The Question Box
By Norman Grubb
Nov-Dec 1983 – Union Life Magazine
Q. Some of my fellow believers are causing a problem for me about my smoking, even though it is not a problem to me. I am a “knower” (through the light of the Spirit that has shone in to me). I delight in this revelation. It all happened as a life-changing revelation last summer when I came to know that I am Christ in His Jim form. What a glorious experience that was!
But what I want to know is how do we equate living spontaneously, as Christ in our forms, with the commands in the Bible, such as in 1 John, where it warns us not to sin. I no longer want to smoke pot or get involved in other activities that used to be part of the parties that I go to. But my friends keep challenging me about my cigarette smoking, saying that it proves that I am a “carnal Christian”—and I just don’t agree. They say it will cut me off from fellowship with God, but I don’t see it at all.
A. I am glad that you continue to share your heart and problems with me.
You write that this smoking is not a problem to you, but it is—otherwise you would not be bothering to write about it. And you are obviously feeling the weight of what other believers say to you.
Living faith is unconscious, because it is knowing, and what you know you just ARE and forget about it! That is the message of John’s first letter. See the whole of the last chapter.
Now, I’m so thankful that by the light of the Spirit you have become a “knower,” stemming from that “life-changing revelation last summer” you mention, and it is Her in you as you. That’s the basic glorious “knowing.”
The commands you ask about, and the John letter is full of them, means that you spontaneously live them, just as when you know how to drive, you spontaneously keep the driving laws of the road! But the Spirit has put them in book (Bible) form for us, because we are in a deceivable world and need to have them in black and white to remind or check us, just as there is a printed driver’s rule book. And this has been so with you where you were caught up with what you know were sins as you mention. Those just dropped from you, because they were not Christ in you as you and thus they were “commands” you have naturally “kept” in your walking as He walked.
But now this cigarette smoking is unsettled with you because you do not see it as an all-out “sin” as those other things, and therefore you do not say that smoking of this kind cuts you off from fellowship with God as sins do (1 John 1:5,6). But yet you have inner questioning about it, and the pressures on you of the friends calling you a carnal Christian.
And this is all good for you, and is also evidence of the reality of Christ in you, that it does leave you questioning and disturbed.
Now the only victory there is in this “walk in the Spirit” and the victory that comes is by faith (1 John 5:3-5). Faith means that we are back in our “unconscious knowing” of Him in us as us in all things, just as He was conscious only of His Father in all things. So you have to be off these questionings which disturb and distract you about this smoking. How can you be that? By having it settled in your mind and heart on where you stand with God about it, and then boldly standing and walking in that stand before all men, whether they be those that condemn you or others.
Now if it is not a sin, the question is, is it a “doubtful habit” that causes you to feel inwardly guilty about it? If to you it is not a doubtful habit before God, then boldly smoke and take no condemnation from your fellow believers. Go on smoking until God Himself tells you not to.
But if it is a doubtful habit to you, and it also bothers you that others say it proves you are a “carnal Christian,” then you should have it settled on your faith level with God that by faith He has removed this from you, and despite your soul-body desire for it, He has cut you off from it. Then you walk expecting freedom from it. If then you slip back into it, you recognize it as disobedience before God, confess it as such, and, while being forgiven according to 1 John 1:9, you go on expecting to be kept from it. In that sense, by your attitude of faith and expectation you “keep yourself” (as John says in 1 John 5:8).
It seems to me you must be clear-cut in your inner position of faith one way or the other, as I have presented it to you, so that you walk in boldness and clarity of conscience before God and man; and then the Spirit and the Word will have settled you, and you will not be asking me, but only maybe sharing with me what God has said to you.
Actually the use of the term “carnal Christian” was not used by Paul about any such habit as this, but about believers who in false pride claimed that their view of truth was right and contended with others who differed—as in II Cor. 1:1-3.
Q. My life has been one of a series of seeming failures. I never seemed to receive God’s blessings as others did. Oh, occasional showers to keep me alive, but not the sweet presence I so longed for.
I always worried about my husband and children (even though my children are grown now). Nightly I would cry out for God to just “hold me close.” But nothing happened. I had so-called “victory” sometimes, but family problems (money or marital) would cause me to run back to Him pleading for relief. I’d usually get it, but I wasn’t quite sure if He really answered my prayers, or if it would have happened anyway.
For several months prior to June, 1981, I prayed for nothing but to glorify Him in everything. I wanted to love Him more than my family, etc.
On June 8th, my husband suddenly passed away. After three hours of shock and fear, I found myself actually rejoicing. I wanted to rush out and comfort all my friends and relatives who came to console me.
It was as though God has released my spirit for other things. My personal needs were no longer important. To me, my family had no more problems, though it was actually no different than before. I no longer felt the need to protect them from hurts. I didn’t understand why God was so good to me. He became a husband to me as well as a father. I knew no real loneliness, yet previously other family deaths had left me devastated. I recognized God’s perfect timing in my husband’s death. It was at that time that I picked up a copy of Union Life and read an article by Walter Lanyon about identifying with the Lord. It struck a chord, for then I realized who I was in Christ.
I sent for Lanyon’s books, hungry for more, but I still don’t understand how the divine abandon takes place. I have the peace, but unlimited faith escapes me. Yet, I don’t want to see manifestations. First, I want to get rid of the limitation I’ve put upon His ability or desire to release me completely from human concepts. I want nothing more than to glorify Him and decrease my own importance.
I’m not clear concerning some of your teachings, and need Bible verses to back them up before I accept them as Truth. But the belief that we are in Him and that there is one Power is real to me.
A. I am very glad of the account you are able to give of what the Holy Spirit confirmed to you after your husband’s death—that He is your sufficiency, as husband, as well as Father.
I am not sure that the Spirit has yet revealed to you by the word and by Himself that Christ is permanently the Real Self in you. You must be confirmed by the Scriptures that this is so, before you can settle into Him by faith. That is why we publish Union Life magazine—to give readers plenty of evidence from the Scriptures, and from personal experiences, that He is the Real You in you.
The truth is so simple when you see it from the Scriptures and then personally believe, accept and confess it for yourself. As humans, we are always lived in and operated by one of two “spirits” in us—either of error, or of truth. Satan was that “spirit of error” in us from the Fall. Jesus by His death as us, “died to sin—that spirit of error—in us; and by His resurrection “the Spirit of truth” replaced that lying spirit in His body, and thus in ours by faith. Just as once we were really walking Satans, now we are walking Christs.
As free and real persons, we have our own authority to accept or reject the revealed truth. It seems to me that you wholly desire to accept it, but haven’t yet grasped that faith means putting yourself into something and then it takes you over, just as you take food and then food takes you. You make that act of faith, which means by the Word and by your own inner heart choice you affirm that he is in you as the Deity Person replacing that false deity, and that therefore He is now expressing Himself by you, just as Satan once did (John 8;44). The law of faith is, “What you take takes you.”
So when you take and affirm that Galatians 2:20 is true in you, and you confess it, then the Spirit bears His witness in you that this is fact (1 John 5:10). It comes down to your having enough Scriptural evidence that this is the Truth, and then acting on it. It is evident that the spirit is now leading you into the full inner settlement of what you so hunger for, so that now Matthew 5:6 will be fulfilled in you.