The Word Made Flesh
By Fred Pruitt
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us?” (John 1:14)
How much do we really understand what that verse means? This truth, when we see it, is one of the major keys to everything! Like all of these truths of and in Christ, we keep going into deeper and deeper levels of understanding. That Word confronts us from day one, and means something on that day and then each day adds to it. It happened like that with me.
It took a few decades for this truth to become settled in me. It was not that I was having a hard time seeing Jesus as “the Word,” or that the Word became “flesh” or “human” in Jesus. I didn’t understand it, really, but I took this Word for truth by faith, because I had learned to trust Him and the direction toward which He steered me.
Like most, it was my working understanding for quite a while, that this walk was primarily “about” the Jesus of Nazareth of history, and that our salvation and walking in the kingdom of heaven were given us by grace operating our faith in our continual recognition of that truth.
While that is true, it is not all that is true. There is more. It is a completion. In the beginning, we aren’t cued in to a lot of things. We only know separated-self in our days of unbelief, having no clue about who we are. If we do not know who WE are, we cannot know who anyone else is, either, especially God. We are, literally, “in the dark.”
God’s “economy” works quite differently from ours, because in order to “find ourselves,” i.e., “who” we are inwardly as well as in the great framework of things, Jesus said we have to lose ourselves. Now, please don’t think, “OMG, he’s putting law on us again!” Heavens No! It’s just the way things work. Lose yourself to find yourself. Finding “yourself,” (your “true self” I should say), in a sense IS what salvation is.
Jesus’ Word regarding losing and finding yourself, is really a very succinct way to describe the same truths given us by Paul in Romans 6, 7 and 8. In Romans 6 Paul brings out that we have died with Him on the Cross and we are no longer slaves to sin. We have risen to new life and now use our “members,” (aspects of our humanity) for righteousness. In a sense that is like “theory” until the Spirit makes it real in us.
Paul begins to find deliverance from his Romans 7 “wretched man,” when he makes a dual discovery. The first is that he began to come to the place of emptiness, or death, where he wrote: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Rom 7:18).
Then he realizes something further in verse 21: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” This is the central negative key. It is very subtle, but once we see it, we can see nothing else. The heart of the whole matter is found in the words: “when ‘I’ would.” Why, what’s wrong with that? Because it is not God saying it. What did Jesus say? “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth he works.” Jesus does not say, “I do good works and the Father blesses me because of it.” Instead, it is always, “Not I but the Father,” (or the Spirit).
Paul, unknowingly, is deceived about who he is. He still believes up until the time of this story, that he is separate from God and has a “will” of his own to either agree with God or not. But our “own” will is not from the Father or the Spirit. The “own will” entered the universe in the eternal past, when Lucifer declared his famous “I will’s” in Isaiah 14. Our “own will” is just the same as that. It is the opposite will which only came to Jesus as a temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had only acknowledged God’s will in His life up until the moment of temptation. It took some time to settle the issue, considering what He was about to endure and what the outcome would be. But in the end He came again to His true Self, that had been stretched to the uttermost by the worst the enemy had to offer. But in great weakness and stress, He reiterated the “truth” to which He testified all through His ministry, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42).
That was the same subtle deception from the enemy that had Paul all tied up in knots, and the whole rest of the human race as well. It was the source of “the mind set on the flesh,” and the only impediment between him and the Lord God. That realization brought home to Paul just how complete, total, his “death” was in the crucifixion and in “what” died. It was the false sense of independence that died, opening the way to union and oneness with the Lord.
(Also, in case some might misunderstand, this “death” is not anything we do or do not do as a preparatory step. We don’t DO anything to make this happen. First, our “death” in Him already has happened and we are only lacking the knowledge and understanding of it. Second, it is not something in our power to do, or even to know, except the Father reveals it in us. We find our place of rest and expansion when we see the Spirit does it, and we recognize what He has done!)
But wait, there’s more! Who am I? Where am I? What do I do? Paul puts the finishing touches on it in Colossians 3:3 – “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.” Ah, that’s it, were getting to the heart.
It is right to want to see only Christ. We sing worship songs like, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” or “Thou Art Worthy,” greatly desiring to forget ourselves and to experience Christ in some way.
But that is not yet the center. The center is to “see Him as He is.” This is where Paul meets John, saying almost the same words: “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 2b).
Even though the full completion has not yet appeared, we BEHOLD Him and beholding Him is what releases our humanity from bondage and delivers it to a total liberation. That is an absurdity to the logical mind, that simply by “seeing Him” (and in our case, we “see Him” in our faith), we shall find ourselves like Him. It’s just the final culmination of the law we walk with every day of our journey, the law of faith which we have learned – what you take, takes you! We take Him; He takes us, and we walk as One, as Jesus testified in John 17:11, 20-23.
This is as absurd a concept as is the story of the brass snake in the wilderness with Moses and the Israelites. Check out the story in Numbers 21:1-9. It’s a nine-verse story just tucked away in Numbers, but it’s also an absurd story. All the ones who were sick only had to look at the fiery serpent made of brass stuck up on a pole, and they would be healed. Just look at it, that’s all. And according to the story, it worked! Everyone who gazed at the fiery serpent got well. Later on, Jesus refers to that story in John 3 in his talk with Nicodemus. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”
Yes, to the mind of man it is a crazy thing to think that just by “seeing” Jesus in His fullness and glory, we come to know His Mind and Spirit within us and find, eventually, that we are full expressions of Him in our humanity. We discover that we can also say with Him, “I and my Father are One.” (John 10:30), so that the Life we find ourselves spontaneously living is not the like the way we used to live for years – a life of continual effort to be “Christ-like” and do “Christ-like” things. We thought that would be pleasing to God and in the way of thinking we had been taught, God would give us blessings when we were successful at our being Christ-like and doing Christ-like stuff. But that is 180⁰ off. We don’t do good stuff so that God will bless us. He blesses us by living in us and doing good stuff in, through and as us. It is His Life we are living, not our own. We do not belong to ourselves, but we are His, and bought with a precious price!
That is living after the law of self-effort, which is weak due to the flesh, and doomed to continual failure. (Rom 8:3). The reason is because the law speaks to the flesh, the self-effort, independent person we have all been deceived into believing we are. To the self-effort self, the law says, “Keep me,” and the self-effort self replies, “All that the Lord has told us we will do.” Like Peter who thought he could not and would not deny Jesus on the night of the Trial. Fleshly resolve often caves quickly under dire circumstances!
But living by the Spirit we walk in the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, which has already set us free from sin and death, i.e., the law of self-effort, or “the mind set on the flesh.” We live this by the Spirit in us Who does it. He walks the walk and talks the talk in us and as us, because we have become one. It is no longer I but Christ, yet still it is ME who gets to live and manifest this wondrous mystery. We live and walk in relaxation when we fully realize, “The Father Who dwells within me, He does the works.” What “works?” The “works of God” in, through and as me! (And don’t think the “works of God” have to be some big ministry thing. Every moment, no matter what we are doing or who we are doing it with, we are manifesting the works of Christ. It is the milieu in which we live.
The greatest change perhaps is that we no longer are looking for blessings. My life has finally ceased to be “about ME!” We realize we ARE the blessing and the blessers, and that means we have something to bring to the table.
Now, the most powerful thing we bring to the table of being with other humans, is ourselves. We don’t need props or proofs. Why? Because we are the Light of the World, the Salt of the Earth, known and read of all men. We do not come to people as enlightened heavenly beings, here to “grace” those who receive us with special favor and secret knowledge. No, we come as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, cousins and friends. We come finally as Who and What we are – human beings whose self-identity is Christ in us. One person, manifest in and as the many persons, each unique and distinct in their Christ-empowered humanity.
Whatever is the mist on the mountain of humanity right now, whatever is trying to block our view of the whole panorama of God’s continual workings and manifestations, is only a passing thing. Whatever turmoil there is or whatever turmoil that may come, whatever pain or insecurity or fear we might experience worrying about our future, NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Today’s current events do not change the plan of God or put it on hold or alter it in any way. Today’s vexations are the springboards to tomorrow’s opening of the things of God.
God’s hand is still outstretched, calling every and anyone to come, take of the water of life freely. It is an open invitation and we repeat it now. It doesn’t matter one’s station, level of knowledge, politics, or professed beliefs, because when we knock on God’s door He answers with overabundant love and grace. So are all who are born of His Spirit. We become the overabundant love and grace. We are all, “the Word made flesh.”
Peace be with you.