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The following excerpts from the writings of Dan Stone are available on this page:
By: Dan Stone
Paul's teaching to believers focused on a great mystery. To the church in Colossae he wrote of
Christ in us. That is our only expectation of experiencing and expressing the glory of God. Elsewhere, Paul expressed the mystery in another way:
Actually, the words with Him aren't even in the original Greek. The translators added them for clarification. So:
He or she, a spiritual being, who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. There are two... they are one. You and He are one.
We are one spirit with God. We function as one. We are not absorbed into the Lord, however. There is an I and there is a He, but we are joined to Him and we function as one. It is a function of cooperation, like a union of gears that mesh together. Our union with God doesn't mean that we are so swallowed up in God that we lose our identity. But neither is there a separation. Rather, the two function as one for the purposes of the greater one, God.
He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. That is a mystery. One plus one equals one. How can that be? The divine and the human are one.
Until we know and live out of our union with Christ, we will nver fully manifest the life of God within us. Some of it will inevitably shine through now and then, despite us. But for the most part we will manifest our own merely human life.
Until we know union, we are constantly confronted by the illusion of separation. "God is up there; I am down here. How do I draw close to God? Give me a plan. Give me a program." Plenty of people are ready with the answers. "Read your Bible. Pray. Study. Witness. Tithe. Take communion. Here are the plans. Here are the programs."
But once you know your union with God, there's nothing left for you to do. Oh, you may still do some of the outer things. But you aren't doing them to get close to God. You and God are one. There is no more separation.
When you begin living out of your union with Jesus Christ, you move beyond Christ plus anything, no matter how good it might be. ...We live and move and have our being in God, who is our life. We are saved by His life. He is our life.
Christ lives out His life in us funny old you, funny old me. We have all kinds of different shapes, forms, and fashions, all kinds of interests, all kinds of diversity, all kinds of uniqueness. Praise the Lord. We don't have to look like, act like, talk like, or be like anybody else again. We are free to be ourselves. People see us, but we know it's Jesus living through us.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs. 80-82.
By: Dan Stone
There's a deep rut in the Christian faith, as most believers experience it. It's like a ditch that you run your car into and can't get out of. Unless God tows a believer out of the rut, he or she will never fully live out of their union with Christ.
The rut is this: most of us believe that in the depths of our being we are both good and bad. Or, to put it in theological terms, we are both righteous and sinful. Using a common illustration, we believe that we have within us both a white dog and a black dog, a good nature and a bad nature, that are fighting for control.
But that is not true. It is vital that we know it's not true, because if we believe that we are both righteous and sinful, it will be impossible to live out of our union with Christ and to rest, trusting that He lives through us moment by moment. Instead, we will be focused on ourselves, on getting our act together, on winning the war that supposedly rages within us, trying to suppress the bad part of us so that the good part will reflect the character of Christ. This endless self-effort is the complete opposite of what Paul wrote:
The only way out of this dilemma, of believing that we are both good and bad, is to understand that the realm of the spirit, above the line, is singular. It is one. The realm of appearances, below the line, is a duality. It is two.
In the realm of appearances, there is constant evidence of good and evil, both outside and inside us. If we judge by appearances, we arrive at the logical conclusion that we are both good and bad. That looks entirely valid. Christians have believed this for centuries. Except for a small minority who have come to know their true identity in Christ, the whole Christian world accepts the lie. Unfortunately, although something may not be true above the line, if below the line we think it is true, it still controls us. We must choose to live out of what is singular, rather than what is dual.
The realm of the spirit, the singular realm, is eternal reality. That is where our spirit being lives, and where our true identity is settled forever. The realm of appearance, although we must live in it in the here and now, is false as far as our identity goes. All of life depends on which realm is ultimate reality to you: the realm of spirit or the realm of appearances. That's going to determine what you believe and how you live.
Choosing to believe that you are not both good and evil can be difficult. All of the external proof, all of the apparent evidence, all of the sight, supports the opposite: that you have two natures. "You are good, yes, a little good, but boy, you are still wicked; you are still evil." Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you that you only have one nature, not two. In the core of your being you are not both righteous and sinful; you are only righteous.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs. 89,90.
By: Dan Stone
Are you in Christ? If so, you are a new creation. At your new birth, God birthed in you a new spirit, created in His likeness, in holiness and righteousness (John 3:6-8; Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 4:24). I like what author David Needham says in Birthright: at that moment a new person came into being who had never existed before. You are not a repaint job, but a brand new creature. The old you was crucified on the cross with Christ. The new you was born of the Holy Spirit and has been raised with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). You were dead spiritually; now you are alive spiritually. For the first time you are alive the way God meant you to be alive. In your spirit you are a completely new creation.
Do you look like a new creation? No. You look like the same old Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary, Jane, or Elizabeth. Externally, you still are. But you have been renewed from within. Life is within. What you've been trying to bring into being below the line, Paul says you already are. You already are a new creature. You don't have to try to become a new creature. But you're going to try to become a new creature until you know you're a new creature.
Of course, we can give mental assent: "Yes, I'm a new creature, but..." Where you are really living comes after the but. "I'm a new creature, but..." But what? "But I sure do fail a lot. " Then that's the way you see yourself. You don't see yourself as a new creature. You see yourself as failing a lot. Instead, you could say, "I sure do fail a lot, but I'm a new creature." Then that's where you're living. You're always living after the but.
You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old is gone. To whom? To God. It may not disappear as quickly to you, in the seen and temporal realm, as you'd like. But it's gone to God. He sees the unseen and eternal. He sees the first from the last. And He knows that the old is gone. The question is who's keeping score? You or God? The old you is gone to the One who is in charge of the universe. To Him, you are not the same person you were before you entered into Christ. You are a brand new creation in Christ.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pg. 102.
By: Dan Stone
I have emphasized how God made us new creations at our new birth. That is rock bottom truth. In a sense, though, you have the same humanity now that you had before. Your spirit is new, but you didn't receive a new personality the moment you received Christ. You are still mostly outgoing, or reserved, or spontaneous, or considered. Your humanity is basically the same before and after. But can you glory in it now? If they put a new engine in your car, even though it still has rust spots, can you glory in your car?
That's what God is saying to us. "If I am willing to put a new engine in your car and glory in your car, can you glory in your car? Will you glory with Me?" That's one of the hardest lessons we have to learn: to glory in our humanity. To be satisfied with ourselves as we are. Is there a harder lesson?
Every one of us has something about our humanity-our personality, or for some of us our body-that we wish God would change so that we'd look better for Him, at least from our perspective. We think, "God, if you'd just take that thing away, I'd look better for You." That "thing" may be with us until they plant us six feet under.
We come to a place where we say, "Lord, even though that thing is still in my humanity, I'm going to praise You for it." You know what I discovered? The minute I started praising God for my impatience, I didn't see it anymore. I don't mean it disappeared, but I didn't have a fixation on it. I wasn't anxious about it any longer. That's the way God moves on in us, when we accept ourselves as He does.
I'm not advocating sin, by any means. I am saying that when we shift our focus from ourselves-some neutral aspect of our personality that we don't like, or, yes, even some flesh pattern that keeps recurring-and instead focus on Christ in us, God does His work in us. We are transformed into His image as we behold Him, not as we behold ourselves (2 Corinthians 3: 18).
God takes those things that are fixations in us when we're flesh-oriented and turns them into blessings when we're spirit-oriented. What I despised became a blessing in somebody else's life. Those things become the years the locusts ate that God restores, the dung that God makes into a compost pile. He lets it sit there until it's done a work in us. Then we can take our humanity back and say, "It's perfect to God right now. If He wants to do any altering of it, He is at work in me to will and do of His good pleasure. If He wants to change it, He who began a good work in me will bring it to pass. He can finish what He started."
I'm not going to take my humanity back on my own terms. I don't want it back that way. It took me long enough to get rid of it-as the source of my life. When you see it's no longer the starting point of your life, but rather the means by which God's life is manifested, you can take it back. You can accept yourself as you are. You can accept yourself as God's asset.
Finally we are able to say, "Lord, through my family tree and all of the circumstances I've come through, You've made the outer person that I am. You live in that person, and you set that person in the world in a way that's going to attract some people to You. I'm not going to attract everybody. The ones You don't attract through me, You'll catch through someone else."
That's why we all fit together, isn't it? We fit together into a whole. Nobody can attract everybody. I used to try to attract everybody. But there are all kinds of fruit. There are oranges. There are apples. There are lemons. God uses all kinds. I say to people, "I am a lemon." God attracts some through my lemonness.
We don't have to be anybody else; we don't have to submit to anyone trying to make us like anybody else, either. We are free to be ourselves. God is pleased to manifest His beautiful variety of expression through each of us in our uniqueness.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs. 115-117
By: Dan Stone
Everything we truly know of God comes by revelation of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal to us the reality of the mysteries of God. These are in the unseen and eternal realm and as God's children they are our right to know, but only the Holy Spirit can tell us those realities.
Until the Holy Spirit tells us, God's unseen and eternal realities seem to be outside of us. So we set out to gain information about them, thinking that if we gain enough information, we can then produce the spiritual life. Some of us have garnered entire libraries to help us gain the spiritual life, as if it were an outside thing-a thing-to be gained by knowledge. Of course, what we ended up with was not much spiritual life, but lots of information about it.
Unfortunately, there's no relationship between the amount of information we accumulate and the ability to live a spiritual life. But there is a direct correlation between the amount of information we gain and our level of frustration. It's frustrating to know about something and not be able to know it or live it. It's frustrating to know something is there and not be able to lay hold of it. It always seems elusive, like the carrot dangling in front of you that you keep chasing but can never grab.
In the things of the Spirit, no amount of know-about gives you the ability to do. Our heart is for God, though, so the more we know about, the greater our desire is to do it, and the more we try to do it. But trying to live the Christian life through our own effort is like trying to put a cube into a spherical hole. It doesn't fit. The only One who can live the Christian life is Christ. Only His life fits the hole. But we still try to force it to work ourselves, and that becomes very, very frustrating.
We are meant to be frustrated when we are trying to produce something that we are incapable of producing. It's the goodness of God to let us be frustrated. If God were to interrupt our frustration before we were completely frustrated, we would think, "I've learned how to do it. I'm not frustrated anymore." But we wouldn't have learned anything. So He says, "Go right on with your program until you have exhausted the library of Christian 1iterature on how to be spiritual. When you have exhausted all of that, when you have come to your end, you are ready to be taught by My Spirit." At that point, where else do you have to go?
Without revelation knowledge from the Holy Spirit, we're not going to have an experiential understanding of the unseen and eternal realities that are ours. Why does God make this so difficult? Don't ask me! It really isn't difficult, except that we are raised in the seen and temporal realm, and that makes the unseen and eternal realm seem difficult, because we have to unlearn and be broken away from the first realm for the second to become reality to us.
This is God's plan. Our battles in the visible realm force us to finally ask the right question. Until we recognize that the right question doesn't focus on the externals of life, we're never going to experience the unseen and eternal. When we finally realize that the right question has to do with the life within us, then the Holy Spirit will come alone with an answer.
The Spirit teaches us by bringing us to the place where we begin asking spirit questions instead of flesh questions. Spirit questions are questions from desperation. They arise when you reach the end of all flesh questions. When we finally ask a spirit question, the Holy Spirit will give us an answer. It's interesting how quickly the answer comes once you ask the right question. Because the answer always is present tense. All we have to do is catch up with the answer. We catch up with Who already is. The answer is a Person who lives in us.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs 122,123.
By: Dan Stone
The Holy Spirit teaches both by revelation and experience. The revelation can be instant and direct, without being transmitted by any formal "teaching." We say, "Oh, I see." The Spirit then uses seen and temporal experiences to work that revelation into us. The revelation gets established in us through personal experience.
Some people have a hard time relating to that, because they associate the word teacher with a schoolroom, where we just impart knowledge. But the Holy Spirit's teaching is experiential teaching. Of course, we do learn facts, but I'm talking about the process whereby we become one with what we are taught. We become one with the truth through experiential teaching.
This experiential knowing is indicated in the biblical words for know. Both the Greek and Hebrew words for know that I am referring to indicate experiential understanding of and oneness with. When "Adam knew his wife...", it wasn't an intellectual thing. Adam experienced oneness with his wife. That's exactly what knowing is. There is no anxiety about those things that you know, because you become mixed with them. You and what you know are one.
On the natural level, I remember experiencing such knowing with high school algebra. When it came to algebra, I didn't have a clue. I'd work those silly problems, then I'd look up the answers in the back of the book. I'd get some answers right, but I didn't know how or why. None of it made sense. But one day the scales fell off my algebra eyes and it all made sense. I said,
"Oh, I see! I see why you put this here and that here, change this sign, etc." Then I could do it. I was relaxed about it. Until then I was striving and trying and working. Now I was at rest. I was one with algebra. Of course, we don't need the Spirit's revelation to do algebra. But it works the same in the spiritual realm.
When God gives you a flash of insight, that's it. "Oh, I see!" Everything else, from then on, is just an elaboration on that flash. When you know, you are forever changed in that area. You'd have to make a conscious effort to go back on what the Holy Spirit showed you. That's why it's hard to sin in an area when the Holy Spirit truly shows you something. It's hard to go back on truth. Truth liberates.
I've always liked the word awareness more than the word growth. Because what really happens in each of us? Our awareness simply expands. We become more aware of Who already was. "Oh, I see more and more of Him." We're not seeing more and more about Him. We're seeing more and more of Him. He is the peace. He is the joy. He is the life. He is the love.
Until we see that, we are always saying to God, "Give me something. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme." But when that insight comes (and I'm not saying it has to be sudden, although it was with me), we say, "Oh, I see. I already have life. I already have Him."
When God gives your spirit a revelation, often your soul responds with, "That can't be. That can't be." But your spirit is saying, "It is. It is." Revelation doesn't take place in your brain. God reveals Himself in our spirit. He says, "Yes, the absolutes are true. When you begin to live in My reality, you'll begin to say, 'I am.' Until you live in My reality, you'll say, 'I am becoming' or 'I want to be' or 'I hope I am."'
How many times have I said, "I'd like to be. I wish I were. Maybe someday." And God was on His throne saying, "You are! You are!" When you truly see that Christ is your life, time ceases to be a decisive factor in your life. Everything is just now. You live in the present tense of God. He is not becoming. He is. You are not becoming. You are. You operate from "I am," not "I will become."
The unique thing about the Spirit of God as our teacher is that He has time to be an individual instructor to each one of us. He doesn't have a single lesson plan that fits everybody. He has tailor-made lesson plans based on our individual experiences, needs, and desires. So it's of little value for me to say to you, "This is the way He taught me." Because in all probability He never has taught you that way. He has taught you in His way for you, and it's just as real and valid as His way for me. The life experiences that we have in the seen and temporal realm are the milieu out of which He does the teaching.
The encouraging news to us is that God is in control of this whole process: both when it will happen and to whom it will happen. He has chosen to reveal Himself, not to the chief muckety-mucks of the world system, but to us simple folk:
That seems a strange thing for God to do, but Paul understood it. He told the Corinthians that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And look at you, Paul said. You're not much, by the world's standards. You're not the wisest in the world. You're not the cleverest. You're not looked upon as people of power, but God has chosen you.
Every revelation is according to God's good pleasure and His own timing. Timing is so important. You might get the itch before God wants to scratch. You think that you're ready to stop the itch, but God may say, "You're not itching enough yet. If I were to meet you right now, it would be like harvesting something before its time. You wouldn't grow to full maturity." In His own way, in His own time, God reveals.
What is it that the Holy Spirit primarily reveals to us? Jesus told us:
The work of the Holy Spirit is declaring to us the Father and the Son within us. The Spirit makes no declaration about Himself. He attempts no glorification of Himself. He doesn't point to the fruit or the gifts. The Holy Spirit does not single Himself out because nothing originates with Him. The Spirit is the means by which the life of the Father and the Son comes forth. He wants us to know that we manifest the life of the Father and the Son. That is His revelation.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs. 126-129.
By: Dan Stone
Law and grace are mortal enemies. Religion asserts, "No, they aren't mortal enemies. They can flow together, like the Missouri and Ohio rivers flow into the Mississippi, and they become the Mississippi." Every place I've ever been in organized religion, I've found that belief. But Paul was saying, "NO? They never flow together. They've always been mortal enemies. They will always be mortal enemies. You can never marry the two. And you have to make a choice, Galatians. Are you going to live under 1aw, or under grace?"
Paul wasn't saying that if they stepped back into the law, they wouldn't be saved anymore. But he was telling them, "If you go back to the law, you're giving up the way of grace. Now, let me tell you something about the way of the law, Galatians: you have to keep it all."
They couldn't just pick out the law they wanted to keep. That's what I used to do. I'd pick out those parts of Mosaic Law, Sermon on the Mount law, Baptist law, my personal law, and whatever other law I thought I could keep at least some of the time. I didn't see that law and grace are mortal enemies. I didn't see that you can't live under both.
It made sense to me to be religious. It made sense to be an external Christian, trying to keep an external set of rules. I couldn't do anything else, because I had always been an external person. So were you. We all grew up as external people, defining ourselves in relation to other persons, things, and events that told us who we were. That's why as new Christians we were so prone to asking external questions: "What should I do?"
There's no life in the law. The only thing the law tells you is what you ought to do, but can't do. It will never relinquish its demand that you ought to do it, because it's a divine ought-to; God gave it to Moses. We'll keep ourselves under that divine ought-to, and the condemnation and death ministers (2 Corinthians 3), until we learn to live from the Person who dwells within us. Because there's nothing in our flesh that wants to say, "I can't do it. I can't keep the law through my own effort." Everything in our flesh says, "I want to try to do it, and with God's help maybe I can do it."
Like my friend Burt Rosenburg says, everything in that program is designed for futility, frustration, and failure. But they don't tell you that up front, do they? When you sign up, no one makes this announcement:
I remember talking to a group and proclaiming, "We have succeeded! In what? In failing!" And everyone smiled. For we finally recognized that we had succeeded in what we were supposed to do, which was to fail. "Everyone is telling us that we failed in what we were supposed to succeed in. But the truth is we have succeeded in what we were supposed to fail in. Now, we can get on with it. We can get on with what is true life."
We usually quote Galatians 2:20 apart from its context. It immediately follows Paul's admonition to Peter concerning the law. When Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ," he was referring to his death to the law. Paul was saying, "The old me died on the cross with Christ, and when I died, I died to trying to keep the law. Trying to keep the law is living according to the flesh, with me and my efforts as my point of reference. I died to myself as my point of reference. Now, Christ in me is my point of reference. He is living His life through me."
As believers, we no longer live under the law, looking to it to tell us what to do and not do, then trying our best to do it. Instead, we live on the faith principle, the inner life principle, of who really is our life-Christ. We trust that He directs us, opens or closes doors for us, and speaks directly to us, giving us a message or whatever is needed for the occasion. We trust that He is living through us. We may not feel it at any given moment, but we live by faith that He is our life.
From: Stone, Dan, The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial
Gospel has worn you out. Dallas: One Press. 2000. pgs 143-145.