On Earth As It Is In Heaven Redux
By Fred Pruitt
Continued from Part One —
How can I say that? Because it is obvious. Who of us really believes they are telling the truth, when a certain company says in their advertisements, “We do it all for you?” Or the bank that advertises they have the friendliest tellers, or the hospital that says they fix hearts better than the hospital down the street. We all take it in stride, know it’s a big pack of lies all out for our money or our loyalty, etc., that it is not for “us” they do it, but for them!
It’s like a game of sorts. Everybody knows the score. We know they’re not really “for” us, they just want our dollars, but, in the game, if they can convince us they have the best “appearance” of being “for us,” then we’ll give them our business, or buy their Big Burgers. They know it, we know it, and we all play the game, and save everybody’s “face” from humiliation by the truth.
Same thing in politics the world over, and has been for all time, with a few highlights here and there. In the US, it is interesting to listen to the commentary of the news people when speaking of some decision or move the President makes or is expected to make, etc., how they say things like, “Well, this is really a time the President (doesn’t matter which one) really needs to look ‘presidential,’ so we’ll see if he says the right things to give us that impression.” And we all buy that, too! Part of the political ballgame, part of the rules. One plays to a false image, created to gain the trust of the people. And we all know what they are doing, because the TV commentary tells us in plain words: “They’re trying to fit their ‘image’ to attract (fill-in-the-blank)______ voters.” (Is there something wrong with me, or does that sound completely convoluted?) Whichever one can put over the best image, whether there is any truth to it or not, usually wins. P.T. Barnum was right. We’re all born suckers! How can I say that? Because if you look into my pantry or examine other things I possess, most of them will be things advertised on television! I’m wise to their ways, ha ha, but I have their products in my home! (Author’s Note: The above paragraph was composed prior to the current politics, 2019 version. I decided to leave it as it is.)
What is this thing, this snake, that has entwined itself into all corners of humanity, to whom the whole world gives homage every day? It is that SNAKE of monster self, that hides behind everything, ruling in everyone not wise to it and delivered from it, whispering in everyone’s ear, telling one he is good, and another he is evil. That is why Jesus Christ is the only remedy. If it was just ignorance, the Son could have stayed in heaven and just sent great teachers and wise men and given us the message.
If it was just a matter of forgiveness only, that, too, was already taken care of. From eternity God has said, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18). But forgiveness alone does not do it either. There must be a new spirit! We have been invaded by a false spirit who has deceived us at every turn about everything there is. That is the state of the human race. Nothing will do except that the false spirit is removed, to be replaced by the True Spirit, making us part of the True Vine! Nothing will do except the new birth, without which no one shall see God. (John 3:6; 36).
But the wonderful news is, all it takes is to gaze at the snake for a moment in its defeated condition, and there everything is settled in that moment! Jesus spoke of it to Nicodemus, when He recalled, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (John 3:14). He is referring to the story in Numbers 21: 6-9:
“And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
It is a gift of grace, but it is not automatic that we receive it. The people only had to look upon it. That is not a “work” or a “condition.” Paul says we are saved by grace through faith, not merely grace alone. Grace is the extended gift of God, whereas faith is the open hand to receive it into us, which also comes by grace. That is all it is, quite simple, not a “work,” but the law of the universe, expressed a hundred ways in scripture – “Take, eat, this is my body,” (Mark 14:22); “Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” (John 20:22). Look what it says in Revelation:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 22:17).
Three simple things.
1 – Come.
2 – Take it.
3 – Eat it or drink it. At that point it becomes you and you become it.
Unfortunately …. the entire human race is distracted by any other issue than the one thing at hand. It is easy to see how those who have not yet come into the kingdom are distracted by the things and issues of the world, finding nothing but problems and no permanent solutions to anything. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, the “nations” seek where will we eat, what will we drink, what will we wear. And as long as we do not seek first God’s kingdom, we will know no other reality other than seeking to save our own lives. And if it has to be at the expense of others, that’s too bad, but “I” and “mine” must survive! Men and women pride themselves on their accomplishments, their awards, their recognition from others, their material things, etc., and mistake that for a solid foundation.
But what of the “believers?” Are they also distracted? Yes, by the very same veil over their understandings that we had as unbelievers! As such they are “tossed to and fro with every doctrine of men,” and by that pulled into every issue but the one key truth that sets free. How could this be? Has not the Cross broken down the barriers? Has not the veil of the Temple been rent in twain (torn in half)? Yes – to both questions! The barriers are down, and the veil has been permanently cut in two, and through the Son we all have full access to the Father through grace! This is an undeniable fact!
But as I have said above, a “general fact” must become “my own” fact. It must be real in me! Does not every one of us yearn, in the love of God, that God’s reality would bloom into abundance in our lives, not only for our own benefit but for all those God gives us? Surely we do not want something we just “believe,” but never expect the actual reality to appear!
The reason the church has camped here in this “sin nature” mentality, is because this is by and large the experience of the majority of believers, who also have no clue whatsoever of the central problem or that we are, even as believers, still at least partly caught in the lie of independence until the Spirit brings us through, in His divinely appointed time! (This is the “mixed,” or “double-mindedness,” to which I referred in the beginning.)
That is why we think we can be “added to” or we can “improve ourselves,” etc., because of this lie. We want God to “give us” some of His love, His power, His wisdom, His peace, etc., thinking that we will have those things for our own self-possession. We do not yet know those “attributes” or aspects of God, are exclusive to Him. He Alone IS all those things – Love, Wisdom, Power, Righteousness, Holiness, Sanctification, Compassion, etc. And He does not have a supply chest that He can reach into and give us some portions of love, wisdom, etc., that we can have for our own. No, He is a JEALOUS God, and will have NO OTHER GODS before Him – including us! No flesh may come into or dwell in His presence!
(Understand, we are not speaking of physical flesh here. In this instance, “flesh” means the spirit of rebellion or independence, that challenges God’s “I AM,” with our own pitiful little “i am.” God NEVER receives the spirit of rebellion. That is why forgiveness alone does not get us into the kingdom. If we are forgiven but not transformed into Spirit people where we had previously been flesh people, but continue to be flesh people, then forgiven or not we still cannot enter the kingdom, because we are not “of it.” Only by the new birth, where God’s Spirit enters our spirits after having kicked out the usurping hidden indweller, are we made partakers of the kingdom of God in Christ.)
Everyone who seeks to grow in Christ and manifest Him in their lives, at some point runs into this dilemma, of not being able to measure up to what we believe God requires of us, no matter how hard we try. Even the Apostle Paul experienced this, and for many, that’s good enough for them. (Romans 7). “Well, Paul couldn’t go any further, so why should we even try?”
But Paul did go further, and did experience deliverance from that insoluble dilemma! That is what so many fail to see, and the reason is the same as before. We saw Paul’s dilemma and identified with it because it was our own experience, and stopped right there. But Paul’s dilemma is solved, by the Spirit taking him over the hump of a continuous conflict between two opposing parties in which there is never a victor, into a life where the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus HAS swallowed up (past tense) the law of sin and death that operated in my members.
That is the Life Paul lived, a life of the victory of Christ being expressed every day in his mortal flesh, rather than some on-again, off-again, one day victorious, next day overcome by sin, half-baked apostolic life. Can that description be any further from the truth of the testimony of Paul by his own mouth? Does Paul really mean that this is to be his permanent daily operating condition, when he says in Romans 7:14, “For I am carnal, sold unto sin!”? Is that truly Paul’s testimony of his life, that is where he stopped and said, woefully, “I am carnal, sold unto sin,” and that was that, end of story?
No, of course that was not the final result of all Paul’s struggles in Christ, that he would live a double-kingdom life, sometimes walking in the light and sometimes in the darkness, sometimes doing righteousness and sometimes sin. Not hardly, for once over that hump, Paul began his true apostolic life, which he described this way: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Cor 15:10).
In fact, before I really understood Paul, when I first began to read his epistles, I thought he was a braggart, because he was so boastful about his work in the Lord. I did not understand then, what it meant to “boast in the Lord.”
My point with that is not to call attention to Paul’s boasting, but to completely put to death the idea that he lived a half-baked life, constantly struggling with sin which sometimes had the upper hand. He found a greater life than that, a personal realization that all of life is continual intercession for others, which he described like this:
We are “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”
Before Paul moved into that intercessory life, he had to have the sin issue behind him. There is often a gap in our understanding as long as we only grasp that sin was dealt with on the Cross, intellectually. To know it “intellectually” only, is to make it an abstraction. It is “a truth we believe in,” but we may have no idea of its actual “reality” in the core of our lives.
One of the great downfalls of the Protestant movement, in my opinion, was the tendency to nail everything down to every jot and tittle doctrinally, in an objective sense, and to declare their varying orthodoxies the only embodiment of Truth, (in the early days) often even promising the pain of death for those who disagreed, oddly, just like the Roman Catholics they succeeded. Back in those Reformation days, both Protestant and Catholic alike knew many of the same scripture “truths,” but they held onto them like outer garnishments, a flag they carried, or a manifesto in their hands. It was impersonal, and not themselves, but a garment they wore. We cannot wear “Truth” that way. That’s why it must penetrate deeper than mere mental adherence to a set of ideas that satisfy our intellectual dilemmas.
That is also why I don’t make a habit of tooting certain horns, so-called “doctrines” of the faith, like “eternal security,” or the “finished work of the Cross,” “pleading the Blood,” and many other things we might “believe in” from afar, but are not inwardly living truths to us. Paul said, “According to MY gospel …” Paul was not preaching a different gospel from the other apostles. That is not what he is saying. He is saying this is not a set of truths he learned from a book which sounded good so he agreed with them. That might be a great first step, but it is the Spirit’s desire for each of us to say, with Paul, “according to MY gospel,” that is, it has become actively alive in me, and the truths I speak are truths I live in every day, the truths of Christ in me as me. When that moves from being a wonderful thought if it were only true, to “I believe it is true, so I am going to agree with it,” and then finally to, “O God, I live in the Life of Your Son, and that is the daily living truth of my life, that it is You, O Lord, flowing out of me as a river of living water,” then we know we are fixed in Him.
It is the same with the “finished work.” That is not some static truth declared in heaven, that we can from afar “believe in,” but rather a living truth we enter and by experience come to know, not as an abstract “doctrine” from some place on high, but as our daily living reality, because it is the Spirit in us Who is bringing all things into manifestation in us. We sit back and as much as possible, enjoy the ride!
End of Part Two