|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"And not yet has it been made visible what we shall be. We know absolutely that whenever it is made visible, like ones to Him we shall be, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope continually set on Him is constantly purifying himself just as that One is pure." [1 John 3:2-3, Wuest Expanded].
"Because even as He is, we-we also are in this world." [1 John 4:17, Young's Literal].
For many years people have sung the hymn, "0, I want to see Him, look upon His face, There to sing forever of His saving grace…." And yet I wonder, just what did they expect to see? What kind of a manifestation of our Lord were they looking for? Would He be that blessed Man of Galilee, or as the Lamb on Calvary? Or is there a reaching out to know Him JUST AS HE IS? It is written that we are to be fully conformed to His image, that He might be The Firstborn among MANY BRETHREN, so the question naturally arises, what, now, is His image?
John writes, "We know absolutely...." This is precious terminology, and that is the depth of the word used in the Greek text. This is not to be just that limited knowledge gained by experience, nor yet that knowledge which comes to us through revelation, but it is that absolute knowledge of revealed truth made experimentally real in our day by day walk with Christ, so that we KNOW that whenever it is made visible, like ones to Him we shall be, because ―for this reason, WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS. Regardless of the process involved, and the time element when it shall be fully consummated, thank God, we can have this under-girding knowledge that WHEN it is made visible, we are going to be LIKE HIM. This must be the undergirding for all of the present transition process. If we are not absolutely sure that when this process is climaxed we shall be like Him, I doubt that we would have the courage to face all of the travail required for its realization. It is for the JOY that is set before us, that we, too, like Christ, are able to endure the cross and despise the shame, knowing that when this "WAY OF THE CROSS" ends, a new life in Christ will become a reality.
Those who hold this vision within, are truly a people with a purpose. They will count no price too high to pay, no suffering too hard to bear, because of the glory to be revealed when they are truly manifested as a part of this "HIMSELF COMPANY," totally identified in Jesus Christ, as His own many-membered first fruits.
Now, the next important words to focus attention on, are "AS HE IS," because when this transformation in us is complete, ''as He is, so are we to be in this world." World, kosmos, present arrangement of this system, as being dealt with under God's decreed time periods, in His purpose of the ages. Let it also be remembered, this arrangement is not confined only to this earth's corruption and gross materialism, for a part of this arrangement is a restoration into a higher realm of glory in God, and Jesus Christ is the living manifestation of that new creation realm. And so, in this arrangement, our goal is not to just achieve a longer span of life for this present "flesh and blood body," but to be changed, and to BECOME AS HE IS.
Since it is to be ''as He IS," then it will not be as He was in the body of His humiliation. We have already partaken together of that realm, in fact, it is because "the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." [Hebrews 2:14-15].
We are in the realm of corruption, the realm of flesh and blood, and because we are in this body of humiliation, He likewise took part of the same, but, for the purpose of bringing us a deliverance from the whole process of death, that we might be lifted up into a higher realm, HIS age-biding LIFE. It was "in His humiliation His judgment was taken away." [Acts 8:33], and thus "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." [Philippians 2:8]. But, "His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption." [Acts 2:31], for God hath "raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies." [Eph. 1:20].
"Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." [Acts 3: 21]. And since the heavens have now received Him, it is from thence "also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body ( or the body of our humiliation) , and fashion it like unto His glorious body, according to the power whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself." [Philippians 3:20-21].
So, it is not for us to be as He once WAS, Jesus, son of man. There is a great change to be wrought in us, but not to conform us to as He WAS in His humiliation before the Cross. The very reason we are now partaking of "the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death" is that we might also "attain unto the resurrection out from among the dead," [Phil. 3:10-11] and be like Him as He NOW IS, on the resurrection side of the Cross.
Nor is it yet to immediately be made manifest as to all that He shall be― for that very unveiling shall take the ages to come. "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." [Romans 8:17]. Complete glorification is also a process that will require the ages to come for its unfolding and consummation. "That in the ages to come He might shew (DISPLAY THROUGH HIS VESSELS OF MERCY) the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." [Ephesians 2:7].
Right now He is "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for the age." [Hebrews 13:8]. And "He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.... then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." [1 Cor. 15:25, 28].
Between that WHICH HE WAS in His humiliation, and WHAT HE SHALL BE in full glory, when all is subdued under His feet, and thus ascends up into the higher realms of the Father where God is all in all, in this present realm there is a state of being known by the term AS HE IS. Thus, the writer to the Hebrews, though glimpsing a brief view of what "man" is to become, with dominion over all the works of God's hands, stated that while we do not yet see man in this full position, nevertheless, we do "SEE JESUS...." [Hebrews 2:9].
We see Jesus! And we must see Him more and more― for HE is the focal center of all that we shall receive, and into whose image we shall be fully transformed. HE is the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE, and seeing HIM, we shall be like Him, AS HE IS.
Now, what is His present status? What is His image? What is His likeness? This involves the revealing of His identity, and is embodied in the revelation of the "I AM." This also involves all of this present processing unto spiritual maturity and perfection, into the fulness of sonship, that we might find our identification in His identity, to become the christed (anointed) ones. To see Him AS HE IS, and to become LIKE HIM, is surely to become involved with His identity.
Far too much of our present confession is still back-dated in relation to our humiliation days. A hangover due to the lack of full separation from the shadow of the old. We would like to enter into the NEW, but we cling to strands of the old, and to relinquish our grasp of the old requires some strong measures of dealing by the Spirit of God in our lives. How slow of heart we are to believe what God is doing in His first fruits now.
When we fully see Him AS HE IS, in that climactic moment there shall be that final rending from the old, and a coming forth into the new. That is what makes HIS APPEARING a necessity in this hour, and we cannot "spiritualize" away His coming to us. It is true, we shall see Him in
His composite body of believers, but this revelation of Christ through His body can only come after He has first appeared to His body, and brought them into the fulness of His image, as He is. Otherwise all we shall ever see in one another is the "in part" measure, just as we have seen it all these many past years. Until HE is manifested AS HE IS, whatever we are going to be is not yet made visible. Thus, "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." [Colossians 3:3-4].
It doesn't take much observation to see how much of our own confession is out of the carl1al mind, under the influence of the old creation order, and' how little of our confession springs from the indwelling mind of Christ, and the life of the new creation. We are still trying to tie the two realms together, mixing up the past with the future. And it is written, "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways." [James 1:8]. Therefore the holy Spirit is working in His apprehended ones, to bring them to that full experience of a "single eye" before God, for "if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."
There was a man, recorded in John 9:25, who said, "One thing I know, that, whereas I WAS BLIND, now I see." The testimony is precious! A change had begun, out of blindness into light. But we see that he is yet not far enough into the light to forget the past and its blindness. He is still in a transition. Anybody that knew the man also knew that he had been blind for many years, he did not have to speak of his blindness, he need only to rejoice in the light. I WAS blind, NOW I SEE. Thank God that now you see, but how long shall we cling to the past with its testimony of blindness?
Perhaps you have likewise sat in one of those testimony services, to hear the accounts, I WAS a horse thief, I WAS a drunkard, I WAS a sinner, etc. And we, in turn, have no trouble relating to their past, for we are still too linked to our own. The obscurity of the future, and the very incompleteness of the present, seems to leave the way open to the exposing only of what we used to be. But our confession is not to be of what we used to be, but of what we are now BECOMING IN CHRIST. To come into the present identity of what HE IS, and in so doing we have to be separated from the old identity of the carnal creation. The result of becoming ONE IN THE "I AM" is a good cure for any remaining confessions of "I WAS."
What is there in Christians that yet remains in them of the old so that they still enjoy hearing about the world? To seek out those who were great in the world, who have now come into a new relationship with Christ, beginning to live a new life in Him, and yet they want to hear them tell all
about their past, what they used to be, as if they find some kind of enjoyment in that ungodly past. No wonder Paul saw the need, and declared, "IF any man be in Christ, a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." [2 Corinthians 5:17].
We want the new, but we seem to also want to remain linked to the old. We still carry our old titles of the religious realm we used to be― and if we have suddenly come into what is termed the "pentecostal" experience, then we are now called a "Pentecostal Baptist," or "a Pentecostal Catholic," or "a Pentecostal Methodist," etc. Why do we need any of this linkage to the old order? Why can we not find our whole new identity in Christ? These are points to seriously consider. If the old was so good that we have to retain our identity with it, then why were we ever looking for something new? But if the old cannot satisfy, then, as the Spirit of God leads us, let us leave behind all of the old, and enter into a whole new walk with the Lord, even if, for the present time, we seem to be NAMELESS, and without an identity that this world can use to identify us, except, perhaps, to say that we walk THIS WAY OF HERESY― seeking to come into the fulness of God.
There is a new spiritual order coming forth, the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be impossible to identify this NEW CREATION with any part of the old order and realm. Babylon will totally disown it, and cast it out from her midst, but the Lord shall receive these INTO HIMSELF.
By the grace of God I am what I am...." [1 Corinthians 15:10] is Paul's confession. Not just what "I was", nor yet limited to the visionary declarations of what "I will be," for even the term I WILL BE leaves the negative tone that I am not that thing now. We readily agree that we are not fully become all that He has apprehended us for, and therefore there is that futuristic vision, and we press toward the mark-may we do so with diligence. And yet there is also a present inworking of His marvellous grace, as He lifts us up out of the "I WAS" and brings us into a new measure of the present-tense "I AM". Nor is there any need of carnally proclaiming ourselves to be what we have not yet become, there is already far too much of the pervertedness of a "false I am" in this day, self-proclamations that have no STATE OF BEING to confirm their words. But we are in a transition, we are neither what we once were, nor are we yet all that we shall be, but we are WHAT WE ARE at this present stage of development by the grace of God, and His grace shall continue to minister to His elect until they have been brought into His fulness.
And so, we continue to remember the miry clay from whence we were lifted, and this is needful during our transition, lest we become puffed up in our "self," and forget that it is totally the grace and work of God in us. The very remembrance of what we once were is a part of our humiliation. But as the transformation is brought to its consummation, and we enter into the fulness of HIS NEW DAY, then we read, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall at spring forth; shall ye not know it? ...this people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise." [Isaiah 43: 18-19, 21].
When we have fully BECOME all that He has apprehended us for, then our state of being shall be our clear witness, to His glory and praise. Until then, we do have this confession to make, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 3:13-14].
So the Spirit is leading onward, into a projected vision and a higher spirit realm, into the day of the Lord. "I was in the Spirit in the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice...and I turned to see the voice that spake with me." [Revelation 1:10, 12]. THIS IS IMPERATIVE, in the development of the central supremacy of Christ, that HE stand between us and our past. When John was in the sphere of the Spirit, under the full control of the Spirit, the Voice which he heard speaking to him was BEHIND him, between him and all of his past. No more could he identify with the old order and try to drag some of it onward into the new. And, praise God, no longer were there any regrets concerning the past, for now to view the past he must see it THROUGH Jesus Christ, and thus would see how God has purposed and used it all, working the evil into good, and bringing him to this very hour.
When HE, WHO IS THE LIGHT, stands between us and our past, then no more will we be living in the "shadow" of the past, but we shall be able to view the whole through the light of Christ, and see it for all that He meant it to be, leading us into the victory of the present.
The type, found in the Old Testament, is precious, as God led Israel out of the land of Egypt, "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them....it came BETWEEN the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel." [Exodus 14: 19-20].
This is a consummation of the cutting off of all former identity with our past, its humiliation, its mind, its will, its emotions, its fellowships, and even its grossly material, dense substance.
There is a new identity to be entered into― LIKE ONES TO HIM, AS HE IS. That which we are now in the process of becoming must ultimately mature, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." [1 Cor. 15:50]. So there is to be a CHANGING OF SUBSTANCE, into that which He is, and "GOD IS SPIRIT." [John 4:24]. Yes, we are to be changed, "in a moment," [1 Cor. 15:52] or as the Greek reads, IN THE ATOMS, for our atomical structure is to be completely changed, and the very atoms which make up our being are to be lifted to a higher realm, to 'be fashioned anew, and we shall have a body like unto His glorious body.
To be identified with HIS substance, there must be a separation from that gross materialism with which we have been identified, and it is this changing process which has caused us such pressure and travail, groaning for, "to wit, the redemption of our bodies." [Romans 8:23].
Much of this transformation process has been in the realm of the mind, as we have grown in knowledge, and in the grace of our Lord. This is a slow process, the enlightening rays come, illuminate the inner understanding, and then recede to await another cycle of opening. But each cycle of quickening changes us in another degree, from glory to glory, according as this change of expression proceeds from the Lord, and into us.
Surely, we have come to see that our years of human life are but a shadow without substance, for we were subjected to vanity, emptiness, as it were, or to phrase it another way, subjected to nothingness, which is the lowest vibration of substance. And to make it even more of a paradox, subjected to gross density! This present vanity can be so heavy and material, it is one of the characteristics of this present arrangement. Temporal and visible, and yet so very empty. It is in realizing the utter futility of partaking of such that has now increased our desire to partake of CHRIST. Likewise, the soulish substance offered upon the tables, the reasonings and prattles of the carnal mind, which are so meaningless and easily dissipated and vanished-how we have wearied of it, and yearn for the pure reality of His Spirit LIFE.
Yes, we now desire that "better and enduring substance," [Hebrews 10:34], found in the Spirit of God, and thus we are being pressured into the very center of Christ, to be FOUND IN HIM. It is not in seeking by natural means to enter in, for such action in itself denies Spirit-identity, hence this requires REST, a cessation of all the struggles of the flesh and mind, in order that there might be a perfection of FUSION into our true spirit reality in Christ.
Jesus laboured not in the hour of darkness, and so was "crucified in weakness," [2 Corinthians 13:4], but He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit." [Luke 23:46]. In this yielding He entered into freedom, released from the body of His humiliation, and He conquered death by dying. Glory be to our wonderful Lord!
Praise God! Again and again we have seen the hand of God MOVE IN BETWEEN US AND FORMER REALMS, stripping away the gifts and graces, removing that which spoke of the soulish realm, that HE might become our ALL.
Because of that desire for identity in spirit-realms of true spirit-substance, and because the time is long, and the vision often seems to tarry, then men will grope to solidify with the carnal mind that which is spirit-reality. But this only causes more confusion, a mixture of good and evil, holy and profane. Rather, we must abide the crystallization according to HIS TIME― which actually results in just the opposite, for WE BECOME THE CHANGED ONES, and it is our change into spirit that causes truth to appear more crystallized. We are not bringing rich spiritual truth down into flesh realms, but we are to be lifted up ever higher. Spirit is timeless, but it is our progressive release that brings the difference. The more we are identified with CHRIST, the more we are separated from the natural.
Now, WHENEVER it is made visible, LIKE ONES TO HIM WE SHALL BE, because we shall see Him just as He is. He has a body, but of a much higher composition of the spirit realm, and nothing like the density and low vibratory state of our present body of humiliation. "We shall all be changed." [1 Cor. 15:51]. God is Spirit, and to worship Him "IN" spirit is more than just "with" or "by" the Spirit, but indicates that we come into a state of being where we are dwelling IN SPIRIT.
Yes, there shall be a change, and our very state of being will then manifest what we have BECOME in HIM. The outward manifestation will be according to the need of our surroundings, but the INNER SUBSTANCE will be SPIRIT, to be identified in Christ, a new creation.
LIKE ONES TO HIM
Like ones to Him-by His decree,
Unfolding the ages' mystery,
Invisible realms opened to thee
Through Christ, the Centre Reality.
Not as He was in human form,
Passing through humiliation's storm,
Since inner changes He doth perform
Till unto His image we conform.
Vessels of His mercy and grace,
Sanctified ones of Israel's race,
Self and its ego He doth abase,
His nature divine to now encase.
For He must reign, and ere subdue
Selfhood's rebellion which did accrue,
Reigning while love doth the whole bedew,
Prevailing till He makes all things new.
Cut off from the past with all its shame,
Released from the old creation's frame,
Purged from desires that would inflame,
No more identified with their claim.
Like ones to Him-so we shall be,
And merged into His identity,
Fruition of our Gethsemane,
Fulfilling the vision He did foresee.
Writings in This Series: