International Christian Leadership
CHRISTIAN REVELATION: I.C.L. Monthly Outline—God’s Actions and Man’s Reactions
By: Norman P. Grubb
The Cause of Our Weakness
The foundation of the Christian revelation is that God who is Spirit (JOHN 4:24), all-wise, all-loving, almighty, is the “Father of spirits” (HEBREWS 12:9), and that men created in his image are to live in spiritual inner union with Himself, He in them, and they in Him, one organism as a tree and its branches; for, as Paul says, “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” This would mean that man would constantly realize the presence, power, and wisdom of God within him and continually draw on these unending resources for all his activities. Man would also realize that he is in God, a part of Him and thus sharing in His eternal program and purposes, no matter how great the temporary manifestations of evil around him.
This was and still is God’s planned relationship between Himself and His offspring. It has not worked out according to plan for a reason the Bible makes devastatingly clear. Our first parents, exercising the free will which is the primary characteristic of our creaturehood, rejected the dependent relationship of union with God, creature with creator, and chose individual independence, the enthronement of the Ego, the dethronement of the Super-Ego; “we have turned every one to his own way” (ISAIAH 53:6).
The Source of Strength
In God’s changeless love and mercy he has now produced a further plan to remedy the failure of the first. Man has become an upside-down creature, body on top, spirit beneath, or, to use a Biblical description, he has “died out” to the life of the Spirit, and come alive to the life of the flesh. The order, therefore, must be reversed. But man cannot do this. He is guilty before His Holy Judge, blind to his true condition, and helpless to remedy it. So God comes and does it himself. Voluntarily, in the person of His Son (II CORINTHIANS 5:19; I TIMOTHY 3:16), He becomes a human being, gives Himself to death, rises again and ascends to the throne of the universe, all for our sakes and in our place.
“Now,” it is as if He says to us, “I tell you the truth about yourselves; but I also give you the complete remedy. You need forgiveness for your ghastly guilt and rebellion; I give you this through my atoning blood. You need a re-orientation of your personality, a death to the dominance of the old lusting, fearing, scheming Ego; I give you that death in My death. You need a new spirit within you; I give you that by giving you My risen Self, the Lord Christ, to be your inner life. I give you back that spiritual union for which you were created, I in you, and you in Me.”
The Way of Realization
Faith—the only way by which the spiritual clouds that envelop this world and our own souls can be pierced—is the commonest and most used of all our natural faculties. Everything we do is motivated by faith. To breathe the air, to eat a meal, to sit on a chair are all acts of faith. We only do them because we believe that each in its different way meets our need and can be relied upon. And to re-establish a life-giving relationship with our Creator-Father God, He asks of us nothing more nor less than the exercise of this same simple faculty of faith-in-action. He gives us Christ, His Cross, His risen life, His ascended triumph.
Then let us take the simple and decisive act of faith. Let us believe His word. Let us confess with our mouths that He is here and now to us all He says He is (ROMANS 10:9). Let us reckon by faith that He is spiritually ours as much as we believe that the material bread we eat goes down into our stomachs and becomes part of us. And in doing this, the reverse side of that same act of faith is our broken confession of our guilt and our desire to be rid of the old way of life and to walk in the new. And as we do this, we find the miracle of spiritual union takes place, God manifests Himself to us in the inner chambers of our being in light and love and power.
The Practical Application
Living a new life in Christ in the “inner man,” does not, however, change our environment. Our circumstances and problems are the same, our personalities have the same characteristics, we live among the same people. What actually new kind of life, then, do we live, and how do we live it?
First, it has a new center, Christ is in control; therefore, its essential new requirement must be time taken to be still in His presence, no matter how busy we are.
We are now to understand that our daily lives with all their problems and responsibilities, great and small, are an integral part of God’s universal purposes. Through us he is working out His worldwide plan of grace and salvation, which is to be consummated in the personal return of Christ. Every decision we make, every act we take, is meant to be God in us, moving out in action by us.
He would have us, therefore, always realize that “we have the mind of Christ” within us, if we will learn to withdraw into His Presence, make our decisions according to what seems to us to be His will, and in conformity with the standards of His written Word. He has plainly stated that He gives wisdom in liberal amounts to those to ask and trust they receive (JAMES 1:5), and we should therefore confidently expect that our thoughts and decisions, when made after prayer, are His thoughts in us.