Notes from Norman

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by Norman P. Grubb

Nov-Dec 1983 – Union Life Magazine

Q. Some of my fellow believers are causing a problem for me about my smoking, even though it is not a problem to me. I am a “knower” (through the light of the Spirit that has shone in to me). I delight in this revelation. It all happened as a life-changing revelation last summer when I came to know that I am Christ in His Jim form. What a glorious experience that was!

But what I want to know is how do we equate living spontaneously, as Christ in our forms, with the commands in the Bible, such as in 1 John, where it warns us not to sin. I no longer want to smoke pot or get involved in other activities that used to be part of the parties that I go to. But my friends keep challenging me about my cigarette smoking, saying that it proves that I am a “carnal Christian”—and I just don’t agree. They say it will cut me off from fellowship with God, but I don’t see it at all.

A. I am glad that you continue to share your heart and problems with me.

You write that this smoking is not a problem to you, but it is—otherwise you would not be bothering to write about it. And you are obviously feeling the weight of what other believers say to you.

Living faith is unconscious, because it is knowing, and what you know you just ARE and forget about it! That is the message of John’s first letter. See the whole of the last chapter.

Now, I’m so thankful that by the light of the Spirit you have become a “knower,” stemming from that “life-changing revelation last summer” you mention, and it is Her in you as you. That’s the basic glorious “knowing.”

The commands you ask about, and the John letter is full of them, means that you spontaneously live them, just as when you know how to drive, you spontaneously keep the driving laws of the road! But the Spirit has put them in book (Bible) form for us, because we are in a deceivable world and need to have them in black and white to remind or check us, just as there is a printed driver’s rule book. And this has been so with you where you were caught up with what you know were sins as you mention. Those just dropped from you, because they were not Christ in you as you and thus they were “commands” you have naturally “kept” in your walking as He walked.

But now this cigarette smoking is unsettled with you because you do not see it as an all-out “sin” as those other things, and therefore you do not say that smoking of this kind cuts you off from fellowship with God as sins do (1 John 1:5,6). But yet you have inner questioning about it, and the pressures on you of the friends calling you a carnal Christian.

And this is all good for you, and is also evidence of the reality of Christ in you, that it does leave you questioning and disturbed.

Now the only victory there is in this “walk in the Spirit” and the victory that comes is by faith (1 John 5:3-5). Faith means that we are back in our “unconscious knowing” of Him in us as us in all things, just as He was conscious only of His Father in all things. So you have to be off these questionings which disturb and distract you about this smoking. How can you be that? By having it settled in your mind and heart on where you stand with God about it, and then boldly standing and walking in that stand before all men, whether they be those that condemn you or others.

Now if it is not a sin, the question is, is it a “doubtful habit” that causes you to feel inwardly guilty about it? If to you it is not a doubtful habit before God, then boldly smoke and take no condemnation from your fellow believers. Go on smoking until God Himself tells you not to.

But if it is a doubtful habit to you, and it also bothers you that others say it proves you are a “carnal Christian,” then you should have it settled on your faith level with God that by faith He has removed this from you, and despite your soul-body desire for it, He has cut you off from it. Then you walk expecting freedom from it. If then you slip back into it, you recognize it as disobedience before God, confess it as such, and, while being forgiven according to 1 John 1:9, you go on expecting to be kept from it. In that sense, by your attitude of faith and expectation you “keep yourself” (as John says in 1 John 5:8).

It seems to me you must be clear-cut in your inner position of faith one way or the other, as I have presented it to you, so that you walk in boldness and clarity of conscience before God and man; and then the Spirit and the Word will have settled you, and you will not be asking me, but only maybe sharing with me what God has said to you.

Actually the use of the term “carnal Christian” was not used by Paul about any such habit as this, but about believers who in false pride claimed that their view of truth was right and contended with others who differed—as in I Cor. 3:1-3