Are We Really As He Is In Our World? (Reprise)
By Fred Pruitt
(I couldn’t help myself. This bears repeating – everyday if necessary! So I had to repost, even though it has only been 5 months since it was first put up.)
I am glad to hear from you again, with a fresh set of questions. The Spirit is really bringing you along, isn’t He? All these questionings and the “issues” you bring up are just the Spirit stirring your mind, not to vex you, but that through what seems like confusion for a bit, you will begin to know the relaxed “mind of Christ” within you and all these things will fall into place. We just live a daily positive faith response in the spirit of Hebrews 11:6 – “He that comes to God must believe that He IS, and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So I’ll respond to your questions below and we’ll see where the Spirit leads.
“. . . . as he is, so are we in this world”. I can’t help to think that with a big statement like this, we are either still underestimating who we are, or we are perhaps overestimating Jesus. If we are as he is, and he is Fully God and Fully man like most of Christianity teaches . . . then that would follow that we are Fully God and Fully Man, right? I’m not seeing any room for us to be ANY different than Jesus is. Otherwise, it seems we tumble down to a non-trinitarian view that Jesus wasn’t God any more than we are God . . . That he was simply Christ in Jesus form, just like we are Christ in Fred and Bill form; that Jesus was simply a human in which Christ was fully formed in. I feel that maybe I’m not seeing something here. Hopefully you see what I’m getting at and can maybe clear the fog on this.
My first response is about understanding the workings of faith and what we are after or about. There is a great misunderstanding of faith among Christians. Some people think that faith is like magic, in that magic can produce instantaneous miracles, things which defy natural laws. And where we find this “magic” I am speaking of, is in fairy tales for the most part. Which is another way to say that many people’s ideas of the workings of faith are really just fantasy, having no substance at all. (Fyi – I am not meaning genuine spiritual charismatic gifts.)
That is because faith is not saying magic words to bring something to pass. It starts in the invisible – all faith does, whether natural faith or spiritual faith. Faith embraces something as yet unseen and “sees” it while it is still in invisibility – before it is there in appearance! In the natural it is something simple like sitting on a chair. I go into someone’s home and am invited to sit down. I pick a chair of some sort, figure it will hold me up, and then go sit down. When I sit down I find that the chair is now holding me. The holding quality of the chair was proven and manifest by my word of faith (made silently but implicit in my actions) – “I believe it will hold me so I will sit in that chair” – and the act of sitting and being held proves my faith. I didn’t really KNOW the chair would hold me until I sat and it held me. The chair, the original object of my faith, has become my reality – the thing that holds me up. We practice faith a thousand times a day in the natural, but do not realize we are doing it for the most part.
In our case regarding spiritual faith, we are operating in a different realm or principle. All our lives before we knew Christ we had operated in and only been aware of one “realm” of reality, i.e., the “outer world,” the world of the five physical senses, the world of “space and time.” To us, that is the “real” and with that viewpoint on life we enter Christ, or He enters us.
When we are saved or experience the infilling of the Spirit so that we “know” that we are “saved,” how do we know? What solidifies for us, in us, that we truly are saved? Is it because we have changed some habits, and “sins” we used to commit we don’t do anymore, or at least we do them a lot less? People change their behavior outside of Christ every day. They also get off drugs, live in monogamous relationships, and can act kindly, without being “Christian.” So changes of behavior do not prove it.
The Apostle John gives us the answer, in 1 John 5:10: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.”
Catch what it is saying here. It is a central key to two things. The first is to realize inwardly that what we have believed has now happened – this “witness” has come from the Spirit that inwardly testifies that we are His and He is ours! It is exactly the same in the spiritual as it is in the natural. In the natural, our faith is incomplete until we sit in the chair and are thus held by it. That is the point. Before I sat, I “believed” the chair would hold me. After I sat, I KNEW the chair was holding me.
It is the same with “knowing” we are saved. In the natural we “took” or “received” a chair in faith, and when we acted on our faith by sitting, the object itself was the response, in that it held us up. Now we are doing the same thing in the spiritual, but we are not talking about chairs, but about the Eternal Person! It is HE Who comes back and becomes solid rock at our feet and the rod in our backs. Just as we were, in a sense, taken over by the chair – we entrusted ourselves to it – in the same way Jesus Christ the Eternal Person “takes” us, and becomes in the spiritual exactly what the chair was in the natural – He becomes our daily everything, always underneath us with His Everlasting Arms!
There is nothing whatsoever we could do or say to or for anyone that would prove to the world and ourselves we are “saved.” And yet in us, nothing can shake us from that witness – because it is a witness that our faith has borne fruit – and in this case, I realize I have gone from darkness to light, from Satan to Christ, and the Spirit witnesses that truth within me. I cannot go back on it.
That “belief,” that I was saved, started from my side of things when I said to God I believed. At the moment of doing that, I had no “sensation” or “feeling of Presence” or any other “evidence.” I’ve told the story many times, but the time gap from the moment of confession on my part until it became a settled thing, lasted as long as it took for me to walk a couple hundred yards up the dirt road back to our house. I remember nothing of that walk, except a weight had gone and somehow a peace had come over me. But by the time I got back to our house I must have been ready to answer the question. Someone asked what had happened to me outside and I replied I didn’t know, but from now on I was “following Jesus.” The words just popped out of my mouth, a surprise to me as much as it was to the questioner. It was the moment the penny dropped into the correct slot. That is the way my life in the Holy Spirit began, by a word, and an inner affirmation of that Word coming for the first time in my understanding, from within me.
The second central key is to realize that we have entered a realm where the things we say are largely not yet seen – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7). I caught on to that verse early in my walk but for years was afraid to trust it. Like everybody else, my mind and my attention were inordinately focused on the outer and our “needs and deeds.” I thought it might be a bit irresponsible to the “real world of flesh and blood” to disregard the outer, and affirm an inner reality of which I had no clear understanding. It sounded kind of “too easy.” (Why is it that grace often presents itself that way?)
But look more at this verse in 2 Cor 5. In verse 6 Paul curiously says, “While we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” It is right after this statement that Paul says we walk by faith and not sight. This is an exact picture of what I am talking about. While we are in the body, in this life, as Paul said in another place, we see through a dark glass. Everything Paul has said about himself and all of us in Christ is applicable, but we cannot “see all” until the Lord brings us into the next stage of Life. But the glimpses and understandings the Spirit gives in this Life are sufficient to believe, speak and walk as Him in the world right now!
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb 2:6-9)
Then there is Abraham, who did not “see” the Promised Son for 25 years after God promised him. During those 25 years, Abraham continued to believe God would fulfill His Word to him. Gen 15:6 then says, “And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
Paul gives us the great truth about Abraham’s faith in Romans chapter four. “He called things which be not as though they are.” What things? Whatever “things” the Spirit says!
Above I said we are used to expressing faith (though we do not usually call it that) in the natural all day every day. But that natural realm is not our arena anymore. We are still in it but in Christ, even while we are living natural lives in the world, the Spirit opens to us the Spirit reality in our inner selves. It is completely REAL, but also completely hidden from the natural mind, including our own “outer man.” And that is where the battle-lines are drawn, between outer appearance and inner consciousness, because by this means the Spirit is bringing us to a fixed inner consciousness that we are Him expressed in our form. This is the point of temptation for all of us! And since it is the point of temptation, that means we are greatly exercised in this one issue, until the Spirit forms it in us as if He has installed a rod of iron in our spiritual spine!
The next issue I’ll mention is this statement of yours. After you quote, “as He is, so are we in this world,” you say, “I can’t help to think that with a big statement like this, we are either still underestimating who we are, or we are perhaps overestimating Jesus.”
I have a different response to that verse. I just believe it. All that “thinking” at this point can only serve to make us speak without any authority – like the scribes and Pharisees – because speculation and faith are not the same thing. One does not arrive at faith by speculation. This is the context Jesus was speaking of in the Sermon on the Mount. “Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” (Luke 12:25). One arrives at faith by believing what God says and speaking it. Now I am not meaning blind obedience to dogma or a denial of academic freedom. I am, however, talking about foundational things which are the core of the Life of the Spirit in us. These are things which we can only eventually arrive at by living the life ourselves, and we are invited to do so.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17). All He is really saying is that you cannot know what swimming is until you jump into the water. He is saying, “C’mon in, the water’s fine!” When Jesus said, “If any man will do His will …,” He was not talking about “doing” as much as He was talking about being taken by a desire to do God’s will, such as, to believe on Him! Those who said “Yes” to that desire stirring in them (by the Spirit but they don’t know that), got to see first-hand that Jesus was telling the truth. It wasn’t that they were rewarded for obedience, like a gold star or something. It’s just common sense. True “knowing” is not conceptual, but existential. A person who does not jump in the pool does not get to feel and experience what swimming is like.
I read that verse, “as He is, so are we in this world,” and think, “Golly! Really? Is that true? Hallelujah, it IS!” I have to juxtapose myself a bit with you but know what I say to you is not personal but hopefully edifying because I am talking out of my own experience of being where you are. It seems to me that the very thoughts you are expressing to me are the thoughts of a separated mind, that does not yet understand Who you really are in your life. Wonderful! What better place to start considering union and oneness with God than in our own separated understanding? And since we’re all born this way, this is where we ALL start!
Now, I would have to say that either underestimating or overestimating is just another “us figuring God out,” while we stand as if separate from Him and in a sense, judge. We judge the things God says and debate them, and all that is from vanity or folly. Don’t debate, speculate, etc. One does not understand the truths of God from the natural mind, and an awful lot of the “theology” out there is mostly just natural mind thoughts. Reasoning about God from our intellect. There is nothing wrong with intellect, as long as it is in its proper place. Intellect is servant of the Spirit, but intellect cannot get us there. It can only conceptually overcome the “space-time” universe and imagine spiritual life. Lots of people mistake their conceptual imaginations of a spiritual life for the real thing – that’s the danger of it! But a lot of these speculations in the paragraph of yours above are to me are a bunch of natural mind thoughts trying to figure God out, when all we really have to do is shut up inside ourselves and BE – because He already Is your inner life. You already ARE Christ in your form! BE still, and know that I AM God!
The Spirit gives great understanding of that as we believe it and walk it out. But we do not enter into anything the Spirit gives us except through the receiving of faith. Leap first, understand later. First find rest and peace. Understanding will come and already has, and will increase! It isn’t our job to make this happen, but something the Spirit does in us if we want it. And certainly I believe you want it.
This is not a point of doctrine. To repeat: the Spirit is hitting us square in the face with an amazing statement, and we can either stand around and debate it, speculate on its various meanings, or we could just bypass all that and believe the naked words the Spirit has said and thus enter into its reality, rather than bounce the concept of reality around like a rubber ball.
On my “Christology,” I don’t want to get into that, but to put your mind at ease, I’ll just tell you I have a standard (I guess) “Protestant” Christology that is pretty orthodox, etc.
There is nothing sinister here. There is nothing that more explanation can make clear to you at the moment. I believe if you can arrive at faith instead of just solving intellectual conundrums you will see for yourself, just like you talk of how you are living your daily life now that you have begun to see that you are the Gospel! You don’t think you’re Jesus, though, do you? Of course not, you’re you, but Christ is manifesting in the world as you in your environment and you have seen that! Nobody has to explain it to you, because you took that little leap of believing, and a new slightly raised consciousness (depth of understanding) is yours from the Spirit. That is where the understanding comes from. This is just more of the same one Truth! The Truth that God is All in all. The Truth that there is none beside Him. And the Truth that in Christ we are His expressions of Love in our world. He is the Total God perfectly Living in and as our perfected humanity, and when we walk, it is He walking, and when we talk, it is He talking.
Ok, I’ll stop there. We’ll get to your other questions next time.
Sequel to Article: The Death and Resurrection Principle