Wednesday, September 21, 2011

F. J. Huegel's Testimony of the Exchanged Life

F. J. Huegel served as a chaplain in World War I and was a missionary in Mexico for over twenty-five years. Much of his time was devoted to evangelistic work in prisons. He was also on the teaching staff of Union Seminary in Mexico City. The following is taken from his book The Cross of Christ--The Throne of God:

"The Cross of Christ far from filling the entire horizon [of my earlier life], I must confess, was little more than a dim object, barely visible. I could no more have subscribed to Paul's flaming doctrine than to Nietzche's system of the superman. Still I toiled in the Master's vineyard. I knew and loved the Saviour. Had He not saved me in an hour of despair when death looked me in the face? The vain gods of philosophy had been my gods, but when sickness came I saw that they could do nothing for me. There was not a single star that shone in the night of my desolation. But I had been brought up in a Christian home and I knew that there was a Saviour, though I had not found Him. So I called unto Him out of the depths of my pain and He heard me and healed me and saved me. Philosophy was abandoned and I immediately went to preaching and to searching the Scriptures, that I might know Him who had had mercy upon me and snatched me as a brand from the burning.

"Years passed. I preached Christ to the soldiers in France as a Chaplain of the A.E.F., and in a variety of ways sought to promote the interests of God's Kingdom. Finally the Lord called me to the Mission field. There were years of earnest toil and some little fruit, but in my secret soul I wept in shame, for there was a great lack. I was not victorious. I was the victim of a thousand things which I loathed. The Book of Acts of the Apostles tormented me with a deep sense of my fruitlessness. As a student of the lives of the great saints of the Church, I found much from that source to shame me. Paul's despairing cry, 'O wretched man that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this death?' was for ever echoing in my heart. I, too, had agonized and prayed and yearned and wept. But oh, that awful 'law of sin warring in my members against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity.'

"Then the Lord did a wonderful thing. He permitted a great trial to lay waste my life and to completely shatter my world. I cannot go into details here. I can only say that like Job my very substance seemed to be dissolved. For months it seemed as if ten thousand demons were devouring me. God knows the tears I wept. A desperate hope that would not die, a secret conviction that my Redeemer would somehow see me out of it all, kept me from utter despair and suicide which Satan more than once whispered to me.

"But in the midst of it all I made a great discovery. There were demon forces, of which I had never dreamed, governing this world. The Bible was right. My spiritual weapons in the face of such an enemy were as a toy pistol before a great battleship. I had been attempting to take Leviathan captive with my little toy fish-hook. Furthermore, to my utter dismay, I found that my own carnality and selfishness had given the ground they held to these monsters of hell. I myself had invited them in. I must get rid of 'self'--that was as clear as the noon-day sun. Else there could be no hope of final victory. These powers of darkness (demons are as real to me now as God Himself) which were oppressing me to the point of despair, were standing on the very ground which secret selfishness had conceded to them. How was I to get rid of this 'self-life' which had so long been standing out against Christ and making a way for the enemy to come in like a flood? Ah! had I but known of that 'Standard,' the Cross, which must be lifted up against this prince of darkness. But my hour had come. God was leading me all the while. Not a tear but what had fallen in His bottle. It was then that He focused all my being upon the Cross of Christ, and opened up to me its wondrous meaning. Every day brought its revelation. Such a struggle as mine would never issue in Victory except the Cross be given the place of absolute supremacy in my life and ministry.

"The moment I took the place which all along God was assigning me, and which He assigns to every Christian, regardless of station or race or sect, and which all my trials had been Divinely designed to bring me to; namely, a consent to die with Christ and to consign to my Redeemer's tomb my old life, 'the old man,'--a new day dawned. 'Self-life' once removed by my Saviour's Cross, where God had nailed it in a judicial sense centuries ago, but which required the consent of my will in recognition of my participation in the death of Him who died for me, and an active appropriation of that position of co-crucifixion; 'self-life,' I repeat, once removed by the gloriously effective power of Calvary in which I had now submerged my very being, the hosts of hellish spirits were driven from the field of battle and utterly routed.

"Oh! the blessedness of the deliverance. My old world with its secret 'self-centredness' was gone. A new world came into being, and in this world God is the centre. He is absolutely supreme. Christ is now my life. His blessed Cross is the very ground in which my life is rooted. I bear about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus, to use Paul's words.

"It is a process. Death worketh in me, to use another of Paul's expressions (2 Cor. iv. 12). Self would seem to be reinstated, and with it all the old horrors, if I failed to keep within the radius of the Cross, so to speak. I realize now that I cannot really have Jesus without His Cross. As Dr. Mabie says, the resurrection was in the death, and the death in the resurrection. They are one. He is right in speaking of the 'death-resurrection-mid-process.' Shorn of a theological garb, it simply means that all that Calvary generated in a moral sense is in the Resurrection, and that one cannot participate in the latter without participating in the former. My Saviour is a Crucified-Resurrected Saviour, and If He is to be my life, it is to be a Crucified-Resurrected life.

"Oh, the glad years that have followed. The blessed promise: 'rivers of living water shall flow from his innermost being,' is no longer a dead letter. Streams of heavenly life pour in upon me and through me. I find that the deeper I sink my life into Christ's death, the more I have of His life. Consequently, the constant cry of my heart is: 'Lord, spare nothing in me that would hinder the flowing of the rivers of water of life. Carry Thy Cross to every nook and corner of my most secret being.'

"Of course, my present ministry bears no resemblance to the former stagnations. Did I say my ministry? Forgive me. There is no such thing. It is Christ Himself ministering through me. I am nothing. His heavenly life surges in upon me from the boundless shores of eternity.

"All this, of course, has brought with it a great responsibility. How my heart goes out to preachers, missionaries, Christian workers, so many of whom are right where I was before I had learned that 'the Lord reigneth from the Tree.' How I long to impart to them the secret of triumphant living in Christ--the secret of fruitfulness . . . When I think of what the Church would be if all her members were cut off by the power of the Cross from all 'self-centredness,' which from the very nature of God and of the universe cannot result in anything but spiritual death, and united to God, centred in God, hidden away with Christ in God so that His Divine life might flow freely, unhindered in all its glorious power through every life--I groan with unutterable yearnings. Oh! for the focusing of the entire life of the Church universal upon Calvary. Why! this very world would be inundated with the life of God.

"There is no power in the universe that can make a stagnant Church a channel through which the very life of God may flow in unceasing streams of vivifying power out to a dying world save the power of Christ's death. Why? Because, 'except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.' The Great Divine Corn of Wheat fell into the ground and died. Rivers upon rivers of Divine life have been flowing from His wounded side ever since. But there is no getting into that wounded side except it be through the Cross.

"There are still battles to be fought, of course. Once crucified with Christ, more than ever we live as feeling, willing, thinking beings. Personality, instead of being lost, is vastly enhanced. The Cross does not lead to passivity. It does not crucify any faculty. On the contrary, it releases powers we never dreamed we possessed. The Cross slays the principle of pride which is the foundation of our 'old creation life,' and grounds us in God, the source of the 'New Creation life.' As never before we suffer, for we are made the partakers of the sufferings of Christ. The 'lamb-hood nature' of God must be wrought into us. And this can only be done, as through trying circumstances the fires melt us. We are cast again and again into the mould of the Cross--being made conformable to Christ's death.

"Then, too, we come through the gateway of co-crucifixion to 'life in the heavenlies.' We are made to sit in heavenly places with Christ (Eph. ii. 6).

"Now, from this high ground we first see the conflict as it really is. Those who are still 'in the flesh' cannot see the foe, for he is a spiritual being. Nor has he any great quarrel with them, for they are too bound by the chains of 'self' ever to really endanger in any material way his kingdom. But those who wield 'weapons which are not carnal, but mighty through God,' who see through Satan's tactics, and who stand in the strength of the victory, which the Federal Head of the New Race obtained on Calvary--these are the ones who must cross swords with the prince of darkness. And oh, how terrible the conflict is at times. It seems that 'the devil knowing that his time is short has come down with a great wrath.' 'But thanks be to God who always causeth us to triumph through Christ . . . ' (2 Cor. ii. 14). His, 'Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,' still holds. So, soldiers of Christ, let us put on the whole armour of God and go forth to fight the battles of the Lord. He reigneth--yea, He reigneth, but let us never forget that it is from the throne of Golgotha. Here is where He 'tasted death that he might destroy him who hath the power of death, that is, the devil.' Here is where the old creation life of pride was judged and put to death. Here is where 'he made . . . in himself one new man' (Eph. ii. 15). Here is where the child of God is cut off from the world and lifted up (we are the partakers of Christ's resurrection) and made to sit with his triumphant Redeemer in heavenly places.

"Here is where the entire body of Revelation finds its highest purpose consummated. Here is where the Christian life begins, and to this source it must for ever return to be ever remoulded into a more perfect likeness of the Saviour's death. Here is where heaven itself finds its theme for everlasting Hallelujahs. To this we, who have crowned Christ King, will ever be turning throughout the ages to come.

"'Say unto the peoples: the Lord reigneth from the Tree.'

"'What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?'

"'And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb' (Rev. vii. 13, 14)."


Joelle said...

Just stumbled upon your blog after reading "Bone of His Bone" by Huegel. It appears we love all the same authors! Therefore, I may be back to read your blog. Thanks for putting some words of life out there. I also recommend books by Milt Rodriguez and Frank Viola.
Peace to you in Christ

donbiro said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Joelle.

Aren't those divine "stumblings" wonderful? I appreciate your reference to the blog posts as "words of life" because that's what they are to me and I trust that they are to other thirsty souls as well.

Thanks, too, for recommending books by Milt Rodriguez and Frank Viola. Milt Rodriguez is new to me but I like what I see on the Web about him. I've heard of Frank Viola and posted a message by him on this blog called "The Felt Presence of God " back in 2007.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen" (Jude 1:24-25).

Unknown said...

Wanted to leave a heads up about something I just learned about Huegel's most excellent "Bone of His Bone." Seedsowers has published an EXTENSIVELY edited version (their words, not mine) rendered in modern vernacular (read: "dumbed down to 5th grade level." Most disturbingly, brilliant insights by the author have been dulled and hard-hitting truths blunted - some even expunged from the text,altogether - belying bias, perhaps, or lack of comprehension. Their revision is a far cry from Huegel's original classic that is so deserving of its acclaim. What a shame.

Vicky R. Benson said...

Thanks for sharing this. As I recommend Bone of His Bone, I'll have to keep this in mind to avoid. This is too good and needful to water down. I am just reading it now, and I was thinking, "Yes, this is deep and may sometimes be hard in experience, but it is totally easy to understand! It is SO clear. Of course, God has been revealing these things to me and leading me step by step, so without the Holy Spirit, maybe it does seem hard to understand. But it is basic to the Christian life! Have you read "The Enthroned Christian" by him? So good. First I read by him. Booklet printed by Rare Christian Books.