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F. J. Huegel

Some Background:

F. J. Huegel (1889-1971) was a chaplain in WWI and a missionary in Mexico. He wrote many books that are worth reading.

Bone of His Bone

Chapter 1 "The Christian Life A Participation--Not  an Imitation"
Chapter 2 "Participants of the Cross—Christ's Death Our Death" Part 1
Chapter 3 "Participants of the Cross—Christ's Death Our Death" Part 2

Some Gems:

Huegel speaks much to the need to displace 'self,' recognizing that the presence of 'self' allows Satan work unhindered in that one's life:
"Satan has no great controversy, no real quarrel with those who are content to go along professing to be Christ's, while 'self' in one form another sits, so to speak, upon the throne. So long as the 'old life' is not displaced, so long as the cross is simply looked upon as a distant symbol, so long as no inner crucifixion takes place releasing the spiritual faculties and entailing a vital union with Christ in the power of His ascension-life, the Enemy is not greatly alarmed."

"The 'self-life' and the Satanic spirit are in unconscious affinity. However polished the former--it may shine with the culture of the ages and bear the religious glow of the best in natural religions---it is still 'self,' it is still 'flesh-life.' It has the curse of God upon it. It has the smell of infernal associations about it. It stinks. 'The carnal mind is enmity with God' (Rom.8). It hates Him while it pretends to love Him. Where 'self-life' dominates, be the religious professions what they may, Satan finds plenty of ground on which to work."

"If the 'self-life' is supreme, Satan does not have to be invited in. The lines are already set for the 'electric' current to flow. Satan is master of ceremonies, though he be apparently non-existent."
F. J. Huegel, Bone of His Bone, pp. 76,77,80.

"Gal. 6:14 "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

1 Cor. 9:27 "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."

F. J. Huegel
Bone of His Bone
Chapter 1 "The Christian Life A Participation--Not  an Imitation"
(Selected Thoughts)

“We must briefly summarize the requisites of the Christian life before we enter upon a statement of my thesis. We are to walk as Jesus walked (I John ii. 6 We are to love our enemies (Matt. v. 44). We are 1 forgive as Jesus forgave-even as He who in the shame and anguish of the Cross looked down upon those wt blasphemed Him, while they murdered Him, and forgave (Col. iii. 13). We are to be aggressively kind towards those who hate us, yea, we are actually to pray for those who despitefully use us (Matt. v. 44). We are to be overcomers-more than conquerors (Rom. viii. 37). We are to give thanks in all things believing that all things, even those which blast our fondest hopes, work together for our good (Rom. viii. 28; Eph. v. 20). We are to be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let our requests be made known unto God, so that the peace of God which passeth all understanding may guard our hearts and minds (Phil. iv. 6). We are to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil.iv. 4). We are to think on whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise (Phil. iv. 8). We are to be holy, for God is holy (1 Pet. i. 16). The Saviour said that if we believed in Him, rivers of waters of life would flow from our innermost being (John vii. 38). We are to stand out in bold, unmistakable contrast from the crooked, perverse world, blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, shining as lights (Phil. ii. 15) . We are positively to hate ourselves not to pamper, nor to caress, nor to seek, nor to love ourselves, but literally to hate and to renounce our own selves, and that daily (Matt.xvi. 24). We are told that we cannot be Christ's disciples if we do not renounce ourselves utterly and absolutely in all things, and at all times (Luke xiv. 26). Paul tells us that our affections are to be set on things above (Col. iii. 1).

Enough. We dare go no further. It would only increase Our shame, and our pain. We stand indicted. We are not "What Christ would have us to be. If this is the measure of the Christian life, if this is the basis upon which we are to be judged, if this is what God requires of us as Christians, like Isaiah we cry: "Woe is me, for I am undone."

Why does not the Saviour, so tender and so understanding, so loving and so wise, not make requirements more in keeping with human nature? Why does He seem to be so unreasonable? Why does He not demand of us what we might reasonably attain? He bids us soar, yet we have no wings....

The great Apostle to the Gentiles, makes no bones about his conviction that human nature, as such, can never attain the ideal of Christ.

Romans vii is witness to that fact. Here we have the Apostle's confession of failure, his cry of despair, his bitter regret, upon finding the Christian ideal unattainable, his groanings over what he found to be a heart-rending dilemma, his honest admission that he actually believes that the requirements of Christ's law, are something to which human nature, as such, struggle as you will, agonize as you will, can never adjust itself. Lest I be misunderstood-lest my readers be shocked by something apparently so unorthodox-I quote Paul's own words: "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do... I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but, I see another law in my members (aye, there's the rub) warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. vii). Paul struggles. He agonizes. He weeps. He strives as only this moral giant, one of the greatest of all time, could strive. All to no avail. The law of sin, he confesses, like the onrush of a mighty stream, sweeps everything before it.

Is there a way out? Yes, there is. Paul found it-we can all find it,

Now my thesis is this: we have been proceeding upon a false basis. We have conceived of the Christian life as an Imitation of Christ. It is not an Imitation of Christ. It is a Participation of Christ. "For we are made partakers of Christ" (Heb. iii. 14).

We are not what Christ would have us to be; the Sermon on the Mount does not find expression in our attitudes; sin as a principle is still rampant in our lives; we are not free from envy, pride, self-love, and lust of pleasure; the mountain of secret selfishness still crushes us and in spite of all our efforts remains immovable; there is little joy, so little freedom of spirit, none of that rapture which so characterized the primitive Christians; we agonize, and bleed, and struggle,-but failure dogs our footsteps. What is the matter? We are proceeding upon a false basis. We are attempting to do what the Saviour Himself never expected us to do. The Christian life is not an Imitation.

The great dilemma of which we have been speaking resolves itself into most simple terms when we grasp this distinction between Imitation and Participation.

For, what is impossible to me as an imitator of Christ, becomes perfectly natural as a participant of Christ. It is Only when Christ nullifies the force of my inherent "self' life," and communicates to me a Divine life, that Christian living in its true sense, is at all possible for me. I must be born again.

"The flesh profiteth nothing." Without Jesus I can do nothing. I must live in Him and, renouncing my own life, find in Him a "new life."

Now to this "new life," the Christian requirements, so incomprehensible and unattainable while we move in the realm of the "flesh-life," are all simple. They are nothing more nor less than statements regarding its modus operandi. The Sermon on the Mount so far from cramping in any way this new life, is simply a statement of the way it operates.

The trouble is, we have not listened to Jesus. He tells us that we must abide in Him as a branch in the Vine. Matthew v, vi, vii, without John xv, would be like so many freight cars without an engine, or like a whale without water, or a bird without air.

The 'Christian is not called upon to strain over a role as an actor would agonize over lines poorly learned. The

Christian life in the thought of God is infinitely more blessed and compelling. "We are made partakers of Christ" (Heb. iii. 14). Exceeding great and precious promises are given us, "that by these we might be partakers of the Divine Nature" (ii Pet. i. 4). The Believer is grafted into the Trunk of the Eternal Godhead. "I am the Vine, Ye are the Branches."

"The riches of the glory of this mystery-Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. i. 27).

These thoughts were drawn from the first chapter of F. J. Huegel's book Bone of His Bone.

F. J. Huegel
Bone of His Bone
Chapter 2 "Participants of the Cross—Christ's Death Our Death" Part 1
(Selected Thoughts)

We must bear in mind that it is the office of the Holy Spirit to graft the believer into Christ, as a gardener would graft the branch of a tree into the main body of another. “By one Spirit are ye all baptized into one body” (I Cor. xii. 13).

True conversion in its deepest aspect is just this. If it fails to result in a veritable grafting into Christ, it is spurious, and from the nature of the case, unfruitful. Indeed, we must be born again. We must be rooted into the very Trunk of the Eternal Godhead. We do not simply strive to imitate a Divine Leader; exceeding great and precious promises have been left to us whereby we are made partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Peter i. 4).

Now this grafting necessitates some cutting, of course. If we will not die to the natural, how can we expect to live to the supernatural? Paul puts it thus: “If we be dead with Christ we believe that we shall also live with Him.” The branch which contrary to nature is grafted into a tree of another species, must die to the old life.

The Holy Spirit works in the believer this conviction of the sin of a divided heart. He shows the believer how tragically self-will has thwarted Christ’s purpose to bring him into utter union with Himself…. He shows the believer the duplicity of his way, the shamefulness of a hollow piety, the mockery of a superficial devotion to Christ. The secret cry of his heart also becomes: “O wretched man that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this death?

This marks a crisis…. The believer’s eyes are now to be opened to the meaning of the deeper aspects of the Cross of Christ…. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ, this time not as the Divine Sin-Bearer (though the believer never gets beyond the need of a constant appropriation of the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice for sin), but as the way out of this loathsome thing we call “Self.” It is a vision of himself as one with Christ in His death-crucified with Christ…. He is made to see that he too died to sin in the death of the Saviour… He begins to realize that Christ not only died for him as a sinner, but that he, as a sinner, potentially died in Christ to sin…. He must either die with Christ to sin, or continue to crucify Christ (the carnal mind is enmity against God, (Romans viii. 7). He sees that unless Self is crucified, Christ is.

[The Holy Spirit] cannot bring us to a participation in crucifixion-life-bring us to the place called Calvary-without our consent. We must consent to die.

Christ does not come into our lives to patch up the “old man.” Here is where unnumbered multitudes of Christians have been “hung up.” They thought it was Christ’s mission “to make them better.” There is absolutely no Biblical ground for any such idea. Jesus said that He had no intention of pouring His new wine into old pig-skins. ... Christ does not come to us to simply straighten out the “old life.” He has never promised to make us better. His entire redemptive work consummated upon the Cross, rests upon the assumption (it is more than an assumption-God says it is a fact) that man’s condition is such that only a dying and a being born again, can possibly meet the exigencies of the case. So far from attempting to patch man up, and then leaving him to imitate as best he can the pattern given in Judea two thousand years ago, Christ takes him down into the grave where the “old life” is utterly terminated, and then makes him the participant of His resurrection. Christ our Lord fastens us to Himself and imparts to us an entirely “new life.

Paul’s epistles are punctuated by a momentous “if,” which again and again points us to Calvary, and startles us with an imperative demand-we must consent to co-crucifixion. “We shall live with Christ, if we be dead with Him.” “We shall be with Him in the likeness of His resurrection, if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” “We shall reign with Him, if we suffer with Him.”

This paragraphs are drawn from the second chapter of J. J. Huegel’s Bone of His Bone, Participants of the Cross-Christ’s Death Our Death (These paragraphs summarize Huegle’s most important thoughts found in this chapter).

F. J. Huegel
Bone of His Bone
Chapter 3 "Participants of the Cross—Christ's Death Our Death" Part 2
(Selected Thoughts)

We must constantly bear in mind that our death in Christ is a potential communion. Though from the Divine viewpoint it is a thing long since consummated... yet from the human angle, it is something held in trust for us which only upon the exercise of faith becomes effective.... Our willingness is the supreme condition in the reception.... When I say our willingness is the prime condition, I mean to say that God's respect for man's freedom is something so great that we may say that God cannot when man will not.
So we must choose. Will we be dominated by Self, or Christ? Will we continue to pamper self and crucify Christ afresh, or will we die to the self-life (call it what you will, flesh-life, the old life, the carnal-it matters not), and rise up out of the grave to live in the power of Christ's resurrection, complete in the will of God?

But, I repeat, we must choose. If the Christ spirit is to blossom out in us in its fullest splendour... we must, by an act of the will, yield ourselves to that which is already potentially our status before God: identification with the Cross of Christ. We must, on the basis of the Cross, and our oneness with Christ in death, refuse the "old life." ... We must not only refuse the "old life" in a sublime moment of surrender when the truth of our oneness with Christ bursts in upon us, but we must do it consistently, every time nature would reinstate itself. We must do it as consistently and as habitually as we would, so to speak hold our noses from the stench of some filthy alley which daily we must pass. In a sense, you have it once and for all in a position you intelligently take..., but in another sense it is all held in Divine trust so that you might as a free moral agent choose, and choose again, and again, and continue to choose. Which will you have? The Divine Life which flows as a great river of life from the Throne and from the Lamb? Then you must refuse your own life. It has been corrupted by sin. Cut yourself off from it by standing in Christ's death. Receive a Heavenly life moment by moment. Do this, and you shall be more than conqueror.

It is interesting to note how that in the great Book of Nature, this same lesson is taught. There is hardly a page in all the Book which fails to emphasize the fact that all life springs out of death. Not a tree, not a blossom, not a shrub, not a fruit, but what cost the death of a seed.

How clearly through Old Testament type and symbol and story, the Holy Spirit flashes light upon this... fact of our co-crucifixion with Christ. Abraham must sacrifice his Isaac. Isaac was spared, yet, in spirit, Abraham offered him up.... Joseph is buried in an Egyptian prison before he rises to become a veritable saviour, seated on the throne which he seemed to share with the mighty Pharaoh. For forty years on the lonely slopes of Midian the fiery Moses is schooled.

The Israelites must go down into the valley of the Jordan, leaving in the bed of the stream twelve stones, in order to enter the land of milk and honey. The waters return as Israel passes, burying the twelve stones, symbolic of Israel's twelve tribes. Israel cannot abide in Canaan without a constant abiding in death through the twelve symbolic stones, buried in the stream (Joshua iv. 9) . David does not come to the throne until in the caves of the Philistines, where he was hunted down like a dog by the infuriated Saul, he dies-deaths innumerable.

Have you taken your place with Christ in His death? By an act of faith you must lay hold of that death as your death.... You must learn to refuse on the basis of your crucifixion the life of nature, the so-called "flesh-life." You must take your stand with Christ on Calvary ground and each time that the "self-life" would assert itself, say: "In Christ I died. In His name, I refuse." This done, the Holy Spirit will bear witness to your faith and set you free, and keep you free.

Taken from F. J. Huegel’s Bone of His Bone, Chapter 3, “Participants of the Cross—Christ’s Death Our Death