08 Nov Neville Goddard Lectures: “The Mystery of Grace”
Tonight is “The Mystery of Grace.” Grace is so unlike what man is taught to believe. Grace is God’s gift to man, a gift that is unmerited, unearned. It is not man’s due, it is not conferred as a reward, it’s a free gift by God to man. We are saved by grace. We are told that God chose us in him before the foundation of the world. Before the physical creation he chose us, chose all that you see in this world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Christ Jesus, according to the purpose of his will. Therefore, no one in eternity can stop that purpose from coming to its fullness. God himself is present in the historical struggle directing the course of human history toward his own end.
Now we are given different gifts, all varied endowments that you and I bring. And we are able to bring it because we received it as a gift to the corporate life of the body of the risen Lord. They are called gifts of grace. The greatest of these gifts—far outstripping more spectacular gifts such as tongues—is love. Just imagine you face an audience of a thousand, no two speak the same tongue, they cannot communicate…and you address an audience of a thousand who cannot communicate and each hears you in their own tongue wherein they were born, as told us in the 2nd chapter of Acts. Each present of the thousand hears you in their own tongue wherein they were born. That’s a spectacular gift. But the gift of love is God’s gift of himself, for God is love; for all the other gifts are attributes of God and they are essential to the corporate life of the risen Lord. But when God gives you love, he gives you himself…for God is love. Power, wisdom, all these are attributes of God. The gift of prophecy, even that of the apostle, all these are attributes of God and all these, wonderful as they are and essential to the body of the risen Lord, are attributes. But when God gives you love, he has actually given you himself.
Now let me share with you the experience I had in 1929. I certainly did not expect it, and to this moment I feel unworthy of the gift. I felt then as I feel now not equipped to express that gift. Nevertheless, I was taken in spirit into the divine council, the assembly of the gods. I was taken first to the recording angel and there she checked off my name written in the book of life. Then I was taken before the risen Lord and he asked a simple question, asked me to name the greatest thing in the world. I quoted from the works of Paul, the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians, “Faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” With that the risen Lord embraced me, we became one body, we became one Spirit. It was not the Lord and the speaker; I became the one body of the Lord, the one Spirit of the Lord, I became the Lord. Then I was commanded, ill-equipped as I was and still am, to tell the story. I came out and my room was filled with light. There was no reason for it. There was no light lit in my room, no moonlight, just radiant light. It did not subside for the longest while. It seemed to have no source…it was simply light in the wee hours of the morning.
So here, I stood in the presence of the risen Lord and he gave me himself; for he was infinite love when he embraced me. As he embraced me, I felt an ecstasy that I’ve never known before or since. For that return awaits me after I take off this little garment and return to that. For I have it only at rare intervals when I do my work at night in the region beyond dreams. So that was a gift—unearned, unwarranted, unmerited. It remains the Father’s secret why he gave me that gift. There are other gifts, the gift of the miracle worker, a spectacular gift; the gift of the apostle, it’s a glorious gift. It ranks so high in all the gifts it comes first in the list as Paul makes out the list. And it is a glorious gift because as you’re sent, the sender and the one sent are one. But the gift of love is God’s gift of his very self to the one that he embraces when he is wearing the human form divine which is all love. I cannot tell anyone why, I do not know. I only know that was the gift that he gave me. All the other gifts are attributes of God and they are essential to the corporate life of the body of the risen Lord.
So when the whole that he chose before the world was—and he chose it in him and destined it in love according to the purpose of his will; no one can stop it—that body will rise completely, each endowed with that special gift of grace. God treats us as if we were innocent, as if we were righteous, as if we were without guilt. In spite of what all the churches will tell you concerning condemnation…not to God. There is no one in this world that is guilty in the eyes of God. We are all innocent in the eyes of God and I don’t care what the individual has ever done. That is God’s love for man. He chose us in him before the world was and this whole vast universe is only a theater for God to manifest his power and his love, making of us sons. All sons but each endowed with different gifts to serve God and radiate his glory in the life of that corporate body when we all play our part within it. So no matter if you got the smallest gift, it is still beyond the wildest dream of mortal man, for that gift has to be exercised in the body of the risen Lord.
Now, while we are here we are called upon to do something. Not that we are going to earn it; the gift was ours and it was before the world was. But we are in the world of Caesar called upon to watch our thoughts, to watch our words, whether they are expressed audibly or simply entertained. I have stressed this through the years that I have been telling you. I received a letter yesterday from a friend of mine (she’s here). She said, “Now this goes back…the dream only took place a few days ago…but the dream takes me back to when I was married, that is before I met you, because my husband has departed this world and he departed before I met you…yet as I go back in my experience I was married. All the friends I knew were of that era, and I said to a friend something that was an idle, oh, uncalled for remark. It was idle, it might have been mischievous, but I said it innocently. Then the room that was dark suddenly the corner lit, and there were two that she to whom I spoke told it. They in turn told it to four, and four to eight, eight to sixteen, sixteen to thirty-two, and finally the room seems crowded. I would estimate it to be 300. They were all aware of what they had heard and how they heard it, and here we had 300 in the room filled with a malice and an anger and violence all directed towards me based upon my idle remark. I realized then what we do unwittingly when we entertain a thought or express a thought. We think, oh, what does it matter? And here I saw the room crowded with animosity directed towards me that I myself had set in motion.”
Well, the Book of James speaks of it. But in Jerusalem Blake makes the statement, “Oh, what have I said, what have I done, O all powerful human words.” So I think I can stifle it. I entertain the thought and it’s an unlovely thought of someone…maybe someone I do not even know. You read it in the paper and you react, and you’ve told it, and a corner of your room is lit and two are hearing it. The two repeat it…all directed now towards you. And you wonder why certain things happen in your world. This animosity you yourself created because “All that you behold, though it appears without, it is within, in your Imagination of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.” So I start it in my Imagination, an idle, thoughtless word, and I said it to a friend and the friend repeated it to two, two to four, four to eight, and so on.
So here in our world we must be careful what thoughts we entertain, and I tell you, because imagining creates reality. You could entertain any lovely thought in this world that has no support on the outside—your reason denies it, your senses deny it, but you can entertain it as though it were true. And that is just as true as the most factual thing in this world. Something that is now in your world unlovely and it’s factual you can now in your mind’s eye entertain a contrary thought concerning it and persuade yourself of the reality of what you are now entertaining. Two will hear it, and four will hear it, and eight and they will look at you differently because of this change of attitude in you.
But here, after years the same God in us is the God in her and revealed to her the truth of scripture, for it is beautifully told in the Book of James. It’s beautifully told in Galatians, it’s told in the gospels, concerning the word that man entertains. So if I don’t take hold of what I am thinking, well then, the world will reflect it and they will show me by their animosity what I actually have been doing. And it’s all within me; it’s not on the outside at all.
So here, after years these gifts of grace…we are saved by grace. So let no one frighten you, you are saved, for you were chosen in God before the physical creation was brought into being. It’s not an afterthought. This is not some emergency thinking on the part of God. You were chosen in God before the foundation of the world, and he never saw you in any other light than the innocent one. It is God and God himself who puts you through the paces as we are told in the 11th chapter of the Book of Romans, “He has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all” (verse 32) so that none may boast, that none may brag. So you have a billion, don’t brag. You have nothing, don’t be remorseful. So you think you are perfect in the eyes of the world, don’t boast. You’ve not a thing to boast about. If there is anything to boast about, boast that you were chosen; and you were chosen before the foundation of the world, and you were chosen to play a specific part in the corporate life of the body of the risen Lord.
The first great act of grace, the supreme act, was incarnation. For you and I were helpless. “And when you were helpless,” said Paul—I think it’s the 5th chapter of Romans—“Christ died for the ungodly” (verse 6). He hadn’t yet become us…God became man at a certain point in time that man may become God. So here we are the scattered. We were chosen and then we are scattered. And this universally diffused individuality is diffused in us. Paul, who uses the word “grace” more than all the other books of the Bible put together made this statement and I think it’s the clearest definition of the meaning of the word as Paul expressed it. You’ll find it in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, the 8th chapter, the 9th verse: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor that by his poverty you might become rich.” Now he drives this thought home in another letter to the Philippians and in this he makes the statement: “Jesus Christ, who was in the form of God, emptied himself and took upon himself the form of a slave and was born in the likeness of man…and being formed in human form he became obedient unto death, even death upon the cross” (Phil.2:5-8). The cross and the only cross on which he is crucified is man. This is the cross. This is the supreme act of grace when he actually became me that I may become as he is.
So, all are destined to become sons of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the pattern man, the perfect pattern, and the only way to the Father. There is no other way. He is the pattern man and were that pattern not in you, you’d never find the Father. Even though you’re endowed with a different gift, nevertheless, you will be taken to the Father and you will know the Father. If you do not know him as yourself, you will still know the Father. If you have the gift of tongues, the gift of the miracle worker, the gift of the teacher, the healer, the prophet, all these are glorious gifts, you will still by this pattern in you be led to the Father. “For I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes unto the Father, except by me” (Jn. 14:6). You follow this pattern and the pattern will unfold within you and take you to the Father.
Now, I received a letter today from a lady who is here tonight. She said, “My husband gets up and he’s on the go and at four in the morning he’s off to work. So on the morning of the 8th of this month I said goodbye to him and then went back to sleep. I addressed the brothers, I said, ‘Oh brothers, please, please take me to the Father. I’m so tired of being here, take me to the Father.’ And then I heard female voices, all laughing in a friendly lovely manner and they seemed to tuck me in. Then I saw three of them, although I knew my physical eyes were shut, I saw three of them. One came over, embraced me and kissed me and tucked me in. I said again, ‘Please take me to the Father.’ Again this one said yes and she kissed me and I began to float. I found myself in this marvelous golden mansion, and I knew it was my Father’s house. Then I saw the human form, golden form, seated on this golden, well, it could have been a throne…but he was seated and his body was golden. I could only get to the shoulder, and then with a supreme effort I raised my eyes…they were spiritual eyes, for I knew my lids were shut…and I saw your face. I knew that you were the Father. I said, ‘It’s Neville. But of course, he is one with the Father.’” May I tell you, the Father is a hero wearing billions of faces…that’s the Father. You follow that pattern, which is the pattern laid down in scripture as the life of Jesus Christ, and when it unfolds within you, you are he. And he who sees me has seen the Father, for I and my Father are one. So when that pattern erupts and unfolds within you, you are the Father, whether mortal man believes it or not.
But there are those who still walk the earth who will have the experience of this lady and who will know beyond all doubt from her own wonderful mystical experience that what I tell you is true. The Father became us that we may become the Father. The one to whom he gave himself by the embrace of love is destined to be the Father. The body he wears is the same body that embraced him, the body of love. For love is the human form divine. She saw the symbolism of the golden mansion. It need not be a golden mansion; that’s what she saw. But she did see a being that she knows and respects in this world, a being that’s quite limited, limited as Paul was limited. Paul cried out three times…he appealed to have the thorn removed from him. Well, the thorn need not be something physical as many have speculated it could be his feeling of inadequacy, that’s his thorn, the feeling of being not properly equipped for the job at hand. And the voice replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my power is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor.12:9).
So you are weak, you’re inadequate in the eyes of yourself and therefore, naturally, the world. Well, “my power is sufficient for your weakness” and so he did not remove the thorn, the thorn being Paul’s feeling of being inadequate. How often I’ve felt the lack of a formal education. How often I’ve been asked, “Well, what is your college background?” and I’ve never once made any claim other than the truth. I never went to college and I never graduated from high school. In a group of men and women who treasure degrees out of the world of Caesar it was quite a confession and a feeling of inadequacy in their presence. Yet I knew I had experienced in the world of Caesar that which if I told them they would not understand. They would turn aside and smile as one a little bit demented, a little bit off.
Yet I knew I stood in the presence of the risen Lord who embraced me, that there is such a thing as a book called The Book of Life where names are recorded as told us in the 12th chapter of the Book of Daniel. When the seventy returned and they were so proud that by their power they had cast out all the devils, he said, “It would be far better if you rejoiced because your names are written in heaven; not to rejoice that you cast out demons but that your names are written in heaven.” For, there is such a ledger, where in the book…it’s the Book of Life. Well, the Father has life in himself and the one written in it will have life in himself. So the moment he embraces you and you become one with him he transfers to you all that is his. So he has life in himself and you the son become one with life in yourself—no longer an automaton, an animated being moved from without—but now a life-giving Spirit. One that is truly wearing the garment of love which is not seen by mortal eye in this world, but you know it and you feel it constantly. When you sleep at night you know what you are about to wear the moment the eyes shut in what the world calls sleep.
So grace is God’s gift to man. Not one child born of woman will be exempt of grace, for by grace we are saved. We are incapable of saving ourselves, no man is wise enough, strong enough…we are helpless beings in the world of Caesar. While you are yet helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. His death was the incarnation; his incarnation is your breath. It was not always so, but since the moment of the incarnation, the universally diffused individuality that is the Cosmic Christ, and now he shares his gifts with all as he had predetermined before that the world was. It will not be an afterthought when you receive the gift. There are those here this night who have received gifts…one the incurrent witness where the eyes are “open inwardly into the world of thought, into eternity, ever expanding on the bosom of God, the human Imagination” (Blake, Jerusalem, Ch.1, Plt.5). That’s a glorious gift, that’s a gift of prophecy, for it sees as present what is still future. That is the gift of the prophet. It comes second in the list of gifts as described in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians: the apostle first, the prophet second (12:28). So, the incurrent eye witness is the gift of the prophet. She sits here this night and she has that gift. It’s a fantastic gift.
Others will have the gift of the teacher, the gift of the healer, the gift of the helper, the gift of the administrator, for that’s essential, the gift of tongues, the gift of faith, the gift of hope. I have no power to decide any gift for anyone…that rests entirely with the risen Lord. So to whom he will give the gift of love that is his secret. I only know when I was called in ’29 then I felt unworthy and today I still feel unworthy in the world of Caesar to have received the greatest of all gifts, for there is no greater gift than the gift of God himself. For all other gifts are attributes of God and therefore eternal, but love is God himself. God is love.
So I tell you what I have this night from my own personal experience: No one will be lost. No one will be unredeemed. No one has ever been other than holy and blameless in the eyes of God. He has never seen anyone other than the innocent, other than the guiltless…I don’t care what they have done. Man sees them guilty, man judges, man condemns, but not God. He sees nothing to condemn, for he committed us and consigned us to disobedience. If you ever thought other than that…you could keep all the commandments externally and break every one internally. When he comes into the world he interprets the Commandments psychologically and no man can ever tell me he has kept the Commandments psychologically. “’Thou shalt not commit adultery’ you have heard it said’…said he, “…but I say to you any man who looks on a woman lustfully has already committed the act of adultery with her” (Mat. 5:27). Let the man rise who has not; let him cast the stone if he has not. Who has not coveted, who has not in his mind’s eye stolen? If he didn’t have the courage to steal outwardly, who did not entertain the thought but restrained the impulse because he didn’t have the courage thinking of consequences? So every Commandment has been broken by man, and God made it so that he may have mercy upon all.
So everyone in the end is justified. Paul equates justification with grace. So in his letter to the Romans, the 8th chapter, “And those whom he foreknew…” Well, if he chose me in him before the foundation of the world, then he knew me to have chosen me as he knew you to have chosen you. So he starts, “Those whom he foreknew he predestined to the conformed to the image of his son. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified” (verse 29). Well, justification is divine acquittal. So everyone is destined to be completely acquitted of anything and everything that he has ever done in this world. There will be no suffering for him. In spite of what others may wish for him, God does not, for he played the part.
Now, to go back into the Old Testament into Genesis for it…when all the brothers begged forgiveness and got on their knees and bowed before Joseph, he made them rise. He said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20). Therefore, it was not you who sold me into slavery but God. It wasn’t any person other than God. He sold me into slavery using you as the medium through whom he could carry me into slavery, that I with my gift of prophesy, my gift to interpret vision, would interpret Pharaoh’s vision and save civilization from starvation. So I interpreted his vision and began to save the wheat and save the corn and save everything that could be saved and built barns…knowing in seven years after this abundance there would be seven years of nothing. You’ll even forget there ever was abundance. So you sold me into slavery that I with my gift of grace, the gift to see and understand what I see mentally—for he was called the dreamer who could interpret dreams, interpret visions.” He interpreted the vision of Pharaoh and then told Pharaoh exactly what it meant. Pharaoh gave him the order to start building the barns and taking x-number of percentages of all things grown and building for the future that would have nothing. It came to pass just as he interpreted it.
So in spite of the brothers feeling that they were guilty, God didn’t see them guilty at all. God used them, knowing the weaknesses of the heart, of the flesh, he could use them through envy to dispose of a brother that they envied. So God didn’t see them as guilty… that they were justified. And after justification comes glorification. So in the 17th chapter of John, when the work is done, when he has brought to climax the sacred history of Israel, he brought it to climax and complete fulfillment, he said, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do. Now Father return unto me the glory that was mine, the glory that I had with thee before that the world was” (verse 5). He was one with the Father and emptied himself of his glory, of his divine form, and took upon himself the form of man, a slave, and then became obedient unto death (Phil. 2:7) as we all are obedient unto death. Then came the sacred history of Israel erupting within him. And so he brought that sacred history of Israel to climax and fulfillment within himself and the work was completed. Now he asks only to return to the glory that was his that he gave up to come into the world of slaves to lift them all to his level.
So may I tell you, you are saved! And I wouldn’t care what the world will tell you, I don’t care what you have done, what you may still have to do; you have been saved by grace…not by any effort on your own part. But you have been saved. The gift will appear and you will know the part you will play in the corporate life of the body of the risen Lord, for every gift is essential to that living body. So do not envy anyone who has a different kind of a gift. But if one has the gift of love, which is God himself, he will be seen by those who really are seeking the Father. If they know him, they’ll see his face on the body of love. They’ll see it and interpret it in their own way…a golden body, a radiant body. The body that I saw was a glorious, radiant body of love. You can’t describe it, it was simply all love. There’s no way to describe that risen form other than love. There’s not one word that you entertain in the presence of the risen Lord but love. So when asked to name the greatest thing, it was automatic. You could name faith and hope, but you knew you’re looking at the greatest thing in the world, it is right before you and it’s love. Then he embraces you and you fuse. I can’t quite describe how two people become one, but we became one without loss of identity. I was still aware that I am who I am, and yet I wore the garment of love, and I became one with the Spirit of the Lord, one with God the Father. Then I was commissioned and sent out of that assembly, and told “Time to act!” No more preparation is necessary, time to act. Inadequate as you are, unprepared as you are, unequipped as you are: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. So you go, be ashamed of nothing. I have chosen you to be my messenger and I’ve sent you.”
So here, another gift he gave me was that of the apostle. He gave me himself, but having sent me…the word apostle means “one who is sent.” So the command as he sent me was, “You are now my apostle to tell my story to everyone who will hear it. And those who I call to you will come and no one will stop them. No one can come unless my Father calls them.” And the ones who my Father called in no way can I cast off…and only those that he calls. It’s a most selective thing in the world, for he is restoring his fallen body, but lifting it up to a higher and higher level of being. This fall of God was deliberate for a creative purpose. So then the fallen form, scattered as it is, is restored and everyone is brought back into the one body, the one Spirit, the one Lord, the one God and Father of all. All are raised by means of the fall, therefore, all are justified and all are glorified.
So this glorious thing called grace, which today we cheapen so much, the Greek word that is translated grace is “charis” and we use it now that he has charisma. Some firm brought out a perfume and called the perfume Charisma. This is such a sacred word in scripture; c-h-a-r-i-s, that is the root of the word. In fact, that is the word that is translated “grace.” Hasn’t a thing to do with perfume, hasn’t a thing to do with some individual’s out-going personality. So, certainly he has a lovely personality and so he’s out-going and they say he has charisma. But that one doesn’t have charisma. They go around judging each other. Hasn’t a thing to do with God’s grace. God’s gifts differ from these little things that men see and all these gifts are true gifts. One day you will be in the one body where all these gifts are exercised. Which one you individually will receive I do not now. I only know I received the gift of love, and therefore with the gift of love which is God himself I would automatically have all his attributes. So all the others below the level of God himself which are attributes I would have to have. If they’re not exercised now—there’s no reason for the exercise of them here, but when I shed this for the last time I will be exercising all the gifts, for I received the gift of love.
Now let us go into the Silence.
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A: Yes, God is a protean being. By a protean being, he plays all the parts. Proteus in mythology was this mythological figure who served Neptune, the god Neptune; and he could assume the form of a fish or that of a man as it served his purpose as he went about serving his lord who was Neptune. Well, God is a protean being and can appear in any form that is his choice if that is the form best suited for the work at hand. So when I address the Orientals, it was better that I was an Oriental that they would receive me and hear the Word of God. When I addressed the Negro, I was the Negro. When I addressed the Caucasians, I was a very blond person that they would see me with blond hair and blue eyes. Well, you can’t conceive that I have blond hair or blue eyes, yet that’s what I was to those who saw me, for I can assume any mask when I am in the region beyond the region of dream where I’m instructing. Others will see me in different forms, depending upon what I’m doing. But God is Spirit and he wears masks…these are all masks, very much so. They’re called persona. Persona is the mask, that of the actor, the actor’s mask. “God only acts and is in existing beings or men.” Like the ancient actor, he put on a mask, and God is the supreme actor who plays all the parts. So there isn’t an Oriental in the world that is not being played by God, there isn’t a Negro in the world who is not being played by God. But man doesn’t know that and so while the masks are on, they hate each other’s masks. The being playing it is God, nothing but God.
The 82nd said by our scholars to be the most difficult of all the psalms…there are 150…and Thomas Cheney—who was the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Biblica, the most scholarly of all the higher criticisms of scripture—said that the ideas in this psalm might be perennial, but their meanings have long ceased to exist. We do not know. Well, it’s a beautiful psalm and the psalm is this: “And God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment” (verse 1). Now he addresses the gods, and same word translated singular, which is God, is now translated in the plural, same Elohim, and he addresses the gods now. He said, “I say ye are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall as one man, O ye princes” (verse 6). So he gathered all within himself and one man fell taking all within himself, and they were gods before they fell. For this is for the purpose of lifting up the one being containing all to a higher level. And so ___(??) to be given back, “Return unto me the glory that was mine before that the world was” (Jn. 17:5). One day when the whole drama is over the glory will be returned that was yours before the world was, only it will be far more radiant because of the experience in the world of death.
Until the next time. Thank you.