Some of the Benefits of the Somatic Truth

by Harry Bultema

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All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, II Timothy 3:16. This in a special sense is true of the truth concerning the Head and the Body and their perfect identification as to the heavenly position.

This truth, grasped well, provides a perfect safeguard against the fanaticism of our day such as Pentecostalism, Tongueism, Faith Healing, Fire Baptism and the Second Blessing. Fundamentalism has time and again been whipped by the different Pentecostal groups, which in the last decades have swept the land like a prairie-fire. It does not seem at present that the strange fires will soon be quenched or have burned themselves out to cinders, rather can we expect that the fires will increase in volume and extent, seeing that the Bible Institutes are swinging more into Arminianism and away from Calvinism, and the former has always opened the sluices for wild waters. Calvinism can degenerate into legalism and fatalism, it can petrify and fossilize, but as a rule it does not produce wild fire and fanaticism. In its very nature it is a strong bulwark against it, and its history proves it till this very day in Europe and America. Those who know the so-called Body Truth and their supercelestial position in the heavenly Head, know also that the Pentecostal gifts have been superseded by the superabounding grace, the unsearchable riches, the manifold wisdom, the exceeding great power of His resurrection, and the Hope of glory. A temporal recuperation of our humbled bodies mean precious little to those who look forward to the imminent change of their bodies into the likeness of their Saviour. Certainly there are many healings and other miracles in the Bible, but they all belong to the earthly nation Israel and to those who were benefited by the Jewish believers. God never had any Gentile healers, miracle workers or tongue-people, and only with a terrible amount of exaggeration and down-right lying, can the Biblical miracles of instantaneous healings, and tongues and raisings from the dead, be maintained for our day. Pentecostalisms who have sobered up by the truth as it is, and by the facts as they are, have confessed this. God said in His Word that the prophesies, tongues, and miraculous knowledge were to “vanish away”, and they did vanish according to His Word, I Corinthians 13:8. No one can prophesy today what will happen tomorrow, but Peter, Agabus and Paul could do that in the Pentecostal period. No missionary going to China can begin to preach in Chinese the day after the arrival, and no one today has a knowledge as Peter displayed when he said that Ananias and his wife would at once drop dead and be buried. If the healings were here also these three kinds of wonders would be with us. If we maintain, however, that the miracles of healing, etc., are not for the age of the mystery and for the Body, then we do not deny thereby that the Lord will often hear the prayers of His own for the healing of their body. We only militate against the performance of the miracles such as we find in the Gospels and Acts, because they were for and through Israel. As soon as we take that ground we must be consistent and raise the dead and cast out the devils. When Peter could heal Eneas in Lydda, he could walk three miles farther to Joppa and raise Dorcas. If Peter could heal he could heal every one, even apart from faith, merely by marching through the street and letting his shadow glide over the patients. Paul did it, or God did it through Paul, by laying little rags on the sick. Nothing like this is seen anywhere in our day.

The truth concerning our glorious Head and His Body is also the best safeguard against the inpouring tide of Modernism, which is the greatest foe of the Church today. Standing as it does for humanism and Evolutionism and Higher Criticism, it is nothing but infidelity masked in religion and clothed in the flowing garments of ecclesiastical formalism, traditionalism and ritualism. It has at best a Jesus that lived long ago, but not a present Lord in glory. It is deceitful in the highest degree for it has a Christianity without Christ, A kingdom without the King, Bible study without the Bible and godliness without God, just as we have chicken soup without chicken and bean soup without beans. It speaks with “great swelling words” about progress and peace while there is neither of the two, and it laughs at the idea of the second coming of Christ in judgment upon all the ungodly. The Somatic truth or truth concerning the Body shall never hammer down Modernism, but for everyone that takes hold of it by faith, it is intrinsically a safeguard against Modernism and all the infidelity for which it stands, since it is impossible to hold on to the Head and at the same time to isms that deny Him.

Again, this truth is the best means to a joyful assurance of the believers. In the Bible saints we do not find the chronic lack of assurance but among the present day believers it is a very general disease. The Bible saints always knew how to put the personal pronoun my before God and the Saviour. That is true of Jacob, Moses, Job, Ruth, David, Elijah, Micah, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Jonah, Thomas, Paul. But believers of today are swayed with doubts and fears and a lack of a joyful assurance. The causes are many that have contributed to that sad and abnormal state of affairs. Doubt in regard to God’s Word! on a certain point, disobedience to His precepts, world-bordering, desire for riches, the pleasures of this world, the cares of this world, pride, carnality, secret rancor and resentment against a brother, the unequal yoke, lethargy and lack of service, evil habits, lack of prayer, lack of Bible study, culpable ignorance as to law and grace and the finished work of Christ, and the deplorable lack of the blessed Hope—these are only some of the causes that bring about that morbid state of doubt as to one’s own salvation. When I came to the city of Muskegon twenty years ago, I had never in all my life met so many believers together, but I had neither found so many that doubted their own salvation. The Dutch are in this respect like the Scotch Calvinists, who think that joyful assurance is presumption, pride, and levity. They could sometimes glory in being “bruised reeds.” Happy for such folk that the weak and breaking eye could also look at the brazen serpent and be healed. Even the palsied hand can accept His great salvation. The trembling soul is welcomed by Him. He did not say: “He that hath a giant faith hath everlasting life.” A glimpse at the glorious epiphany of Christ, and a clear view on law and grace will greatly benefit such Christians, but the capstone for them is the knowledge that they have been made fully one with Christ, their heavenly Lord in everything. This truth of necessity makes for assurance and a joyful Christian life. It gives a peace that nothing can destroy and that passeth understanding.

Further, this truth also hushes forever all debate and dispute on eternal security. Assurance and security are sometimes mixed but there is a wide difference between these two. Security lies objectively in Christ whereas assurance lies in us. Security is God’s work, while assurance is the way we take hold of it. Those who brought a lamb in the days of old, lay their hands on its head and thus identified themselves with it, but the poor who brought a turtle dove did not identify themselves with the sacrifice, but their sins were just as well covered up. This illustrates aptly the two grand truths of security and assurance. There are today many believers who do not identify themselves by faith with the Lamb in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, session and second advent. They just bring a little turtle dove so to say, and stick to what they are pleased to call “Jesus only” and’ “the simple gospel”. Many of these feeble folk secretly tremble that they may yet one of these days perish. The best antidote for this is a good dose of the “Body Truth,” for how can there be any doubt as to our security, if we know by faith that He Himself is our life and that our life is hid with Christ in God, and that we soon shall appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1 to 4.

This truth also settles once for all our relation to the law. In order to knew this we simply have to ask what the position of our Head is relative to the law? Is He under it? No, then neither are we. Is He against the law? No, then neither are we. Does He try to get holy or thankful by means of the law? Of course not; but then it Is also a matter of course for us that we must not use the law as a means of gratitude and sanctity, for His position is ours before God. We have been accepted in the Beloved. “As He is so are we in the world.”

Finally, a firm grasp on this truth smashes to smithereens all Ritualism, drives all Formalism beyond the North pole and sets forever free from paralyzing traditionalism. In Ritualism we also include Baptism, which in itself was a beautiful symbol. The waters separated the new creation from the old chaos, the second world from the first in the day of Noah, the Jews from Egypt at the Red; Sea and at Jordan it divided between the howling desert and the land of promise and at the time of John the Baptist it called to Israel to turn their back on their idolatrous past. The water is of the Lord and also Baptism, but it was never meant for the superheavenly people who are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone and who have been made to sit with Him far above all heavens. In the Lord of glory is no symbol, sign or shadow. The soma is all substance, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, complete in Him and eternally one with Him. Praise His Name!