Monday, August 9, 2010

Norman Grubb on Our Union With Christ

Here are some wonderful thoughts on our union with Christ from Norman Grubb:

Your Other Self

Normal humanity is God-indwelt.
Humanity which is not indwelt by Deity is subhuman. Can you offer proof of that, you say? Yes, I can. I can give you proof from the only perfect human who has ever lived on earth.
Jesus Christ was a real human. (That's why I love to call Him Jesus, though He is the Lord
Jesus Christ.) He was the Son of God, but if He called Himself the Son of God five times, He called Himself Son of man fifty-five times. Which means He was a representative man—one of us.
Notice what Jesus said each time He was challenged on the source of His power to work miracles or His authority to say what He did. Every time He answered, "The Son can do nothing of Himself."
In other words, His basic self-consciousness as a human was awareness of His nothingness in Himself!
His statements about the Father often puzzled the disciples. He would say, "I do what I see the Father do," "as I hear, I judge," "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." They wondered whether He had some strange means of communication with His "Father in heaven."
He revealed their true meaning in what I think is the most important conversation ever recorded. It was the first time in actual human words that the union of man and God is revealed. It came in that last conversation at the supper table before He went out to Gethsemane.
He kept saying He was going to the Father, but the Spirit had not come; therefore, a normal human could only understand outward relationships — one person here, another there, each person separate from the other.
So when He talked about the Father, the disciples thought He must be some Being way up in the blue. Feeling desperate that Jesus was going to whom they knew not, Philip made a commonsense request:
"Lord, show us the Father and that will suffice us."
In other words, "Open Heaven, and let us have one look at the One to whom You say You are going."
Remember Jesus' answer? He said, "Have I been so long with you, yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. How sayest thou then, 'Show us the Father'?"
Now you might stop with that statement and say, "Well, that's Deity. He meant that their names were interchangeable — Father, Son and Spirit, and they could call Him Father or Jesus."
But He didn't mean that, for the next verse says this: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."
When Jesus said He did what He saw the Father doing it was not that He had some telescopic view into Heaven, but that as the Father in Him took Him into various situations and faced Him with various needs He would know this was a call to action. As He saw the Father moving into action, He took action. The action of faith.
The same was true of the words He spoke. He was expressing the thoughts and words the Father thought and spoke in Him.
So you see the human nothingness and the divine union? Yet that doesn't mean that we do nothing.
No one was more active than Jesus Christ! But the activity was secondary to receptivity.
An outstanding characteristic of the life of Jesus was His relaxed attitude. He was always saying, "I have what the Father gives Me." Yet what words He spoke and deeds He did!
You see, that relaxed attitude is a normal human attitude-because a vessel hasn't anything except the capacity to contain. So relax!


Two, But One
Someone may say, "Well, Jesus Christ was a unique person. Can we say we're just like Jesus Christ?"
Yes, you can.
The chapter ends as Jesus says, "Arise, let us go hence." It appears to me that as they moved from the supper table toward Gethsemane, He wanted to give one other illustration to connect them up with what He had said of Himself and the Father. They passed through a vineyard.
"See," He said, "I have been the branch of My Father. He has been My vine; His sap has been flowing through Me, and I have just been bearing the fruit.
"Now," He said, "I am your vine and you are My branches. We are to have the same union which I have had with the Father, and apart from Me ye can do nothing."
Some years later, as a passing remark in the midst of another subject, Paul made a marvelous statement in I Corinthians 6:17 that reveals the nature of that union: "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
That's the real self, and the basis for our union: one spirit, not two spirits. The very same thing that Jesus said of Himself and the Father ("I and my Father are one") Paul says of us.
A great many of our confusions in life begin because we haven't discerned between soul and spirit. The Bible analyzes the human personality into three parts (for everything is a trinity). It speaks of "your whole spirit and soul and body" in I Thessalonians 5:23.
Look at the order: not body, soul and spirit—that's our order. God's order is spirit first: "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless."
To put it briefly, spirit is the seat of ego; soul is the seat of the emotions and of reason.
Spirit is the ego, the self. God is spirit and He is the first ego, the first self. We are spirits, of whom He is the Father (Hebrews 12:9). He is the Creator of body and soul, but the Father of spirits.
Down in that center—the spirit—is where you know and love. Knowledge and love-mind and heart-are the real self, the real person. That's where you irrevocably live.
Paul, in I Corinthians 2:11, said, "What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him?" The knower inside us is our spirit.
For instance, we Christians know Jesus Christ. How do you know Jesus Christ? I can't tell you. Somehow you've come past the realm of just knowing about this Person called Jesus Christ and He is real to you.
In the same way, a person knows music, knows art, knows science.

I understand that, you say. I'm at home with that. The knower just knows!
That isn't giving a reason, is it? It's something intuitive inside you, and that's your spirit. . That's different from reason.
But your soul is more external. It is how you express your spirit.
Your mind (your knowledge) expresses itself in reasons. But reasons can vary. They can be influenced by all sorts of things.
Your heart expresses itself through the affections, the emotions. That's where you feel. But feelings can vary—quite apart from the set purposes of the heart. We say, "I don't feel like this," or "I feel spiritually cold, or dead or dry," and they are all illusions of the soul.
Neither reason nor emotion is our real life, which is deep inside us.
Now, we live where we love. That's what the Bible calls the heart. That's not the emotions; it's the set of life, the choices, the purposes where one of the two spirits is joined to us—the false spirit of self-love, called the spirit of error, who is in us from birth—or the true spirit of self-giving, the Spirit of God, called "the Spirit of truth," who replaces the false spirit in us by redemption and rebirth.
We have to learn how to discern between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). We have to refuse in our spirit, our real selves, to be dominated by the reactions of the emotions or the reasons—our souls.

When we have learned to discern and to discipline the reactions of the soul, then through our reasons and our emotions we channel Christ, and are not moved by the reflex action of the world coming back at us.
But how can I do this? you say.
You can do this because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
The Bible reveals that God, who is spirit, is an invisible Person. He always expresses Himself.
He expresses the kind of Person He is through His Son; that's the soul of God. The soul of God is Jesus Christ.


Visible-and Invisible-Life

So with us, our spirits are our invisible selves, and we have to have a form of expression. The form of expression is the soul life.
And it's in our soul life that we differ.
In the spirit we're undifferentiated. You and I are exactly the same, eternally one person in the Spirit. You and I are one unit.
I'm sorry for you, but you've got to have me. Because we're all one!
But in our souls we differ: you're very quick and I'm slow. One person is cautious, another person is dashing. Variety is in our soul life-that is, in the emotions and the reason. These are the varied expression of the inner spirit.
Now you may say in your soul life—in your emotions or your reason—"l don't like that person."
We have an affinity with some people and not with others. We're just made like that.
But you have to move back from your soul-affections (your emotions) to the inner spirit-love.
This business of emotions is most important, because dozens of Christians live with their feet dragging with a sense of condemnation and failure because they feel away from God, or the feel cold, or they feel guilty, or they feel weak, and so on.
They haven't discerned between the variable emotions of the soul and the unvarying reality of spirit—where God's Spirit of love is eternally our other self in our spirit.
How can I be cold when I've got that permanent fire within me-Jesus Christ?
Move back from your soul-affections and say, "No, He's here."
How can I feel dry when I have a permanent well of water inside me-Jesus Christ?


Not Emotion, But Reality
You move back from your affections, your emotions, to the real love-center—because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
The other verse that goes with that one, which I always think is so marvelous, is perhaps my favorite in the Bible. It is Galatians 2:20, where Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ
That's the old Paul out.
Then he says, "..... nevertheless, I live."
That's the new Paul in Christ: a living, thinking, willing, feeling, battling human. A real person.
But listen: then he corrects himself and adds, "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."
He could very easily have said, "Nevertheless I live and Christ lives in me"—as if Christ lived near him or close by him.
But you see, he replaced self by Christ.
That's the point.
He said, "Nevertheless, I live—excuse me, the real I isn't I at all, it is Christ."
In other words, your other self is Christ. It is not you, it's Christ. There are two selves joined in one; and the other self is Christ.
That's why it's indivisible. That's why it's ridiculous to look around or above and try to find Christ.
You don't try to find yourself, do you? Wherever you go, you are there, aren't you?
However you feel about it, you can't escape your self.
And your other self is Christ; you can't escape Him either!
I'm sorry if Christ has to go where you go! But that's His business!
In the grace of God, Jesus Christ tied Himself to us.
Isn't that amazing? You can't escape Him.
Where you go, He goes. He's your other self; He's not you.
You're you; He's He.
You contain Him; He motivates you. And you learn the habits of this abiding life.
He is the one who lives it.
You are His means of expressing Himself.
Motivation by Jesus Christ; that's the eternal life which we who know Him have already begun!


                                                        Norman Grubb
                                                       (from The Key to Everything)

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14