On Earth As It Is In Heaven Redux
By Fred Pruitt
Continued from Part Three
When we first come to Christ, most of us come into Christ under a load of sin. We’ve been taught that the reason we are separated from God is because we were sinners, enemies of God by nature! We do those things that are displeasing to Him and the Scriptures agree with this. The Scriptures say all have sinned, that all come short of the glory of God, that there is none that does righteousness, no not one! ALL are equally guilty before God!
We start out on the deed level, things done, outer circumstances, etc. The reason we start there instead of with deeper things is because those things, combined with what we think and feel about those things, have been the only life we’ve known and the only yardstick around, by which we may measure success or failure. Therefore, since the only things we know in the beginning are on the deed, thought or feeling level, that is where God meets us. He doesn’t expect us to climb our way into heaven. We cannot. But He could come to where we are, and address us there, which He did in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then by His Spirit He leads us over time away from the hypnotic spell of the world, the flesh and the devil, until we make that great discovery of a Gift that has been waiting for us since before the beginning.
As Paul said it, “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 3:3,4). It is the Treasure hid in a field, the Pearl of Great Price. (Matt 13:44-46). It is a greater gift than any other, because it is eternal.
I did not understand that verse for years. Like most of us have thought, it sounded like something for the next life because it talked of a Christ Who “shall appear.” Now in the ultimate sense, that verse IS speaking of the full noonday Sun revelation of Christ throughout the whole world in an instant: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matt 24:27). How fast does lightning spread across the sky?
But in this life, before that event which will be witnessed by all, we see it happening inwardly as the Spirit raises our consciousness of Christ from one level to the next and so on. So for many of us, there does come a Day IN THIS LIFE where we see only Him, CHRIST WHO IS OUR LIFE, and by that sight of only Him, we find our true selves for the first time. We FIND that Treasure in a field and we buy that field and when we buy the field it becomes OURS. Not the old “ours” coming from separation and fear, but the new “ours” which is Christ and I as one person. We become ourselves. And that is a treasure beyond all imagination or expectations.
It is a miracle greater than all the other miracles – to become truly ourselves. Our “God” selves! Sadly, and I do not like to speak sad things, the attention of most of the Body of Christ is distracted away from the one thing needful – to know Who we are in Christ – into a thousand other issues which take the focus away from the truth that resides in our inner selves. Once one stumbles upon the Truth of “I and my Father are one,” we find that most of those thousand other issues that had been on our table all at the same time mostly just fade away.
But still, it doesn’t hurt every now and then to brush up on the elementary things. So back to our discussion on “sin.”
What we do not realize when we first come to Christ, is that Sin is not something we do. Sin is something we are, because of our hidden satanic indweller, who IS SIN. The things we do coming from Sin, are called sins, plural. And all sin or sins are one or another form of unbelief. The inner core “sin” is we do not believe God Who is near to every one of us; we believe ourselves, which is hiddenly (and usually unknowing on our part) the spirit of error. So whatever they are, our “sins” originate out of our unbelieving heart as it is at the time. We cannot help but manifest sins out of Sin, because we do, according to Jesus in John 8:44, the “lust and deeds of our father, the devil.”
In Matthew 15:18-20, Jesus described that “evil heart” we all had at one time:
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
The first time that spoke to me, after I had been born again, I saw the heart described there had been MY heart. I had thought and imagined those things! I actually used to see people that had wronged me in some way, with daggers coming out of my eyes toward them, or for them to fall off a cliff or something! I had had all those things going on in me at least since high school, when some kids teased me about some personal things! The reason it struck me so much the first time I caught something from that passage, is because I could testify that those things were NOT in my heart anymore! All that was gone! I no longer imagined “bad stuff” for people I didn’t like. The Spirit showed me the contrast, and caused me to see it! It HAD been there, but now it was gone!
That was only the starting point in that flow of grace which years later grew into understanding that God had moved into and become my “new heart” in the kingdom of God, and that He and I are one spirit (1 Cor 6:17). As we said above, in the beginning we only know our sins are forgiven, and that is wondrous, glorious news for those who experience it, especially the first time we encounter the grace of God through Jesus Christ. “Hallelujah!” we shout! Our names are written in the Lamb’s “Book of Life,” we have peace with God for the first time in our lives, and we look to be taken to “heaven” when we die out of this life!
But at that point we have not really dealt with the root cause of sins – “Sin.” Now some might be balking at this point, wondering when I’m going to stop this talk of “dealing with sin” or some such like that, because we no longer have to, because of “the finished work of Christ.” Didn’t He already do it all in our place? If it is already “finished,” why do we still have to “go through” hills and valleys and what is this talk of coming into our maturity, intercession and all that?
I agree with the concept, “the finished work of Christ,” so far as I understand it, from an heavenly point of view. All things are already accomplished. Sin is defeated. Death is defeated. At the heart of the universe (in the center of every locus) sits the “Lamb as it had been slain” in the midst of the Throne.
That’s wonderful for heaven, but what about here on earth? It is true in heaven. The question is, is it true in me? A “universal” truth, in short, must become “my” truth. It means little to me if I have no knowledge of it or do not acquire somehow its benefits. I believe it is a universal truth that salvation and forgiveness has already been provided for all humanity for all time.
In fact, it was provided even before the heavens and the earth, and humanity, were created. But that is also of no benefit to us, if we do not participate in it. If we go out to dinner, we can’t comment on how good the food was unless we eat it. Food is meant to be eaten, not admired. That’s all it means when Paul says we are saved by grace through faith. Faith is the human part of the equation, which is no more difficult than eating a meal or sitting in a chair. When we actually EAT the meal and SIT in the chair, we receive a new consciousness of faith completed. Our bellies are pleased only by eating the meal because in no other way can we assuage physical hunger.
While some have called what I am describing as not-grace, but works, even our confessions of faith, who does the real “work” at the feast? Is it the guests? No, they just arrive and take their places at a table they have not provided and eat food not cooked or prepared by the guests. The waiters and cooks are the ones who work to provide the feast. The guests, of whom we are, just show up.
Likewise, regarding my analogy of picking and sitting in a chair to describe faith, our whole body is blessed by the upholding power of the chair that I first sat in “by faith.” The chair holding me up gives me a consciousness of completed faith, which could not be experienced any other way except by actually sitting. Until you sit, it is still theoretical that it will hold you up.
That is how by grace through faith, we affirm for ourselves the truth, so that we can say that what is universally true, is particularly true in me! It is the same issue as the Lord’s prayer, when it says, “that Your will may be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” It is the same as Jesus’ word when He said, “What things soever the Father does, the same does the Son likewise.” (John 5:19).
Now, how the Lord brings us the whole grace way into the fullness of righteousness, to understand ourselves in light of living in union with Christ, is that the Spirit brings us to this confrontation I have variously described above. Paul’s struggle with himself and “covetousness,” which he could not make stop or go away. This is not formulaic and happens differently in everyone, but the outcome is the same.
One finally comes to this bottom when he encounters this “self” in himself. This is the intruder Paul was speaking of. “Sin that dwelleth in me,” he says. Wow, that makes it as intimate as can be! And it must be faced. What IS this “thing,” that has me blocked and focused on myself? “My” righteousness, “my” holiness, “my” obedience!
Spiritually, it is the graveclothes left by the enemy when he left; he was in such a hurry he forgot to take it with him! But all by that clever God’s design! For it was to be this very thing, this construct of the devil, which he fed to us all our lives as our true independent identity, that by its crumbling would reveal, “A stone … cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet … [and] became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2) (Christ in us).
But before we see the glory, we are privileged by the Spirit to see the lie in all its shame, and find the Spirit’s and our full hatred for it. Having seen it for what it is, it is the “accursed thing,” and we know not to touch it. It is “Achan’s sin.” It is that wicked thing we learn to “touch not.” It was John Nash’s delusions (the film “A Beautiful Mind”). He still saw them in the end, but their power had been broken and he was no longer under their spell! You hear it cranking up in your mind, that “I-I-I-I” voice, that you always used to respond to, but now it holds no power.
Because the beauty of this, is once one sees the delusion of independence, instead of producing shame and humiliation that one could be caught in such a thing, it becomes a great joy! First, because we can now ridicule what once held us, because now that we see the delusion, its power is broken! We cannot escape a nature – like a sin nature, that can’t be fixed! But a lie? We can escape a lie the moment we see it is a lie!
And that is why this is such good news, and even a greater joy! It is not ME!!! It has NEVER been “me” that was the problem. This is not escaping “responsibility” for my sins and/or actions, because it is not about excusing or getting myself off the hook. I participated and was willingly at heart “for” myself, though in those days I thought I was a pretty good nice guy. But at this juncture, we have hit the bottom source, there is no further source to seek, for that which caused our fall, and that same thing, which now cannot prevent our resurrection! We are NOT imprisoned in an unchanging “sin nature” from which physical death is the only escape, but rather, the offense, the “liar and father of it,” has been rejected, and as Proverbs says, “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” (Prov 22:10).
It will come back again and again as temptation, and we may fall for it here and there as the Lord determines, but it will never be back again as our boss and owner. We’re shed of that now. It will reappear as temptation time and again, but now we have seen it for what it is, and have the consciousness of it, and when it does come back which it will, we’re pretty quick to spot it and say, “Flee – out! I’ll have none of that!” When once we see how dark and lightless it was, we marvel that it held us, for it is so pitiful in the light.
(I had thought originally to end at this point. I did end here in the first posting several years ago. But being that it’s been a while, and I have been shown more things, it necessitates at least one other part to tie up some loose ends, hopefully.)
END PART FOUR