More great thoughts from Norman Grubb:
Road to Familiarity
These are the simple facts of revelation (and we can follow their logic, as well as their tragedy and wonder):
What the Bible calls sin is, in one phrase, independent self. The created self was made to contain and express the Creator Self who is selfless love.
Instead, in the person of Lucifer, probably the created being nearest to God Himself, a new and horrible form of life came into existence: a created self who refused to contain the selfless Self of God but chose to live for and by himself. Lucifer was the sin-spirit, the spirit of self-love, self-seeking, and all the sins known to man that proceed from that.
The history of the creation of man in the Garden of Eden tells us what happened to our forefather. He was created to contain God in a living union, which was symbolized for him in the offer of "the tree of life in the midst of the garden."
But as a human being with free choice, he could take another way—the way of self-love: symbolized for him in the other tree in the midst of the garden—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Deceived by the lying spirit of Satan, he received into himself the spirit of error rather than the Spirit of truth, and became a child of the Devil. Since then the whole human race is born with the spirit of self-centeredness in it. The Bible calls it "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
That we are all born and live under that domination is obvious, for we are all by nature egoists and self-lovers. Every breath we breathe, therefore, is sin—because anything less than God's perfection is sin, and God's perfection is perfect love. But such total love to God and our brother is totally impossible without God who is love living in us.
Two Problems Solved
What, then, has He who is Love, and therefore must save, done to restore His lost humanity to Himself?He has taken flesh Himself to start a new race. In the Person of His Son, Jesus, He came into history as a man called "the last Adam," the Creator of the first. Having lived a perfect life which the first Adam failed to live, He then identified Himself totally with the fallen human race by dying for us. In that death He was so identified with us all in God's sight that the Bible says, "He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. Thus, He died. In doing so, the Bible reveals that He effected the two supreme deliverances that were the two absolute necessities.
First, He solved God's problem (or rather, God solved His own problem) by taking upon Himself the curse of the broken law, and being made a curse for us. By the shedding of His blood, His outpoured life, He became God's "mercy seat."
By this, God could both be just and justify the ungodly, and pronounce all believers in Jesus justified from all unrighteousness-for-given, cleansed, in His sight as if we had committed no sin; "made the righteousness of God in Him." Broken law has consequences. That is the nature of law. God, farseeing that we should all be lawbreakers, foreordained His Son to be "the propitiation through faith in His blood."
What God revealed to be the necessary atonement for sin, He Himself suffered. What He suffered He accepted. And His acceptance is our justification (as the Scripture says, "raised again for our justification"). What is good enough for God is good enough for us. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot unto God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Secondly, Christ's cross and resurrection solved our problem. For by this means He fully effected the destruction of the old union of humanity to Satan and replaced it by the new union to Himself.
Our problem is simply that in our unredeemed life our inner self, our spirit, was united to the self-loving spirit of Satan.
As a consequence, we followed the desire of soul and body. When our bodies stimulated appetites in us, we gratified them. When our souls stirred up pride or dislike of this or hate of that or love of that—we just followed them.
We were governed by our souls and bodies.
Replacement for Soul Life
But when Christ died, it says that "He died unto sin once." That means that in His death, as our Representative, our last Adam, He became separated from the sin-spirit which had invaded the human spirit—just as anybody in death is separated from his spirit. And in His resurrection He was "made alive by the Spirit."
In other words, the Spirit of truth—God Himself—united Himself to that last Adam, and thus united Himself to all who will accept their place by faith as participators in His death and resurrection.
Here was the beginning of the new and final creation, when the usurping person was cut off from the possession he had deceitfully gained of the human spirit; when the true Owner, the living God, replaced him in all who receive Jesus.
This is no Biblical theory. This is the most tremendous and dynamic event in human history!
Here is our title to union—to permanent familiarity—with God!
For example, use this little illustration.
On Sunday morning you say your duty is to go to church. But you get a blustery day, wind and snow, and you don't feel like going. But you go anyway.
Why? Because down inside you purpose to go. You say, "Oh, I don't feel like going, but I'm going."
There you've got the point. Now you have moved from soul to spirit, you see.
Reason is exactly the same. Reason is the faculty by which we explain things and argue about them and talk about them. Through these words I've tried to use my reason, which is my soul life, to explain what I claim to know. I claim to know Jesus Christ; I try to explain myself to you—that's my reason.
You see, reasons can differ. That is why we can differ in our opinions and explanations—our soul life—but be one in Christ-in our spirit life.
I've always been one to dig into things. I took up philosophy just as a hobby and got my reason thoroughly shaken. I said to myself, "I'm really not so sure that there is a God at all. Yet," I said, "I know Him and love Him and have done so for years—yet He may not be a living Person at all!"
My reason conveyed doubts to me.
My spirit said, "But I know Him!"
So do you know what I came to? I said, "Well, if God is the big illusion, I'll be a little illusion alongside Him. I love the 'Illusion,' that's all."
You see, I would not be governed by my reason—my soul—because I had something deeper, more real.
Of course, in due time, I came out more strongly confirmed in soul, or reason, as well as spirit-knowledge. Doubts are the raw material of faith.
Have we got it clear?
The consequence of broken law which we must inevitably suffer, stated in most direct and terrible fashion again and again in the words of Jesus and the writings of the apostles, was borne by God Himself in the Person of His Son. If we ask, how can the blood of any man atone for the sin of all, the answer is that this was the blood of Deity made flesh.
The enslaved condition of humanity, through the indwelling spirit of self-centered-ness, with which every man is born, was ended at the cross!
Christ, as our representative, died to that enslavement—that sin-spirit; and again as our representative, was raised from the dead by "the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead."
Thus, this change of union from the spirit of self-centeredness to the spirit of self-giving becomes an actual, down-to~earth fact in the personality and experience of every human being who, recognizing and admitting his need, receives Him as Lord and Savior.
Your old spirit is replaced by your new Spirit!
You were governed by soul and body. Now, as a redeemed person, the Spirit—His Spirit in your spirit—is master of soul and body.
You meet the demands of the bodily senses, the varying emotions of the soul stimulated by world, flesh or desire, with the affirmation of the indwelling Christ as Lord.
Soul and body become the manifestation of Jesus Christ.Here, indeed, is the key to being a normal person—free, happy, familiar, natural—released from the spirit of self-love into the boundless, creative outflowing energy of the new governing Spirit that indwells you: His Spirit.
Here, indeed, is the key to everything.
(from The Key to Everything)