Notes from Norman

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Present Tense Perfection

by Norman P. Grubb

Now do you know what I learned out among the Africans five years afterwards? These revived Africans where the Christian Kikuyu of the Kikuyu tribe are facing torture and death. You know about the Mau Mau, of course, and the rebellions that are going on there. The point from the Christian angle is this: that the Mau Mau terrorists, as we call them, consider the Christian Kikuyu the worst of all cases, because he has adopted the white man’s religion. So they single them out and torture them. And they really do torture them, and have many, many executions. Three or four months ago I read a letter to a fellow-missionary, and it stirred my heart. It was a wonderful simple letter from one of these brethren just telling that “we buried Brother So-and-so on September 6, and then on October 6 we buried Brother So-and-so, and in November we buried Sister So-and-so and Brother So-and-so. All had been murdered by the Mau Mau. And then in February we couldn’t find the body of Brother So-and-so, but we knew he died praising Jesus, and so we praised for him.” That kind of thing. I had never heard anything like it.

And then this came, “But brothers,” he said, “we’ve had to do some confessing of sin to each other. We’ve had to confess the sin of fear, and get cleansed in the Blood.” Fear! Well I should think so, because it’s not death, it’s torture. And confess the sin of fear, and get cleansed! I went back five years and said, “What a hypocrite I am!” I never dared to come out to my own people and say I had a fearful heart, because I was the leader and leaders aren’t supposed to fear. I never said to them, “Look here, I’ve got a fearful heart; I need cleansing.” If I had, I should have got free. And there I was. I lived all those years, those hours, under sin, the sin of fear, without trusting God, because I didn’t call it a sin. I called it the consequence of my past nerves.

Those Africans have nerves the same as we have, but they have a better thing than nerves. They have the Blood of Jesus, and the power of the Spirit. But I got a lesson from that. You see, I learned from that how things we never call sin have an element of sin when you look into it.

Again let me make it plain. It isn’t the temptation which is sinful. You can’t help feeling fear, because it’s a right instinct. We are to fear God. Fear is a right instinct as long as it is kept in its right place. Fear is the guardian of the door to faith, to stop the wrong things going into faith; but it’s not to take the place of faith, it’s not to go on the throne. Fear is the guardian at the door; faith is on the throne. But very often we swap round and we put fear on the throne—that’s our trouble. And there’s another rightful fear. If I didn’t fear, I should be squashed under an automobile in no time. You need a fear, but you’ve got to be sure that in that fear there isn’t that false element, because so often it is an element of unbelief, the element which isn’t really believing God. As in all things like that, in all temptations, there is a rightful appetite and a rightful instinct. The point is, is it going in the wrong direction? The instinct and the appetite aren’t wrong, but are they being diverted? That is the point. I was being diverted through the war into a false fear of fear. So I had no testimony along that line. Well, those are little illustrations.

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