Love in Eternal Freedom
By Fred Pruitt
(Originally published in 2010 as Oneness Through Involuntary Servitude)
Preeminent to all things, is that God Who is Love and God Who is Freedom are the two foundations of Life in Him, lived and experienced by faith, which is His Gift in our hearts by the Spirit Who is within us. The real “knowledge,” is not a “head” knowledge, but rather a “knowing” like Adam “knew” Eve his wife, in that they were mixed together as one. And in this same way we “know” God in the foundation of our being. We are “mixed together” with Him in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and from our own resurrection in Him reappear as just ourselves but really as He living.
God’s purpose for us is to grow us up into Him, that we “walk as He walks” in this world – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10). The part that is plainly said, but often remains unseen, is that from the “beginning,” i.e., from the depths of eternity, we are His workmanship. He is the potter, we the clay. But a clay molded into freedom, and created unto “good works,” which are the free works of love, and in that we have been ordained to walk in them, they are really His works as us, having been “created” in Jesus Christ. We do not create them, but we walk in what He has created and ordained from the Eternal. But paradoxically, in that same preordination we are walking fully in the Eternal Freedom, because Love’s only milieu is Freedom.
In His “growing us up” process He has subjected the whole creation to vanity, which is mind and self turned in on itself, perhaps another way of saying independent self. Paul says this plainly in Romans 8 that God did this without the will of the creature. Other than Adam and Eve, the creature had no say in it. I can testify to that. I woke up in vanity, in the life/death and good/evil of the first Adam. It preceded me and it was all I knew. I made no choice between alternatives to be a part of vanity, not in any conscious way that I can recall.
It has overtaken me that it has been in the perfect free purposes of God (Eph 1:11) that in freedom a contrary will rose up in rebellion in the heavenlies. It was that same spirit of evil who came into the world, the bringer of the lie, who by trickery slithered into the hearts and minds of men thus hiddenly became their silent harsh taskmaster.
In order to get us back, God did the only thing He could do to effect His plan of conscious sons who know Who they really are. So He let us get stolen on purpose. He knew what the liar would do and He knew what we would do, and He put us there in full knowledge of that, so we must say that because He is love and nothing other, then this path He has put in front of us to walk is a road He has chosen to bring forth the Son in us.
So then in those purposes it came about that the accuser brought the lie, and in receiving it the understanding of man darkened and split, and enmity and strife tore and yet still tears at the hearts of all who live in the world.
We may “judge” those charged in these crimes for their disobedience, but from Adam on a hypnosis reigned in the minds of men and they could only respond to what they were receiving. Even if the voice of God was speaking in their deepest core, still the veil the world had put over our eyes prevented us from turning the other way and partaking of the Tree of Life. And for good purpose, for it was not the time. We were not yet ready. Sin must fill up before it spills over. Do not see this as something awful or a negative thing. If something has a reality to it, whether by hypnosis or actuality, it must be allowed to run its course – to fill up to the brim. All this is what God is after – not that we would be slaves to sin, but that we would be conscious sons who have tasted the tree fully and know it, so that first of all we have become aware of ourselves, who we are, that we are we, that we exist, that we like this and not that, that I am I and you are you. Though seemingly born in a sinful manner in separation it is still a shadow of the Truth of who we are. Everything is that, but this is especially our place of intimacy with the Almighty. In selfhood. I am. He is. I am.
So as it happened, the understanding having been darkened, and our centers invaded by force, our race learned to think of themselves as little islands hemmed in by the edge of their skin and judgment of the eyes and ears, and to define themselves by what they had or didn’t have. The beautiful People, spawned from the heart of God and shaped by His Hands and enlivened by His Breath, knew Him no more as their Heart of Hearts, their Joy in the midst of their middles. They had been invaded by a foreigner, a weaver of tales, a trickster whose only reality is a lie, who sold the People a bill of goods, which they/we bought, hook, line and sinker.
The liar was as a con-man who bamboozled his “mark.” Which is us. The result??? A world askew, a cursed earth, sickness, disease, poverty, WAR — but also, with love, joy, pleasure, peace, family. A world in which there is “good” and “evil.”
And if we had no idea what the purpose of this event was, and where we are going as a result, it would be a tragedy of universal proportions – God’s “good” creation, now “ruined” by lies and self-love! And to the whole world it has appeared that way, as far as men have been able to take it. There seems no purpose and the whole world is askew and a very inhospitable place!
But that is not the end, and we who have been given the gift of faith and sight are privileged to see God’s purposes from beginning to end, that by this apparent tragedy He is bringing about the consummation and the blessing of the whole universe through us – each of us His specially chosen sons, Whom He has determined to manifest His purposes and expand His creation all through the Eternal.
So this is all good practice. It was God Who subjected the creation to vanity, and not the will of the creature. Therefore it is GOOD!!!!
When the Prodigal Son came to his senses, he remembered his father. Even so do we. Our Father is not an old long white-haired man on a great big pearl throne off in the infinite sky, but the Eternal Inner One Who we all know, for better or worse, in our deepest selves. Even though in the beginning we still may think of God as way off up in the sky, still it is His stirring rising up from within us that brings us to “remembering” our Father, who in the death and resurrection of Jesus died and rose and ascended as the whole human race, to effect salvation for ALL men, says Paul, and then he adds, “specially to them that believe.” ** Meaning, of course, there has to come a time in all of us when we, as the Prodigal Son, “come to our senses,” and remember our Father. God has called us all home and has provided the way for all, and one by one he catches His one sheep still lost while the ninety and nine are safe in the pasture.
So what I’m saying is this: that even though that old snake has caught the whole bunch of us in his web of deceit, in that we all grew up knowing only one thing, that we were just ourselves alone, and that we were part of a dog eat dog world, and all of us have done our dirty deeds. None of this has been outside the eye of the Father, “who works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). And what is His own will? “But speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph 4:15)
We have been subjected to vanity that we might grow up into Him in ALL THINGS.
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:8,9)
When God by whatever means jerks a knot in us enough to turn us around, we pass from darkness to light and all things become new. But in God’s purposes He still leaves our consciousness little changed, and in our beginning days we are only dimly aware of the actual change in reality that has occurred in ourselves. All our lives we’ve only known ourselves as “just” ourselves, (even though the liar had somehow crept into crevices in our hearts so that we were operating in his self-dominion of darkness, his identity hiddenly shadowing ours, prisoners of self-for-me and all its sights and desires), and with that same dim consciousness we start our life of grace.
It is just here that the Spirit begins the work necessary to break the hold of the lie in us, and once again we have to understand that process with this background: God is the Potter, we are the Clay. And I think that means cradle to grave. Grace doesn’t just begin to operate on us the day we get saved. We are chosen in Him before the foundations of the earth. When we find ourselves in Him we realize our whole lives have been grace. “When God, who separated me from my mother’s womb …. revealed His Son in me,” the apostle says in Galatians.
So, once again, the process which leads to “Romans 7,” where we are broken of the lie of independence and have some sort of Waterloo where we find we are not capable of producing good or ill, but slaves only of either sin or righteousness, and by faith cast ourselves into the Rescue of the Spirit in Romans 8, realizing by grace through faith that we have been now made, by His Spirit in us, perpetual slaves of righteousness.
It is not a process through which God starts correcting all the “faults” that we’d let pile up in our lives all our rebellious days. Mind you, we do reap what we sow, but now we realize it is with a purpose.
People often do not like to hear this, but the Father puts us in a school of faith from our new birth. Part of that school of faith involves a great tragic human struggle, a struggle that seems within us between warring parties, flesh and spirit.
The way through that trial by fire, is that the Father gives us the Son, and by Him we begin to realize that all our humanity, parts of which before we had perhaps despised or rejected or been ashamed of, all of that is now at the disposal of and usage of the Spirit of God Who is in us, and the Life of the Father which pours out of us. He made us Himself, fashioned us with His own hands, exactly as He wants us to be. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph 1:6) He accepts us as we are, and as we learn to accept ourselves, quirks and all, then we bring others into that same self-acceptance through Christ in us.
Temptation pulls us out to disbelieve what we know to be true. It’s never about doing this or that deed, or to commit this or that sin, but primarily to not believe in God, but in something else that to appearances looks like is more certain than an imperceptible God. The lure may be this or that deed, or this or that sin, but the meat of the temptation is always a pull into “unbelief,” which is not doubt, but rather more like “anti-faith.”
Temptation is not sin. Yes, we are tempted by the devil. That’s his job. He goes where he is sent, and goes to the limits he has been set. He does not run his own show. He Who runs all things is God, and He has no rivals. The enemy’s purpose, whatever he thinks in his own mind, is not to destroy us (I’m speaking from God’s viewpoint), but the temptations (always only one thing — unbelief — serve other gods )exercised by the “trying of our faith” produces the GOLD God is after in us. Pure shining Gold! And this gold isn’t some treasure for ourselves to hoard and put in a chest in the attic, but rather a gold which is the stuff of Love, which is the Outgoing God, the God of Outpoured Life — this is the Gold we receive as we are ourselves in Christ.
Because it is by the interaction of push and pull, we come to know ourselves and our humanity. We’ve had the idea that we are to be godly, and in order to be godly it took strict effort to learn, and it is by that period of intense inner conflict and the Spirit coming through every day in everything, that God takes us Himself over the hump we could never cross by ourselves — the hump of self-suspicious of everything, most especially itself.
When I say “temptation is not sin” I want to underline that, because I think many are tripped here. Temptation is to really be caught by something, to really give it a second thought. It might be to even be dominated by it for a while. Temptation is to dally a bit. If it didn’t catch your eye, if it didn’t give you a second thought, if you didn’t dally with it a bit, it wouldn’t have been temptation. That’s why it might seem like sin. Because the pull of temptation is that we seem like “we” want that. And in that seeming to “want” that which we know isn’t ours to have, something for ourselves, we get pulled temporarily back into what seems like independence. We are just ourselves. Just us, trying to figure out what to do, or to accomplish a certain result, or to improve just a little bit this particular part of our lives. Or we might be mad at somebody and can’t for a time get a handle on not being mad at them, and maybe stew in it a while, thinking of all the “injustice” so and so has caused me. Temptation can come in any form. The temptation to “forget” who we are, and to take steps and live as if we are hurt selves, or violated selves, or selves that have something coming to us, or selves who have had our rights violated, instead of the Sufficient Self Who is the Center of ALL and is all — this is the common temptation to all of us. But in Him by grace in the midst of the turmoil of inward strife, He rises in the midst of the temptation and declares Himself, a Word coming up from Beyond always in the nick of time.
Now we understand inwardly we are indwelt by One Spirit only, not two fighting it out, and the enemy only pulls at us from another kingdom, to which we no longer belong. He shouts at us from over the walls, and sometimes his voice reminds us of leeks and onions in Egypt, when we’re out in the desert and hot and dry and thirsty, but then we by grace again remember that our Rock in the Desert is Christ, and out of that Rock pours forth the Water of Life, and that God CAN AND DOES furnish a table in the wilderness (Ps 78:19). And wilderness becomes Paradise.
There is only one obedience in the Bible: the obedience of faith. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” But for even our faith we are on our faces before Him, for the Son can do NOTHING of Himself. In this way we find we are an infinite emptiness which is filled to bubbling over with the Spirit and Love of God.
That one obedience is to “believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (Jn 6:28,29) But I no longer believe on Him “way up there,” helping me if I do all the right things and hold my mouth just right, but on Him in me, living as me, living His Divine Life in the midst of my everyday normal human life. I’m just me, walking around, talking, doing, driving my car, but it’s He.
So then now I come full circle. I lost myself in the wilderness. I lost myself in my slavery. This involuntary servitude I was born into (born a slave) only lives in that false consciousness of myself-alone, and now realizing that I am not just “I”,” but Christ + I = me, He as me. I can fully dispense with that self-evaluation and suspicion, no longer questioning my motives or second guessing myself, trusting in Him alone to walk me through it all, and not just for me, but for everyone God is touching by my life, and then out from them into those who God is touching by their lives, and on and on, until the whole land is inundated by the love of Jesus.
Reason cannot enter here. It gets us to the entry door, but it doesn’t push us through, because reason would ever keep everything hypothetical and not be confronted with a real undoing of ourselves, for reason cannot undo itself. Reason would rather attend a seminar on heaven rather than step through the door to enter heaven. Reason will not give itself up and therefore it can never go in, until by the Spirit it assumes its rightful place inside us as the servant of the Spirit, and not the servant of itself.
Since we cannot go through the door ourselves, and reason cannot push us through, the rescue must come from the other side. And when we look there it comes. The Rock of Christ and the Cloud of the Spirit, have always been with us, every step of the way. Bless the Lord! O my soul, let all that is within me bless His holy name …
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isa 40:3-5)