Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Healing Grace: Forever Forgiven and Made Completely Whole

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

 We've been in a series of a study of God's healing Grace. We've seen that our Father in Heaven is a good God. We've seen that we should be focused upon Christ and not our imperfections. Surely this is good news. Yet, there still begs the question what about if a believer has sinned? Would a believer who is in sin still be able to receive healing?

 Some may be thinking don't the Scriptures say if we are in sin we can't expect to receive from God? Don't our sins cut us off from God's hand of blessings? There are three Scriptures that clearly state this. Let's take a look at these passages and see if I've missed it in preaching Grace.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, 
The Lord will not hear. Psalms 66:18 NKJV

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:2 NKJV

Your iniquities have turned these things away, And your sins have withheld good from you. Jeremiah 5:25 NKJV
 These are some strong passages in God's Word. To make an even stronger argument note how one Bible translation translates the passage in Psalms:
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalms 66:18 NLT.
 Proverbs 28 also states if we don't confess our sins we won't prosper. With all these passages, what are we to do? Are we only able to receive if we have a "clean slate"? Are we destined to only be able to receive from God when our conduct and speech are completely perfect? 
 Hasn't the message of Grace revealed we don't confess our sins in order to be forgiven? I suppose these passages prove our detractors correct, right? I suppose they were accurately describing the Radical Grace "message", as an end time deception, correct? Before we go that far let's check with the Lord Jesus Christ, the person of Grace first. What did He do when it came to sins and receiving Healing?

1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 
Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 
 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 
Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 
10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:1-12 NLT
 What was Jesus attitude to present sins and the receiving of healing? Jesus is the answer to both. He healed Him and forgave Him. Jesus didn't tell this paralytic, "hey, when you get your heart right and stop all this sin, I'll heal you!" Noticeably absent is Jesus telling this man "your sins caused this condition in your life." 
 Some may be saying, you're now ignoring those other passages. No, I want to rightly divide them. I see these passages being addressed to the Children of Israel, who were abiding under the Old Covenant of Law. This Covenant was in fact based upon, do good get good and do wrong and receive bad things. The prophets were preaching the guidelines and parameters of that Covenant to Israel. 
 In truth, Jeremiah the very one who taught that sins hinder God from blessing, later on, prophesies the New Covenant. Well, brother, I think you're preaching "greasy grace" and "sloppy agape". What about Christians who openly rebel against God's Word and Commandments?
 I suppose God gets real angry and He turns His face away from them. He places sickness and disease upon them. He places poverty and lack upon them. He places the judgment of that sin upon them. He heaps the curse upon them and allows them to die spiritually. Oh wait, didn't the Lord Jesus Christ experience all of this on Calvary? Didn't Jesus suffer through all of this and much more and declare "it is finished?" So why would God put all this upon believers who've sinned when Jesus already paid the price in full?
 God our Father, has faith in the Finished Work and once for all time sacrifice for sins. God honors that sacrifice. He doesn't put judgment and suffering on us when we sin. Jesus already paid for our sin debt in full. God isn't withholding anything from us, because our faith is in Christ and His Finished Work and not our own goodness.
 What about the notion that tradition always brings up about unconfessed sins? Certainly, if we conceal our sins, we experience an interruption of peace, because it erodes our confidence. Love doesn't lead us to hurt others or ourselves. When we allow the light of God's love, mercy and kindness and Grace into our situation freedom and deliverance abounds. As far as receiving forgiveness, this is where the disconnect exists. 
 Religious tradition can't grasp the amazing, over the top, too good to be true, but true good news of Grace and the New Covenant. In Jesus Finished Work, He paid the full price and penalty for our sins. God said under the New Covenant, our sins, and iniquities He will remember no more. This is why we don't confess our sins in order to be forgiven each time we sin. The reality is we are already forgiven. We confess our wrongs because we are already forgiven. I confess I am the righteousness of God in Christ each time I blow it.
 If we are forever forgiven, how then could God be the one withholding healing if we sin or blow it? It is this religious double talk that erodes confidence in the Finished Work and faith to receive what Grace already purchased. Religion says God has forgiven our sins because of Calvary, but if you sin God punishes that sin and either makes you sick or withholds healing because of your sins. 
 Throughout Scripture, we see the forgiveness of sins and healing connection. Psalms 103, Isaiah 53, 1 Peter 2:24, James 5:14-163 John 1:1-4, When you know you have been forgiven once for all time, no mess up or foul up or sin can hinder you from receiving. The enemy and religion seek to remind you of your sins when you are in need of healing. The accusations arise, "surely, you don't believe you're going to receive your healing this time? Look at your behavior, look at your attitude, just listen to your words..." The enemy seeks to condemn and accuse you, when you need healing or when you are asked to pray for another who needs healing. 
 In order to have bold confidence, look not upon your own goodness, or faithfulness or obedience. Instead, set your heart and eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His perfect obedience, and Finished Work. Place all your trust in that work and that work alone. Jesus purchased our healing and forgiveness in that Finished Work. Stand boldly and confidently, without shame or reproach in His righteousness and faithfulness and receive healing.
 In summation, Jesus already took the full punishment for sins. Sins and wrong doing, therefore, don't hinder us from receiving from God. It is not that God is "rewarding" bad behavior as religion sees it. It is that God is honoring the work and once for all time sacrifice of His Son. If God honors the Finished Work, so should we. Set aside the religious double talk and open wide the gates and boldly proclaim that the Father's table of blessing is set and ready for whosoever will to freely receive.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Healing Grace: Healing In the Gift of Righteousness

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

We've been studying as of late God's healing Grace bestowed upon us. What we have seen is that God our Father is a good God. We've seen that Christ and His blood has made us worthy to receive. Today, I sense the leading to reveal God's healing in His gift of righteousness.

 Understanding righteousness brings with it the knowledge that God is not accounting our sins against us. He honors our prayers as if Jesus Himself were asking. Righteousness gives us open access to Heaven. Let's see how Jesus reveals healing in righteousness.

25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well. 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:25-34 NKJV
 This is the account of the woman with the issue of blood being healed. You may be asking what does this healing have to do with righteousness? Some may be saying I've heard great truths concerning faith and God's anointing in this passage. She reached out with the faith that takes and received her healing. His anointing wrought a great healing in her body. That's true but there is something that some have missed in this healing account.
 This event transpired during Old Covenant times. She was an Israelite living under the Mosaic Law. Do you realize she was breaking God's Law by even being out in public? How could she have the faith to be healed when she was purposefully disregarding the commandments in the Mosaic Law?
25 ‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean Leviticus 15:25 NKJV
This woman was considered unclean. Prior verses in this chapter command that the unclean woman must be separated. In short, she was not supposed to be in public, let alone be in a crowd touching others. She was breaking God's commands and yet she still received. How could this be?
 The first clue to understanding this is where Mark's Gospel reveals she heard about Jesus. What do you think she heard about Jesus? Note, she didn't actually hear Jesus teach. She heard others telling her about Jesus. 
 What did she hear about Jesus? She must have heard Jesus is the healer. That Jesus heals the multitude. I can imagine her initial thoughts saying surely He won't heal me, I am unclean, He can't even come near me. There is nothing anyone can do for me. 
 She must have heard, don't think that, because Jesus heals all who come to Him. She had to hear He was healing even those unclean. She had to hear about the healing of the leper. That He touched the leper and he was completely cleansed. This woman realized Jesus wasn't disqualifying people from receiving healing. 
 There is another great truth revealed as to why she touched the hem of His garment. The prayer shawl the rabbis wore had tassels, these were sometimes referred to as the "wings" of the garment. In these wings was a streak of blue that represented God's Grace. Now, what does Malachi prophesy about wings?
But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; Malachi 4:2a NKJV
She saw the glorious righteousness of God in those "wings" and knew if she embraced His righteousness and not her own she would be healed. This is what gave this woman the confidence to come out in public and to receive her healing. She received based upon Christ's righteousness. 
 So many today aren't hearing the good news of Jesus. What we hear today is that Jesus won't heal you if you are in sin. We hear more about how we are disqualified from receiving based upon our current conduct, or if the illness is of our own making. Religion says stay at home until you are clean. 
 Is healing then based upon our own goodness or Christ's goodness? When we understand we are the righteousness of God in Him, we will rest knowing that God isn't withholding any of His goodness based upon our conduct. Look how Paul reveals healing in God's gift of righteousness.
10 If the Anointed One lives within you, even though the body is as good as dead because of the effects of sin, the Spirit is infusing you with life now that you are right with God. 11 If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you. Romans 8:10-11 Voice
 Our spirit is alive because of righteousness. Because of us being in right standing with God, His Spirit within us brings to life our mortal bodies. In righteousness, we have complete life and fullness and health. The same Spirit that resurrected Christ abides with us. If He can raise Christ from the dead, surely He can cure a common cold! 
 We have the perfect gift of righteousness in Christ. God isn't looking at ways to disqualify you from receiving. In the Finished Work, He exchanged our old nature with His. He exchanged our unrighteousness with God's perfect righteousness. God is faithful to this Finished Work. He isn't looking to see if we merit or deserve healing. He isn't waiting for us to clean up our act before we can receive. 
 Remember, we are just as righteous as Jesus. If Christ Jesus were to petition God for something, we know God would grant that answer to Him. So why do we struggle to believe God will answer our prayers for healing? Christ is in us. We are just as righteous as He is. Through the Blood of Christ, and by the Finished Work He has perpetually qualified us to receive. 
 Our conduct didn't merit us to receive salvation, therefore our conduct won't hinder us receiving the benefits of salvation. Rest in Christ's perfect righteousness. Freely receive from our Father's hand, He isn't withholding anything from us. 
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Healing Grace: Consider Jesus and not your imperfections and receive your healing

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

 In the recent weeks, we've been studying the healing Grace of Almighty God. So far we've seen that God is always good. That He is for us and never against us. That He isn't orchestrating evil in your life. We've seen He is there for us even in the darkest of times, bringing peace and assurance. 

 Why minister on the truth of healing? Why teach His healing Grace? Because we are boldly proclaiming the full Gospel of the Grace of God. Any gospel that reveals God sometimes heals and sometimes wants you sick, or sometimes brings deliverance and other times brings affliction isn't good news. 

 A gospel that only offers you forgiveness, and a guaranteed destination of Heaven, but is powerless to heal your body or abundantly bless you in this life is not the true gospel. This kind of "gospel" only serves to diminish expectations, dissipate hope, and deter faith. Where is the good news when we tell people God will only take care of you after you die, but until then you're on your own?

 Christ and His Finished Work has done so much more. He has provided for us all things that pertain to our life. That is good news, but you may be saying, "what if I don't merit Him doing anything for me?" Some may be wondering "what if this illness and infirmity were of my own making?" 

 This is of great importance that we address and answer these questions. Many in the Body of Christ have been taught that the reason they've not experienced the healing power of God is because their sins and shortcomings have disqualified them. Their faulty faith failures have short-circuited the receiving process. What is Jesus attitude on this?

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” 
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” 
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.”And her daughter was instantly healed. Matthew 15:21-28 NLT
 This is an amazing example of God's healing Grace. At this time, Jesus was operating under the Old Covenant and hadn't yet paid the price for all mankind. He was ministering to the House of Israel only at this time. Yet we see the faith of this Gentile woman, who reached out and grabbed hold of God's Grace and power and received her miracle.
 At first glance, it seems Jesus was being cruel to the woman. I see deeper, that Jesus was leading her to a place where she could receive, even though she couldn't merit it. This woman was outside of the Commonwealth of Israel. She had no Covenant right to ask for anything. Yet, she received, how so?
 Jesus told her the Covenant didn't yet extend toward her. What she did is consider Jesus and His great Grace towards Israel and said surely with so much Grace I will simply take from the overflow, just the "crumbs" falling from the table. This is all I need to receive my miracle. She had so much faith in just a drop of His goodness and Grace that Jesus marveled at it. 
 This woman considered Jesus and not her imperfections and received. She didn't consider, "well I am not a Jew this healing is not for me." "I don't merit this healing because my people serve a different god." She looked past her demerits and embraced His goodness and kindness and Grace and received her miracle!
Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 Voice
 What is the answer for us when we find ourselves in the trouble of our own making? What do we do when we know we haven't been living lives that are honoring to the good name of the Lord? What about when we have believed by faith we are healed but as of late have been wavering and faltering? 
 Hebrews gives us the answer. Stay focused on Jesus and His faithfulness. Consider Jesus and not your faults and failures. Certainly, we don't celebrate living in a manner that is sinful and selfish. Yet, we must realize no one is able to merit one thing from God based upon performance. God's standard is 100% perfection 100% of the time. This is why our focus is Jesus and not performance.
 This Covenant was cut between God and the Son Jesus, not us anyway. Therefore it is Jesus performance and obedience that is the root or basis of this Covenant. Our performance has nothing whatsoever to do with our receiving. So many ministers want to find ways to disqualify and exclude God's people from receiving.
 Christ and His Finished Work provided a complete redemption. This Gospel of Grace isn't a half measure gospel. This Gospel doesn't provide for eternity only. This Blood that was shed isn't saying I purchased you an eternal address in Heaven but as for healing and provision you need to find your own help, I'll just be waiting for you when you get to Heaven.  
 In summation, if you want to receive your healing stay focused on the Lord Jesus and His Finished Work and not your sins and imperfections. His shed Blood has forever qualified you to receive all that Grace has purchased in eternal redemption. God isn't looking down upon you with folded arms and a frown of disappointment. He isn't looking for ways to withhold healing and provision from coming your way. He is a good Father who is perfectly and perpetually satisfied with Jesus Finished Work and receives good pleasure when He supplies all your needs. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Healing Grace: Worthy to Receive?

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

In the recent weeks, we been engaged in a study of God's healing Grace. The Grace that makes us whole, spirit, soul, and body. I'd like to make my heart's motive clear in sharing this important truth. 

 My desire is not to isolate any particular members of the Body of Christ. Meaning I am not simply addressing a truth aimed solely to members of the Church of Jesus Christ who believe that the Gifts of the Spirit are still active today. My heart is a heart that has been ambushed and captured by His amazing, over the top Grace. My passion is to express the goodness of God to all the Body of Christ.

 That stated I must offer a sincere apology if you will. Allow me to elaborate. This past week, I was rejoicing in a beautiful testimony of the goodness of God that had turned an impossible situation around for some parents who lived overseas. Their situation was  impossible for science and the ability of men to alleviate. God had other plans and moved mightily on their behalf.

 In this excitement, It dawned upon me that it was only God who could have changed things on their behalf. There was no hope in man or science. We thank God for medicine, and doctors and the breakthroughs in science, but there still exists conditions in the human mind and body that are without cure naturally. This is why it is paramount to share with all the goodness of God and reveal the majestic power of His healing Grace.

 While rejoicing in this miracle testimony the Lord impressed upon me strongly the need to share the full gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke these words in my spirit,
"Are you going to withhold the full truth of redemption for fear of losing some readers who have been molded by their experience and are stubbornly clinging to tradition or will you reveal the truth of  God and bring help to the hopeless and hurting and herald the good news that God has already done it, and healing is theirs in Christ?"
 So in light of this truth, I offer my apologies for holding back from revealing the full truth of Father's goodness and Grace concerning your healing. I have no desire to offend or anger or isolate any readers. On the other hand, I am not going to withhold the truth of the Finished Work to appease those who would rather uphold tradition and their experiences. God, our Father is a good God and it is His purpose and plan and complete desire that you walk healed and whole.

 With that, allow me to share a vital truth in receiving from our Father. One of the greatest hindrances to receiving healing isn't a lack of faith or being in fear but rather the mindset that we are unworthy to receive. That we must somehow be worthy of the gift. That our performance and current standing with God determines whether or not God will extend His healing hands towards us.

 Look at the healing of the Centurion's servant in the Gospels, (Matthew 8). This passage has been used mostly to reveal what strong faith looks like. It is true that this passage gives us the right definition of strong faith, simply taking Jesus at His word. However, the Gospel of Luke reveals another aspect of this account.

Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”Luke 7:1-5 NKJV

 Did you see this transaction between Jesus and the elders? They implored Him to heal because this man was deserving. When we rightly divide the Word we understand this event transpired under the Old Covenant. These elders were operating on the truth of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12). The centurion had blessed the people of Israel, therefore he was promised a blessing.

 While I have no issue with the events here, upon reading this passage it struck me that isn't this a similar pattern to what we have adopted, be it very subtly, in the modern Church?We have created a mindset that we must be first worthy to receive what God promises. In other words receiving healing is rooted upon our goodness, not Christ's. 
 Whenever the leaders call for the praying for the sick and afflicted many will encourage the respondents to examine their hearts and lives and ensure they are free from all sin, and that their performance as of late is up to par. People may not even respond to prayer because they know they've missed too many quiet times. They have been telling too many off-color jokes at work, surely God won't respond to my need for help and deliverance they reason. 

 Where we see this concept taking root strongly is when there is a "pillar" in the Church or community who has fallen ill or didn't receive their healing. If anyone should be healed it is sister so and so. They were such good Sunday school teachers. They did so much for the community. They were so pious. 

 The issue with these statements is they've based the reception of God's healing upon the performance of the afflicted one. What this concept fails to recognize is that apart from God no one can ever merit God's goodness and blessings. The basis of our receiving from God should be on Christ's goodness and faithfulness and not our own.

 We as believers must never be drawn into this trap laid for us by the enemy. When we look away from the Cross we will always default back to looking at performance and means by which we may merit God's goodness. We must continually keep the Finished Work before our remembrance. When we are Jesus focused we are no longer self-focused. 

 Jesus was already faithful and obedient on our behalf. He crossed the finished line for us. He is the victor who gives us the gold, even though we don't deserve it and lack the ability to merit it. When He paid for our sin debt and made us perfectly acceptable to the Father, He from that moment on has made us as worthy as God to receive all He has provided.

 In reality, He is always sending forth His healing power whenever the need arises. We just need to reach out, lay hold of it and receive it by Grace through faith. In His Finished Work, He purchased our complete healing. He doesn't need our permission as to who He heals and makes whole. We don't have to pass some denominational litmus test to see if we are worthy enough to receive. He purchased it on our behalf and freely gives it to all.

 We must not deflate the hope of others around us, just because our experiences don't align yet with the Word. Christ and the Finished Work are the only hope of healing and deliverance for so many. I refuse to take that hope away from those needing it by exalting traditions of men and experience. 

 Keep the Finished Work of Christ on the forefront. See Jesus in His perfection completing the work and meeting all the requirements on our behalf. Rest in His faith and Finished Work and receive all that He has procured for us. Jesus has made us worthy and acceptable to receive.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Healing Grace: Just Accept It?

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

 In the recent weeks, we've been in a study of God's healing Grace. Why the title of healing Grace? Because what He has accomplished on our behalf in the Finished Work of Christ was achieved not by our efforts, nor was the price paid because we merited it by our goodness. It was the full manifestation of God's love and goodness on our behalf. It is activated and received by His Grace through faith. 

 In this study we have seen how our Father in Heaven is a good Father. We saw He is not our tormentor. He is our life and victory. Today, I sense the guidance of the Lord to look at another passage in the ministry of Jesus. 

10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. Luke 13:10-13 NKJV

 This passage perfectly captures God's heart and attitude towards infirmity and tormenting sickness and debilitating disease. He saw her affliction and how it adversely affected her life. Jesus drew her attention to Himself and away from her circumstances. Jesus removed the infirmity and her response was to give God the glory.  Now, what was the response of the religious leaders gathered in the meeting?

 14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” Luke 13:14 NKJV

 The religious tradition-bound were indignant at this wonderful work of God. They resented the fact that Jesus interrupted their order of service. They were angry that Jesus revealed their way of doing things was incapable of producing any tangible fruit. Their way had never changed any lives for the better. 

15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him. Luke 13:15-17 NKJV

 Jesus response to the religious leaders reveals powerful truths for us today. Jesus rebuked religion because of their stubborn insistence upon tradition leaves people missing and broken. This woman was bound for the last eighteen years. Why couldn't you bring about the help she needed? The religious leaders were left speechless. 

 In this response, we also see Jesus identify the source of sickness and infirmities. He reveals the enemy is the root cause of affliction. Sickness and disease are never the work of our good Father. God created us to be whole not to be broken. 

 Jesus also didn't bring condemnation to her for being sick. He didn't rebuke her and say "where is your faith?" He didn't place blame upon her. He didn't say well if you had fasted more or confessed more Scripture this wouldn't have happened. In a fallen and fractured creation where the enemy roams about, brokenness is all too common. Although this is the way it is on Earth, Jesus didn't accept it as her lot in life.

 Jesus also stated a wonderful, hope-filled truth. This woman, being a child of the Abrahamic Covenant had a right to be healed. Today, as born again, children of God and heirs of the promise we have a right to healing. Infirmities and illnesses may rear their head but it is not God's design or will for our lives. 

 Take note how Jesus mentions the length of time she had been afflicted. Why is this of importance? This where I saw a truth capture my attention. The passage of that amount of time proved that the tradition ruled leaders just accepted this as the woman's condition. The enemy and religious tradition contend for us to just accept whatever circumstances come our way. Is this God's best for us?

 Now when talking about accepting circumstances this in no way advocates us to deny that our situation or circumstances are true. Faith doesn't deny the circumstances it just denies them the right to dictate our destiny. 

 There exist circumstances we find ourselves in that are brought about by our own choices. There are situations we encounter because of who we are with, be it in our employment, our relationships, or our location. The occasion sometimes causes for us to endure and through the power and presence of our Father, we go through these challenges, fighting from a place of victory, not for victory. 

 Still, there are many circumstances that are the result of the enemies plans, or because we live in this fallen world. God's plan for us is to live in His abundance. In His Finished Work, He perfectly redeemed us and gave us new life. He exchanged our weakness, brokenness, and infirmities for His abundance and strength and wholeness.

 If this is so, why are so many still broken and infirmed and not healed? We don't always know why some are healed and some are not. We will never have the full answers this side of eternity, as Paul said we see through a glass darkly. Yet, what is clear in an honest study of Scripture is that it is never God's will to afflict His own. It is not our Father withholding healing.

 One obstacle in receiving healing is the hopeless and religious double talk of men. 
"Yes God said in His Word by His stripes you are healed but this isn't a guaranteed promise for you."
"God's heals sometimes, but often sickness and disease can help mold you and make you a better person."
Can you imagine if we taught the lost this way about salvation? 
"True John 3:16 says you will be saved if you believe but it is not a guarantee for all..."
 The problem is we don't look to experience to determine God's will. I have studied the Scriptures and researched the original Greek language and it proves beyond doubt that salvation once sincerely received can never be lost. Yet, I have seen believers get angry at God and walk away. I have seen well-known ministers renounce basic Christian doctrinal truth and embrace far East mysticism. If I went by sight, by experience, I'd have to conclude salvation can be lost. Instead, I look to what the Word declares and let that be my source of truth.
 In summation, James chapter four says resist the enemy and he will flee. We resist the enemy and his schemes by believing and trusting in Christ's Finished Work. We actively trust in Jesus and readily receive all He purchased for us. Relinquish frustration and fear. Use all methods to receive wholeness. Add faith in His faith and Finished Work to physician's care, proper nutrition, and physical fitness. We can rest knowing if we don't fully receive in this life, we will on the other side of eternity.