Finding the Rest Within
By Fred Pruitt
This is Fred Pruitt. I knew Dan Stone and was with him many times. I used to have his book, “The Rest of the Gospel,” but I must’ve loaned it out since I haven’t seen it in quite a while. So I don’t know what Dan said specifically. Therefore, I will respond generally to the issues you brought up.
First, not confessing sin unless convicted by the Holy Spirit. People often react negatively when hearing that. What we have been commonly led to think is that we should be ever vigilant within us to be on guard against sin, because it can come any moment and take us away if we give in to it. So that produces a constant struggle, which we call Romans 7, where we appear to ourselves to be actually two persons, a sin-nature and a righteousness-nature, neither of which ever wins the day. And this inability to overcome our weaknesses or our sins then goes on and produces more guilt and condemnation, so that for some time it seems we never rest, never arrive, God is always a little out of reach and seemingly unattainable. And for most of us in a time like that, we experience confusion and lack of clarity about what is going on with this struggle and what its purpose is. We feel chained to sin and unable to completely cut it out of our lives.
Nothing is wrong nor have we done something wrong to wind up there. It is part of what we experience as we mature in the Spirit, because this struggle mentioned above is the inner stimulus of the Spirit and has come to us as part of His training of us. The purpose of this Spirit training is to bring us to our full maturity in Christ, and for that to happen, we have to find out Who we are and how we function.
Paul plainly states that there is no condemnation to believers in Christ. Romans 8:1. And then further, in verse 8:2, the matter of who we are is settled and the former (struggle between a good me and a bad me) no longer exists. I/We had been held by the “law of sin and death,” but now in Christ Paul tells us the matter is settled for ever more if we see it in our faith, i.e., that “The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus HAS SET ME FREE from the law of sin and death.
We now walk in the Spirit. And let me define that just a bit for you. Walking in the Spirit is Who we are and what we do. There is no mumbo-jumbo we have to do, no ten step program we have to attend, no set of clothes to wear or not wear, or even a set of specific prayers which must be uttered. It is not any of that and doesn’t come from any of that.
We “walk in the Spirit” simply by virtue of the fact that we are one person with Christ, and it is no longer I who is living, but Christ who is living here, in me, and the life I now live in the flesh (our daily lives) I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
In contrast to the way of thinking I mentioned above, “being ever vigilant” for the encroachment of sin, once we are over that Romans 8:2 hump, we don’t go back to that way of thinking and living. We are He living in our flesh. 1 John 4:17b says, “As He is, so are we in this world.” Christ is formed in us (Gal 4:19) and we live continuously in Him, expressing His divine nature that now is ours! (2 Pet 1:4)
Now, we don’t live after the sin principle anymore, because the righteousness “principle,” which really is simply the Divine Life, is Living in us and expressing as us. In other words, our lives now come out from within ourselves (which is where God dwells, not in some distant heaven far away), rather than the other way around. Out of our innermost being flows “living water,” which is not meant to bless us, but those around us. WE don’t study for that, fast and pray, but simply believe the Word Jesus spoke: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38). Just believe. Jesus repeated that phrase constantly in the gospels, “Be not afraid, only believe!”
I’ve said all that to say this: it is no longer necessary to “confess” sin unless the Spirit tells me otherwise. Why? Because we have become “good,” or “godly?” No, we have no righteousness of our own, but the righteousness we DO HAVE, is HIS, and it is perfect and operates perfectly within us.
Therefore, we live in the constant green light, and don’t worry about going the wrong way or taking a misstep because we now live His Life in us and it is nothing like the old days when we thought we had to be so vigilant trying to keep ourselves. We’re free, and in our freedom we express the Love and Righteousness of God, because they have been given to us as part of the Gift that dwells within us forever. That becomes Who we are. We don’t “try” to love, rather we just love others by being Who we are – He in us. This is not a “try” life, but an accomplished life, accomplished not by us but by the One Who lives in us.
Well, then, what about sin? Two things, one — it has been defeated. Its only power is to draw our faith toward falsehood through deception. He (Mr. Sin) is very very subtle, too. By ourselves, we can be tricked, deceived, still thinking we are following truth. But we are not “just” ourselves since Christ has moved into us, kicking the devil out. Now we are one person with the Holy God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, given as a gift through the Cross and Resurrection. (1 Cor 6:17; John 17:11; 20-23) And we do not worry about being “deceived” again, because we now know we DO NOT KEEP OURSELVES! Whose job is it to frighten the wolves away – the Shepherd’s or the Sheep’s? “Behold, He Who keeps Israel (you and me) neither slumbers nor sleeps.” (Ps 121:4). We are no longer about sin, but about righteousness. There is a difference.
Regarding the Lord’s prayer. That is a wonderful prayer for our beginning days in Christ. It gives more or less beginners a bit of a track to follow to get them started. I don’t think Jesus ever meant for those particular words to become enshrined and made into the “Our Father” and stuff like that. Jesus didn’t say, “Pray these words only,” but “After this manner pray,” in other words, “Pray like this.”
The reason I say it is a beginner’s prayer is because it is a prayer to a separate God way up in Heaven, which is what we all have thought in our days in the deception of the “prince of the power of the air,” (Eph 2:2), and in our beginning days in Christ. We’re always wanting God to “come to” us, or “fall upon us,” or “touch us and bless us, etc.,” when the real fact of the matter is that He is inwardly one with us already and our lives are NOT about getting healed or getting blessed or feeling better or making more money, but rather are totally reoriented from inside out, and we forget ourselves and become other-lovers, rather than what we have been until the Spirit showed us, “self-lovers.”
We all start out “self-lovers,” but God’s aim is for us to become “other lovers” by recognizing that the Spirit of Other-love (outgoing agape divine love) now lives in us and causes us to walk around every day as Paul described it: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2 Cor 4:10,11).
So, do you see? Your life, once you are in Christ, in no longer about sin (He took care of it once and for all on the Cross), but instead it is about righteousness. His life is in you to, “will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13). He keeps you! (Is 42:1) (Ps 4:8).
He had made you safe in Him, so that you can now forget yourself and get on with the tasks at hand, which is to simply follow Love wherever it takes you, trusting all the while that it is His life in you that is being lived in the Spirit, given to us as a gift rather than something we have worked very hard to attain.
As far as the Lord’s prayer being part of most every church’s prayer foundation, the reason it is like that is because the Christian church as a whole has not gone much farther than babyhood in its understandings and works. And people cannot testify to what they have not seen nor heard. It is the foundation prayer truth for most Christian sects because they have not moved past God being separate from them and in so doing, they continue like the children of Israel in the wilderness, unable to touch the mountain of God because they still saw themselves as “grasshoppers in our own sight.” (Num 13:33).
God loves the church and everybody in it, but they are for the most part still stuck in the wilderness and haven’t found the “rest for the people of God” spoken of in Hebrews 4:9, which is freely available to all believers THIS DAY, not on the other side in heaven. We won’t need to “find rest” when we’re on the other side. But on this side, it is vital we find rest, and He Himself IS the rest, and we find our rest in Him when we “cease from our own works, as God did from His.” (Heb 4:10).
That “rest” is found in the experiencing by faith the truths I’ve mentioned above as well as some more — Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 6:17; Matt 11:28-30).
When you realize He has taken over and now is the True Person within you, so that you are no longer you, but now Christ in you, one with you in every way. We simply received what we have been given by the word of faith He gives that comes up from within us, as Paul said in Romans, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” (Rom 10:9)
I hope that is some help to you!
Love in Jesus,