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Present Tense Perfection

by Norman P. Grubb

I find the key to James is not that we poor dragging people are dragging along double. No, no, no, thank God, we are not. We’ve become single-eyed in Christ, purified in heart, and so on. But the devil is always pushing the double into us if he can, and we have to watch that to see it goes out again, or that it doesn’t get in when he shoots it at us.

James traces single-eye seeing all the way through his epistle. Trace now the Christian man and his tongue. Now we don’t go about deliberately with a dirty tongue, do we? We aren’t people who are going about to smear with our tongue; we aren’t people who are going about to be malicious with our tongue. God has purified our tongues as He has purified our hearts. We desire to praise The Lord Jesus, don’t we? We desire to speak of The Lord. Our interest is to talk of the things of The Lord. You know that as well as I do. We don’t walk about with double tongues, but mighty quickly it comes in; mighty quickly. Quickest of all.

Now you see how subtle it is. It says, “Therewith bless we God.” That’s exactly what we do in a meeting. “Oh, praise The Lord, and so and so.” “Curse we men.” “Curse” is an impolite word, so we just call it, “saying the truth;” we call it, “speaking the truth.” But the Bible calls it “cursing,” that’s all. See, the Bible doesn’t mince its words. It says, “When you’re saying an unkind malicious thing which hurts a person, you’re cursing a man.” And the very same tongue which has just blessed The Lord, cursed man. We are too polite to curse The Lord; we don’t do that one. So we curse man instead. But man is in the similitude of God, and in God’s sight we are cursing God—that’s the difficulty. It says so in this verse. You see what I mean?

So what I am saying to you is we don’t walk about in the bondage of a double tongue. We do not. We walk about in the blessing of a single tongue, but how quickly that old enemy sticks a double one in. We are to have that watchfulness, and when we are conscious we are beginning to do it, pull back on it. Sometimes we have to apologize, haven’t we? One or two people lately have done that. I’m not as quick as I ought to be on that myself, but some people have done that. They have begun to say a thing, and have said to me, “No, brother; I don’t think I will go on. I don’t think perhaps I ought to say that.” Now, that’s blessed. He’s seen, quick enough, the enemy putting in something double which would hurt somebody. He has stopped. That’s blessed. Of course there are some times when we have to pull back something we have said and say, “Well, brother, I oughtn’t to have said that. I’ve said that about a brother and I oughtn’t have said it,” or whatever it may be. But we don’t live there. We live in the single, but the double comes in. And so you get the test of course later on in James chapter 3 when you get that marvelous description of the two types of wisdom. You get the false wisdom of verses 14-15, “. . . bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above,” but from beneath; it is “earthly, sensual, devilish.” Then James 3:17, “. . . that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,” and so on. That’s what the tongue brings out; that’s the double tongue. When we are walking in the Spirit our tongue brings out that which is “pure, the peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,” and so on. When the other one comes in, it brings out the false, the wisdom which is from beneath, which has strife and bitterness and so forth in it.

We see the same thing with motives and all the way through. Our motives are pure, are they not? We shouldn’t be here with a double motive. Praise God, we aren’t living for the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are living for The Lord Jesus Christ with pure motives, but the other one comes in. Oh my, doesn’t it? As Brother Thompson said, we want our rights, or we want to gain this or want to have that, and so this double motive comes in. We don’t live in that motive but it gets in. Now we must mighty well see it doesn’t lodge in. Mighty well see that if the other comes in, it goes out again through confession, through cleansing, or through the shield of faith if we are quick enough.

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