Women’s Ministry Thursday Evenings 6:30 PM
All Welcome Women’s Ministry
AAStarbuck Ascension Hill Ministries, Biblical Teaching, Jesus Christ, Learning the Bible, Posts by Pastor Yvonne, Spiritual Growth, The Kingdom of God, THE SCRIPTURES, WOMEN’S WEEKLY MINISTRY Bible Study, Crystal River Bible Study, Florida, Inglis, WOMEN’S WEEKLY MINISTRY
All Welcome Women’s Ministry
Suffering: Its Secret By Norman Grubb
Transcribed from an audio tape:
What is suffering? Suffering is what I don’t like. That’s all. It may be spirit suffering, soul-emotional suffering or body suffering. I don’t like it because it presses me to find the remedy. That’s the secret! It presses me to find the remedy.
Do we square with what the Bible says on suffering? Unless I get it from my Bible, I’m not safe in the end. The Bible’s got to be interpreted by the Spirit; but I’ve got to have it in my Bible first, to have it in my spirit. The Bible says suffering is a necessary quality, and that you can’t have glory without it. So we’d better understand suffering if we’d have glory. The Scriptures are full of it.
In Romans, Corinthians and Timothy
The great Romans 8 victory chapter is full of suffering. The moment Paul speaks about our inheritance in Romans 8:17, he says: “…if [children-#5043=teknon], then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him.” Oh? On condition that we suffer with him, “that we may be… glorified …” The two are bound together: heirs and joint-heirs, if so be that you suffer. Then glory.
The whole of this chapter (some call it the victory chapter, but it isn’t) is full of groans. It says that the whole creation groans in pain, “and not only they, but ourselves also.” So we’re co-groaners. The Bible says so here in Romans 8:22,23. This is not the approaching chapter, but the arriving chapter. So, we’ve arrived in groaning here on earth.
And then Paul says that the Spirit groans with us, too, “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” That’s interesting. Isn’t this the victory chapter with no separation, and all of that? Yet, the chapter closes with: “As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long.” Not, “alive all the day long.” No! “Killed all the day long.” Read it! We’d better be Bible readers and see what it says for ourselves. “We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” That’s not trotting about in earthly marble palaces, is it? “… Accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Oh! That’s Romans.
Look at Corinthians, where this mighty Paul does his sharing and confessing. Second Corinthians is quite a confessing letter. He says he is comforted in all his tribulation, “but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God …” (2 Corinthians 1:9). So he went through something. He, mighty Paul, was trusting “himself.” That’s a little bit of Satan, isn’t it?
What was Paul’s sentence of death? It involved, “here now, don’t stop; don’t stay there; don’t stop at that suffering stuff.” His answer was that “we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from … death, and doth deliver …” In chapter 4, he says it is a continual dying, not only a dying two thousand years ago. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed” (2 Cor4:8). Troubled means you feel it. In the Bible there’s a difference between troubled and distressed. You’re perplexed. Oh, we get mixed up a bit, then? This is Paul: perplexed, but not in despair. There is a separation between perplexity and despair, but there is perplexity.
So there is trouble, there is perplexity, there is persecution. We know a bit about that. We’re cast down, not out: “cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:9). This is the mighty Paul. If you do better than him, you do pretty well.
“Always bearing about… dying of the Lord Jesus…” (2 Cor 8:10). Not His death, but His present dying. That’s in me. I’m bearing about the “dying of the Lord Jesus.” There’s something in me which is dying always, always, always. That’s a strong word, isn’t it? Continual dying, continual glory. There is continual dying, continual suffering, because life only comes out of death, “that the life … might be manifested in our body.”
A Body Death
But the life is only manifested because of the dying. It says that my body shows it. Find it in your Bible: “Bearing about in the body, the dying … that the life of the Lord Jesus … might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor 8:10). So it’s physically operated and it shines out of us. Yet, the basis has been the dying, if there’s a rising. “For we which live are always delivered unto death…” (2 Cor 8:11). We’re stuck into death by God: “always delivered unto death… that the life… of Jesus might be made manifest.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:17 Paul calls that death “our light affliction.” Some lightness! “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [some moment!], worketh for us a far more exceeding…” Worketh: one builds the other up, doesn’t it? They’re connected. The suffering works unto glory: “Our light affliction… worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So we call it light. It doesn’t feel light down here at the start. But the outcome is a “weight of glory.”
The whole of II Corinthians chapter 6 is tough: stripes, imprisonments, “in all things approving ourselves as the ministers” of the Cross. But how? “By much patience, afflictions, necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labours, searchings, fastings” (2 Cor 6:4,5). Wow! That’s mounting glory.
And then in II Timothy, in his last letter before he was executed, Paul told Timothy, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign…” (2 Timothy 2:11,12). There it is again! If you want glory, you have suffering. If you are reigning, you are suffering. If you don’t suffer with him, you won’t have glory. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.
And then we come to the pattern. It becomes God that we are perfected in suffering, not perfected in glory. And it becomes the One “for whom are all things, and by whom are all things… to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). This number one person — the captain, the leader — is made like unto us.
Beginning in Hebrews 2:9, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels… that he… should taste death for every man. For it became him [God]…” It becomes and suits Him; it’s right and fitting. What is fitting? “In bringing many [sons-#5207] unto glory, to make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
What sufferings, then?
Temptation is called suffering in Hebrews 2:18, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted…” The word for both temptation and trial is the same in the Bible. In some sense temptation is an inner pull, while the trial is outer impact. But they are really the same thing, as it’s the same word in the original. “He suffered being tempted.” So there’s suffering in being tried.
Then in Hebrews 5:7 we discover an amazing description of the perfect pioneer of our salvation: “Who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears [this is Jesus] unto him that was able to save him from death… was heard in that he feared.” He wasn’t saved from having death; he was saved from the product of death and went through death to resurrection.
Jesus wasn’t saved from outer death, but through the outer death came the resurrection. No death, no resurrection. So the salvation didn’t take place to get Jesus saved from the Cross, because if there hadn’t been the Cross there wouldn’t have been the resurrection. Resurrection comes after the death, as after the suffering comes the glory. The Bible says so.
It goes on to say in Hebrews 5:8, that “though he were a [Son-#5207], yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Do you see? You learn a thing and get it, as do those becoming doctors or taking on any other occupation. You become a “be-er,” a “God-er”. You learn obedience.
Obedience is a product of believing. The only obedience we have is not doing, but believing. You see, we believe that He is the doer, so all the doing we do, and will ever do, is believing; and then when we’re doing, it’s really He. That’s the learning obedience.
So Jesus “was perfected through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10), being made perfect… by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). And he was settled in something. So sufferings settle you in something. What does it mean to settle you in something “Being made perfect, he [then] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him,” who go the same way, the obedient way. Always remember that obeying is just believing. We are so keyed into thinking that obeying is working. But this is the obedience of faith.
The great Kierkegaard says, “Life is inside you.” Subjectivity is truth. Objectivity is outside you. You always escape by saying, “Oh, it’s out there, somewhere.” But life’s real answer is inside. His great word “existentialism” means that you live in existence: existence inside you.
How do I make that suffering operative? You live from inside you. You don’t say, “Oh, I’ll get over it somehow. It’ll go away tomorrow. It’ll leave off me eventually.” Life is not objective. Objective is operating by: “Oh, we’ll handle our problems out here.” Subjectivity is: “What does that mean to me? Why is that like that? I must find my answer inside me.”
That’s dialectic. That’s opposite. I don’t like it. Aha! I’ve got to find that one thing I don’t like inside me. “Oh, I’ll find that tomorrow,” is not the answer. It’s to find the daylight in the storm. That’s subjective. Objective is, “Oh, it’ll be found tomorrow.” Subjective says, “It’s a fine day today.” But it isn’t a fine day; it’s a bad day. Find out how it’s a fine day. Find out how a nasty day’s a nice day. That’s inside you: subjective, existential living.
How do I honestly handle that? Suffering forces me, if I’m real, to find my answer inside. And then it comes out through my body. The Scripture says that if you bear the dying inside you and find out how to die and rise inside you, then you show it. It’s spontaneous.
We know how Paul explained that glory comes out of suffering. And the writer of Hebrews showed how the perfect Person was made perfect in suffering, having learned obedience. So then, I’m not made perfect through victory or through glory, but through suffering. The Bible says so. Number One Person, Jesus, was perfected through sufferings. And when he knew how to handle and turn the sufferings, the glory came out.
How is that done? Sufferings force me to be what I don’t like and face it that I don’t like it. Suffering is, “I don’t like it.” Someone was saying, “I hated me. I couldn’t stand me.” Hopefully, we all have said that. But I don’t find the solution on the outside by pretending something. How can I turn nasty me into nice me? I’ve got to get my answer.
Kierkegaard, the great teacher, says that subjectivity means the subject is inside of me. Objective is on the outside of me. I must find my answer within, and it starts with conflict. I don’t find the answer, and I don’t like it. How can I turn a don’t like into a do like? Inside me.
A Leap of Faith
The secret of the Cross is that you handle your sins by a leap of faith inside of you that seeks a new way. It sounds absurd. Where’s God and this resurrection stuff? You’ve leapt by the absurdity of faith. You say, “I believe He did it. I believe in the resurrection. I believe in the Holy Spirit to forgive me. So I dissolve my sin problem by my Jesus inside me. He took them away!” Salvation! New birth! You’ve had the inside solution. You couldn’t be saved unless you were miserable inside.
The whole world tries to escape their sins. That’s objectivity. They call adultery a mistake. Our papers are full of stories about girlfriends, which leads to fornication and adultery. We never say so. Only the Bible says so. Or we might call it a mistake. It isn’t a mistake. It’s sin. Have you been in adultery? You could say, “Well, I’m sorry I have, but God’s had mercy.” And we’d believe you. You say we shouldn’t ask that. Don’t say, “Shouldn’t ask that.” Say, “I have done that, and I’m sorry.” That’s honesty. It isn’t a mistake; it’s a sin. Our subjectivity is truth. We must face it and find the honest answer.
How can I find the answer inside me when I’m a nasty person? I’d best find I’m a nice person by a leap of faith. I discovered the nasty person was Satan in me, and Jesus Christ put him out. The nice person is Jesus in me? So find I’m a nice person inside. Now my body shows the inner harmony. Once I was a Satan person; but Jesus put him out, and now I’m a Jesus person (Colossians 1:13). I believe that! It’s leap of faith.
You can’t prove any of it. You can’t prove you’re saved. You’ve only got a book. Who says the book’s true, anyhow? You can’t prove anything. The leap’s inside you. Of course, you get the inside Person, but you can’t prove Him. The Holy Spirit says, “Oh yes, that’s so.” But you can’t prove that.
You’re a fool of faith. It’s the foolishness of faith — the wisdom of God which is wiser than men — and the weakness of God ( 1 Cor 1:25). You can’t prove it, but somehow you know it. And the world won’t talk about it. But you have found the inner secret which resolves suffering.
By Norman Grubb
The Blood, the Cross and the Name of the Lord Jesus
by T. Austin-Sparks
Readings: Series 1 – Luke 22:17,18,20. John 6:54,55. Col. 1:20. Heb. 9:12-14,20,22; 10:19; 11:29; 12:24. 1 Peter 1:2. 1 John 1:7. Rev. 5:9,10; 7:14,15.
Series 2 – Acts 2:38: 3:6; 4:7,12,17,30; 8:12; 16:18; 19:13-15, 1 Cor. 5:4; 6:11. Eph. 1:21,22. Phil. 2:9-11. Rom. 6:3-8.
Beloved of God, we have read a good many passages of the Word and you will have noticed that there are three distinct matters brought into view by them. They are divided into three and refer to three different things, and I have it on my heart to spend just a little time in considering these three matters; namely, the Blood, the Cross, and the Name of the Lord Jesus.
They are important matters in themselves, each one of them. I trust that we shall see something of that importance; but there is another thing related to them which is also very important, especially for the Lord’s people, and that is, to discriminate between them, for there is a good deal of indiscriminate use of these words and terms, and I think that confusion or misuse very often means weakness and failure in getting through to the desired end. It is important when we go into war to know what weapons we need, and to be able to choose and intelligently use those weapons; for to be in a warfare using a certain kind of weapon which we discover is not the one that effects the end is a very embarrassing situation. And so it is important for the Lord’s people to be able to understand the peculiar value and meaning of these different things which have so close a relationship to their spiritual victory. It is also very important for unsaved men and women to know the meaning of these terms, these words which are so frequently upon Christian lips: “the Blood of Jesus Christ”, “the Cross of the Lord Jesus”, “the Name of Jesus”. We have no thought of covering the whole of that ground in this short space, we can merely introduce it and touch upon it as the Lord leads.
We begin, then, with the Blood of Christ, about which we have read so much in the Word, and yet withal a bare fragment of what there is in the Word concerning it; and we may immediately point out that the Blood of Jesus has specifically and primarily to do with sin, and redemption unto life. I would that you would just take that statement and go to the Word of the Lord with it and investigate and inquire much more fully than we can do now, and you will see how truly that is borne out. The Blood has to do with cleansing and with redemption unto life, that is, it relates to sin and to all Satanic legal ground. When we speak of Satanic legal ground we mean this, that by nature, according to the Word of God, and according to the spiritual experience and knowledge of those who have come to the Lord Jesus, all the creation is in bondage to the Devil. You may dispute that because you do not know it experimentally and personally. I would suggest that you turn to the Lord Jesus and you will soon discover how much you are in bondage to the Devil, for it is only a prisoner who tries to escape who discovers that he is really a prisoner. But the Word of God tells us what is true, and the spiritual experience of all who have really come to Christ proves the Word of God to be true; that the whole of the race, and of creation, by nature is now in bondage to the Devil; but the power, the authority of Satan rests upon a condition, and that condition is sin, and he has legal ground for maintaining his hold where sin is, his hold upon the race is through sin. He grips, and holds, and maintains his hold through sin. You may say that sin is the chain by which the whole race is in the power of Satan, and sin therefore is his legal ground; in so far as he has legal rights to his position, those legal rights are constituted by the condition into which man has fallen by his own sin: sin against God and obedience to Satan. The Blood, therefore, relates to sin and to all Satanic legal ground, and the words which perhaps best represent that ground are condemnation and death. It is with those words that the Apostle sums up his matchless argument through the first three chapters of his letter to the Romans, where, tracing the course of the ages, and running through all realms of life, testing and examining according to the Divine standard, he at length concludes all under sin: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10), and he pronounces by the Spirit, the verdict, all are under condemnation and therefore all are under death; and condemnation and death are words which represent the legal ground of Satan in holding the race in bondage.
The First Need of the Sinner
The initial need and appeal of the unsaved sinner is to the Blood of the Lord Jesus. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission”. The unsaved sinner, knowing it or not knowing it, is truly in bondage to the Devil, imprisoned by Satan. The Blood of Jesus Christ relates to condemnation and death unto life; and what the unsaved sinner has to come to as the very first ground of hope is a recognition of the meaning and value of the Blood of Jesus Christ. We shall never get through to God apart from that. We may struggle to break through, to break away, we may adopt Christian practices and Christian ideals, we may associate ourselves with Christians, we may pass off as Christians amongst them, and perhaps before the world, but this one thing is settled beyond any question or doubt or shakeableness, that in the sight of God no one ever comes out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love except by the way of the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. To ignore that, to overlook that, to fail to see, recognize, accept that means, whatever else may follow, in the sight of God the thing has not been done which makes us a child of God and delivers us from the kingdom of Satan. Oh, it is so necessary, forgive the strength of emphasis, it is so necessary that we should not be deceived, that we should be in a true position that we should have no assumption about this, that ours should not be an assumed relationship to God, but that it should be upon God’s foundation, God’s basis, for only as it is so are we accepted in the Beloved One, the Lord Jesus, and are brought into fellowship with God. The initial need and appeal of the unsaved sinner is to the Blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as shed for the remission of sins, by which our redemption has been made, has been secured for us.
‘Redeemed by the precious
blood of Jesus,
Nothing else could ever save my soul’.
Now that is simple Gospel. It is where everything begins in relationship to God.
The Believer’s Conflict with the Accuser
And then the conflict of the saved sinner necessitates the Blood, because the conflict of the saved sinner is so very truly with Satan; not now as his master, his lord; not now as the one to whom he is in captivity, but as the one who would get him back into captivity. Satan must therefore get him back on to a ground where for him the basis of escape has been overlooked, forfeited, let go. I mean this: that the conflict of the saved sinner is very largely with Satan as the Accuser. He is called the Accuser of the brethren – “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10). He watches their movements, he seeks to cause them to move in some way that is not wholly according to the will and the mind of the Lord, to prompt a wrong movement, to provoke to a wrong word, to stir up a wrong feeling:
‘Christian, dost thou feel them,
How they work within,
Striving, tempting, luring,
Goading into sin?’
and then when you slip, you make the mistake, you stumble in the way, he immediately pounces upon you to accuse you of sin and to bring you under condemnation, to bring upon you a sense of condemnation, to smother you with it and make you feel you have grieved the Lord, and the Lord has forsaken you, the Lord has withdrawn from you, to make you conscious of being out of fellowship with God. And so as the Accuser he is trying to make us sin and then he will pounce upon us with condemnation to drag us back into his grip: and the saved sinner needs the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus as an instrument with which to meet the enemy as the Accuser. Don’t ever believe, beloved, that if you slip, if you make a mistake, if you stumble in the way, if you grieve the Lord, that that necessarily severs you from God, that that necessarily means that the Lord forsakes you. What might be the consequences of your willfully, consciously being in the way of sin, violating the will of God, I would not care to follow out; there is no doubt that you would get into darkness, very much into the power of Satan, you would lose the joy of your salvation. Whether you would lose your salvation ultimately or not is not a question for us at this moment, but you would lose all the joy and delight and pleasure of your salvation by persisting in sin. But I am not dealing with persistent sin, I am dealing with the slip, the mistake, the fault, the failure which the enemy immediately having himself brought about, quickly snaps up, takes advantage of, and makes the occasion of accusing us, seeking to bring us under condemnation.
The means to deal with that is the Blood of the Lord Jesus, and the Blood of the Lord Jesus can deal with that instantly. The argument to take to Satan is not: ‘I am not a sinner; I have not made a mistake; I have not gone wrong’. We know we have. The answer is, that in that precious Blood, as we turn to the Lord and confess our failure, humbly repentantly, acknowledge our mistake before the Lord and grieve in exercise of heart that we should have so failed, the Blood of Jesus Christ goes on in its mighty efficacy cleansing from all sin. It stands us in stead to take that ground from the enemy immediately. But remember, you must use your weapon. You must know your weapon, and you must have faith in your weapon; faith in that precious Blood. And faith in the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus is our shield which receives the fiery darts of the Wicked One, and is impervious to them. Oh, the inflamed darts of the Wicked One are so often the darts of accusation and condemnation, and we have a shield of faith given to us by God, but it is faith in the virtue and efficacy of the precious Blood of Jesus, even when we have stumbled and slipped. Victory over the enemy, having been given initially through the Blood, is now maintained by reason of faith in that Blood in the hour of accusation. And so the saved sinner’s conflict is very largely with the Accuser who is seeking to bring back on to the old ground of condemnation and death, and deliverance continuously from him, as initially, is by that justification which we have through His Blood; no condemnation; faith in the Blood of the Lord Jesus. It is in this sense that the Blood is a weapon. You see in Rev. 12:11 we are told that: “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb”. Now the Revised Version being more accurate should be noted in its peculiar value. The Authorized Version reads: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb”. The suggestion is of using the Blood of the Lamb as a kind of weapon with which to slay the enemy; it is a sort of objective thing with which you meet the enemy. If you look more closely you have two things. Firstly, the enemy in Rev. 12 as the Accuser: “The accuser of our brethren is cast down”. The Accuser of the brethren is there, it is the enemy in that form. The other thing is: “They overcame him BECAUSE of the blood of the Lamb”. That does not necessarily mean that they took up the Blood of the Lamb as some kind of weapon with which to smite him, but they stood upon the ground of that Blood, and the Accuser lost his power. The Blood has to do with sin all the time, and what the enemy is out to do is to bring us under a sense of sin, and thus to defeat and destroy us; but if we are standing on the value and meaning of the precious Blood, and refuse to forsake that ground, the Accuser is cast down from his high place, he is overcome, and we overcome, not by some objective conflict with the Blood, but because we in our hearts stand and refuse to move from the ground of justification through His Blood. “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb”.
Now a further step. The Blood is one with the Life. We know that quite well. In the Old Testament from Lev. 17 we gather very implicitly that, “the life is in the blood and the blood is the life”, and from John 6, which we have read, that same thing comes in: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life”. So that the Blood is one with the Life, and that means that initially, through the Blood our faith in the Blood of the Lord Jesus, our acceptance of its meaning and value in relation to our sin – the Life is given. The Divine Life, Eternal Life, is given through the Blood of the Lord Jesus. Now both the Blood and the Life speak of the holiness of the Lord, and therefore of cleansing from sin. If sin is fallen into and not instantly repented of, confessed before the Lord and put right, there is an arrest upon the Life. The Life receives a check, and if the Life and the Blood and the Blood and the Life go together, that means that sin allowed, sin not confessed and repented of, checks the Life and the Blood is suspended in its operation of cleansing and we stand touched, spotted, blemished. And so John, in the passage read, says: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”. There the tense in the Greek is ‘keeps on cleansing’, but there is an ‘if’: “If we walk…”. What is it to walk? To go on. If we go on in the light; yes, there may be some dark thing touch us, we may touch a dark thing, we may fail, we may slip, go wrong, but that can be instantly put right before the Lord, and we can go on by putting it right away, we can go on in the light and the Blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son goes on cleansing. You arrest the operation of the Life and the operation of the Blood if you willfully harbor sin. If the Holy Spirit shows you wrong and you do not confess it and put it right, if you do not bring it back to the Blood, you have arrested the Divine operation, and you stand there. “lf we walk…” So that in failure, confession is necessary, confession to the Lord, and a putting right away is necessary if the Life is to flow. And the Life can only flow as we recognize that that Life is a holy Life, and it cannot go on in its course alongside of sin. The holy Life of the Lord as represented by His incorruptible Blood cannot go hand in hand with known sin: it cannot! Many of us know that in experience.
Then the Cross. Of course it was in the Cross that the Blood was shed, and the Blood is related to the Cross and the Cross to the Blood, but doctrinally in the New Testament the Cross has its own specific meaning, and as we have seen from the passage read in Romans 6, to which others could be added such as Colossians 2 and elsewhere, the Cross has to do with the flesh and the natural man; and the position to which the Cross brings us is this: not only have our sins been dealt with, but we have been dealt with, and we have been crucified together with Christ. Now you can have contradictions if you are not careful – and there are plenty of contradictions about in this way. There may have been constant failure and breakdown and going wrong, and seeking of forgiveness and cleansing, and then not getting very much beyond that; that may repeat itself again and again and life becomes a matter of failing and regretting, sinning and repenting, going wrong and being sorry for it, and this can stretch out through all your days; up and down, one day in victory, the next in defeat; and so it goes on until in many cases it comes to an acute crisis where the individual says: ‘Well the Christian life is a tremendously strenuous business; it seems nothing but coming to the Lord and asking to be forgiven, going wrong and repenting; there is very little victory in it’. That is not as the Lord would have it and the secret is very largely here, that we have never recognized that in the Cross of the Lord Jesus we have been set aside as to our nature. We have not accepted that position with all that it means, all its implications, all its content, that from that time onward it is no longer I. “I have been crucified with Christ,” said the Apostle, “nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me”. It is not to choose our own way, our own will, our own desire, to make our own program for life, to project our own schemes for the future; but to have nothing whatever out from ourselves from our will, mind, desire; but that everything now is from the Lord. When we have come to accept that position, that in Christ’s crucifixion we were crucified, in His burial we were buried, then raised together with Him, we receive into our hearts the Holy Spirit of Christ for the purpose and object of governing our lives, directing our course, choosing our way. “No longer I… One died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again”, and that in the power and energy of the indwelling Spirit. Now that is a very utter, comprehensive, thorough-going thing and the Cross means that. It does not mean that after that we shall not fail; we may make mistakes, but there the Blood applied, but what so many of us have had to learn, and so many more have yet to learn is that the Cross has its own peculiar value. The Cross does not cleanse from sin, the Cross crucifies the flesh.
Now you can have a great deal of phraseology about the Blood, and be always talking about the Blood, and know little of the Cross. The flesh may be there very much in evidence while all the time speaking about the Blood. The basic thing is necessary, the Cross. “Our old man was crucified with Christ”. Do you see the difference? What is the good of your going out to meet the Devil with the Blood if your flesh has not been dealt with by the Cross? He will come in the back door and with all your phraseology about the Blood, he will beat you every time if you have not come to that deep work of the Cross where the natural man has been dealt with. So many are preaching the Blood, have much phraseology of the Blood, and yet the flesh is rampant in their lives; the ‘I’ is very much in evidence. You may preach the Blood and still be a very self-assertive person with pride, arrogance, ambition and all that kind of thing. Well, the Cross deals with the man; the Blood with the sin.
Now one word about the Name, and here also there is a good deal of confusion. Many people plead the Blood when they ought to use the Name. It is the Name which is the mighty thing against the enemy for the believer mainly in the matter of service. The Name goes beyond the Blood, in this sense (do not misunderstand that) that the Name has to do with the authority of Christ over the enemy. The Blood takes the enemy’s ground away from accusation and condemnation. The Name of the Lord Jesus is the mighty thing by which the authority of Satan in every realm is dealt with. Oh, you want something more than to have sin put out of the way. You need to be in a position of authority over the works of the enemy, not merely in your own life but all around in situations, as he comes up everywhere on this earth. And so it is in the Name that that power is found. The Name represents the authority of Christ – and in Christ – over the enemy. Acts 16 is a classic instance. What you have there, as you will recall, is Paul, who stood in all the virtue of the precious Blood in relation to sin in his own life; Paul, who stood in the fulness of the meaning of the Cross as to having nothing of himself, but all of Christ – oh, he was in a strong position, a well-crucified man, standing by faith on “no condemnation” ground through the Blood – and now finding the enemy busy at work outside, looking to the Lord for His moment, His time for dealing with the situation, not rushing in from himself, but after “many days”, waiting for the Lord’s time, then in the Name of Jesus Christ commanding this Satanic work to cease. Paul stood in a position by the Cross and the Blood and the Name, this three-fold strength, but he dealt with the thing in the Name, he did not plead the Blood for it. We sometimes see the work of the Devil objectively and we begin to plead the Blood. That has got to be appropriated, we have to see that that has been applied to our own hearts or else he will turn upon us. Paul did not plead the Blood against the enemy, he came in the Name. There were others, sons of Sceva who did not stand on the ground of the Cross. who were not standing in the virtue of the Blood, but held a mere formula, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth”, and the demon turned round upon these presumptuous men and answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” and these sons of Sceva had the scare of their lives. They discovered that there is nothing in a mere formula, but there is something, there is everything in standing on the ground of the Cross, in the virtue of the Blood, bringing us into the authority of the Name. And the Name has that objective value of authority over the enemy. “God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow”, etc. “He raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:20,21). The Name represents the exaltation of the Lord Jesus. And so the Blood cuts us off from sin, the Cross cuts us off from ourselves, the Name brings us into union with an exalted, enthroned, authoritative Lord.
Now I trust that we have got some of our difficulties straightened out, at any rate, we are seeing a little more clearly the peculiar value of each of these things and we shall not confuse them; and we shall see how that mighty and precious Name carries with it all the honor and glory of our Christ, and that if He is to be honored and glorified in us it must be that sin is dealt with, we are set aside, and Christ is pre-eminent, enthroned, predominant in all things for us.
Published in “A Witness and a Testimony” magazine in Jan-Feb 1933, Vol. 11-1.
There is a difference between being “saved,” and being “born again.” I did a survey (not exhaustive) of the contexts in which this word “saved” was used. One example, is that when Peter was walking on the water (Mat. 14:25 -31), and began sinking, he called out to Jesus and said, “Lord, save me!” I think that we can all understand how he was using this word, which has become a theological “catch word” among evangelicals.
Using the history of Israel in the OT, we can see that being “saved” can come and go. God saved them out of Egypt , at Sinai made them His people, preserved them in the wilderness (well, until the older, unbelieving generation died off) and then took them into the promised land.
There, depending upon their behavior, they went through a cycle of being “saved” from their enemies when God would raise up a “judge,” or they would lose that safety and be harassed by enemies, then cry out to God and repent, and God would give them another savior, etc..
Finally, God evicts them from their promised land and they are returned to slavery (e.g., in Babylon ) for a time of His dealing judgment upon them. Depending upon their behavior they were “saved,” or “lost;” they lost the privileges of freedom and safety.
Yet, through all this history, they were always God’s people, His collective son. This is why He kept disciplining them. Turning to the NT, we see in the parable of the prodigal, that he was allowed to use his will and leave the father’s house.
To the father, he became dead. And none of us would call his being destitute and feeding pigs “being saved.” But he knew he still had a father, and used his will to return, and the father later says “this, my son, was dead and is alive again.” (Lu. 16:24)
Though metaphorically “dead,” he always remained the father’s son. Likewise, when the sheep was lost, it was still the shepherd’s sheep, and that’s why he went to find it.
The word “saved” means “rescued; delivered; healed; made whole.” These are actions that are usually made to change the conditions of one who needs them. It is an entirely different concept from “being born,” which, with humans, is supposed to be the result of love, or the desire to have children (hopefully both).
Being born does not save someone, actually, literally, in this life, it means that those who bear children give birth to someone who now needs to be saved.
Repentance, which means to have a change of mind, a change of thinking, and often a resultant change of behavior (because, as a man thinks, so he is), in relation to God, is the result of an impartation of life and faith by the action of the Holy Spirit.
We are first given faith, from hearing the Word and that Word being implanted in our hearts, and then we believe.
The birth, the implantation of Christ within our spirits, happens first. Then we respond because of the life that is now within us. Having the mind of Christ (which is definitely a change from having the mind of the first Adam) is the result of a gift.
The grace that imparts life, which results in birth, is a gift. New birth is the result of the life-imparting action of our Heavenly Father, through His Spirit. The reason that this is important to us who do not believe in free will, is, first, because we believe that the Work is entirely of God, in bringing us to birth.
It is also fundamental to our understanding who we are. We are not humans who made a decision for Christ, we are sons of God just as our elder brother, Jesus, was when He walked the earth as a man.
Those who “receive It (the Word; or “Him,” the Christ)” were those who had already been born of God (John 1:13 ). Those who are now habitually believing into Him are those who have been given His faith, so that they can believe:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, (Galatians 2:20 KJV).
It is by the Faith of Christ, Who has become incarnated within us, so that we no longer live, but Christ within us. By believing that we must exercise our will, and thus, choose Christ to be birthed within us, for us to become one spirit with Him and be born again, means that we must participate in our birth, that we must do something, and this means that ultimately, we have something in which to boast, just as did the Jews by believing that to our faith must be added circumcision.
By believing that the Spirit (or, grace) simply enables us to respond or repent, and now it’s up to us, is as if He throws us the rope (the gift of grace), and now we grab hold and begin climbing out of the pit. to us, is as if He throws us the rope (the gift of grace), and now we grab hold and begin climbing out of the pit.
As some have pointed out, it is God who is working in us, both TO WILL, and to DO His good pleasure (which begins in receiving Him/It). He is the Inauguration (Prime Author) and the Bringer-to-maturity-and-fruition of faith (Heb. 12:2). It is never our faith, it is His faith, as He enters into us, responding for us and as us, as we become one spirit with Him in that Divine conception.
This is new birth (literally: born back up again). This is the “new creation:” we become a part of the Last Adam, the Second (Collective) Man. Then He begins the process of saving us (healing us; rescuing us; delivering us; making us whole).
So, in the NT, salvation is for those who believe, but this believing is the result of the awakening, the resurrection of our spirits, the impartation of His faith [in us]. If we reject the proclamation of the good news, it is because we, at that time, were not yet given faith, and were not yet born of God.
Hebrews 12 is cited, where we [my emphasis] the believers, the born-ones of God, the sons who are being disciplined by the Father, are warned “to not refuse Him who speaks . . .” Amen. WE, who are His children, are not to refuse our Father, or the results will be hard on us.
Now note: in the context of ch. 12, we are told (in vs. 8) that those who are without this discipline do not have Him as their Father, and are “not sons.” All the imperatives in this chapter are to sons (cf. vs. 5, “which speaks-through (discourses) to you as to sons”): NOTE: The Greek word translated son and sons is #5207 and is very important to distinguish and understand; click for more.
Jesus said, “He who hears My word, and believes on Him who sent me, has eternal life.” This is not an “if-then” statement. It is a statement of fact. It does not say, “If you hear My word and if you believe on Him who sent me, then you will have aionian life.”
The statement could be translated, “The man continuously having (holding [in himself]) Eternal life is the one [who is] constantly hearing My word and habitually believing within the One (or, as an instrumental: trusting by the One) sending Me.”
The statement is an equation. The one identifies the other. Further, notice the rest of the verse: “. . . and is not repeatedly coming (or: going) into judgment, but rather, he has departed [perf. tense: completed action] forth from out of death, into the Life [i.e., Christ, who is our life].”
Thus, the one hearing and believing is one who has “gone from one state to another”: Gr. metabaino. (John 5:24).
When Paul’s jailor asked “What must I do to be saved?” Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” But what was the jailor really asking?
I do not think that he was referring to Jesus or aionian (Eternal) life. He had a huge problem, with seeing the prison door open, and was about to kill himself rather to be tortured by his superiors, and then killed.
When he asked Paul this question, I think that he was saying, “What must I do to be kept safe?” Paul tells him to put his trust upon the Lord Jesus and he would be kept safe.
Prior to this, there is no indication that the jailor knew anything about Jesus, or the Christ. Paul and Silas had been brought to him as ones who were troublemakers (vs. 20). Note, that Paul tells him that not only he, but his whole household would be kept safe (vs. 31).
This is not a case of where a father believes in Jesus and his whole family is saved. Now in vs. 32 we find Paul presenting the gospel to all that were in his house, and in vs. 33 they were baptized. I think that they “believed in Christ,” after the preaching of the Word. It is in vs. 34 that we find him “believing in God, with all his house.” God used fear for his life to open his soil to receive the incorruptible Word, Acts 16:25-40.
We know that Paul was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, when Jesus called him from heaven. But this obedience of Paul’s followed his conversion. He was a man struck down by God. He was blinded, until one was sent to heal him.
He became a man who was “no longer [him] but Christ.” This is why he was obedient to the vision. Could he have been disobedient? Could Christ have been disobedient? It’s the same question.
We do not “water down” the gospel by tossing out obedience or action or accountability. I believe that His judgments, his corrections and disciplines, come if we ignore all those imperatives. It happened to Israel . It happens to us, Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted, (1 Corinthians 10:6 KJV)
It is true that the Gospel provides man with the faith to obey the call. And one must be given ears to hear, as well as being transferred from the authority of the Darkness into the kingdom of the Son whose origin is His love, before he can even hear the call. Once born of God, once a son, then are we required to obey.
May He continue to remove the veil from the eyes of all of us, and progressively seeing Christ may we be transformed from glory to glory.
See Stages of Christian Growth: Click Here
And He is further saying to him, “It is certainly true (or: Amen, amen; = Most truly). I am presently saying to you folks (or: men), you will see the heaven being one that is opened back up again, and God’s agents repeatedly (progressively; continuously) ascending (stepping back up again) and habitually (progressively; continuously; repeatedly) descending (stepping down) upon the Son of the Man (or Mankind’s Son; the Son of man; the Human Son). John 1:51.
This is a startling statement. What was Jesus talking about? Did the disciples “see” this happen? Should we expect to see it happening? Was there a symbolic meaning to this statement? Why did Jesus say this?
This verse has often been connected to Gen. 28:12-13. “And [Jacob] dreamed, and lo! a stairway [or: ladder] planted earthwards, with its top reaching towards the heavens, — and lo! messengers of God ascending and descending thereon; and lo! Yahweh standing by him . . .” (Rotherham)
Commentators have suggested that just as Jacob was then given the promise of God, in the succession from Abraham and Isaac, that this symbolic reference to “the Son of man” was equating him with “God’s chosen One,” the One who was God’s representative on earth, just as Jacob, and later, Israel, had been. A.T. Robertson suggested that as “Son of man,” here, He was representing the race of mankind. Others tie this in with the heavenly, messianic figure of Dan. 7:13. The Geneva Study Bible commentary says, “Jacob saw in a dream the reunion of heaven and earth; Christ brought it about in reality.” The Jerome Biblical Commentary says that “the reference to the angels [agents] is to signify the meeting and communication of God with man.” Jamieson Fausset and Brown paraphrases Jesus thus: “By and by ye shall see this communication between heaven and earth thrown wide open, and the Son of man the real Ladder of this intercourse.” Dodd says that this refers to “keeping the heavenly and the earthly in perpetual unity.”
Vincent correlates heaven standing open, here, with the story of Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 7:56. Was this one example of what Jesus was talking about, and why He said it? Was He referring to the man caught up to the third heaven and shown things, as Paul relates? Or, to the Unveiling of Jesus Christ, which Jesus showed to John on Patmos? I suspect that all of these are correct, but I’d like to share another view, presented by C.H. Dodd in his The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel.
“This statement in John 1:51 was made right before John relates the story of the marriage in Cana, and “the beginning of signs,” which was the turning of water into wine. Other signs follow. “The whole series of ‘signs’ which follows, culminating in the supreme sign of the cross and resurrection, is the vision of the heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. And these ‘signs’ are history. ‘The Logos was made flesh — and we beheld His glory.’ Whatever else, therefore, the Gospel story is to be, it is to be a realized apocalypse [unveiling].” (Dodd, p. 294)
In John 2:11, following the sign of the water-to-wine, Jesus says that, doing this, “[He] set His glory in clear light.” Thus were they beholding His glory. Thus was the life, and performed signs, an open vision for the disciples, seeing Jesus in continuous union and communication with His Father (heaven, in the symbolic statement of 1:51). The agents, or messengers, were in this figure constantly bringing the directives to the Christ, and returning Christ’s communications to the Father. The signs manifested His glory. Now folks, keep in mind that this “vision” also applies to us, His body, His present Israel.
I will leave you with some additional thoughts from Dodd:
“The primitive eschatological Gospel of Christianity declared that that which was to come has come: ‘Old things have passed away: behold new things have come into being.’ The Prologue, on the other hand, is based upon the philosophical conception of two orders of being, distinguished not by succession in time, but by the greater or less measure of reality which they possess. There is the order of pure reality, transcendent and eternal, which is the very thought of God, and there is the empirical order, which is real only as it expresses the eternal order. The world at various levels — the lower creation, the human race, spiritually enlightened humanity — displays an increasing penetration of the lower order by the higher, an increasing dominance of light over darkness, of being over not-being, of truth over error. In terms of such a philosophy, the absoluteness of the Christian revelation is affirmed in a proposition which declares that in one single area of the universe of space and time phenomena have completely absorbed the reality of the eternal archetype, and that this area is co-extensive with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (p. 295) And now we, in Him, are in that same “area.” End of Quotation.
In a footnote, Dodd quotes Origen, in regard to the first sign: “And truly before Jesus the Scripture was water, but from the time of Jesus it has become wine for us.” Dodd, however, sees a broader application of that sign: the water pots, “habitually lying there, corresponding to the cleansing (purifying) practice (ritual, or ceremony, of washing) pertaining to the Jewish customs . . .” were a figure of the whole Jewish cultus of the Law (“the entire system of Jewish ceremonial observance, and by implication for religion upon that level, wherever it is found, as distinguished from religion upon the level of [truth]” Dodd, p. 299 End of quote. The changing of the water into wine was a sign of the change from the old order to the new.
Thus, Jesus spoke figuratively, in ch. 1:51, about His life and ministry which was to follow. In that He said that heaven “is opened back up again,” I suggest that He was referring to the restoration of the Edenic relationship with the Father, our participation in the Tree of Life, and our return into Him.
In Galatians Chapter Four, Paul has a few things to say about the Law. The context of this study is vs. 21-31, and the focus is “the slave-girl.” Paul begins this passage addressing those constantly wanting or intending to be under the Law, asking if they are listening to it or paying attention to it. Next he brings up the subject of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, from the book of Gen. He points out that Abraham had two sons: “one forth from out of the female slave (Hagar), and one from out of the freewoman (Sarah),” and that the first was born through normal means, but the second was a result of God’s promise to Abraham.
In vs. 24 he tells us that these events “are normally being expressed in an allegory – for these women are (= represent) two covenants: one, on the one hand, from Mount Sinai, habitually giving birth into slavery (or: bondage) – which is Hagar.”
Vs. 25 continues his thought: “Now this Hagar is (= represents) Mount Sinai, within Arabia, and she continuously stands in the same line with the present Jerusalem, for she continues in slavery, with her children.”
Paul then speaks of “the Jerusalem above” in vs. 26-28, associating us with Sarah, Isaac, and the Promise – a different line than that which came through Mount Sinai (a figure of the Law) and the then present Jerusalem. In vs. 29 he compares the harassment which Ishmael gives to Isaac to that which the leaders of the Jewish religion give to the followers of Christ.
Now he comes to his point and conclusion in vs. 30, where he quotes Gen. 21:10, “Cast out (or: At once expel) the slave-girl, and her son.” So what is Paul meaning by this statement? Who or what are the people of faith (represented in this story by Abraham) supposed to cast out? Who or what does the slave-girl represent? He gave the answer, above, in vs. 24-25: Hagar is a figure of the Law (Mt. Sinai), and the covenant associated with the Law – both of which he affirms are “habitually giving birth into slavery.” So when he says “Cast out the slave-girl,” he is saying, “Cast out the Law and the covenant initiated at Sinai,” as well as what this Law and covenant produce (“her son”). That which the Law and the old covenant produce “will by no means be an heir” of the Promise – of the kingdom.
Ever since the days of Paul, Christianity has mixed the two covenants and has tried to have the son of the slave-girl be an heir of the Promise – and the entire organized system of the Christian religion has given birth to slavery, not freedom. It has embraced the Law and tried to fit it into grace. But Paul wisely told us to cast out the Law, as well as the things of the old covenant. They will not be an heir “with the Son of the freewoman.”
Jonathan, A son of the freewoman!