By Norman Grubb
“How do you handle temptation and failure?” I was recently asked this question by a pastor anxious to have the right answer for himself and for his people, and I myself found it both profitable and confirming to discuss it with him.
Obviously it is the big question of the vast majority of born-again Christians. We want to be Christ-like, but we are caught in the same syndrome of which Paul wrote in Romans 7: “I delight in the law of God after the inward man … to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
What is the answer? First and essentially, I must know who I am in Christ, and be consciously, freely, and happily that person. And who I am is most perfectly expressed and defined in Paul’s great Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
First Paul says, and I must say with him, “I am crucified with Christ.” That means in actual fact-not just doctrinally and positionally. My previous fallen I, independent of Christ and in the dominion of Satan and sin, is now cut off from sin as the reigning principle of my life. I am in fact dead to sin and to the indwelling satanic spirit of error.
Regardless of how I feel, I have to say it and confess it with my mouth: “I am crucified with Christ.” I must say, “I am dead to sin” as boldly as when I got saved. Then I said I was no longer a lost sinner, but was now justified in Christ as though I had never sinned. All we born-again people have said just that in our own terms, haven’t we? And we had to say it by looking away from our lost sin condition and the bondages of which we had become so vividly conscious, and transferring our believing and inner seeing to God’s written word, which tells us God sees us as though we had never sinned. We have been justified by faith and so have peace with God. God sees us in Christ as perfect and sinless as Christ Himself.
So now we have to go a step further. In the face of our flesh weaknesses, our temptations, and our lapses into sins, we now boldly say: “I am dead to sin in Christ. I am crucified with Christ.” And then further still. Just as I once said, “not only am I no longer a lost sinner, but now righteous in Christ as He is righteous,” so now I say, “not only am I no longer a separated self in an old marriage under sin control, but I am now a newly married self (Rom.7:4) joined to Christ.” I carry Paul’s Galatians statement through to its completion, that now I live, yet it is not I living, but Christ living in me.
Christ is the Real Person expressed through my human I, totally replacing the spirit of error who previously expressed his sin-self through me. I am not saying Christ lives in me as though side by side with me; rather, He replaces me as my real inner self. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. That is replacement, and not just a partnership or relationship between two. It is two having become one, for “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” It is He and I as Vine and branch. We operate together as one vine. The vine expresses and reproduces itself in its branch forms, the sap always flowing through the branch and producing the fruit. So now I am Christ being Himself through my human self. I am not just I, Norman Grubb, but Christ expressed in His Norman Grubb form.
In the same way, a body is the head expressing itself in its body form. A body is a head in outer action. When we enter a dark room, we should say, “Turn on the lamp,” not “Turn on the light,” for it is a light manifested through its lamp form. But we don’t even remember that it’s a lamp; we just call it a light! So are we in our redeemed form, being called by Jesus the light of the world. For He is not only the One who died for me and is now my Savior; He is also my Indweller-not as a separate one in me, but as my replacement. “I live, yet not I, but He. “Christ is my Permanent Identity, and am His means of manifesting Himself.