The True Greater Works
By Fred Pruitt
Now, you mention signs and wonders, and you’re not alone in that. I hear it every day and everywhere I go. It is amazing how much this comes up, “Greater works than these shall you do.” Almost always when someone brings up this question, it has seemed to have come out of some measure of condemnation on the part of the questioner. It is almost always put something like this: “The word says we shall do greater works than Jesus. How can we say ‘Christ in me,’ if we do not produce these “greater works?” (John 14:12).
Now, not always, but most of the time when someone brings the question to me, let me repeat, he or she asks it out of self-condemnation, which he not only receives in himself since he sees this as a lack in himself, but also by the very question brings pretty much the whole body of Christ into his self-judgment, since in every case I remember, the questioner asks it out of his own self-condemnation in the beginning, but it always ends up, “WE SHOULD” be doing this. I capitalize the “WE SHOULD,” because right there is the culprit.
First, the “WE” is stressing that this person’s self-condemnation over this issue is not just him, but common to all of us – “WE” should all share it.
And then the “SHOULD.” So not just him, but the whole lot of us, “SHOULD BE” doing this – “Greater works than these.” This “should” is of the law. The law works very simply like this. We see the commandment, and then we look back at ourselves, and we find we do not measure up. We “should” be like this, but to ourselves, we are not “like” that, and then we condemn ourselves because we are not what “we should be.”
But faith is completely outside the law. It is through faith only, that we are enabled by the Spirit to bridge that gap, from what we think we “should be,” to accepting God’s acceptance of us as we are, rather than some “self-cleaned-up” version of ourselves we imagine the Lord would accept.
So let’s review. Have we come to know ourselves in Christ, walking in oneness so that He is the Life which expresses through our lives? Have we come to know by the Spirit, that we are moved and directed and perfectly placed, every moment of every day, as perfect expressions of His perfection – “treasure in earthen vessels?” ( 2 Cor 4:7).
This life is a life of total sufficiency, in which “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) Having come to know that, the phrase, “should be,” has left our vocabulary, having been replaced in our hearts with, “I am.” And out of that inner place of oneness (one spirit with Him – 1 Cor 6:17), His Life proceeds via our lives into the world to multiply Himself in others. We have been made “able ministers” of the New Testament (2 Cor 3:6), teachers and expressers of the reconciliation of God with man, and our “commission” is not an achievement of man, nor a reward or “title” of his to bestow, but rather it has come by the seal of the Spirit, common to all who are in Christ who will take up that mantle. If we are in Christ, ALL do take up the mantle of servant-hood, who, “preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake,” (2 Cor 4:5), but we also acknowledge specific gifts given to some but not all, all of this only for the edification of the Body of Christ and for the glory of no man, except Jesus Christ.
We Live Christ-Instigated Lives
This is a Christ/Spirit-instigated life. And what He instigates, He fulfills! We have only one “job” in all this. We are receivers. That’s it. We are receivers, and then transmitters of what we have received. We live in God’s Life, Christ in us, and “our conversation is in heaven.” (Phil 3:20). Our marching orders — what we do daily — we receive out of the Father in us, Who “does the works.” (John 14:10). He works those “marching orders” into us, either with our conscious understanding or without it, in and through our daily desires, thoughts, and the spontaneous things that “come up” throughout our day. I do not mean that we do not plan or schedule things to do, etc., because all that is part of the marching orders, too, if we do that. We live “normal” human lives, living in the world, using the world’s things, but not of it, because now we have seen this great, astounding thing, this “great sight” that we turn aside to see, as Moses turned aside to see the “Burning Bush.”
This “great sight” we have turned aside to see, is greater than any miracle than could ever be accomplished in the temporal world. Now this is where our lifelong hypnosis with the outer world is seen so that the hypnosis might be broken in us. We seem to have an almost absolute mindset, that the appearances we see daily in the temporal, are the “real world,” and therefore there must be some expected “manifestation” in the “real world,” either in us or in the world about us, and it is in that “real world of manifested appearances” that we expect to see these “greater works.”
Indeed, it is like wrenching our mind almost, to be shifted in vision from outer to inner. We cannot “see” inner. We cannot feel it, grasp it, point it out and say, “There it is,” or even give it adjectives. We can only “be” it. Who we are in “inner consciousness” is where we really live and who we really are. It is the seat of Christ in us. God’s purposes in bringing us along in His consciousness of Himself in us, living as us, include this major shift in vision, in which we see in God’s purposes AND His ways, in the eternal, and slowly and gradually the shift occurs, though sometimes it is with a suddenness like an earthquake produced from the geological plates striking each other deep in the heart of the earth.
This is a complete overhaul in our hearts, mind, understanding and knowledge. This IS the growing up into Him, the Head, “unto a perfect man,” which is both true corporately in the Body of Christ, that we, together, are that “One Perfect Man,” but then also, I believe we are permitted to say, that we are each the embodiment of this “One Perfect Man,” so that all that He is, I am, because He is the True Life in me.
The Real Miracle
This IS the greater work! This is the great miracle! This far exceeds any miracle of a temporal nature, no matter how powerful or mighty. God does indeed do those kinds of miracles in the temporal, and who knows, some of those may be seen in any of our lives as God directs. But I am convinced THIS is the “greater works” Jesus meant, though I find others hard to convince of it because to some it sounds like a “convenient” way to explain why we don’t “manifest” those kinds of “miracles.”
And certainly that could be the case, except that I am truly convinced that the far greater “miracle” is the raising of one’s consciousness in Christ to oneness with Him, so that “Christ is formed” in Him, turning that person, effectively, into another “Christ-one,” another “sent one.” This person may now speak with true authority, not a fleshly authority of being “above” someone to “rule” them, but the “authority” that comes with fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, so that he has “seen and heard” for himself, and now in that authority of faith he declares what he has seen and heard.
When we ARE the Truth, our very being is authority! No man gives it to us; it is simply part of the package of having grown up into fatherhood in Him. Because we have now become the embodiment, the “oneness with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” in “our mortal flesh,” we are now able to “show that fellowship” by the life of Christ that is now showing up in us.
The deeds of Jesus up until the Cross, were all done in the temporal. It was certainly a demonstration of the Eternal in the temporal, but His prophecy of “greater works” is less concerned with the temporal, because it is not temporal results, temporal fixes, temporal deliverances that we are wanting. Every one of Jesus’ “temporal” miracles, is demonstrating a far greater reality than the healing of bodies or deliverance from mental or spiritual evil forces as they relate to the physical body and soul of this world.
The works of Jesus in the temporal were parables for the TRUE WORKS, the GREATER WORKS, which is the change of hearts through the new birth, and then the final “Graduation Day,” when we see, by the Spirit, that all our captivity had been inward, having nothing whatsoever to do with whatever temporal circumstances we were in, and that even in all that, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30).
We keep thinking it’s the stuff in the temporal that needs to be “fixed,” that that is where God needs to show up in His miracle-working “power.” But the New Testament takes us out of the temporal, telling us that the true life is the Eternal. Everything that had come before, in the Old Covenant, had been only parables pointing to the day of fulfillment, when the REAL deliverances would come.
And Jesus, in His earthly ministry in Palestine and Galilee, healed lepers, gave sight to those born blind, delivered demoniacs from their demons, and released the captives from their prisons. His point was not the miracles in themselves, but their spiritual counterparts, since we have all been as spiritual “lepers,” people who have been “born blind,” tortured by our demons, kept in captivity to fear and condemnation. To come to “maturity” in this, is to see that no temporal fix or miracle will bring us to the fullness of Christ in us. We are not looking for that kind of healing or miracle. We are looking for the eternal miracle, which is of FAR GREATER WEIGHT, than any bodily or emotional healing, financial deliverance, or any other such thing that we seek “miracles” for. Our treasure is in heaven, not the earth, so that is the only realm in which we are to see these “greater works.”
In essence, we are doing what Jesus of Nazareth could not do! He could heal bodies and minds, temporally. But, He could not raise their consciousness into oneness with the Father because the multitudes who sought Him for miracles, were not looking for that, and without the infusion of the Holy Spirit, they could not even know it anyway. The Holy Spirit had not yet been sent. But the reason I point to the fact that the physical things in themselves were not the point, but pointed to a greater reality that would come as a result of the Cross, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, is because the church has to a large degree still not seen this. We are still trying to reproduce the Old Testament, which is all geared toward the outer, whereas the New Testament finds its truth in the Spirit, in the invisible, the Eternal, rather than the visible, the temporal. Here, we seek “no continuing city,” but we seek a city to come, whose foundation is God! (Heb 11:10; 13:14). So why do we keep building tabernacles?
Let me tell you, in the past folks have who been made aware of Who they are and operate out of that consciousness have been rare, but now they are not. This is the Spirit’s call in this day. Not to raise the physically dead, but to raise the spiritually dead. I speak metaphorically when I speak of the church. Because those in Christ are not spiritually dead. But in some sense, in consciousness (knowledge, wisdom and understanding), there is a great pall of death and grave-clothes over the minds of multitudes of believers. It is the time of the raising of the consciousness of the sons of God, to come to who know who they are, so that they are those who by trial have stood the test, having discovered no strength in themselves, but the strength that is found in the Lord God only.
I am not looking for a new wave of “great and mighty” ministers, who gather the thousands around them, though we would not deny any work of God, but what I am meaning is of a great “marching army,” that is more like the original “citizen-soldiers” of Rome and Greece, who spent their time not being trained military men, but doing their daily activities, farmers, merchants, laborers, politicians, etc. They donned their military gear when called for purposes of defense. Those were not the “professional” armies that came later, whose activities were not necessarily for the defense of the state, but often for the personal whims of the generals and rulers.
This is what I see is the way things must go. The “Body of Christ” is ready to come to its maturity. And this is not organizational, nor will it happen according to any “program” of man. We are not lining up as an army to become the legions of Rome, to serve the Caesars. The “Body of Christ” serves no Caesar. We are instead, truly an army, but a benevolent army, an army to edify, to lift up, to reconcile, to release, to declare the kingdom of God, where God is the king of each, with no intermediary.
This Is Now the Day
The days of intermediaries between man and God are over. Through the Man Jesus Christ we are all brought fully into access of the deepest Holy of Holies, with “unveiled access” to the Father through the Son. The Old Covenant is clear in its meanings, in which the people were terrified of God, (out of their own guilty self-condemnation), so that they sought an intermediary, and tasked Moses to go up for them before the Lord. And too often we have this same Old Testament system still in place in the Christian church, where some who minister would prevent their people from direct access to God, in order to keep them to themselves, “under their authority.”
To use the vernacular, I am seeing the Church rise up, not in the proliferation of mighty mass meetings and more prima donna ministers at the forefront of everything, but in a “grass roots” revival! In my earlier days, I envisioned these great mass meetings, with thousands upon thousands, and joining with others we began to work on a “church” that could handle just such a movement. Using the Temple of Solomon as our example, we saw these great mass meetings where the “Shekinah Glory” would “come down” and fill the temple. As the temple of Solomon did, in our attempted re-creation of that temple, we had all the “ministries,” much as the work was divided up between the House of Aaron and the other Levites, with singers, players, guards, people who see about this and about that. And also, like the worship at the Temple of Solomon, we envisioned the crowds coming to our mass meetings on special days, on Sunday, Wednesday night, “holy days,” at, “holy feast times,” etc.
But what temple did Jesus mean, when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”? Did He rebuild the Temple of Solomon (or Herod, as was the case in Jesus’ time)? What raised in three days? Of course not. Jesus did not rebuild the Temple of Solomon, Herod, or any other “outer” temple. He spoke of the temple of His Body, the scriptures tell us, and this is a very deep truth and the heart of the New Testament. He did not come so that we could build more giant edifices, since even in the Old Testament He said He did not dwell in temples made by man. It appears to me that this great proliferation of “mega-churches” in our time is exactly out of this Old Testament view. The New Testament has nothing to do with man-made buildings, just as “greater works” have nothing to do with something that only has to do with the temporal, and our temporal lives.
When Jesus raised from the dead, “In three days I will raise it up,” He was rising not just as Jesus of Nazareth alone, but as ALL OF US as spiritually embodied in Him, so that when He died, we died, and when He rose, we rose. It is not and has never been about a building of wood or stone. Nor has it ever been about seeing some visible “cloud,” so that we can know God has been “with” us. We are the building Jesus was speaking of that was raised in three days, and now that same “glory,” the same “Shekinah” glory that surrounds the throne of God and is “about” Him at all times, is the glory in which we are dwelling and manifesting IN THIS CURRENT MOMENT. (John 17: 1, 5, 22).
We are quickly going away from the day when we say, “Come to our church to hear our pastor.” The day is gone when we have to get folks into a building, so that we can have our “expert” speak the things of God to them. The days are now past, when the people of God are content to “let the preacher” be the main one to minister the things of Christ. This is now the day for the “priesthood” of all believers. This is now the day, when ALL are kings and priests before God. This is now the day, when each member of the Body of Christ, receives their instructions directly from the Spirit of Christ within, in-stead of some outer “imposed” authority who claims to be “their cover.”
This is the beginning of these days:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD.” (Jer 31: 33,34).
And you mention “other things” the Lord has for us, other than just this “union” truth. Certainly you are right about that! But, the Lord hasn’t called me to deal with the “other things.” As far as the spiritual gifts, again, the Spirit differentiates all those to, through and as us, and I don’t emphasize them as something we should “seek” to have, because experience and the Spirit have taught me that He brings each of us in His own time and ways the perfect fulfillment in each of our lives. Some He leads down the charismatic gifts path; some of us He leads in different directions. He “created good works” before the foundation of the world for us to walk in, then Who of us could walk in those works except the Spirit reveal and do them by us? And, will He fail to do so? Can we not rest in Him and know, that when He calls, we will answer? All it is, is taking the next step.
That is why I hammer and hammer and hammer this one thing home: if you see who you are, in union with Christ, one person with Christ, operating as one person (will, thought, intent, motivation), then right there you have your sufficiency, your perfect timing, your “rest” in God, because you have seen Him as the Doer, the Knower, the Chooser. One cannot know what that means intellectually and will debate it endlessly on that level, but it is known in the doing, in the joining in, in the committal of faith prior to sight. Jesus said, “If anyone will do His will, he will know … the doctrine I speak.” That’s the key to it all – “if anyone will do His will.” (John 7:17).
You see, this is where the division is made. This is where we realize it is not by doctrinal purity that we see and know. It is not by correct thinking according to some system we have devised, nor is it correct “believing” in the correct doctrines and truths. The gift is given to “anyone who will do His will,” not to those who know more stuff. It is not given to anyone who will not do His will. It starts in little children and continues inasmuch as we remain as little children in the simplicity of faith.
The key is in the “I will.” At this point it does not matter if we are “manifesting” or not. It is not the point. Paul found himself “delighting with the law of God after the inward man, but how to perform …” (Rom 7:22, 18b). Because Paul realized at least that much about himself, that there was “something” within him that desired to do the will of God though he could not actualize that will in his own life.
That is why this is not a matter of the correct interpretation of Romans 7 and 8. It is not a doctrinal thing the Spirit does with us here, because it is the Spirit, and the Spirit only, no teaching of man, no importunity of man, but the Spirit only who pushes us through the eye of that needle, through which we could not push ourselves. It’s the “eye of the needle” a rich man cannot pass through, because he has all his self-riches clinging to him and he’s too fat with possessive self to squeeze through, even though he desires to do it. Jesus said that it was impossible for men to do. It cannot be done.
But with God, all things are possible. And it is this One God, Who, by the Spirit, pushes us through that narrow gate, through which no flesh can pass, and brings us through to the other side, into the liberty of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, no more indebted to the “law of sin and death,” all the way through groaning and travailing right on through to the “glorious liberty of the sons of God.” That’s the panorama of Romans 8. It takes us from the intensely personal in declaring there is no more condemnation toward us and the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus HAS us free from the law of sin and death, to the whole plan of God for now and the ages to come in the long-awaited “manifestation of the sons of God,” for whom the whole creation has been in travail since the beginning.
It is a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit and it is He Who determines our times, which is why we cannot systematize this into a one-size-fits-all, step-by-step, 1-2-3 here’s what you do and here’s how to do it “program,” we can now take to our churches or weekend conferences. There is no manual for this, except, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”