Notes from Norman

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Present Tense Perfection

by Norman P. Grubb

Certainly one of the subtlest sins is unbelief. Oh, what agonies we endure through unbelief, without recognizing that it is unbelief. As I have said before, it is probably the reason why the apostle who wrote the Hebrews spoke about “the evil heart of unbelief,” because unbelief is removing our eyes from the single look at Jesus and seeing something else. It is hardness, difficulty, our own weakness, and so on. My, I’ve met, not in Japan for I haven’t had time, but in our own circles in other countries, agonies through unbelief, through sense of failure, missionaries going right down under a sense of failure. Failure, a sense of failure, is that old devil making you look at yourself instead of at Him. Of course you’re a failure, you will be eternally. Of course you are weak, but you are committing a sin in that you are looking at yourself. You’ve no business to. You are committing the sin of unbelief. Our depressions, that which is one of the besetting infirmities? No! Sins of the missionary. It is all that because we are allowing the devil to fix our heart or our eyes in some ways on our weakness, our failure, our inability, our surroundings, or something like that, instead of keeping our eyes firm on the living Jesus, on the living Jesus Who lives in me, the living Jesus Who is working in these surroundings, Who is the conqueror; it is sin to look away from Him.

Now that’s what I’ve learned—that we get through these things when we recognize them as sin. Then you say, “Oh, I’m sinning the sin of unbelief.” Then, the Blood remedies it. It’s calling it “sin” that produces the remedy because calling it “sin” gives you the right to claim the Blood, it gives you the title to the Blood. A little incident happened to me a few conferences ago, not in Japan, but it stuck with me and so I use it as an illustration. It’s just what I mean, a tiny little thing but the kind of thing that happens to all of us. We had the first two or three meetings of a certain convention and they were stiff—thank God these meetings haven’t been stiff, but sometimes meetings are stiff. The stiffness may be inside here, of course. And I remember coming away feeling, “Oh we’re not getting anywhere.” And I spoke to a friend whom I met outside of the hall—one of our own W.E.C. men—and I said some remark like this: “Oh, the devil is doing more work here than The Lord.” It was something which was really naughty. Well, no wonder I was in darkness! And I went back to my room. I had to prepare for the next meeting. Well, I didn’t feel like preparing or speaking, and The Lord said to me, “You’ve got a sin in your heart—the sin of unbelief. You’re daring to believe that the devil can do more than I can. You had better put that right. You can’t play with that one.” And so of course I did: I saw it at once. It doesn’t take you one second to put it right because of the Precious Blood. That’s the thing that puts it right, not your confession. It’s the Precious Blood that puts it right. And the moment I saw it I said, “Praise The Lord, it’s finished.” Of course I had the confession to make to the brother later on lest I should have tripped him up also. But that’s what I mean. That was just a temporary moment in which the devil shoots in unbelief but we can live for weeks in it, can’t we?

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “Daily Walk in the Spirit”