Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Today's Lesson: affliction, sickness and disease?...

He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. Isaiah 53:3-5

We've been in a series of posts discussing the finished work of healing. A central theme is apparently becoming the central point. Focus on Christ's work on the cross and receive your healing. Remove all distractions and give attention to what Christ has done.

In our last post I shared how by grace we can lay aside unbelief. That we can allow the supply of grace to remove strife and unforgiveness from our thinking. With these weights removed we can give our full attention to the finished work and freely receive all He has done. 

Today I want to address a tradition that is rooted deep in the minds of some Christians. This idea that God instructs us with afflictions, sickness and disease. How can we fully trust God to heal us if we believe He is the one placing disease upon us? So is this in fact a Bible truth? 
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes. Psalms 119:71
Isn't it clear in this passage that the author was afflicted and apparently attributed that affliction to God? This passage, out of it's setting, would appear to be teaching just that.  In context however, it paints an entirely different picture. Context is always key, as well as properly defining the words in a given passage. 

You see we attribute our own definition to the words in any passage based upon our traditional understandings of the Bible. In this passage we see a word translated as affliction, or suffering in some Bible translations, and assert the idea of pain, sickness or calamity into it's meaning. Did you know the meaning of the word simply means to be humbled? Read it in context to see what the author is really saying.

Before I had trouble, I strayed from the true path, the path of righteousness, but now I live according to Your word.You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require.The proud smear me with their lies; I will keep Your instructions wholeheartedly.Their hearts are dull and callousI am delighted to study Your teaching. It is a good thing that I was humbled because it helped me learn Your limits. Psalms 119:67-71 VOICE

See how context and proper definitions make this passage more clearly understood? The author even attributed the right character traits to the Lord. He is good and does only good. Any trouble he encountered was by the direct results of his own straying from the right path. The natural consequences of foolish pursuits actually humbled him. Nowhere in context did it state God did anything to him. The author realized he should have stayed with God's ways of living and when he didn't he had to acknowledge that his ways and thinking were wrong and God's ways were right. That is the true definition of humility. 

So does God teach us with afflictions of sickness or disease? I must emphatically state no, never! Let's look at the life of Jesus. 
Jesus the Anointed One is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Jesus is the same God today as He was when He walked the shores of Galilee. Now we have account after account of His healing the masses. Not one time in the ministry of Jesus did He withhold healing from anyone. It is also not recorded in Scripture that He actually placed infirmity or illness upon anyone to instruct them. 

This is what Jesus ministry consisted of:
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. Matthew 4:23
Jesus only went about preaching the good news, teaching God's way of doing things and healing all who came to Him. Why don't we see Him bringing disease to the masses to cause them to turn away from rebellion or pride? The reason is because that is not who Jesus is. So if He never used sickness to instruct Israelites then what makes us think He has changed and is using disease to teach us? Tradition may say He does but they are misinformed. 

Religion and tradition do not actually know Him. They may know about Him but they don't understand His goodness. So it is clear that sickness and disease is not God's training method for anyone. So how does God teach us? What about the chastening of the Lord?  How does He correct us? To be continued in the next post...stay tuned for these answers to come. 

Thanks so much for reading. I pray this teaching helped resolve any doubts about God's goodness. I trust the post blessed you. Thanks to all those who share this with others and have signed up via email.

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