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Man's Helplessness

by Norman P. Grubb

You see how God always has to test us until we’ve discovered our helplessness. He tested Adam by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which he mustn’t eat, at the same time providing his need, if he’d find it, in the Tree of Life. It was to test out whether he could learn that, by himself, he couldn’t resist the temptation to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He must have another counteracting Person inside himself to do that. And he never saw it.

Now, you see, it’s just the same here. In Exodus 19:4-5, God said, “Now I’ve brought you out. You’re a peculiar treasure. And I brought you up on eagles wings that you may be a kingdom of priests on one condition.” “If you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant.” Just that. If you obey my voice and keep my covenant. That’s the very thing He had been telling them to do all the years. Every time anything happened they grumbled and groused and they kicked and they disobeyed. Their whole history was that. They had just been dragged along by grace, that’s all. Keeping the covenant? They’d never come within a hundred miles of it. But what happened? Moses told them this in verse 7 and, in verse 8, all the people answered together, “All that the Lord has told us we will do.” They couldn’t do one thing the Lord told them to do, much less all. That’s blindness. And so God had to turn away and find another way. Totally blind by the illusion of self-sufficiency. Self-ability!

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “The Liberated Self”