by Fred Pruitt
The Son shall make you free
Freedom is at the heart of everything godly. The New Testament as well as the old, promises freedom, liberty, and Paul exhorts us to stand fast in the freedom of Christ into which we have entered. And freedom, the right true freedom, we might also say is synonymous with love, because true love cannot operate any other way than in freedom. Like the Sting song says, “If you love somebody, set them free!”
We were born, were begotten, out of that same freedom of God in our innermost being, our spirits. The scripture says, “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” (Prov 20:27). That means that our spirits are the potentially heavenly part in us, for we were not born for just the earth, but for heaven and earth (heaven in earth).
Long ago I realized that man is in microcosm what God is in macrocosm, that is, as Paul said, “we are his offspring,” (Acts 17:28,29), and that is the “spirit part” of us. What I mean by that, is that God is within us in His fullness, for wherever He IS, He is not a “part” of Himself but the Total of Himself. Everything about the Godhead and time and the eternal is in God, in me. So as I see His Life manifest in me, the Spirit’s wisdom uses that to teach me of God in myself. And the Spirit does that in all of us.
And this spirit part of us, desires freedom and a return to its source, because that is freedom.
Let’s examine this a minute. When I am speaking of “freedom,” I am meaning freedom in its true sense, which is not simply being able to do any and every thing one wants, or anything else along those lines, which is chaos. Instead, true freedom gives us necessary choices that determine our paths in life. Each “choice” for this path or that path, actually brings us to what we might call a fork in the road. Whichever road we take, puts us on one path, and not the other, thus defining our freedom because saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. The easiest example is marriage. In my freedom of choice, I “chose” Janis to be my wife. That choice comes with limitation, because in saying “Yes,” to Janis, I am saying, “No,” to every other woman in the world. However, within the borders of marriage, we live in total freedom in that choice.
Now God has given to every human being an inward choice, where we decide in a foundational sense what we will be, who we want to be, and whether we will be God’s instruments of love, or Satan’s instruments of self-elevating self. Of course, the choice is rarely presented exactly in those terms, but no matter what the trappings they may be, at heart that is the choice of choices and in one way or another everyone faces it. I am certain this is a universal truth.
Jesus said, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:20,21).
I wondered about that passage for years, because it sounds like those who come to the Light are already “doing truth,” before they come, and they come into the light to confirm it, so to speak. But if we are “sin” before we come, how could that be?
One day I saw it – we divide according to what we desire and want to be. (This is explained more thoroughly below.) And understand, even this is a “received” desire, i.e., not originating in ourselves! We are experiencing in some way the drawing of the Father, and at the same time receiving a “love of the truth.” (2 Thes 2:10).
(We cannot penetrate deeper than this, for God tells us no more than this, that the natural man would desire to know. I do not know why some receive, and apparently, some do not. Also, on this subject, many have wondered how we can say we “chose rightly,” because that sounds like pride, or self-effort, or gives us an edge others do not have. For that reason, some have rejected the idea of choice altogether, refusing to choose, because that would be prideful, somehow saying “I” had a part in the completion of my own salvation. It sounds subtly legalistic. But the fact remains that part of being a person is freedom – and freedom, as I said above, is not freedom but chaos, until freedom is utilized for its right purpose, choosing this or not choosing that. And it is certainly Biblical! My goodness, how many times does the New Testament [not to mention the Old] put “choice” as the dividing issue, exhorting each person to decide to “call upon the Name of the Lord,” or to remain in their sins and inner wrath? )
This goes right into the heart of the issue, because that is exactly the issue, what will be the heart, “our” heart? Outside the kingdom, we are darkness and our hearts are wicked, because they are indwelt by a wicked source. In the new birth, we are changed in heart, so that our new heart is Christ, and His Desires become our desires.
So, the central issue is the heart, and what originates there:
“Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life!” (Pr 4:23).
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:34).
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matt 15:11,17-20);
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Pr 23:6,7).
God’s will is freedom, an effluence of freedom in a universe of freedom. We have only one basic choice. Do we choose Him, and His life of love outpoured, or by refusing to choose Him, we choose what we think is ourselves, (but Satan in disguise), wrongly believing ourselves to be sufficient in ourselves? At the point of that choice we may not know that we are transacting with God at first. Something deeper in ourselves than our own minds moves us. We may not hear the Speaking Word at first, or have any clue whatsoever that God is speaking to and drawing us, but are just drawn to a new direction which we find ourselves following.
What About Will?
I think this subject is very little understood in Christendom in general. I’m not sure what I would hear from people if I asked them to describe the “will of God” as it relates to their lives. I think probably a good many, if not most, would say that there were all kinds of things in their lives that are “not” the will of God, things about ourselves that we think God is displeased with, etc., and we have to go through a time of purging to one by one remove those obstacles and idiosyncrasies from us. It is doubtful we could ever complete the project while in this life, but if we did, THEN we could say we live according to the will of God. So for them, the “will of God” would be to remove all the “not God’s will” stuff from our lives. Good luck! Even trying to make a determination of which is God’s will, and which is not on that level, wrings us out.
“Will,” in these cases, touches everything. Most people associate “will” with action, activity, a decision about what to do, where to go, Who will be our God, etc. Will, in that context is just another word for “choice.”
But “will” is even more than that, both in God and in us. In another sense, will is more like a “mindset,” an immovable determination, that this is where I stand and this is who I am. Sort of a continuously chosen “choice.” The reason I can include this in “will,” is because this fixed determination we have come to, this mindset, we had to come to it through a choice between alternatives in it.
I am speaking here on the deepest level, involving the integrity of our whole being, not whether we’ll have chicken or beef for dinner tonight. At our deepest level, we decide whether we want to be love, light and blessing; or, we can say “To hell with that,” and fix ourselves into self-loving selves, out to get whatever we can. Every one in the world is continuously confronted with this inner determination, whether they know it or not. That is one of the reasons why Jesus could say, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21)
Someone might ask, how could people who are not of the faith of Christ, be included in that? How can anyone “do” truth, and not be speaking from the Spirit of Truth?
And it is in this inner determination, in what NPG used to call, “fixed inner consciousness,” that our path is decided. We decide which kind of person we want to be, other-lover or self-lover, and everything in life opens up to us in whichever direction we go. If we decide we want to be a self-lover, life will open up to us along those lines and provide us with everything we need to be that self-lover. If conversely, we decide we want to be that other kind of person, an “other-lover,” then the same thing happens. Everything in life begins to open up and connect with that.
Now, if any reader has stuck with me this long, maybe it’s good the crowd has thinned out, because I am about to say a very disagreeable thing, according to some folks. The “disagreeable thing” is this: Both sides of that coin above, deciding to become an other-lover, or not making that decision and by default stay in the darkness of our own self-loathing and self-judgment, ARE ALL THE WILL OF GOD! (Hint – God “wills” freedom!)
How can I say that? For two simple reasons. First, Paul wrote in Eph 1:11, that He works all things according to the counsel of His own will. I really believe that phrase, “all things.” How many things? ALL things!
And secondly, God gives us the answer Himself, regarding His Being, His Love, and His Freedom. I quote it all the time: “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.” (Ps 18:26; 2 Sam 22:7; Titus 1:15).
While we are not independent, there is still a “place” in us that is, in a sense, “ours” alone. It is right here in this issue – which kind of person do I want to be? Everything from then on out is a result of that inner momentous transaction, and likewise we are “God’s will” expressed, in that choice, be it darkness or light. (How could God’s will be expressed in darkness? Read on!)
Let’s look again at that passage, first – “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure.” This is saying the exact same thing as Jesus’ word on the “single eye.” “If thine eye be single, then thy whole body shall be full of light.” This is the “eye” as Jesus described it, that sees only one thing – God! Over, under, beneath, above, in and through ALL! No matter what else may appear on the landscape, be it war, famine, pestilence, destroyed lives, selfish behavior – whatever it is – we see only God, because there is no other Power, no other Mind, no other Heart, ACTIVE in the universe, working all things after the counsel of His own Will, which is Love, or in William Law’s terms: “the eternal will to all goodness.” The disturbances in the foreground, which may come from “evil” being evil, cannot blind us to the God Who works every bit of it, down to the smallest most minute detail, for the glory of the Redeemed! Nothing excepted!
Understand this – Satan does not run himself, which is why there is no reason to quake in front of him! He is not free to wreak havoc wherever and whenever he wants to. He may be self-deluded that he is in charge, but he is not. If in ANY SENSE, Satan has a “power” that the Lord God cannot thwart, swallow up, or transmute into righteousness, then Romans 8:28 falls to the ground as an ultimate sham, because God is promising something He apparently cannot deliver, if Satan is actually an “independent self,” doing his own thing in contradiction to God’s love.
“And with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.” (The dictionary defines “froward” as “willfully contrary.”) This is the other side of the coin. In that inner determination to be for ourselves, whether by default or deliberate choice (and some do deliberately make that choice), we can then only see what we are and know, which is frowardness. It is perverseness, rebellion, scoffing, mocking, haughtiness. It is seeing other people just as “objects” to be manipulated and bound in our service.
When “with the pure thou wilt show thyself pure” overtakes us, everywhere we look we see the glory and purity of God. Conversely, when we walk in willful frowardness, we see hell everywhere, because that is what we are. We see and transmit outwardly whatever we are, not necessarily what our words or even deeds may say. If we are heaven within, that is what will come out of us. Likewise, if we are hell within, that also is what will come out of us. The difference is, heaven will edify and make you you, your true self. Hell, on the other hand, only seeks to gobble us up, and as the Holy Spirit brings Christ in us to shine like the Son in benevolence and blessing, if we are darkness within, the false spirit only seeks who it may trap and devour by us, like a black hole in space, that scientists say have such a strong inward gravitational pull, they trap Light! Light enters in, but never comes back out.
The same theme is picked up in Revelation 22: 11,12 –
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Here is the point – people are really confused about this, and have built fantastical doctrines to reflect their confusion. Free will, predetermination, whether separation is eternal or “age” lasting, etc., everyone of those questions kind of dovetail down into this issue.
This is “how” everything is worked according to the counsel of His own will. We say this because we want to be very clear and understood if possible. Everything there is, “lives and moves and has its being in God.” Paul told that to the “unredeemed” Athenians in Acts 17. There is no other “locale” in the universe, except the existence, the be-ing of God, Who is All in all, and being that “ALL,” He cannot be perceived by that which is only a “part.”
But the point is, we live in the “be-ing” (substance, reality, existence) of God, simply because there is no other “place” to be! We know Him either in Love or in Wrath. “Wrath” is not something He does to punish us, nor is it some divine emotion God “feels” about us. It is even less a fixed destiny, but if we do not know the Son, Whose Light and Love bring us into the same, then we can only see wrath. John says this in plain words: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”(Jn 3:36). Understand, God leaves the “wrath” intact in this or that person, not for punishment, but that by the futility of that wrath we might come to a saving knowledge of the truth!
Let us understand this. This “wrath” we are speaking of, is not the “uncontrollable rage” of God, boiling mad at us and the world for a million-gazillion sins, and hot to bring us destruction because of it. There is no wrath in God – He is only love. God Himself says that He does not see evil. (Hab 1:13). John says that in God there is no darkness at all (even though John also says “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not”).
And yet, wrath is prevalent! What we must come to understand in all this, is that what “wrath” there is, is not in God, in His “God is Love” nature. It is “in” God, in the sense that creatures out of fellowship with Him can only know wrath in themselves, because through unbelief they have cut themselves off from the only thing that cools the fires of self-loving self – The SON – the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”
God’s purpose has never been about wrath and punishment. Those are the devil’s tools. It has from the beginning been a road that in the fullness of time eventually leads to that for which the whole creation has been in earnest travail since the first day of creation: the manifestation of the Sons of God!
God is not busying Himself with worries about our foibles and lack of understanding, always ashamed of His children who continuously do such a lousy job. Think about that a moment. I really know this “condemnation,” because I lived in it for years. Because I saw my life in apparent “lack,” I almost never had the personal sense of God being “pleased” with me. I had a million reasons by which I could prove my case. In the natural, would we believe someone was living in a healthy and nurturing environment, if a child in a family is made on a daily basis to feel shame and self-disappointment? Would we think that parent was a good parent? Of course not! Then why do we think God is like that?
God Himself came, in the Son, to quiet the wrath in us, and to restore us to complete and full fellowship, through Jesus Christ. Everything in the temporal created universe is geared toward that one end. And it is all love, anything and everything, even the darkest evil which remains “evil,” because God uses the negative energy of “evil” to bring forth those very sons for whom the whole creation is groaning daily with pains of labor.
And make no mistake about it, God certainly uses that “wrath” card if necessary. There are no rules in love, and no right or wrong way to do things. Love uses any and every thing to accomplish its goal, which is to reproduce that same love in the “other.” Luther took holy orders because of the terror he felt in a thunderstorm, afraid it was the wrath of God and he feared he would be dragged into hell. So he became a monk through fear.
People are always trying to “put God in a box” according to how they think He should act. “God would never use fear or anything negative toward us, because He is love,” they say. I guess they want people to come to Christ for the right reasons. I don’t care why they come or what gets them there, and neither does the Father. Love uses whatever it has available to press its claims. Even people’s misunderstandings and fears, even wrong teaching. Even sin, if necessary! There is no place Love will not go to rescue her beloved! Love sits with you while you vomit, wiping your brow with a damp cloth, and will not leave.
As I said above, the “will of God” is really not some elusive mumbo-jumbo, that we have to genuflect or crawl on broken glass to understand. The “will of God” is just what happens in our lives, and in the lives of everyone else, each and every day.
It is not some static pre-thought-out plan, sitting in a filing cabinet in heaven, that I must adhere to in each successive step every day. Nor is it something written in a book, “Fred will go to west Rome today,” that if I fail to do, I will have somehow missed the boat and the will of God.
The “will of God” is simply that by which we function and find perfect direction, consciously or unconsciously, every single day. We do not “find” the will of God for our lives and then try to live it out. Instead, we are Spirit people, Holy Spirit people, and the life we are living IS the will of God, right now, THIS moment! We may not know what’s coming up tomorrow, or even in the next five minutes. But we DO KNOW that God performs His promises, and that He is doing that very thing in us!
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thes 5:24)
End Part One