The Best News
By Fred Pruitt
(Merry Christmas, friends! This is another slightly changed reprise. The One Who was born in the manger has birthed Himself in us! We’re the Manger! Christmas is the recognition of that incredible News!)
Another exchange —-
Fred, you said, ‘So deliverance from “sin” is not just a change of deeds, but a change of persons within us’… (referring to article: Religion Is Not the Problem)
Yes, this is it, is the ‘heart’of the whole matter indeed. Now, if I could only once and for all enter into my sepulchre (of self efforts) then I could enter into His finished work, into that seventh day from where He is (now) resting. But ‘I’ am dead, so I must be there already somehow, but I ‘feel’ (the just shall live by faith, not by sight, not by the sense life) so ‘alive’ to me, to my old self and nature at times, what to do with this quandary? This duality? Its perplexing at times.
Finally, knowing that ‘the spirit of Christ was in the prophets’ (1 Pet 1:11), I hEAR Christ in Habakkuk’s revealing words in chapter 2 verse 20 saying: “BUT THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (us) LET ALL THE ‘EARTH’ (meaning my lower, inherited, adamic life form and various sense life emotions that demand to be heard, that scream at me daily) BE SILENT (as dead men) BEFORE HIM’.
Yes, as you said, I am ‘delivered from sin’ by the One who lives/rules/reigns within. Blessings
Yes indeed, the Lord is in His Holy Temple, and all the earth (you and I) is silent before Him!
Now I would just say this about what you wrote, mentioning duality. First of all, are you sure you really know what your old nature was? What your old self was? It was never just you. This is vital, because as we see fully who we “were,” we are as enabled to see who we are now. So we must realize that “sin” was not just “us” acting ugly, no – it was the spirit of error in us! (Eph 2:1-3; Acts 26:18, etc.)
The trick he played on our minds and consciousness was deceiving us with the delusion that we were separate selves all by ourselves. Therefore, this old nature was two things. First, it is the spirit of error/sin, known “personally” as Satan, who has been thrown out of us in the death of Jesus Christ. That is the absolute bottom of the issue. It was never “just” us, because even as we are Christ as us now, so were we Satan-as-us before. He ruled our lives from within us, obscuring the light of Christ that is also in every human being.
Second, the effect of this change of inner government is separation, an illusory independent self, a self-reliant, self-responsible, false god of a self into which we are all hoodwinked in our origins. We learn to worship ourselves, though this false image of us we all worship is really a mask behind which is the evil one.
That is what the old nature is, these two things. Again let me say – the first and foremost and bottommost issue is that we were not just “sinners” standing alone in some vague “sin nature” inherited from Adam, sinning away in our unrighteousness. We were in fact half-living carriers of death and the delusion of the wicked one. In loving ourselves inwardly to the uttermost, we minded only those things that be of men and “I,” “me,” “mine.” It is the same spirit to which Jesus replied to Peter’s attempt to block His intercessory purpose, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Mat 16:23)
I have seen “the old nature” for myself, though at the time I saw it full face I did not know what I was viewing, except that it scared me silly. It was one of the first times I took LSD in the early seventies. At some point, I looked into a mirror at the image of myself. As I stood there looking, my face morphed into the devil’s face.
During those years, I had similar experiences more than once. There were moments I had a palpable sense of Satan manipulating my life in the background. Sometimes an intense sense of personal evil in my physical presence brought silent inner terror.
It did not just happen while taking drugs. I dreamed the night we moved into a house in Atlanta, [where many things subsequently happened, enough for a book], that I was embroiled and caught in something Satanic. The night we moved into this house, New Year’s Eve 1971, I dreamt vividly that we were moving into a place of spiritual evil.
I didn’t think like that. One might say, “Well, you were taking drugs so no wonder you had strange thoughts and dreams.” Certainly, I agree. Except that it’s nearly 50 years later and some of it is as vivid as it was in the time that it occurred. It was very real to me, witnessed by the fact I remember it today.
(Except in today’s vision, it has all been redeemed in Him. Back then I only saw the devil. I did not know the reason. Now I see only Christ and I know the reason. Yes, I still see what the trickster did, but I also now see the Father in it all, and how all that was necessary for “me,” since He called me, “from my mother’s womb,” as He did Paul and has called all of us as well.)
I did not grow up thinking much about the devil. He was not much of an issue in the churches we attended, and “he” seemed more mythical than not. So when “out of the blue” I saw Satan’s face replace my own, I had no set of beliefs or prior experiences in my life to draw that out of me. The “devil” was the stuff of myth and superstition to me, so to “see” his appearance in my psyche was a completely original and horrifying experience in me. It greatly frightened me and made me suspicious and fearful of mirrors and my own image.
Then after Christ became alive in me in my consciousness, one of the first things the Spirit made absolutely REAL to me was to reveal the kingdom of which I had formerly been a part. It was as if the Spirit removed a blockage from my eyes in a moment, enabling me to peer into the darkness out of which I had come, which I had thought at the time was not darkness at all, but great light.
I had been (to myself) a “seeker,” and went to great lengths to find other “seekers” who were looking for self-spirituality, all of us believing it was purely by our efforts in meditation, diet, thinking right and positive thoughts, that would elevate us into a greater level of spirituality and enlightenment. How could anyone argue with that desire?
However, when the Spirit pulled my vision away from the appearances and showed me in great plainness the so-called “truth” I had been living was not “holy” at all, but deep evil darkness, I was completely undone in that inner vision. The contrast was the difference between life and death, and though I did not yet know the fullness of the Light, I knew I could not go back there. I took seriously Paul’s word in 2 Cor 11:14, “And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
What I had experienced was the death of that old nature in the Cross, though it was quite some time before I knew what had actually happened. Somehow, by the Spirit’s doing, we attach our faith (our receptivity and commitment as far as we know) to Christ. Then something entirely new occurs. Entering the kingdom is a change of inner ownership, inner driver, inner light (from false dark self-for-self light to true Self-for-others All in all Light).
We were formerly slaves to sin — the evil one, but now we are slaves of righteousness — the Righteous One. This becomes our immediate state when Christ enters us and kicks the old usurper out — and Christ comes to take his own place in us. Nothing in us any longer belongs to the devil. All things are truly new. This is not something we convince ourselves of poetically. This is actual fact. We have been bathed with Christ, baptized with the Spirit, and have full access to the Father through the Son in us.
What we are given to see and believe often against appearances is that now that the New Nature has come – the New Indweller – He has taken occupancy of the whole house, which He now wholly owns – the “house” which is us. He does not come into this house that we are, only to be an influence for better things or to give us “help” where we need it. He does not rent this house out to others, but comes and stays there as the owner/dweller from the beginning. There is none of this letting Him into rooms in our house one at a time, to progressively clean us up. It is a house of His liking that He Himself has made, and He needs no further “permission” from us to live in all His dwelling place.
Before He came He sent messengers before Him, to prepare the Way of the Lord, and when He comes into His temple, the first thing He does is to rid it of everything that had made it an unholy house. It was the former slave-driver who had done it. He had sowed tares in our field, claiming to own it, but the Son vanquished His kingdom in us, and made us fields of only His wheat. This New Lord of the Manor makes the decisions regarding anything to do with the house. He improves it, paints it, etc., or leaves it as it is, at His own discretion. He is Lord!
Now the Spirit manifests in this world by our souls and bodies. Nevertheless, they are no longer our own; we cannot control them now, anymore than we could not control them in our former life. Another controlled them then. Now Another has them in His hand and uses our souls and bodies according to His will.
We finally come to a point where we see He has every part of us, and uses all that we are in manifesting Himself through and as us. Therefore, when we believe God to that extent, that He and I are simply One, we find in great simplicity that when we walk it is He walking. That seems basic but it is the whole thing. Let this settle if it has not settled before.
I understand the struggle you are in, but what proves that you are driven not by a resurfaced old nature, but a love-outgoing new nature, is the fact, not that you have changed outside or become better somehow, but that you are willing in the deepest sense of you to be Who you really are.
You see, we cannot bring forth the works and life of God. After all our strivings, we one day realize only He can do it. We are willing for it, but we cannot make our visions and dreams happen. We seem to be the opposite of what we desire.
And that is what Paul describes in Romans 7. “For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (7:18). That is the crux of the matter. To come to the realization that you want to do God’s will, and that you are willing to do God’s will, but cannot perform His will, is the great denouement, the greatest climax of our lives. Why?
Understand. We KNOW God does His will. But to know that in the deepest sense of ourselves that “doing God’s will” is our true desire also, means we have finally come to see it for OURSELVES – and that is what God is after in us – consciousness! Not “cosmic consciousness,” but rather personal consciousness as the sons of God (sons in The Son, the Lord Jesus Christ).
After losing the wrong self consciousness, of just ourselves alone doing good or doing evil, it is the Spirit’s greatest gift to give us this “personal” Word of Who we each individually are. We cannot know we are pleasing to God and do God’s works without equally knowing that we will to do God’s will. This IS union. There can be no union with God through Christ without a union of wills. It is an impossibility.
We may not realize that is what it is when we first see the light of union, or make the first steps at confessing that, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
We bask in the glory of the new, not yet realizing all that we have inherited. Eventually as the Spirit opens our understanding further, we begin to realize all the implications of the Life out of which we now live.
The will is the central driver, our spirit will, where we inwardly “know” God, and as no man can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ but by the Holy Ghost, likewise can no man say ‘he delights in the law of God in the inner man’ except also by the Holy Ghost, as Paul cried out in Romans 7. It means that at the heart of things, your innermost desire that is driving all of this strife and duality, is this inner willingness God has graced you with, that you have now seen Him in His totality in your life.
Coincidental with that inner revelation of a true inner desire to do God’s will, i.e., live by God’s purposes, you have also found “no good thing dwells in me” – and notice, Paul does not say something evil dwells in him, but “no good thing.” In other words, simultaneous with our discovery of Him as our total, He also graces us to know, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” and, “there is none good, save God.” All “our” goodness flushes down the toilet.
The struggle you are in right now is indicative of the fact that you are on the right path, because the Lord takes each person this way who hears it. So then, be joyful! The struggle is that you might finally see the truth of what you have believed, because we are not left there in that “O wretched man” state. It was the Spirit who brought you there, and He has brought you out. To come out is to realize there is no duality, “I am two who are one,” (Christ in me as me), and that I am never again the old! I am fixed in the new. “O God, my heart is fixed,” cried the psalmist, and so is ours.
Therefore, just stay where you are and move when the Spirit makes you move. There is light ahead. There is a day when you come into the Light. You’re in it now, but it might seem like you’re in a jet flying to another city. As you approach the city the pilot turns on the seatbelt signs and you begin to descend. There is an overcast sky so you can see nothing below. It is all just gray or white. You trust what the pilot is doing (with fingers crossed sometimes), so you’re not too worried. You know there is a city down there even though you have yet to see it.
Then suddenly you burst through the cloud layer and the city suddenly just shows up! It had always been there, and you had believed it was always there, but for a time the cloud fogged up the view. However, when you fly under the clouds, there it is.
So see that day in yourself. See that the day has come now. It HAS come now! “Today is the Day.” That is faith. The city is there. It is shining resplendent in the sun. You are walking in it now. Open your eyes, friend, it is all around you. In fact it is both pouring out of you and at the same time pouring out of everything you see. You will not see it with your flesh eyes. It is invisible to the flesh. Nevertheless, the wholeness is in plain view. You have the eyes to see.
“The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.” (John 9:30-32)
This man (this writer) is the same as that man. This man was born blind. An awful blindness that in its insidiousness the blindness tricks us into thinking it is the true sight. But when the True Light comes, that Light gives the True Sight, and we can only testify, with tears, “O whereas I was blind, but now I see!”
I know that it is the truest and greatest miracle, to give sight to one who had never had sight. I was that man.
But then gaining true sight, we now impart it to the world around us, and realize, as we were meant always to realize, that we are now the Light of the World. (Matt 5:14; John 9:5)
“The whole creation groans and travails awaiting the manifestation of the Sons of God.” (Rom 8: 19-22)
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” (1 John 3:2)
“The Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (Hab 2:20)