen that, “when I open my mouth wide,” the words come (“I will fill it”), and they often were not there before my mouth opened!
When I have learned it well that I cannot work it, no matter how clear my “model” or purity of the “truth” I know, then a paradox happens and I find myself “operating it.” Hard to explain, except the whole purpose of learning ‘Not I but Christ,’ is to eventually get us to the place where it is just “I” again, but now we’ve seen that all the promises of God in Him are yea and amen, meaning they have borne fruit, and this particular fruit is that we begin to take on the fullness of Christ as ourselves, fully being “I AM-ers,” and no longer “I Wish I Was-ers, or, “Ought to be-ers.”
The greatest gift the Father desires for His own pleasure is His Sons standing full in perfect divine/human harmony in their completion. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lk 12:32).