Faith & Unbelief
This is from a handwritten journal I just re-found. This is pretty long, but some might find it interesting. It's partly technical, because at the time I was working these things out in my understanding, and often you have to go through technicalities to do so. My vocabulary and some ways of expression, as well as some of my understandings have changed since then, but this is left pretty much intact as originally written. There are a couple of things in the piece I would definitely say differently now, and I have been tempted to change them, but finally I thought I'd just leave it as it is.
Faith & Unbelief -- 12/13/87
The Bible commandments to faith are Godward, not manward. They are exhortations to cast ourselves beyond what we know as ourselves, beyond "I", into the unknowable, unfathomable abyss, which is God. (Prov 3:5,6)
That which I am still conscious of as "myself," today, is still not that totally pure "real me." The "real me" is still hidden -- "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
If my actual literal self-consciousness was that of the real "I" in the most strict and literal sense, I would not be living by faith, but by sight. Paul says that in this life we do not live by sight, but by faith. That we do not yet see what we "hope for," for if we saw it, we would no longer hope for it.
I suppose for a long time I have seen my "hope" having mostly to do with my new body in the resurrection. But I know now that it is much more than that. The resurrection is rising in the totality of my true selfhood, of which the body is again, as in this life, only an expression, though a perfect one. (1 Cor 13:12).
What then, of this life and that which I still know as myself?
I am among those who look "for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God ...." I am a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth, and see the "promise" afar off. We walk in the faith-possession of it, until by God's grace we receive the actual possession. For I desire a "better country," that is a heavenly, and God has "prepared [for me] a city."
That which I "know" as myself today, i.e., my normal everyday self-consciousness, is still very much an objective mask of my real self. It is, in a literal sense, still of "this world," in that it still sees in division and separation, an illusory view of things. Everything I view, think, feel, is seen in a wrong objective sense, since underlying how I "see" everything is the still objective reflection on myself as a "thing."
In every way possible I am conscious of "only myself" in my actual daily consciousness. Thoughts come, and I think about what I think. Feelings come, and I think about what I feel. I cannot escape the fact that, for most of this life, my literal daily "self-consciousness" is still separated, not fully seeing and knowing unity consciousness. It is still, in the literal sense, "of this world," a fallen, divided, separated consciousness. This is most clearly seen in that it still struggles with itself, still reflects on itself, as if it were divided with itself, as if subject and object were divided, as if there were an "objective self" to reflect upon.
Therefore true faith cannot in any way be directed toward this objective self. For me to attempt to "see myself" is a trap.
There is no separation in God, i.e., subject and object, God reflecting on and deciding about Himself. God IS -- I AM. When He "looks out," He sees only Himself -- but not objectively, as if He were separated from Himself, but in pure subjectivity. There is no self-reflection, but only BEING.
For us to say, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me," is to cast ourselves into that same mystery of BEING by faith. It is to continually cast ourselves beyond what we know as ourselves into a "no thing," which is God Himself. It is beyond what we normally see, know, reason, or think.
Nothing of our normal, daily consciousness of ourselves is part of that kingdom. "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God." There is a complete, total, absolute loss of "self" (as we have always known "self") in this faith. We, as we have always thought of "we," cease to exist. There is no objective "me."
In the union of Spirit to spirit, God's Self is united to our true selfhood (the hidden dormant "I"). There is no objectivity and subjectivity. All is ONE. "I AM" Pure BEING. Everything is seen in the light of that which it really is, ONE GOD manifesting Himself in all things, people, circumstances, events, etc. ALL IS ONE. ALL is Love expressed. God sees the end from the beginning, the resolution of all things, the perfect working of every detail of His plan. Losing ourselves we find only Him -- yet we are distinctly and forever "ourselves." But we see as He sees, and He sees, not objectively, but subjectively, only Himself. All that is HE sees is enveloped by and IS His love.
What He does not see and recognize, is evil. Evil is a negation of reality. Evil exists, because of freedom, but only in itself, unto itself, not in God, though indeed His Light shines there. He sees only His Light, which the darkness cannot comprehend. By God not seeing and therefore recognizing evil, it does not have a true, real existence in God, but only in its own imagination.
Evil sees only itself and imagines that it, alone, is all, thus deluding itself into an imaginary separate existence, which is, in fact, an Unreality, a lack of true existence, an objective illusory trap. To evil, "things" are reality. In truth, only GOD is REALITY, and He is "no thing." Only that which is truly one with His will, and therefore flows consciously with His Love, is truly REAL, for HE IS the REALITY of it.
These things are true things of the Spirit, but in our normal, daily consciousness of ourselves, we do not, in a natural and literal sense, "see" these things. We still "walk by faith, not by sight." As Hebrews says, "For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. But we do see HIM .... Jesus." We still see "through a glass darkly," on in more modern terms, "in a mirror dimly."
And then, as in 2 Cor 3:18, we behold CHRIST in the mirror and are progressively changed into that image, culminating finally in 1 John 3:2: "Beloved, it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when we shall see Him, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
Getting back to the opening statement of this writing, that faith is "Godward, not manward." The statements "see myself as Christ" and "how I'm believing about myself" have great potential for error, and may be foundationally erroneous. "See myself" immediately focuses off God and onto myself. Scripture commands of faith are always in the spirit of "looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of my faith."
ALL things come from Him and for all "things" to be seen in their true light, all "things" must be given back to Him, let go, a detachment. "All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given Thee."
The infinite "no thing," GOD, is the Source, the Alpha and Omega, and He is wholly beyond "myself." There is no safety in seeing "myself" without the True Vision of God.
I am a "no self" to Him who is All Self. I know not "myself." Only He does. I cannot know anything about "myself" except by being taken by the Spirit wholly beyond "myself" into Absolute "no-selfness," only then, ONLY THEN, to truly BE MYSELF, which is really HE!
No flesh can be taken there. No thoughts "about myself," no feelings "about myself," no attachments, no will of my own, not even my own sense of being or existence. In HIS Light it is ALL false. Only HE IS truth -- "Yea, let God be true and every man a liar." IN the Light of Him who is ALL, I am nothing. In the Light of Pure Existence I do not exist. NO FLESH can come before Him.
I must enter into deepest darkness (which is round about Him -- His "secret place"), a total darkness to the flesh, to all human consciousness, to all sense of "me-ness," to any any any sense of self. I see not "myself," but only HIM, obscured in darkness. No "man" can see HIM! No flesh!
Yet inwardly He breaks through. Light shines out of darkness! (Except there were darkness, how could Light shine?)
He is the Real Self, the Only Self, there is no other Self. Only in that Light, in that purity, do I exist as a self in Him. No confusion here -- for in the Light and Truth and Purity of His shining, there is no mixing up between the Creator and the created. It is just that simply the "created self" cannot exist in the true purity of its selfhood by any other way than to "lose itself" and that is total, absolute, complete. To be seen as absolutely and completely nothing in the Blinding Light of Him WHO IS and IS ALL.
Then, and only then, I see Christ verily as "my Self," "one spirit," for the full and total focus is Christ, beyond understanding, beyond knowing, beyond selfhood, beyond being, in "no-thingness," beyond doctrine, beyond experience, beyond anything that can be known or conceived humanly.
"For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."
To see "myself" as Christ, without the vision of God, is most likely seeing my still divided flesh sense of my "I-ness," still of this world (and which for the most part never changes -- only in our faith) and is deifying the wrong "thing."
In a mysterious way, known only by faith, Christ shines through, transfigures, illuminates and quickens this still "mortal life," and in a hidden way HE IS the life of it, but to say in the wrong sense "I am Christ as me" is the same thing as saying the body is Christ, or the soul is Christ. All that we seen and know, think and feel, in our normal daily self-consciousness, is still part of the "outer man, which is perishing." It is not sin, for the "inward man [which is] is renewed day by day," is transfigured and seen through the decaying shell of the outward man. This is a deep mystery and is seen not according to the flesh, but by the Spirit.
In any case, it is wrong to call our sense of the decaying "outer man" Christ, except in the overall sense that "He is all." "From henceforth we know no man after the flesh."
What then, is this "outer man who is perishing?" Is this still part of the devil's kingdom?
No, for by the blood and body of Jesus we have been transferred from the power of darkness into the kingdom of Light. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God. ...." We are now filled inwardly with the Divine Nature.
And just as Abraham believed, and it was counted to him as righteousness, though it was still 25 years until he saw in full manifestation the Son of Promise (and really 1400 years until the REAL SON of Promise came, born without the normal means of human reproduction [signified by circumcision]) and as Hebrews quoted before says, "All things are subjected to Him, yet now we do not yet see all things subjected unto Him," even so have we received the Holy Spirit as the "earnest of our inheritance" until the redemption of the purchased possession," which is the "manifestation of the sons of God."
This is more than just a new body. The new body is incidental (though necessary). This is the full manifestation of OURSELVES, after having been hidden in Christ. "Then we shall know, even as we are known. Then we shall see face to face."
It will then be a totally uncluttered vision of God, ALL in all. How is it "there shall be no more sorrow?" Because we will all be able to look and see clearly, without any clouds, and truly SEE and KNOW what has ALWAYS been true, that ALL that we have ever seen or experienced has been God, and since it has been God, it has been Love. He has loved us in ALL things.
This "outer man who is perishing," who is still conscious of division, disharmony, separation, is still, nevertheless, in the new birth in the domain of Christ. "The Lord is in His Holy Temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him."
Though in a literal sense, it still sees "independently," thinks "independently," no sin is imputed to it, and God sees only the likeness of Himself in us. Though "mortality" still clings to us in this life ("for we do not yet see all things which are subjected to Him") still we are not "in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in us."
Walking in the faith light of the present, we are righteousness in the Lord. By continuing by faith to look into the mirror, in which we see not ourselves, but Jesus, we are still "being transformed into the same image from glory to glory." Though we see "afar off" and even can now embrace as ours the completion, still we wander in sheepskins and goatskins, strangers in the earth, awaiting with patience the fulfillment of the promises even as Abraham believed and waited for Isaac -- "Laughter."
So to begin to poke around in the "outer man who is perishing" for Satanic thought patterns or "hidden deposits" of unbelief and to try to fix them up is liking giving an aspirin as a cure to a terminally ill cancer patient. A noble try, but no effect.
Why? Because for one thing, it's an endless task. All the "outer man who is perishing" ever thought or thinks is "tainted" with separation and division, and as long as it has the breath of this world in it, it will still be so. To undertake the task of fixing up these thought patterns, by finding them, rooting them out, confessing them as sin (other than when we have willfully sinned or when the Holy Spirit catches us out in some way), can easily be an attempt to "make Christlike" a dying thing of the flesh, and "flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
What then do we do with this still "mortal" consciousness we find ourselves in? We first of all know, by faith, that "mortality is swallowed up by life." Out of the still darkness of our worldly self-consciousness God calls forth invisible Light in a mysterious and hidden way. We do not trust in "ourselves" but in "God, who raises the dead." We do not see "ourselves" after the flesh. "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." We look to the "UNSEEN!"
Instead of seeing some basic wrongness about my "outer man which is perishing," I see it by faith in the light of Rev 10:17: "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ." This dying thing is now for His usage, through which to manifest the hidden secrets of His resurrection by means of its death.
It's the manger principle -- God hidden in commonness. It's the point of contact with the death of this world, the place of the assaults of the enemy, the scene of the death-life battle of the ages, the continual reenactment of the "dying of the Lord Jesus" in our flesh, the place of struggle and pain and death from which we by faith cast ourselves into the Infinite God Who is Beyond and Above, leading us through (not bypassing) the valley of the shadow of death, but we "Fear NO evil, for thy Rod and thy Staff, they comfort us."
To sum up, these are my points:
1. The "hidden man of the heart" is the real "me" -- "Christ/I"
2. Reasoning and logic cannot attain to it.
3. My true real self is beyond my own perception -- I am hidden in God.
4. By faith, not by sight, I believe Him Who is All, who is the REAL me.
5. Flesh, i.e., any worldly sense of separate self, cannot approach God.
6. Our normal, daily, natural self-consciousness is still tainted with "the outer man which is perishing."
7. It is error to call the outer self-consciousness the real "Christ/I." In a mysterious and hidden way, the Spirit of Who we are manifests by means of the "outer man" -- the "life of Jesus manifested in our mortal flesh." -- but it is wrong to see that in a fleshly sense.
8. I do not know myself. I behold Him and "myself" hiddenly in Him.
9. I make no attempt to "see myself." I see only Him. This is the exhortation of Scripture.
10. This is some mysterious part of me, the Real "me," who beholds Him, by faith - but even that faith-recognition is a mystery and a gift of grace.
11. Only with the True Vision of God can I see "myself."
12. To search the thought patterns and motivations of the "outer man," looking for "independence" is an endless maze. Even this decaying consciousness is an infinite abyss. There is no end to it.
13. We totally belong to Him Who has "purchased us with His own blood." Therefore all that we are, inner and outer, is now His domain, and for His utilization.
14. He chooses to utilize the "mortality" which still hangs onto us as the place of the already secured victory of Life over Death.
The cords of death encompassed me ....
I called upon the Lord ....
He sent from on high, and He took me ....
But the Lord was my stay,
He brought me forth also into a broad place,
He rescued me, because He delighted in me ....
For thou dost save an afflicted people ....
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
The God who girds me with strength,
And makes my way blameless --
He makes my feet likes hinds' feet,
And sets me upon my high places ....
And thy right hand upholds me
And thy greatness makes me great
Thou dost enlarge my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped ...
The Lord lives,
And blessed be my Rock,
And exalted by the God of my salvation.