QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
By Norman Grubb
Union Life Vol 7 #1
Q Is the second coming Christ being formed as us, so that this becomes the "every eye shall see Him"? Or will there come a day when He shall visibly appear the second time to judge the living and the dead? In other words: what about the last days of which the Scriptures speak so often?
James Parsons Montpelier, OH
A IT IS PLAIN from the Scriptures that there is the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ as a coming event, just as surely as there is this present blessed coming of Him into our own inner beings (which is the special Colossians 1:24-29 and Galatians 2:20 message and ministry the Spirit has given us in Union Life to share). We must not confuse those two "comings."
Q Why is it that many in the union life "movement" are throwing off the yoke of the organized church?
A I CERTAINLY appreciate your "warning" about "throwing off the yoke of the organized church." You hit a rough spot there. You see, our "replacement" message (Christ completely replacing Satan—the Spirit of truth replacing the spirit of error) is too radical for most people, as it effectively eliminates the whole "two- nature" teaching (which I seek to clearly explain, with its Scriptural basis, in my new book, Yes I Am).
Yet all of this is central to our worldwide ministry, as it is the vital basis to the completion of the "gospel" which Paul preached to "all the world" (Col. 1:23). He added his second "ministry" —this time to the church (1:25)—to complete and "fulfil the word of God." It was for the latter that he suffered such persecution, and it was done "to present every man perfect in Jesus Christ."
Most of us are quite aware that the vast majority who teach the gospel of Colossians 1:23 just do not go on to the fulfilling of verses 24-29, and if pressed about it, resent it as dangerous and radical. This emphasis on replacement and the mystery of the gospel is vital to effective teaching on holiness and wholeness.
Many of our people who have come to see "replacement reality" have real problems of remaining steady with churches which really teach self-effort works as the way to continue the Christian life after experiencing saving grace. A complete follow-through with such as Romans 6-8 is as radical as entry into Romans 3-5!
So many, though saved through their churches, become tired of wilderness living, and tend to react against their church fellowships which never gave them the "promised land," Personally, I frequently forget to recognize, with thankfulness, that such churches do preach Christ, as Paul said in Philippians 1:18.
But it is of supreme importance that we stand ruthlessly for this whole gospel, and seek to share it at all times. So I suppose for this reason we are heavy on the side of folks finding that "fulfilled word of God" of Paul's, though it does frequently disturb church relations, and indeed limits our openings in many evangelical churches.
Q Recently in one of your letters, Norman, you wrote: "Rees Howells says that faith is real faith when it is as good as hard cash," which is true. Yet every time my purse looks as though it's on a diet, I get the soulish fear, "What am I going to do?" I neither condemn myself nor try to suppress it, but I long for the day when my inner believing controls my feelings. At the moment we have a youngster staying with us who has no other place to go, and my purse is as thin as a skeleton. I wish I could keep my thoughts on the heavenlies instead of on the earthlies in a situation like this!
Biva Tampoe, Madras, India
A THE ANSWER doesn't lie in escape and relief from the pressures of these needs (appearances of need), but rather from the good practice they give us of recognizing that all life presses its outward appearance on us to "drive" us (by God's tough love) into seeing only Him with the single eye. He means the outer pressures to give us constant opportunities of replacing the outer by the inner. When we ourselves are "fixed" in knowing Him as the One living in us as us, then our pressures are to relate to all those around us who have equal pressures, but are desperate not knowing how to handle them. As we handle ours, then we line up beside them and show them how to handle theirs. This is part of our life as "intercessors."
We learn to discern between soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12), and recognize all those emotional disturbances of doubts, fears, etc., as fresh opportunities for replacing them by pure Spirit-reality, which is He, the Eternal One of all sufficiency, joined to our spirit. As we affirm and experience all sufficiency in all outer needs, we can help others affirm theirs.
Q I suffer from chronic anxiety and take Valium daily. Can you offer any spiritual counsel for this problem?
A MOST OF OUR troubles have their source in confusing the outer emotions of our souls with the calm center of our spirits joined to His Spirit (I Cor. 6:17). God means us to experience these negative assaults from anxiety, etc., to establish us in our still center, as Peter says in I Peter 5:10. So thank God for them (just as James tells us to "count it all joy" in our trials—Jas. 1:2). Then recognize them as negative assaults from without coming through your emotions. Don't fight them or they will fight back; but transfer your inner recognition to Christ, the Perfect One, who is eternally joined to you and is your real inner self. Count on Him as your Valium. If you still feel the need to take it, do so, but keep saying to Him and yourself that He is your inner calmness. Expect Him to be so real to you that the desire for Valium drops off.
Q In January 1981 I was in an auto accident which paralyzed my left arm and hand. Despite a two-month's stay in the hospital and subsequent therapies, very little progress has been made. Medical sources state that the arm will not be restored to its former usefulness, although there might be some improvement in about two years. Despite this prognosis, my faith in the Lord's fulfillment of His promises remains unshaken, and the Biblical admonition, saying, "Cursed be the man that trusted in man" gives me additional comfort. Do you have anything supporting my view and stating the attitude which a patient should cultivate in a situation like this?
John Goldman, Prescott, AZ
A YOU AND I are not primarily body people, but spirit-people living in the inner reality of our human selves (our spirits), eternally joined to His Spirit (I Cor. 6:17). Therefore you live in the Spirit reality, and all that comes to you, including this auto accident, comes from Him in His perfect purposes. (Accidents and all ills don't come directly from God, but are products of the misused freedom of us all in our first-Adam, Satan-expressing condition, But, in the perfect paradox of eternal truth. He also intended, in His perfect love; that we should have the effects of this misused freedom—and so your accident.)
Now your liberation is purely in your inner "seeing." As you see your physical condition as part of His perfect plan to manifest Himself by you, you have your eyes on Him in His love purposes, and not on the physical condition, though you can't help but feel the physical suffering involved. In the meantime, you are a praising person in your physical condition.
From here, you go on to see yourself as being and walking in Him as your life, including your body condition. You expect body-quickening according to the word of Romans 8:11. However, you do not keep your attention on the body-quickenings, but freely benefit from any medical assistances which are also from Him. Rather than timetabling your present body conditions or progresses, you just live as being He in your form, He comes through you in manifestation of Himself as perfect by you
As physical improvements come, you thankfully accept them, and don't tie your negative believing to what your doctors say must be your fixed, maimed condition. You just go on being, and you will likely find that physical improvement also, almost spontaneously and automatically, because your eyes and attention are no longer on the physical but on sharing your joy in being a total person as Christ in you as you. Then the rivers of the Spirit flow out from you. That is perfect "healing.”
Q I do not believe in it, but current teaching on "universal reconciliation" has me puzzled. "God is not willing that any should perish." All Israel shall be saved." "As in Adam men die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." God is merciful (His mercy endureth forever). Is He therefore including those who reject or never hear the good news of His boundless grace and love? Will there be “ranks" of souls in His presence?
A THE MAIN BODY of Bible believers, to whom we belong, accept exclusion from the Lord's presence, mentioned in II Thessalonians 1:9, as the future destiny of Christ-rejectors, and we would call attention to other verses such as John 3:36.
We know there are those who claim and seek to prove that there is a wider interpretation of the word "eternal," which might be taken as a door to a final "universal reconciliation."
Our own Union Life calling is a total concentration on the present Christ as our present All in all, and we therefore do not include in our -specialized" calling any further investigations or interpretations of how "the Judge of all the earth does right" (Gen. 18:25) on the other side of the grave. We simply concentrate on the present truth of Romans 10:13. We agree with the old General Booth of the Salvation Army who, when asked what he taught about the Second Coming of Christ, answered, ''I haven't finished with the first coming yet!"