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.


Laurie Ann said...

Beautiful! God's love is unfathomable. His Word is the roadmap to connecting to Him and embracing His grave and everlasting love.

Your statement, " Faith doesn't deny the circumstances it just denies them the right to dictate our destiny " is so profound! We are not controlled by our circumstances, our upbringing, our past (unsaved) life. We are in Christ new creations.


John W Reed said...

Amen! God is good. Thanks for the uplifting and encouraging words.