Razing the False Foundations
By Fred Pruitt
(The dictionary defines “raze” to mean, “to tear down, demolish, throw to the ground.”)
Back a dozen or so years ago, I wrote and published a little booklet titled, “The Meaning of The Incarnation.” The Spirit began stirring that up in me, and in a way everything I have shared since has been in fulfillment of that truth. The reason it has come up now is to accentuate what some others are saying along the same lines, that the truth isn’t Jesus portraying what God is like as God, but Jesus portraying what God is like AS a human being. I have heard so much emphasis put on the former, whereas the latter, which I think is the real point, is often completely overlooked.
The part that ensues from Jesus portraying what God is as a man, is then extended to all of us. Jesus is now walking AS you and AS me. Of course we say Jesus but it is not Jesus really, but the Spirit operates Christ in us, which comes out from us not as Jesus of Galilee, but as Bob or Karla or Mary or Fred, which is the way God has always intended it to be.
God has never desired that we would “get out of the way” so that God could come through. There is some truth in that, in the sense that in the beginning we think we’re a bigger more capable self than we actually are, and it usually takes a while for most of us to be disabused of that notion. Just a little growing up adjustments, but the end result is expressed so perfectly by Paul, when he says we grow up into Him, Christ the Head, and are knit together in union forever with Him in love, and Paul’s intercession for all the body of Christ for all time is all fulfilled in all of us,“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal 4:19). Christ formed, not just in Paul or in those Christians from Galatia long ago, but in you and me!
My friend John Bunting always says that there does come a day of graduation. A day of graduation in the Spirit, when we realize or are inwardly confirmed that we are “fixed” in Who we are. It does not mean there will not be any more temptation, or that suddenly we have achieved a problem-free life. It just means it’s the day we realize that Christ has been formed in us, when we weren’t even looking, or trying to do it to ourselves through all our plans and machinations.
Suddenly, one day, it was just sitting there like a package wrapped with paper and string on the side of the road. A gift box that said, “Open me and I’m yours.” A gift out of nowhere! What gift? Well, all these things rolled into one. The “pearl of great price” that we sold all we had to purchase. The “Treasure hidden in a field.” Where did it come from? We found it just sitting there waiting to be taken. It was the gift of our full and true selves, found hidden in Christ until revealed by our baptismal death. It was the flip-side of understanding our death, as Paul said again, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:3). When we realize our “death,” we find our true life in Christ!
That to me was and is the full meaning of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. It is that just as God was incarnated in the Only Begotten Son Jesus of Nazareth, then through Him by the Spirit, God is also incarnated in us, to function as Himself in our crazy wacky selves, because God loves variety and freedom. Then the further mystery being that we are just very normal human selves who are just being ourselves in a spontaneous life where Living Water is eternally springing up out of the infinite artesian well within us, and flowing out like a River as we let its existence be by our word of faith. (Rom 10:8-10).
Since we are tearing down some false foundations here, I think I’ll go right for the juggler on this one, and tear all our foundations down in one fell swoop. The reason I say that is because if the foundation is not right, the building will not stand and will be rickety as long as it does stand.
Let’s talk about the term, “interpreting scripture.” There it is, right smack-dab in the center of almost all denominations and sects that name the name of Christ, is the bite of the false tree. And it is downhill from there.
What do I mean? First of all, “interpreting scripture” is an innocent enough term, one most Christians are familiar with and often use. Many are also quite confused as to what the “Word of God” actually is. This is a tremendous spiritual misunderstanding, because when we seek to interpret scripture, it simply makes us one step removed from God or the Spirit Who indwells us. It is a “separated mind” sort of concept.
In that way of looking at things there are three elements: God, the Scriptures, and us. The Scriptures stand between us and God. Our access to God, so we think, is based on the quality of our interpreting Scripture, as if it is a foreign language or a code of some sort. Therefore, our “way” to God is somehow found in finding the right interpretations, or deciphering in some way the “divine codes” supposedly hidden in Scriptures.
To “interpret” Scripture is sort of like being the children of Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai. They could not touch the mountain of God, so they wanted Moses to be with God for them, to be God’s “interpreter.” An “interpretation” of scripture is not scripture, and thus more palatable for many. It’s like reading a big study Bible with copious notes and references at the bottom of the page. We have to remember the notes are not the scriptures, though it’s easy to forget and get them mixed up. When I was first reading scriptures I would always see what the notes said about a passage and tended to see it in that light. That way became unsuitable to me years and years ago, and I have read only non-study Bibles since, with only a minimum of notes. That way I’m just reading the scriptures without the Bible publisher’s ideas interspersed among the passages. I like reading “just” the Bible when I’m reading the Bible.
Church has been set up to run that way ever since – somebody interpreting scripture or somebody interpreting God, keeping everybody one step removed from direct communion and dependent on things other than only Christ within – only!
When we don’t know God as He is (that He is love and only love and only blessing and only uplifting) then while in the flesh we can only know Him through the veil of inner guilt and self-judgment which creates dread and wrath in ourselves which we project onto God. It is not an Old Testament God vs. a New Testament God, but the same God seen through either the lens of the Spirit of Christ and Love through faith and dwelling in His Kingdom which produces Light and the power of God, or the lens of the flesh and the deception of the “spirit of the power of the air” that yet works in all the “children of disobedience” and in whom we ALL had our lives intertwined in that system in the past, as Paul told us. (Eph 2:2).
Consider the meanings of the Tabernacle in the wilderness as well as Solomon’s Temple. Both structures acknowledged the impassable gulf between God and man, as symbolized by the veil between the “holy place” and the “most holy place,” or, the immanent Presence of God.
They could worship the “transcendent God” as apart from Him with prayers and sacrifices from the outer courts in the temple/tabernacle. That’s Old Testament, still seeing ourselves as flesh selves, apart from God, approaching Him from afar with fear and trembling with various sacrifices, offerings and gifts. It did nothing to bring the person into an inner direct communion with God, and that was the point of the outer courts. Everything outside the Holy of Holies was separation with no direct access into the Being and Person of God.
But the inner “holy of holies” was off-limits to everyone except the High Priest and that only once a year when he went in with the blood of atonement.
The “Holy of Holies” was to them the Presence of God right there, with them, in the moment, and not way off up in some ethereal heaven. However, no one could experience it, because everyone, from the High Priest on down, saw a “separate” God Who was worshipped from afar, Whom no one could approach except the High Priest and that only for a very short period of time once a year, all in much fear and much trembling. It was a separate God with a separate Truth Who dwelled behind a veil through which NO MAN saw.
Now, what we have spoken about Christ manifest in MAN is what we are approaching. We know the real truth could not appear until the Temple veil had been ripped apart. The real truth was God now, God here, God in ME, in a union that functioned as a unity — the final phase where the Spirit reveals Christ IS ME – that was what the veil masked and continued to do so until it was rent in twain (torn in two) at the precise moment of Jesus’ death.
Matthew 27:50-51 –
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent …”
God’s plan, as Moses had told Joshua so many years before, was not that one person would “interpret” God for the rest, and the rest just listen like they do in most churches now. Moses’ desire was different: “[I] would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” YES, THAT’S IT!!!
Moses saw a day, in which all the Lord’s people would be kings and priests, not just a special few. That was why the veil was torn in half at the death of Jesus. He was announcing by His death that the impediment between God and man, the embodiment of Sin, was from then on removed forever from between God and man, though the Spirit revelation of it has been imparted individually to God’s human offspring over the last two thousand years and will continue until the Lord says the time is fulfilled. He could have torn down the temple right then and there, but God had other plans. Still, from that moment on, the Temple served no more purpose.
It has taken two thousand years for the Body of Christ to begin to catch onto this central foundation truth, that we worship God in Spirit, as Jesus told the Samaritan woman. All of this is all one thing. The whole New Testament, at least the “how do I live the life part?”, is fulfilled and made unbelievably simple in Jesus’s descriptions of His Life in the Father.
His catch-all (and I do mean “catch-all”) answer for how did He do what He did was this:
“The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10). Simple. He is the same in us and as us. Simple – “He doeth the works.”
People ask me the same thing. How do you do what you do? I say honestly, “I don’t know, the Father does it!”
“The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19). Simple. “I do what the Father does.” It starts out maybe as just a faith statement, because even though it already is true, our faith can’t come up to it in the beginning. But it is the truth, get used to it! No more excuses, the Sons say, “I do what the Father does.” If ever the time was right it is now! Let us lay aside the modern Christian self-pitying lament, “I’m not sure if God leads me or not,” or some other unbelieving self-deprecating comment that denies the Life of Christ in us, and glorify Christ in ourselves by acknowledging the TRUTH IN OURSELVES, that He gained by HIS intercession!
Christ is in us to be us. And yet it is fully ourselves, more ourselves than we’ve ever been! That is my theology. To live is Christ, to die is gain. I know a lot more, but really, what more do I need?
Here is a living description of the truth of the daily life of Jesus:
“Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” (John 14:8-11).
Can we, do we have permission, to say those same things Jesus said? Yes, in every way! Nothing comes to us in Christ except that which we receive from the Father. What we receive from the Father is the Son who makes us to be Sons like He is The Son, and part of that is that we can confess about ourselves everything Jesus confessed about Himself, with some exceptions, because since they are Jesus’s truths, they are also ours, with no withholding.
Now, how did that work out, or what did it look like? It was Jesus being God speaking, AS A MAN, and that is precisely what God was showing us in Jesus, but more importantly, because it is the truth of Jesus then it is our truth, too!
But now, to take us even further, Jesus being God in man only has ultimate meaning for us if that is His Reality in us, that through Jesus, by the Spirit we EACH are God in a man. That’s the whole enchilada!
How did Jesus operate on a spontaneous basis? Though there are a few times when the scriptures mention that He goes off to pray, for the most part every day He is faced moment by moment with problems, difficulties, oppositions, people to heal and provide for. And for the most part, in each case He doesn’t hold a prayer meeting for each individual, or say come back tomorrow He’s got to pray about it. Instead, He operates as GOD in the current moment with each new situation.
“Lord, will you heal me?” “I will, be thou clean!”
“Speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.” “I have not found so great a faith, not even in Israel. Your servant is well.”
He just stated fact. No big prayer meeting. He didn’t even say every time, “This wasn’t Me, it was the Father.” He didn’t say, “No, I won’t heal you, but the Father will.”
No, He just said, “I will, be thou clean.”
Now that’s what it means to operate in oneness, to operate AS God. It isn’t you doing it, it’s He, but in our outer perception, we can only see ourselves. But we know within ourselves it is always, “Not I, but He.”
And that is the simplicity in which I have lived my life for the past few decades or so. Not I but He. And yet it is for all practical purposes, just me. Just me, being the human man that I am, with human qualities, strengths, weaknesses, and yet in that ultimate weakness (human as compared to divine), in which I find my human life operating, I find the mighty and mysterious power of God. God who fails not!
In Christ we are all the same! Each of us is an individual and distinct unique expression of the invisible Living God. Rise up into this, because it is yours if you will have it! You are complete in Him because He is the completion. You do not come lacking in any good thing, because the “only good” (which is God) resides within you! You don’t need to bring any righteousness with you because first, you don’t have any and never will, and secondly, Christ gives you all of His righteousness to be your own. It is the same with Love, Wisdom, Power, Glory, etc., all the attributes or “characteristics” of Christ. He has all of those things that He might manifest them out of our lives through our normal spontaneous daily living. But we will probably not be overly aware of it. We are given this Divine Life not to marvel at ourselves in it, but to simply forget ourselves and live it. And believe me, that blesses and changes the world!
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)