Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease: Paul's thorn, are sickness and disease God's method of instruction for the believer?


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 Father, He's a good Daddy. He is so loving and compassionate. He is merciful and His kindness exceeds all expectations and surpasses all of our understanding. He is so gracious especially when we don't deserve it. 

 This is an area we must never compromise in. We must stand firm and stand strong in this truth. God is a Good God all the time. If He is Good all the time, then we must also understand that He isn't the author of any evil or affliction.

 Mankind through personal experience, through the motivation of control, because of unbelief and a stagnant faith, form, and fashion traditions. These traditions of men seek to explain their situation, circumstance, or experience. They also seek ways to interpret their apparent lack of power to change the situation, by placing all the blame on God's shoulders. Things like He wasn't willing, the age of miracles has passed, God never promised any victory this side of Heaven.
 These traditions are utilized often when one experiences sickness and disease. The theology of sickness and disease declares God is glorified when Christians are sick. It declares that God punishes or disciplines believers with sickness. It declares that God sends sickness to show His power. It declares God also sends sickness to teach us or instruct us.

 These are the traditions of men. My Bible tells me God is Love. The Word also tells me Love doesn't take pleasure in evil. God's Word also reveals Jesus' attitude about sickness and disease. He saw it as a curse, as something evil. God is Love, and love delights not in evil, and sickness is evil, therefore we must conclude rightly that God has nothing whatsoever to do with sickness and disease. 

 The only relation God has with sickness and disease is healing those who are afflicted. God removes sickness any opportunity He gets. Jesus bore mankind's sickness and disease on that tree. He became a curse to redeem us from the curse. 

 Speaking of these traditions, this concept that God instructs us with sickness cuts cross-grain of what we know of Jesus. Yet why do some accept this as truth? Many have a misunderstood view of Paul and the thorn in his flesh. You can see this entire account Paul recounts here

 From this passage in 2 Corinthians, many traditions have come forth. To see a detailed study of this entire account in Paul's life that lists all the traditions associated with Paul's thorn and provides answers to each of them that will bring clarity and a further understanding look here. One of the traditions I will briefly address is the idea that Paul was made sick to teach him.

 Religious tradition declares this thorn in the flesh is sickness. They will say Galatians prove this. He told them to look at such a large letter he wrote them. They take that as literally as possible. That Paul was so blind that He wrote in giant block letters. That is an absurd interpretation. Nowhere does Paul state he was blind or had to be carried around because of poor vision.

 Look at what Paul states again. Let the Word interpret itself.
...a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me...2 Corinthians 12:7a

 Paul tells us what the thorn is right here. Yet so often, many omit what Paul states and only focus on the phrase a thorn in the flesh. They don't recognize this as a Biblical idiom. We've all used idioms at some point. It's raining cats and dogs, we literally know cats and dogs are not falling from the sky.

 We've also used idioms to explain an uncomfortable or stressful experience in dealing with a person or situation. Ever heard someone say, "that guy is a real pain in the neck"? Does that mean the one speaking has a literal pain in his neck region because of this person? Of course not. 

 God's Word also uses idioms. If we follow the Scripture you can see these types of idioms/expressions used. Here are just a few examples, here. Another place here. One more here. Proving again, this phrase is merely an idiom used to describe a situation facing Paul. 

 Again let the Word interpret itself. Paul said what this thorn was. He called it the messenger of satan. This was a demonic influence sent to disrupt Paul. This word buffet means to strike with a fist. This was not a sickness or a disease afflicting Paul. This was demonic opposition to the ministering and preaching of the Gospel of Grace. 

 Look at Paul's life, the Jewish leaders and believers would stir up opposition because Paul was teaching the multitudes Righteousness by Faith and not by works of the Law. They were resisting Grace. They were pushing self-righteousness by works. God wanted the Church to take their place as the Righteous sons of God, not keep them in bondage to the Old Covenant ministry of death.

 In light of this understanding, we can conclude that God isn't using sickness to teach us anything. Now, can we learn something while we are attacked with sickness or disease? Of course, but the sickness or disease in and of themselves are not the instruction method God has ordained.

 God is a Good God. He is a Good Daddy. God is not the author of any sickness or disease. He is not sending sickness, symptoms, plagues, or pandemics to test us, to teach us, or to train us. He has given us His Spirit within and the Word of God written to us to train and instruct us, not tragedy, trial, or tormenting illnesses.

But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. John 16:13 MEV

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
It's spelled out clearly for us by Jesus Himself and Paul. We have the Spirit to lead and guide us into truth. We have the Word of God given to us to instruct us, to equip us, to train us, and correct us. conspicuously absent in the list Paul annotates of what actually trains us, instructs us, and perfects or matures us is sickness and disease.
 In summation, we have clear passages that reveal how God instructs us. Sickness and disease are not the instruction tools of our God. Sickness and disease must be resisted. We must stand against it. Use every means supernatural and natural to see people free from it. As the Church, we represent God to this lost world. Let's show them the compassion of our God, and reveal His heart is to mend, to heal, and to make whole, always. God is a Good Father.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

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