Present Tnse Perfection
by Norman P. Grubb
All He requires of me now is that I walk in the light as I stand here and, as far as I know, I have no sin between Him and me. All he requires of you as you sit there now is that you walk in the light now with no sin between you and Him. That’s all—not two minutes ahead or two minutes past. Leave them alone, except if there has been a sin, then put it right. That’s all. |
Now perfection is a different matter when it is in the present tense. Why? Look at verse 5 of chapter 2. It is only one of several verses of the same type, “Whosoever is keeping . . . .” The old fashioned English veils these things a little. It says, “keepeth.” You all know that when that old fashioned tense is used it means “is keeping.” It’s the continuous present always when it says “keepeth” or “believeth.” It means “is keeping,” “is believing.”
So we read it like that to simplify it. “Whosoever is keeping His word in him verily is the love of God being perfected.” So God’s Word says—it’s very simple—if I’m keeping His Word, the love of God is now being perfected.” That’s all. Now God’s Word says it, I didn’t. I wouldn’t dare say such a thing. He said so. In other words, are you keeping His Word now in your conscience? That doesn’t mean a false condemnation; it doesn’t mean you have to look out idealistically and say, “Oh I ought to be a hundred times better.” All you are responsible for at this moment is your light now. There’s plenty more to come. A little child may do a lot of queer things for which it is not responsible. If he’s a little child and knocks the ink pot over, you don’t call him responsible; but if he is 20 years old and knocks the ink pot over, you do call him responsible. So a little child may do a lot of things and you say, “Oh that’s just a little kid. He doesn’t know any better. That’s not wrong in him.” Of course there are things which he can do which are wrong, but it is according to our growth. And all we are responsible for is just to be up to the light we understand—to be pleasing to God now, cleansed in His Precious Blood, indwelt by His Spirit, walking happily, childlike, with Him. That’s all.
Now if we are doing that, we’re keeping His Word. If I interpret it aright, we are keeping His Word. That’s the only Word we know. If we are keeping His Word, that’s the love of God perfected. Therefore, God’s Word says that at any moment I can be up to the level of what He calls “having the love of God perfected in me.” But I may not be like that in one minute’s time. In one minute’s time Satan may get at me; in one minute’s time something may come in. Then I’m not there. Don’t let me deceive myself. I’m not there any longer. Therefore, it is sheer nonsense to talk about permanent perfection.
But it isn’t sheer nonsense to say that I can walk thus with God for a moment—step, by step, by step—because God’s Word says so. That’s the answer. It is the present tense that solves the thing. That’s why the spiritual crises are vital, but they must not be mistaken for the walk. And sometimes people get mixed up with their crises because they try to make out that their crises and their continuity are the same thing. No, the crisis is just step on the new road and then you have to walk it, walk the new road, the highway of holiness. But if you have had the crisis, you are on the road and know how to walk. That’s the point. You know how to walk. I know how to walk; if I don’t walk, it is my own fault because I know how to walk. And thank God many of us do.
Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “Daily Walk in the Spirit”