Wednesday 31 July 2013

Yes I Am 23 - I Know That I Know

Yes I Am by Norman Grubb
Chapter 23

We will take the risk of repetition and again go over this crisis moment of truth because of its critical importance - our conscious possessing of our possessions, our second leap of faith. We began our faith-leap by believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths that we are crucified with Christ. Now we complete it by saying just as definitely the middle section of Paul’s Galatians 2:20, "Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me."

I say it. Is that all? Yes, it basically is all; for faith, as we have already said, is thought - thought expressed by word. As a condition of faith, something must be both available and desirable; I’ll do no more than think about it until it plainly is both of these. Now to get specific: Nothing could be more desirable to me than that Christ living in me as me should be a realized fact. And I’ve already seen in God’s Word that it is available. So it is available and desirable - my mind and heart have those two facts settled. So then what do I do? What I do always when I act by faith. I speak the word, which Paul calls the "word of faith." I say to God, and to myself, that I am now what Paul says he and we are... in this great statement of his.

I say it, whether inwardly in my spirit or vocally in words. But then, like Pilate, "What I have said, I have said." That is a solemn verbal affirmation. Probably we do well to say it by confession to another, by making a date in our Bible, or whatever. It is like the purpose behind a public wedding: to make the marriage contract legally irrevocable in the sight of all men. So now this is our leap of faith. We have declared as fact what we have read of with our eyes, what has registered in our minds as plain and intelligible, and what we now choose in our heart to affirm - with no proof beyond those outer responses of my eyes, mind, emotions. That is why faith is a leap - into the yet unprovable. Available, desirable, but not yet reliable. But this is the necessary leap I personally must take. It is the one and only basic obedience of the believer -that "obedience of faith": not of works or some outer activities; no, of faith - which simply means inwardly committing myself to something (Someone) whom I now take to be total reality to me.

I have, of course, this big advantage: I already have in my new birth the saving faith which has become inner substance to me by the witness of the Spirit to the Word. So I already know Him. But this now is Total He, in me, as me - He in my form - or whatever phrase we are best accustomed to. The only outer action involved in this obedience of faith is something which verbalizes this belief in my heart - something which can be called confessing with my mouth. This is only because, for humans, contracts are valid only when there has been some public signing.

But let me again and again make this abundantly clear: Faith is substantial. Faith is the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of the unseen. Therefore faith does not merely mean I have done my part by just believing and outwardly confessing. That is merely my faith attachment to something I desire to experience. I take food - no, food takes me: then faith is substance. I sit on a chair, yes, but the chair upholds me, not I it! Faith is substance: it produces certainty. "I know whom I have believed," says Paul. I believe first and then know, and in my new birth that inner knowing of the Spirit-reality became so much everything to me that outer things are no longer the real substance I mistakenly thought they were. Now inner knowing, Spirit knowing, has become the substance that not world nor flesh nor devil can take from me.

So now in this second crisis of faith. Faith is substance. That substance does not come from us who do the believing and committing, but comes from that to which we have committed ourselves. The substance is the food, not the faith that takes it. The substance is the chair, not my faith that commits myself to it. And now the substance, the certainty, is that by some means, at some time - often immediately but not always -the witnessing Spirit inwardly confirms to me that it is He, no longer I, living my life. I know. I knew fifty-one years ago, fourteen years after my first knowing of salvation, and, of course, I know the same reality today. It is as natural to me as my initial experience of salvation, only greatly enlarged and established as years have gone by. The "believings" of the first part of the last chapter in John’s First Epistle have dissolved into "knowings" by the last half, and the keyword comes in the middle (1 John 5:10): "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." Then John continues: "These things have I written to you that believe... that ye may know that ye have eternal life.... We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not... and we know that we are of God... and we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true" (vss. 13, 18, 19, 20).

So you see, we don’t "work up" the knowing. Should you be reading this and say, "Well, I’ve said that ‘word of faith’; I have believed, but I can’t say I know," then don’t, don’t try to know. Knowing does not come from self-effort; that would be back under the law of "you ought" again. The knowing comes from the Spirit. So what you do is to keep firmly affirming that you are what you have now said you are by faith. Your job is to maintain the affirmation. The confirmation comes from Him, and any trying or searching of your own will only insert a fog of unbelief which hinders the Spirit from giving the confirmation. But there is the confirmation.

What more perfect pattern are we given of what a normal person is than Jesus Himself? He continually called Himself the "Son of man" (His favorite and most used name for Himself) because He was affirming in no uncertain terms that He was one of us, as us - indeed, was the sole representative of the human family. As Paul said, He came, "made of a woman and made under the law"; and Peter calls Him our "example." And nothing about this ideal man (and we owe it to John that he so clearly observed and presented Him to us in His true self) is more striking than His constant disclaimer of doing anything or being anything of Himself. "I do nothing of Myself," John quoted Him several times as saying. When questioned about His work, He said, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do"; and about His statements, "As I hear, I judge"; and finally, when asked by Philip to show them the Father, to whom He said He was soon going, He gave them this startling answer: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

This was at the last supper, when it was His definite intention of explaining to them what His own inner (not outer) relationship was to the Father, whom they had regarded as "up" in heaven. He knew He was now leaving them in His physical, outer presence, to return to them as the Spirit in them; so He opened to them how He as pattern man had lived His life on earth. "If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father." Then He made the relationship still more marvelously clear by adding, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."

So that is what a "normal" man is: not himself, but God dwelling and working in him. Ours is not a God afar off, but God within. In light of this Jesus said, "I and My Father are one"; yet within that union They were two - "I and My Father." And the whole point is that this is not a description of Himself as Jesus the Son of God, unique and different from us, but of Jesus as the Son of man, of whom it says in the Epistle to the Hebrews that "He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."

Jesus Himself had prayed that we should all know this same oneness with each other: "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." And John wrote in his letter that categorical statement, "As He is, so are we in this world"; and, "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us"; and "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

We do remain ourselves - very much ourselves, as we shall be seeing - just as Jesus was so much Himself that the world could never ignore Him as the perfect man, whether they believed in His deity or not. Yet it is this upon which we are centering our attention: There was never a moment when He did not know that He and His Father were in an eternal union, so that who He was, was the Father being manifested in and through His Son. So our being rebuilt as whole persons must first have our union with God through His Son established, and only then do we also freely live in the easy paradox of also being ourselves.

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