My Fifth and Last Commission

by Norman Grubb

         I have this last intercession to share; and probably I can say it is the last, now being 95 years of age.  Yet this the mightiest, because it is the first streams of what is to become a world flood.  It was as simple in this beginnings as all the others.  Once again, it all stemmed from the originality of the Spirit, totally unplanned and unpremeditated by me or any.

          Having handed on the general secretaryship of the WEC to younger man just suited for it, I was now free to pour myself into my main absorption—the sharing with my fellow believers of Paul’s (and my!) revelation of that mystery once hidden “but now made manifest to his saints” (Col. 1:26).  That revelation is of a total present “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  He is the perfection in us, and we in Him are His human manifesters.

          The radicalness of what a number of us call our Total Truth Message to the Whole Church in the Whole World is not in what Paul called his once hidden, now manifest “mystery” (Col. 1:27).  That tremendous reality is becoming more commonly known by faith by us the redeemed.  We do say with Paul in his Galatians 2:20, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  But where we have been held up, and I for long, is with the previous statement of “I am crucified with Christ.”

          What is that “I” (or “me”)?  That is the point.  And what does it means when I say “I am crucified”?  For evidently the “I” continues in living existence when Paul goes on to say, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”  That is the “me” back again!  So what was crucified?  And in what sense am I a “crucified me, who now comes back as a “resurrected me”?  I was not clear about that for a long time.

Romans Makes It Clear.

          But at last I saw the truth about ourselves through Paul’s Roman letter.  He constantly underlines that our human “I” is nothing but a vessel that contains, a branch producing its vine’s fruit, a servant (slave) working only at the becken call of his owner, a wife reproducing the seed of her husband, a temple indwelt by it god.  Our human selves never were self-operating or self-relying, but only express and reproduce the products of our owner.

          I saw that my “I” that was crucified with Christ was an “I” that was expressing its owner and operator.  My “I” had been the expresser of that false “god of this world” and “spirit of error,” which works in all the children of disobedience (all of us while unsaved).  So when Paul says that I am crucified with Christ, he means that my “I” went into death and resurrection with my Intercessor Savior, who was “made sin” as me on Calvary (II Cor. 5:21).  In His death I am freed forever from the false spirit of error indweller; and by His resurrection I am now occupied, when I have responding faith, by the Spirit of Truth as fixed, eternal, total Indweller.

          What is so radical, and meets with so much questioning and opposition as even heretical, is that my crucified “I” is the very same “I” that now lives.  The difference is not and never was in the human “I” container, but wholly in the deity-spirit in possession of my “I.”  But that is hard to recognize and accept because of the false concept of my “I” being independent and self-operating.

          Really, we have been run since the Fall by that false Satan-deity (Rev. 12:9).  That includes much of the lives of us newborn ones, until through sheer desperation we have moved in by faith from our first saved and justified relationship to our real reality of now being indwelt vessels by our Christ-Indweller.  Only by His body-death did He cast out forever the false indweller.  So it never was a change in our beautiful God-created “I” with its great potential, but only an exchange of who is operating our “I.”

We Have Never Been Self-Operating.

          This then brings me to the problem of resistance from my fellow believers, who have known themselves ads Satan-stained by their sins.  While caught in this lie of a seemingly self-acting self which they think can pray more, resolve more, try more be better, etc., they are horrified and regard as dangerous heresy the total giving up of their “duties” in self-activity.  But at last they must come to what Paul did by much travail:  the plain giving fact of the human self never having been self-operating.  And then they can realize that human self-relying activity through past years actually has been the “error spirit,” with his nature of self-for-self appearing as them.

          When I am at last exhausted enough by the failure of my self-effort, as was Paul in Romans 7, I am ready and conditioned to recognize with great relief and daring faith that I have “died” to this long accepted concept of being self-operating.  By faith I see that my false owner and Satan-Sin-operator, with his nature of self-for-self, has been replaced forever by my True Owner, with His nature of self-for-others.

          As in Romans 8:1-2, I can now accept myself with all my human faculties as permanently operated by, expressing and manifesting my Christ-Indweller in His self-for-others nature.  I go free.  Then delighted I find myself a willing slave-servant to Him who gets busy giving me my intercessory life’s opportunities of being Himself-for-others by me.  All who will receive can find and know that they too are Christ-I in place of Statan-I, and never were the delusion of being just an I-I!

The Radical Core

          In a real sense, there is not a new word in what we are saying—not a sentence for which we cannot present Bible authority and not a thing new to take to any born-again believer.  All we do is tell our fellow redeemed who they really are and already are!

          But what is the radical spot which causes us to talk of “total truth”?  Simply put, it is that there is no such thing as independent self in the universe.  There is only One:  “I am the Lord; and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18).  All creation is derivative, operating by God’s creative life in some basic form in it.  And so all men, made in His image, naturally (except as hindered by unbelief) express by their created selfhood Him, their Creator.  We humans have our wonderful being as selves “in Him” (Act 17:28); but the nature that is being expressed is His, not ours (2 Peter 1:4).  But because consciousness necessarily comes through the fact and knowledge of opposites, the one utilizing the other to express itself (like light “swallowing up” dark), so there came into existence this false “god” with the opposite nature to the One Living God, and having the deceived imagination that he is an independent self.  That is what sin is (I John 3:4).

          This was also that we might know the false opposite, since through the Fall we have been deceived by Satan as if we were independent selves, having received his spirit of error into ourselves to express his self-for-self nature as us.  The Last Adam—God’s own Son taking Flesh as us—removed that spirit of error from us by His death and resurrection as us (2 Cor. 5:14, 21; Rom. 6P:19), so that the deceiving spirit is replaced by the Spirit of Truth expressing His other-love nature as us.

          The snag and snare is that by Satan’s deceit we humans think we are independent selves with a self-operating nature of our own.  This has to be, so we learn once for all that lying deceit of being independent.  The reason Romans 7 appears to be such a difficult chapter is that the final depth of this revelation is found there.

          Through conditioning we have to become desperate enough to see through and discard the one thing we humans cling to: that deceived idea that we have a nature of our own and run our own lives. Only then can we settle into the wonder of the old Satan-nature which he expressed as us (Rom. 6:21; 7:5) being now replaced forever by the glory of Christ, our “True Vine” expressing His True Vine nature by us, the branches (Romans 6:22).  Thus we move fixedly into the glory of the affirmation of Romans 8:2 and its spontaneous consequences in verse 14 through 16 and onward through the whole chapter.

But the Truth is Resisted

          So it is the fact of our having no human nature, but self only being an expresser of the deity –spirit nature (formerly the false one and now the true one) and our claiming this to be biblically true, that makes our “total truth” so radical.  It leaves no more room for human self-activity, except as expressions of a deity.

          Here is where we have to ask where are the preachers or the writers of spiritual books who make this radical fact the fact, and thus give no more room for exhortations to self-betterment?   Actually, all the commands of the Scripture have become automatic action: “Of course that is how we live, because it is He fulfilling  ‘the righteousness of the law!” Romans 8:4; Ps. 119:97).

          Why can few pastors accept this truth in its reality?  Because it exchanges pastoral management of the flock for direct management by the Chief Shepard, and the pastors leading the sheep to His direct leadership.  Why will all believers start by opposing and resenting this radical reality?  It is because we live under the delusion of being self-operating selves merely helped by the Spirit, until that final delusion is exposed in Romans 7 and replaced in Romans 8.

          How truly that great George Muller, the father of all present-day faith movements, once said, “There was a day on which I died!” And theirs is no other way but that such a day comes in all our lives.  But we fight and resist until at last we “see” it.               

Others Have Seen and Said it

          John in his First Epistle repeated it over and over again.  We walk in the light, as He is in the light (1:7).  We walk as He walked (2:6).  We know as He knows (2:27).  We live holy lives, as He lived (3:7).  We love as He loves (4:16).  We have a faith that becomes inner knowing as He has (5:4-5), 18-20).  And summed up, “As He is, so are we in this world” (4:17), for the very same Spirit who caused Jesus to know and say who He was (John 14:9) now causes us to know who we are (Rom. 8:11; John 16:7).

          Inner truth was always known through the centuries (read such a book as The Pilgrim Church by E. H. Broadbent), but these true ones were consistently martyred by the external church.  They were intercessors for us and did the dying.  Now in our generation it is not physical martyrdom and cutting off of heads for most of us, but plenty of cutting off of our reputations as sound or sensible Christians.  So we are left physically free to go to the who Church in the whole world.

My Summit, My Hope, Glory and Ostracism

            Now I reach my summit—at least I suppose so, at 95 years—and a last glorious participation in an “intercession in action.”  Certainly it is the greatest for me because God, and only God, has brought this worldwide, church wide commission into being without my having given one thought or plan for it.  And as I go to my Lord, I leave behind nothing less that the first sproutings—precious believers knowing who they already are—of a worldwide harvest.

          My one hope is that we who are linked in this co-knowing remain as structureless as possible.  Being joined to One Body only, the precious redeemed Body of Christ, we have no need for membership, joining or official subscribing.  We know only one truth:  Christ Himself now living His own life in millions of bodies by the Spirit, until “we all come in the unity of the faith,” in understanding as well as a present Spirit-oneness, to that Perfect Man of Ephesians 4:13.

          This last intercession is glorious indeed, but it also includes its very present dying that others may live.  There is ostracism and opposition by many, even of the precious people of God, who remain in this confusion of and clinging to the false independent self.  The Spirit has to make us ready for that final and highly dangerous looking death, where it remains only He as us.

          That unpredictable Wind “blows where it lists” in our newborn lives, as I can plainly see in the marvelous unplanned events of just my own life.  You may also see where the Spirit has already gained intercessions by you in your own experiences; and you will thus be alive to the glory of such further intercessions, with their commission, cost and completion.

          The death-resurrection principle of intercession see John 12:24) as the highest of our earthly callings is still known and entered into by only a few of the redeemed members of the Body of Christ.  Plainly enough, though, Paul gave us his own experience in Romans 6-8.  As he found so painfully and with difficulty in his Romans 7 travail, the “death” of that lie of our being independent selves comes to those of us who will stop at nothing in going what he called that perfect way of Christ as us.

          But as we move in by the bold choice of faith (as by the affirmation of Galatians 2:20), the Spirit will bring us that same light of revelation which Paul had.  Inwardly we will “see” our wonderful God-made human selves as solely expressers of His Spirit of Truth in place of that false spirit of error.  And we will settle into our true God-ordained condition, as out from us shall flow the river of the Spirit, as in John 7:37,38.  Nothing then can stop us from joining what Peter calls “the royal priesthood” of intercessors with, as Paul said, “death working in us, but life in you.”