[Roll up your sleeves for some important theology…]
If we need further unchallengeable evidence of the fact that God created us for inner union with Himself, we can look at another perfect man on earth. Only two men came perfect from God, and both were called Adam. Both were the first-born of a creation. One lost his perfection, the Other retained His. One we know in history as Adam, the Other was called the “last Adam,” the Lord Jesus Christ [1 Cor. 15:22,45; Rom. 5:14]. We may be sure, therefore, that from these two we can reliably learn the way by which man is intended to live his life, and for what he is created, for they are both the first, the prototype, of their generations.
We have already looked into the life of Adam the first. Let us look at Adam the second. We touch a mystery here, for He [Jesus] was both God and man on earth; but for our present purpose we will only look at Him as He certainly was–true man. The Son of Man was what He loved to call Himself [Matt. 9:6], the Jesus of Nazareth whom Peter said God I anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, and who went about doing good, as other men since with the same anointing [Acts 10:38].
What then were the secret resources of this sinless life, perfect in holiness, mighty in word and work? John tells us in his Gospel, for the same Gospel which supremely emphasizes His Godhead, also gives us the profoundest insight into His manhood. How striking that the one thing He was always saying about Himself was that He was nothing!
They challenged Him on the healing of the impotent man. His answer was, ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever He does, these does the Son likewise” [John 5:19]. They challenged Him on the judgments He passed; “I can of Mine own self do nothing,” was His reply, “as I hear, I judge” [John 5:30]. They questioned Him about His doctrines. “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me,” was His answer [John 7:16]. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” [John 7:17]. His very life was derived from Another. He said, “As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me” [John 6:57]. In other words, He was living by “eating” the Father.
But He gave the supreme revelation in the most important conversation ever recorded on earth, His talk with His own at the Last Supper [John 13-16]…The vital importance was that for the first time in human history He was revealing to the human heart and mind the mystery of the union life. The disciples had never understood Him. How could they, when the Spirit of inner revelation was not yet given? [John 7:39]. They saw but a human being so often speaking to them about His Father, and that He derived all His wisdom and power from His Father. Where then was the Father? For He was now telling them that He was leaving them to go to His Father. They could only look at things in terms of space and time. They always saw things on the material level. He was on earth among them, His Father was in heaven.
Now He was to ‘leave them as orphans,’ and return to His Father. What should they do? What proof could they give that He had really gone back to Him? And so Philip made a direct request, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” [ John 14:8]. Open the heavens and give us one sight of Him, and we can face the world with confidence, he meant. Then came the supreme revelation. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father: and how say you then, Show us the Father?” [John 14:9]. If that was all He had said, we might surmise He meant that He and the Father were one Person, and to see One was to see the Other. But He did not. He went on to say, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwells in me, He does the works.” [John 14:10]
The great secret was out at last. All these years among them He had been living as a man in hidden union with the Father. As perfect man, He fully knew His natural nothingness and constantly spoke of it; but He also knew that man was created to be indwelt by God, and He had always known that indwelling so completely that all His mighty words and deeds were not His, but the Father’s, with Himself the container, the co-worker. He had said He did nothing by Himself, but what He saw the Father do. They thought He must have some telescopic sight into heaven; now they knew that He looked within. He said He only spoke what He heard, they thought He meant a voice from heaven; now they knew it was an inner voice.
And so this perfect Man shows us perfectly the hidden meaning of creation–the creature nothing but a container, the Creator living His own life in the creature, both distinct beings, both thinking, feeling, willing, acting; yet the one the nothing, the Other the all, the perfect polarity of creature and Creator, redeemed and Redeemer: and in this relationship both living life in its fullness, with every faculty put to its fullest use, for a whole man is really God in a man. And when this law of life is clearly seen in both Adams, we all can see that the Christian revelation of Christ in me by grace through faith is not just some pleasing and convenient addition to life, which I can take or leave. It is life. There is no other life (1 John 5:11,12). “Abide in Me, and I in you… for without Me you can do nothing.” It is the fundamental necessity if I am ever to know life and live it according to its predestined pattern.
from The Liberating Secret, (1955). Reprinted by Zerrubabel Press http://store.zerubbabel.org/
Scripture references in brackets added. Some KJV words updated. Italics added.
Norman Grubb (1896 – 1993) followed missionary C.T. Studd to Africa and later carried on his Worldwide Evangelization Crusade back in Great Britain….He spent the last 30 years of his life in the United States carrying on a tireless ministry of writing, traveling, and corresponding as he shared his profound understanding of the Christian’s spiritual union with Christ, summarized in Galatians 2:20 and revealed throughout all Scripture. http://www.zerubbabel.org/about/norman-grubb.asp
Editorial note. In the 1960s-1990s Mr. Grubb brought increasing emphasis to spiritual union that came to be termed “Total Truth.” Grace Notes teaches positional and spiritual identification with Christ (in agreement with this excerpt), yet Mr. Grubb’s the later teaching is a step beyond this. (See Zerubbabel Press publications of 1960 and later.) For further clarification, see the critique by James Fowler: https://gracenotebook.com/no-independent-self-an-attempt-at-clarification/