Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease: Does God punish people with sickness and afflictions?

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

God is Good. His Word can't be more clear. Jesus in manifestation upon earth revealed it perfectly. Yet why do so many believers often question this when tragedy strikes, when one experiences a loss, or when the doctor reveals a diagnosis of a particular illness? 

 The root is a theology of sickness and disease that has become a stronghold in the minds of many. The root is a result of religiosity and not Christianity. A religious ideology that is based merely on human intellect, man's experience, and a shallow surface glossing over of the Scripture, where the character of God and the heart of God is missed almost entirely and instead replaced solely by creeds and commandments and cold-hearted traditions of men.

 This religiosity leaves us questioning God's Goodness. The theology of sickness and disease believes God is the author of tragedy or affliction. When faced with an attack of sickness and disease religion also asks God's children to accept it and celebrate it;
"Christian friend, if after clearing your conscience, praying and using the means God has provided for the improvement of health, you remain sick, then take your sickness as a gift from God for your good and His glory. It must be that He wants you sick. Be at peace with His providence. Heaven will only be the sweeter for those who suffer more."
 
 What a fatalistic view of the life we have in Christ. Just give up and die. Again, this view makes God the one afflicting. This view also says smile you're on your way to Heaven. Heaven is majestic but we have work to do here on earth. We have a Gospel message to share. We can't do that dead and gone. 

 Believers also question God's Goodness because the theology of sickness and disease can go further claiming that God is actually punishing you when you sin with sickness and disease. 

"This was the regular practice under the law [punishing sin through sickness and disease] and should not be seen as normative now.  Having said that, we would be foolish to say God would never judge our sin this way today."

This theology is burdensome and harsh. It weighs heavily on believers who have made a wrong choice or mistake in their life. They can spend months or years thinking of themselves as unworthy, unclean, and unwelcome in God's presence. 

 Whenever a negative experience arises in their life, the thought immediately rushes in, "this must be God punishing me". If sickness or disease attacks their body the enemy who is the great condemner, will speak to their mind, this is the result of your sin. The religious theology of sickness and disease merely echos the lies of the enemy.

 Is God punishing people by bringing sickness and disease? To answer, let's look at perfect theology, the Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever Jesus encountered the sick and afflicted we never see Him once declare, I can't heal this person. God is punishing them. 

 When Jesus encountered a woman who was caught in the actual act of adultery, why didn't He place some cancer on her? Why didn't He give her ms or md or a bout of tuberculosis? I thought Jesus punished sins with sickness? What a real candidate for judgment. 

 Adultery breaks one of the big ten. Adultery shatters the hearts and trusts of the betrayed spouse and the children. Adultery is so cruel and brings about so much mental anguish and emotional turmoil. If anyone should have been judged with sickness surely this woman was worthy of it.

 Yet we see Jesus, God's perfect theology, doing the unthinkable. He gave her the gift of no condemnation. He didn't accuse her, He forgave her. He didn't afflict her, He restored her. That's perfect theology!

 Is God punishing people for their sins by afflicting them with sickness and disease? Absolutely not. Jesus' final sacrifice was more than enough payment for the sins of all mankind. Hebrews tells us the Finished Work is complete. We can't add to it nor can anyone take away from it. God is satisfied with Jesus' sacrifice. For God to afflict anyone for their sin would mean God hasn't fully accepted Jesus' Finished Work. Reject this religious lie that God is punishing people with sickness.

So if our sins have been forgiven and forgotten, why would we ever need to offer another sacrifice for sin? Hebrews 10:18 TPT

God is a loving Father. He punished the sins of all mankind in the body of Jesus on that tree. He has accepted the final sacrifice. He isn't looking to punish you after Jesus bore the judgment of all your sins. In fact, when we trust in Christ, we are made the Righteousness of God in Christ. We are accepted and approved. God no longer imputes our sins to our account. Therefore reject religion's lie that God seeks to punish you when you fail or fall. 

 Let me briefly address a passage that seems to contradict what I am saying.

So also I will make you sick, striking you down, Making you desolate because of your sins. Micah 6:13 NASB

This passage is recorded under the Old. The curse of the Law was in effect. Jesus had not yet died and paid the price. This was only true in the Old Covenant. While this may seem harsh, also know God still gave those under the Old hope. There was still healing and mercy under the Old. When Jesus died on that Cross, He bore all sickness and disease. If He bore it, God doesn't expect you to. If He bore all the curses of the Law, then there is no more punishment for sins. Don't allow one obscure passage to rob your hope when we see Jesus reveal the heart of God. 

 In summation, remember no matter the situation or circumstance God is always Good. We don't have to question God's goodness in the face of tragedy or disease. Why? Because we know from His Word, from His Finished Work, and from His character revealed in Christ, that He isn't the author or creator of evil or disaster or tragedy or any sickness or disease. 

 Whenever one faces illness remember God isn't punishing them. Some may say well their sin caused it to come. It is a truth that poor choices can result in physical sickness or disease. Tobacco use may result in health issues. Having multiple sexual partners brings opportunities for sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Whatever the cause, focus on the solution, Jesus Christ. James reminds us even if one sins, God forgives and heals the same, by Faith. Trust in Christ's goodness and relinquish these traditions of men. Trade the theology of sickness and disease for the perfect theology of Jesus!

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease: What about Lazarus, does sickness glorify God?

 

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

The children of God, those of us who've trusted in Christ alone for acceptance, approval, right standing, forgiveness, and complete salvation desire from within to glorify our Father in Heaven. We know we glorify God by fruitful living, that is by growing in Grace and the knowledge of Jesus and even when we exalt His great name in mighty praise. Is there another way we bring glory to our Father?

 According to the traditions of men, there is in fact another way we bring glory to our Father. What is this other way? By suffering sickness and disease in our bodies. According to religious tradition, bodies racked with pain, suffering from cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, or any other sickness or plague or disease brings God much glory. 

 Where has traditional religion conjured up such a notion? By reading John's Gospel. In the eleventh chapter, we see Jesus' response to Lazarus' sickness. Jesus' words lifted entirely out of the full context of the full event in Lazarus' life has formed an entire doctrine, religious traditional-minded believers respond with whenever any Christian has been diagnosed with a sickness or disease. 

 I am not surmising a view that no one has actually said or believed. I am not employing conjecture or being hyperbolic. Not trying to name names but here are just a few quotes from the religious concerning sickness.

"Sickness is an opportunity for God to be glorified and for observers to believe in Jesus, God’s Son".

"...the Lord uses sickness to draw people to each other and to Himself".

"His glory engulfs your soul with energy to endure chronic pain".

"Some people are sick simply for the sake of God’s glory".

"Suffering and illness can be for the sole purpose of bringing God glory".

"Our culture has made an idol out of many things, and one of these things is good health...as a Christian and someone who loves Jesus, do not despise it[serious or terminal illness]. Why? Because serious illness provides a special opportunity to learn the truth about Jesus."

In interpreting obscure passages we must first look at the character of our Father and keep it in context. When we lift a text from the context all we have left is a con. Jesus' words in John are lifted from the full context by the traditional-minded.

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 NKJV

You see brother? It is clear right there in black and white, or red-letter depending on your Bible. I am not disputing that Jesus stated this but I am seeking to keep this statement in the full context of John 11 and see what Jesus was really trying to show the disciples. 

 Firstly Jesus wasn't speaking that poor Lazarus was just suffering to give God glory. This passage lifted out of context seems to indicate that the sickness and death in and of itself were what brought God glory. That is simply not true.

 In the passage itself, we see clearly no one is rejoicing or in jubilation because Lazarus is sick. So the sickness itself wasn't bringing God any glory. In fact, as you read the full chapter, you can see Jesus' delay makes people question His love, His power, and goodness.

 What then was Jesus speaking of? Jesus was teaching the disciples Faith. Faith in God that knows there exists no situation that is impossible with God. In verse four, Jesus was simply speaking the language of Faith. He was speaking the end from the beginning. 

Declaring the end from the beginning... Isaiah 46:10a NJKV

Jesus was exercising the God kind of Faith. He was calling things that be not as though they were. He was teaching us unwavering hope and trust in a Good God.

even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  Romans 4:17 KJV

Jesus was proving not just saying He is the resurrection and the life. Jesus knew that death and life are in the power of the tongue. He wouldn't even state Lazarus was dead but only asleep. Why? Was He denying the circumstances? Was He in denial of Lazarus' condition? 

 No, Jesus was just speaking about what He already trusted God His Father with. He was not teaching you to deny your reality but rather speak what your trusting God to do about your reality. How did this situation turn out? Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Just as He said, this sickness isn't to death but for God's glory, yet Lazarus had already died. So we see Jesus speaking resurrection life and not agreement with the contradictory circumstances.

 So what truly brought God glory in this passage? Was it the sickness in and of itself? Was it Lazarus' death? No, it was Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead. So it was resurrection and healing and wholeness that brought glory to God. When Jesus raised Lazarus the sickness was healed and his body fully made whole, otherwise, he would have died again from the same condition that put him in the grave in the first place.

 If sickness and disease are designed by God to bring glory to Himself then it stands to reason we shouldn't be praying for healing if we or a loved are sick or afflicted with a disease. We shouldn't seek medical aid. We shouldn't go to the hospital or take a loved one there either. We shouldn't desire prescription medication nor encourage others to take it. In fact, we should pray for sickness and disease to overtake us so we can be the instruments by which God gets the glory.

 If good health is an idol, if sickness is an opportunity to bring God glory, if we are not to despise sickness, then doctors and nurses and hospitals are professions and institutions of rebellion and resistance to God's will. This is the logical and reasonable end conclusion to this type of thinking. Of course, no sounded-minded, rational believer actually believes this. This is why we must renew our mind daily with the revealed will of God, that is Jesus Himself, God's will in manifestation, and reject the irrational and ridiculous religious traditions of man. 

 What actually brings God glory? Is it sickness, suffering, and death? No Scripture in the New Covenant declares our sickness brings God glory. If sickness brings God glory why don't we see Jesus sending plagues, pestilence, or pandemics to the multitudes? Why don't we see Jesus afflicting any children with illness to bring God greater glory? We only see Jesus bring healing to all those who came to Him. He raised the dead, never brought death. He provided for the multitude, not starve them. Why? Because it's His goodness, Love, and healing mercy that brings glory to God.

 What brings glory to God? The forgiveness of sins brings glory to God. Ministering healing and wholeness bring glory to God. The dead being raised brings glory to God. Having our petitions and prayer in His name answered glorifies God. God's Grace in including both Jew and Gentile in the plan of salvation brings glory to God. What is clearly absent is the notion that sickness and suffering bring God glory. God is glorified when we are healed, whole, our prayers answered and we are walking in the newness of life in Christ.

 In summation, reject the ridiculous religious concept that God gets glory from your suffering, from your sickness or disease, from your afflictions. God is a Good Daddy. He is the healer and one who makes us whole. Remember what really brings God glory.

And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:30-31 NKJV


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease: What about the man born blind?

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

 God is a Good God. He is always good. This is the truth that believers in Christ should never compromise on. Traditional religion, however, seeks to dilute this truth due to their own experience or when they observe someone else's situation or circumstance.

 We have an account in the Gospels that seems to indicate God isn't always so good. In John's Gospel, we see the man who was born blind. The disciples seek to answer a theological question using this man's experience. Jesus sought something else entirely.

 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  John 9:1-5 NKJV

 This event in the life of Jesus has birthed a tradition that many holdfasts to. It has become a stronghold if you will in the minds of the religious. Because of the punctuation of the original King James, some believe that God made this man blind from birth just so that later in his life Jesus could come and give him sight and get the glory and also prove He is the Messiah.

 The way this passage translates into English coupled with this tradition has caused many modern Bible translations to also word it this way. Because of this, this tradition is kept alive and well. This tradition cuts through denominational barriers so much so that even Spirit-filled churches that believe in divine healing have even propagated it.  

 Let's examine this passage in light of Jesus Himself. Jesus is the express image of God. Jesus is the will of God in demonstration. Jesus is God manifest in flesh. If we want to see God's attitude about something we can look at Jesus. Jesus never brought destruction, on the contrary, He rebuked the storm. Jesus never brought sickness or disease, He healed the multitudes rebuking sickness. Jesus went about doing good not bad. He represented God perfectly and Jesus was always Good.

 So do we really accept the notion that God would cause a man to be born blind just so later in life Jesus would heal him? Would a loving Father deprive a mother of having her baby being able to physically see her? Would a loving Father deprive an infant of the ability to see their own surroundings? Would a loving Father deprive a child of the ability to see the sunrise and sunset and all the wonders of creation? 

 This tradition is teaching us yes. God deprived this man the ability to earn a living, to find a mate, to be able to care for himself. God did all this just to get some glory. This disturbing tradition turns God into a weak god who must first afflict someone just to show others he can heal. 

 What Jesus went about doing is good. He came to give life and life more and more abundantly till it overflows. He came to reveal the Love of a Loving Father. He demonstrated this great goodness by healing all who came to Him, by providing for the multitudes, by taking authority over demonic forces, and setting the captives free. With this witness, how can anyone accept the notion that God dares afflict anyone with sickness, disease, distress, or ordain disaster?

 Jesus is the person of Grace. He is Grace revealed. The disciples at the moment focused on their theological traditions. Who sinned to cause this? At this time, some believed a child could sin in the womb. They still saw God as the "afflictor" the one bringing punishment. Jesus in His Grace sought to bring help, hope, and healing in this situation and never fully revealed the why of this man's blindness.

 The disciples asked a question that could only garner one of three responses. Look at the question, who did sin that this man was born blind, his parents or him? There are only three possible answers. The man himself, his parents, or neither. Jesus answered the basic question by saying neither. That was the end of the discussion, Jesus didn't answer the why, He only revealed He is the answer.

 In this passage, the punctuation isn't what's given by inspiration of the Spirit, only the words. The Lamsa translation, the Bible from the Aramaic gets the punctuation correct in light of Jesus' character.

 AND as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from his mother’s womb. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Teacher, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus said to them, Neither did he sin nor his parents. But that the works of God might be seen in him, 4 I must do the works of him who sent me, while it is day; the night comes when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:1-5 Lamsa 
 
With this translation and punctuation, we see an end to this terrible tradition. Jesus answered the disciples to get their attention back onto their purpose. To bring life and light to a fallen world. Jesus is clearly showing us the truth, and not tradition.

 Jesus reveals this blindness isn't the result of anyone's sin. This isn't God punishing this man. This, therefore, isn't the works of God in any way shape, or form. Then Jesus reveals to us what is the true works of God as He, through a recreative miracle, brings complete sight to this man. He brought life and wholeness, not blindness.

 Let this disturbing tradition fall away as the truth is clearly seen in Jesus' actions and the true understanding of the Word. God isn't afflicting anyone to just get glory out of it at a later time. God isn't ordaining ailments, disabilities, and affliction to later lift off of people to show us His power. That only proves weakness, not real strength and power.

 In summation, relinquish the traditional view of this passage. God is always Good. He isn't so weak that He has to form a problem just so He could provide the solution. This is as nonsensical and disingenuous as a law enforcement officer bringing an unauthorized item to a restricted area and a short time later retrieving it, then telling their superiors they found contraband. God is not dishonest and disingenuous. He is a Good Father who we can fully trust in. He isn't the source of our problems, He is the solution to our problems. 


Image by CCXpistiavos from Pixabay 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The theology of sickness and disease: How Good is God?

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

God is Good. God is Good all the time and in all circumstances and all situations. I will never compromise on this vital truth. This important truth is the very foundation of our Faith. 

 How could we dare place our trust in someone when we are unaware of their character? Who would follow someone not knowing anything about them? We know God because He has made Himself known. He has made Himself known by His Word and by the Word made flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Jesus is the revealed will of God. Jesus is perfect theology. What is the best theology? How about Jesus? He demonstrated the perfect Love of our Good Father. He revealed God to a lost world. 

 Now, we have the religious tradition of men clouding this clear view of God. We have traditional ideas conjured up by men making once clear waters murky. Experience and man's ideas replace what Jesus came to reveal about our Father.

 Men have exalted their experience over God's Word. They endeavor to bring God down to the level of their experience instead of trusting God to change their experience to line up with God's Word. As a result, we now have what I like to call a theology of sickness and disease. A theology that attempts to assign all suffering in this life as the will, the plan, and the purpose of God.

 This then in turn makes us ask the direct question, just how good is this God we proclaim? How good is God really? How do we then define goodness?

 The man-made theology of sovereignty and suffering makes God not truly good but assigns God as the One who chooses to afflict, to beset, to burden, to vex, to torment any and all He wills. They excuse these actions as a mysterious plan or purpose on God's part. That suffering with afflictions is somehow good. Let's really examine this closer.

 We live in a fallen fractured creation. Mankind has perpetrated great evil on one another. Yet because religion claims God is in control, does that mean God is behind it all? Is God the author of pain and tragedy?

 Many years ago in the town of Union South Carolina in the United States, a mother of two young boys strapped her kids into their car seats and plunged the car into a lake. At her trial, they recounted the time it would take for those precious children to actually drown. So I ask, in the seconds and minutes it took for these two innocent children to suffer and die was God in Heaven pleased with this incident? 

 As these two children were slowly being submerged in a watery grave, was God in Heaven declaring, this is good and right? Was He declaring I am in control of all things and this works for my glory? Was He saying this is my mysterious will at work?

 Those in tradition would cry foul, saying come now that was a sinful act of course God opposed this. Now we come to the mental gymnastics we must navigate. God is ordaining and controlling all things, but not sin? So He isn't in control of all things? Just somethings? Religion would say, no He is in control of all things but...

 See how confusing religious tradition is? Let's adopt a Jesus theology. What did Jesus do when He was on Earth? How did He express God our Father?

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 NKJV

 Jesus went about doing good. He didn't go around afflicting, or tormenting anyone. He didn't place an illness or disease on a single human. He never sent plagues or disasters on any nation or peoples.

 In the mouth of two or three witnesses will something be established, the Scripture tells us. We have zero witnesses of Jesus afflicting anyone. We really have no witness of God making people sick. Religion would point to the Old to prove otherwise. The issue is they aren't rightly dividing the Word. When we see affliction under the Old, that is the curse of the Law in action. Under Grace, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. God is not guilty! God isn't making anyone sick or afflicted, God is Good! 

  For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:56 MEV

We must reject the traditions of men who wish to assign the suffering of humanity as the handiwork of God. Some call disasters and accidents the acts of God. If we want to see the acts of God then look at the Book of Acts. Look at the Gospels. We will see the true acts of God. Lives transformed for Good. Multitudes healed and provided for. Lost souls receiving salvation, and believers being touched by the power of the Spirit.

 Is God really Good? Unequivocally the answer is yes! God is not the author of any evil or suffering or sickness or disease. Any religious leader saying God allows or wills or has a plan or purpose for sickness or disease has been deceived by the enemy and blinded by the traditions of men. Jesus went about doing good and healing all. That's who Jesus is. He is our healer and our Good Father.
 
 In summation, know we can fully trust God. God is a Good Father who wills our best. He wants us well. He doesn't ever plan or purpose tragedy, suffering, or torment for our life. God is Love and light. There is no darkness with Him at all. He is Good. 

Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

 Ever heard the word theology? This word can bring with it the connotation of boring book knowledge that only dull "egg-headed" scholarly types get enthusiastic about. The word can also bring with it the idea of deep spiritual knowledge that only a few can actually grasp.  Believe it or not, just as in the natural realm we hold to certain opinions or ideologies in our Christian life we all hold to some form of theology.

 Theology isn't about some deep study that goes over everyone's head. Theology is merely the study of God. At the same time though, theology can also be a viewpoint about God we hold fast to. What is your theology?

 When it comes to theology, often the Church as a whole tends to build a theology around what can't happen or what didn't happen. Pertaining to Faith, is your theology centered on how Faith can't move mountains today? Is your theology about how Faith only works for the saving of our souls and forgiveness of sins but never anything else? 

 When it comes to healing what is your theology? Is it that God used to heal before the Scriptures were fully recorded but now that we have the Bible we don't need healing? Is it that God can heal but of course we could never believe God will heal? Or is it that we ceremonially offer prayers for the sick but in actuality never really expect them to actually receive that physical healing?

 Many well-meaning and sincere believers hold fast to a theology of unbelief. Unbelief rooted in negative experiences and years and years of indoctrination from the religious traditions of men. Unbelief that goes through the motions of prayer and faith but never actually expects any tangible change or miraculous intervention from the hand of God. Unbelief that is birthed from not knowing intimately the Goodness of a loving Father who longs to bless, provide, protect and pour out His healing power. 

 Many sincere Christians hold fast to a theology of sickness and disease rather than a theology of healing and wholeness. Through wrong teaching and wrong believing, many actually believe God is the author of affliction, infirmity, distress, disease, and death. Some actually affirm God sends sickness and disease to show us He loves us.

 Is God the author of sickness and disease? Does God dole out disease to His children to instruct them? To better them? To improve their character? To make His own some type of "testimony" to inspire others who are also going through their own turmoil to just keep smiling through their burdensome affliction? Is this the image of God Jesus demonstrated to all of humanity when He walked the sandy seashore of Galilee?

 Jesus is the express image of God our Father. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Jesus never once placed disease on a single person He encountered. He never sent forth famine or pestilence or plague. Jesus never once made anyone sick, on the contrary He healed all who came to Him. Jesus went about doing good healing all. Jesus is the author of life and health, not disease and death, God is a Good God!

 What a cruel image religious tradition has conjured up. They preach the concept that the God who created the entire universe somehow takes pleasure in the affliction of humanity. That God shows His love and compassion for us by giving our loved ones cancer, multiple sclerosis, or alzheimers. This tradition of men is a lie and contrary to who God revealed Himself to be in Christ. God is a Good God, He isn't the destroyer of lives but the giver of life. 

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:54-56 MEV

Jesus here affirms He comes to save men's lives not destroy them. Our theology is Jesus. As His Church we should passionately reject the notion or idea that God wills disease and death. What was Jesus' attitude about sickness and disease? He healed all who came to Him. Sickness and disease do not come from God, they are contrary to His perfect will.

in righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Isaiah 54:14-15 KJV


 This passage declares the Righteous will be far from oppression. It states fear and terror and oppression shall gather against you but God declared not by me. The opening text for our study is Acts 10:38. That passage declared Jesus went about healing all who were oppressed. According to Acts sickness and disease is a form of oppression. Isaiah declared oppression gathers but not by God. This is Biblical evidence God isn't the author of sickness and disease. Who is the oppressor? The enemy. Who is the healer? Jesus. 

 We as the Church need to have a Jesus theology about infirmity, illness, infection, malady, and malfunction. We shouldn't expect or tolerate or God forbid celebrate sickness and disease. We need to resist it and stand together and pray against it. I am not saying condemn or belittle those suffering affliction. I am not saying attack their dignity. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering. We stand with them. I am only saying we don't proclaim their suffering is the plan and purpose and work of God our Good Father. 

 God is our Good Father. He isn't our bad father. He isn't the godfather who takes and breaks. He is our Good Father who mends and heals. God is our Good Daddy who restores and covers us with His precious Love and mercy. 

 God isn't the author of your tragedy. God is the answer to your tragedy. God isn't the source of your trouble. God is the turnaround for your trouble. He's the one turning it around for your good. 

 In summation, we need to have a theology of life and healing and not a theology of suffering sickness and disease. We are not shaming or disapproving of those who have suffered or are still suffering from sickness and disease. We aren't maligning the dignity of anyone who has experienced sickness or disease. We are just affirming the Goodness of God. We are renewing our thinking about how Good our God is. We are reaffirming the truth that God is never the author or sender of any sickness or disease. 

 How can we trust God if He is the one afflicting us? God is our Good Daddy. Let's holdfast to a theology of healing and not of crippling illness and infirmity. Let's holdfast to who God has clearly revealed Himself to be in His Word and the redemptive work of Jesus. 

 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Irrevocably Loved

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

 We have been in an ongoing study of the Gift of Righteousness. More importantly, we are examining the vitalness of not just knowing we are Righteous the moment we believed but actively receiving of this Gift. A gift no matter how wonderfully amazing will never benefit until it is fully received.
 
 In this study, we have seen the benefits receiving Righteousness brings. Relationships flourish. We have peace knowing He is bigger than our failures. We see and understand more clearly His healing power and willingness to bring wholeness to our life. Because of Righteousness received our sins and shortcomings won't hinder or stop God's Goodness from being received in our life.

 Again what is this great Gift of Righteousness? Righteousness is that Gift that gives the believer permanent right standing before God. It's that gift whereby one has everlasting acceptance and approval with God. It's that gift where we are always welcomed in God's presence. It's that gift where we can stand before our Father without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. It's that gift that causes one's sins never again to be imputed to their account. 

 Receiving of this great Gift of Righteousness is such a vital ingredient in walking a victorious Christian life. When sin and shame can't hold you back nothing is impossible in your walk of Faith. Instead of shying away from God believers run to God. Instead of looking down, Righteousness produces the joy and confidence to boldly look upward and gaze upon a truly loving Father.

 Righteousness is a gift we receive never a work we achieve. If it is a gift, and it is, then that means Righteousness is permanent. God's gifts are irrevocable. 

For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 MEV

 Since God's gifts are irrevocable or permanent then we must conclude Righteousness is permanent and can never be removed or taken away. That leads us to therefore conclude that our salvation then is also irrevocable and permanent. We are eternally secure because of this Gift of Righteousness.

 The absolute Good News of the Gospel of Grace is that once you've trusted in Christ alone you are eternally secure. Salvation could never be earned or achieved and once received it's not kept by our continued achievements. Salvation is by Grace from start to finish. Christ once trusted in preserves us from time and all eternity. We aren't maintaining our salvation so it can't be lost, God maintains our salvation because Jesus is the author and finisher of it.

 As good as this Good News is many believers still fight this truth. They reject a Grace alone salvation for a works plus grace salvation. They insist we are saved by Grace but after we are saved we must persevere through good works and abstinence from wrongdoing to remained saved. In essence, it's a Christ begun salvation but a man completed salvation. 

 “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 MEV

And he has entered once and forever into the Holiest Sanctuary of All, not with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the sacred blood of his own sacrifice. And he alone has made our salvation secure forever! Hebrews 9:12 TPT


neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12 21st Century KJV

 We have conclusive proof from God that salvation is eternal and irrevocable. This is the Good News. This proves beyond doubt that Christ won and the enemy lost. That the Cross truly was a Finished Work. Yet again even in the face of this good news, works and performance-driven believers dismiss these passages and make light of God's keeping power and declare man can undo what only Christ could do.

 Eternal Security rejected leaves believers without security and diminishes hope. Everlasting hope in Christ becomes everlasting hope so. Is your salvation permanent? I hope so. This is the real fruit of rejecting Eternal Security.

Eternal Security rejected means there is no promise for eternal life once one believes. If there is no Eternal Security, there is no eternal life, for how can one know for sure they won't forfeit their salvation at some point? All that truly remains is not a promise but a possibility. Not everlasting life but temporal life. 

 When Eternal Security is rejected what we are left with is not the promise of eternal life, but the possibility of potentially obtaining eternal life in Christ. We have potential life, not eternal life. We have the possibility of eternal life but not the guarantee. Salvation becomes merely a probationary phase until we draw our last breath or Christ comes back for us. 

In summation Righteousness received brings with it great hope. The great hope and promise of sustained eternal life by God, not ourselves. It brings with it the understanding that Eternal Security rejected means all that is left is a works and performance-based salvation. Thank God though the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. Thank God, Jesus has obtained an eternal redemption for all those who believe. We are irrevocably loved and never will we be separated or apart from God. 


Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Praying Boldly

 

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

We have been in an extended study of Righteousness over the last few weeks. We have seen the importance of not just knowing we are Righteous but actively receiving of this great gift. We have seen the multiple benefits of receiving Righteousness.

 Relationships, how we can have victory despite our failures, laying hold of healing, just some of the powerful truths understood and received through the precious gift of Righteousness. Today, it seems good to explore yet another benefit of Righteousness received. Our prayer life will radically change when we know we are the Righteous. 

  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b NKJV

 Further illustrating the benefit of Righteousness, James goes on in this same chapter describing Elijah as a man of like passions as any one of us. In other words, it wasn't that the Prophet Elijah was someone unique or special in the sense that only his prayers would have worked. James is letting us know that Elijah was just as imperfect and flawed as the rest of us, but he was Righteous and God heard him.

 Prayer may seem boring or drudgery or a chore to those believers who don't understand who they are in Christ, and lack the full knowledge of just how much God loves them. Some see prayer as a spiritual rule and a task they must complete. It is not communing with a loving Father but rather an obligation that requires fulfillment. 

 We must renew our minds about prayer. Prayer is all about communing and intimate fellowship with a loving Father. It is true that there are various types of prayer, the prayer of Faith, or petition prayer, intercessory prayer, the prayer of commitment, and consecration, etc. No matter the type of prayer we pray it is still a time of communing with our Good Father.

 It is not a chore or a hard task to spend time with someone who greatly loves us and longs to bless us. It isn't a mere religious obligation needing fulfillment to fellowship with a friend. It isn't a burden to spend quality time with the one we love. Prayer and devotional time are no different. We are engaging in intimate fellowship with a loving Father, who desires our best and wants nothing but our good when we pray. The more we know how pleased God is with us and how much He rejoices over us with joy, the more exuberant and fulfilling prayer will become for us. We are gladly welcomed in the presence of God. 

 Too often though, even if we do spend time in prayer, many believers come to the Father as if they were unworthy. They see themselves as beggars. They see themselves as mere servants begging for a meager morsel to barely get by for a day. 
Is this the posture God seeks from His kids? 

This is the posture religious tradition has painted for the Church for centuries. Unworthy. Unqualified. Unfit. 

 When we receive of the Gift of Righteousness these mindsets are shattered and these strongholds in our thinking come crashing down. We rise up as the Righteous sons and daughters of God and take our place at the King's table. We boldly receive all He has provided for us.

 I am not speaking of an arrogant, petulant demanding of our Father. No, God gives Grace to the humble. I am speaking of that Cross. I am speaking of such amazing Love that gave all He was for all we are not. A wondrously loving Savior who for the joy set before Him gladly gave His all for us. We honor our Father and our Savior King Jesus when we boldly receive all He purchased for us on that cursed tree.

 For years, many taught the Church that we were the mere stewards of God. That we were God's servants. Is that our position in Christ? Did God send His Son so He could have an innumerable number of servants? This thinking is rooted in the mindset that God is the harsh taskmaster who looks for dutiful servants to complete all the tasks he assigns. 

 We are not the servants of God. In identity, we are the children of God. We are His family. God in a sense, sowed His Son to reap a family. We are the beloved children of an extravagantly loving Father who longs to fellowship and bestow kindness and mercy upon us. Our Father so loves us He eagerly lavishes us with His Goodness. We who believed are the beloved sons in whom He is well pleased.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:6-7 MEV

 Brother, didn't Paul call himself a servant of God? Yes, he did in some of his greetings to the churches. We know the Word doesn't contradict itself. Paul was referencing his work, his calling, his purpose. Saying it this way, in identity, he, like all believers, are sons and daughters. What we do is serve the Lord, serve one another, and we even serve the lost, in the sense of providing shelter or clothing or sustenance and in showing the way of salvation through Christ alone. We are sons who operate in steward or servant principles.  The point is in our identity we aren't slaves or unworthy servants without rights and privileges that come with sonship. 

 When we receive of the great Gift of Righteousness our prayer life is transformed greatly. We are no longer the servants begging for crumbs. We no longer see ourselves as the unworthy pleading to enter the Master's presence. We arise to take our place in Christ. We boldly enter in and feast at the King's table without reservation and freely receive all He has in His hand. 

 In summation, Receiving Righteousness transforms our self image and our interaction and fellowship with God our Father. Our prayer life is infused with refreshing and joyful exuberance. Prayer isn't a chore or task. Prayer becomes something we look forward to and no longer dread. Our prayers become bolder and we see the enemy flee as we, His children, take our rightful place in Christ. Come and sit at the King's table, there is a seat waiting for you, the Righteous. 


Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Walking by sight?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

Receiving of the Gift of Righteousness. We've been in an extended study of God's great Gift of Righteousness. We are examining the vital importance of not just knowing once you believe you are the Righteous, but also of actually receiving of this Gift of Righteousness in all areas of your life. 

 Righteousness received coupled with God's abundant Grace causes us to reign as kings in this life. When we receive of the Gift of Righteousness relationships are empowered to prosper and succeed. Healing and wholeness become more and more real to us and it frees us to receive apart from our works and performance.

 Today, I want to continue examining this great Gift of Righteousness and the benefits of actively receiving of it. We know who the Righteous are. Those who have trusted in Christ alone, receiving His new life and forever forgiveness. Let's look again at what Righteousness means.

 Righteousness is God's gift of no condemnation. Righteousness is that gift whereby we can stand before God without any sense of condemnation, guilt, shame, insecurity, or inferiority. Righteousness is that gift where we who believed are in perpetual right standing with God. Righteousness is that gift that grants us perfect acceptance and approval with our Heavenly Father. Righteousness is that blessing David spoke of, the person who God no longer imputes sin or uncleanness. This is the Gift of Righteousness.

 In our last two studies, we focused on the truth that when we need healing or any answer from God we need not look at ourselves. That is focusing on how many good deeds we have done. How much we prayed or gave or volunteered. No, we don't look to our goodness to receive from God but rather we focus on His Goodness alone and freely receive.

 That is amazingly good news to the weary ones who have tried to earn the blessing and Goodness of God. This frees us from trying to deserve anything from God's hands. All that the Finished Work procured and paid for is only received by Grace through Faith, not any works on our part. That said, what about the times when we sin and walk out of love?

 Some ministers may even agree that we can't "do" anything to deserve the blessing and Goodness and favor of God. However, even fewer would dare suggest that our sins would not hinder us from receiving answered prayers or blessings. Most ministries and churches agree and affirm that sins will hinder your prayer life. They will cite passages like this.

Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things. Jeremiah 5:25 NLT

So the question I simply want to ask is when it comes to answered prayer or receiving anything from God what are you looking at? Are you looking at your sins and shortcomings? Are you looking at your foul-ups? Or are you beholding Him? Are you seeing who He has made you now? Focusing on your failure or His forgiveness?

 Remember this vital truth, the wages of sin is not unanswered prayer or God withholding from you. The wages of sin is death. It was just one sin that plunged mankind into the fall and brought the curse upon this Earth. That one sin caused God to send His only Son for us all. 

 When we use Old Covenant formats for prayer requests and trying to receive anything from God we are walking by sight and not Faith. We are Righteous by Faith, not our doing. We can't undo what only Christ could do. 

We can have bold Faith even when we fail

 As Paul was accused of saying do evil that good may come, I am of course not saying let's sin even more knowing God will still answer our prayers. Sin has consequences in this life. Sin can also hurt others besides the one committing the act. Think how shattered and emotionally wounded the man or woman whose spouse committed adultery is. We aren't encouraging sin, but are magnifying this great Gift of God's Righteousness.

 Here is the too good to be true but true Good News of the Gospel. The wages of sin is death. God's gift is eternal life through Jesus. Christ paid the price for all sin. Jesus is the once for all sacrifice for sins. Jesus has forgiven our sins, past present, and future. All of our sins, even the ones we have yet to commit are already forgiven. 

14 who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins Colossians 1:14 TLB

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. Colossians 2:13 NLT

1 John 2:12 is just as clear. As the literal Greek renders, we are forgiven of all our sins on account of His name. If God's Word says we are forgiven of all our sins, and Jesus shed blood was the price paid for our forgiveness, then we are forgiven of all of our sins forever.

 Here is another truth to look at concerning sin.

then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV

 Not only are we forgiven of all our sins, but here, the writer of Hebrews (who I believe was Paul), referencing the Finished Work of the Cross declares that God will never remember our sins again. He will never remember our sins? What about when we sin continually? He said I will remember your sins no more. What about if I sin the same sin repeatedly? He said I will remember your sins no more.

 God said He will remember our sins no more. He didn't add an addendum or a clause that states I won't remember your sins except for the times in which you pray. If He has declared that our sins will not be remembered by Him, then how can our sins hinder our receiving from God? The Father answers prayer, blesses us, bestows favor upon us because He is Good not because we are. We can freely receive because we have been made the Righteousness of God in Christ. 

 Now we can't ignore all these passages just because they remove the harsh taskmaster image of God that so many believers have when it comes to their sin. We are seeing a pattern here in the New Covenant. He has forgiven us of all our sins. He has declared He will remember our sins no more. I think God is trying to tell us something.

 Let me add one more passage to finalize what we should be focusing on when we pray or have a need that must be supplied. Look at the amazing Good News Paul proclaimed in Romans 4. This is the happiness of those who are declared Righteous without working for it. This is the benefit of receiving of this Gift of Righteousness.

just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven And whose sins are covered;  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. Romans 4:6-8 NKJV

 Here is the complete New Covenant view of Righteousness and our sins. God has forgiven us of all our sins, past and present and future. God because of the Cross declared He will remember our sins and iniquities no more. The Holy Spirit through Paul reveals a powerful benefit of Righteousness. That God is no longer imputing our sins to us. God has already imputed our sins on the body of Jesus on that cursed tree. God is not requiring us to also pay for our sins when Jesus paid the final price. 

What is the conclusion then? God has forgiven us forever. He has declared He will no longer remember our sins. This great Gift of Righteousness includes the too good to be true, but true great benefit of God no longer imputing our sins to our account. 

With this understanding how can anyone now declare that our sins can hinder us from receiving anything from God? Again God said He would no longer remember our sins. He didn't say I will only recall them when you pray and ask me for a blessing and you will receive that blessing in correlation to how much sin is active in your life at that moment. Thanks be to God, we are Righteous, forgiven, our sins never to be recalled and never to be imputed to our accounts again. 

 So what are you looking at in prayer? Your sins and shortcomings? Your mistakes? Your foul-ups and failures? Or are you walking by Faith and seeing your Righteousness alone? 

 In summation, when you believe you are the Righteousness of God in Christ. Your sins are forever forgiven. Your sins will never be remembered by God. Because of the Finished Work, your sins will never again be inventoryied and counted to your account. With this over-the-top goodness, you can have absolute boldness in prayer. You can come to God without shame or guilt and stand in Faith believing for whatever God has promised and provided in the Word and the Finished Work. Dare to take your place as a Righteous, accepted child of the King.  


.Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay