Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Theology of sickness and disease: What does God call evil?

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 

 God is an unchanging God. He is Love. He is Faithful and True! His love for us is unmatched in this universe. God is for us and never against us. 

 Many would quickly and passionately agree. However, when it comes to health, the sad reality of a fallen world, and sickness and disease, many have adopted a different theology. Through tradition, many have embraced a theology of sickness and disease. 

 This theology, this belief system, allows for God to willingly afflict people with sickness and disease. Or this theology says God, for some mysterious purpose, allows sickness and disease to ravish the bodies of His people. This theology of sickness and disease is prevalent throughout the Body of Christ. 

 When we see sickness and disease so common in the bodies of saints and sinners alike it is a challenge not to adopt and accept the theology of sickness and disease. The alternative seems only to stick our heads in the proverbial sand and ignore what is clearly in front of us. However, there is another answer. That is the theology of Jesus.

 Jesus is perfect theology. He perfectly demonstrated the eternal Love of the Father. He perfectly revealed the Goodness of God. He perfectly showed us the power of God. He perfectly made known the will of God concerning sickness and disease. He freely healed whosoever came to Him. Jesus is perfect theology, He perfectly showed us the Father.

 We have to embrace the Father's heart on a matter, not what we see through our natural eyes. We see sin abound in these days we live. Yet God says Grace much more abounds. Though sickness and disease seem prevalent, so also is His healing power!

 What is the Father's heart concerning healing? Through Jesus' actions, and the revealed will of God through Scripture, we can rightly conclude sickness and disease are considered evil by our Good Father. Look at this powerful event recorded in the Old Covenant, 1 Kings 17

 What a powerful demonstration of God's Love and Goodness. In the time of famine, God sustained Elijah and the widow and her son. God provided for His own. When the child became sick and died, God raised up the child.

 and crieth unto Jehovah, and saith, `Jehovah my God, also on the widow with whom I am sojourning hast Thou done evil -- to put her son to death?' 1 Kings 17:20 YLT

 Due to limited understanding and information available under the Old Elijah assumed God brought the sickness. Of course, God healing and raising up the boy from the dead proved that He didn't cause it or "allow" it. The focal point one could miss is the words Elijah used. He called sickness and death evil.

 Even under the Old Covenant, In a Covenant that is not as good as the New, God's prophet knew sickness and death are evil. Elijah, a prophet who only had the Spirit come upon him, not even dwell within him, a man who was not even born again, had enough spiritual discernment to know sickness and death are a curse and not a blessing.

 Today, instead of the man of God commanding death to leave and trusting God for a miracle, religious leaders would just counsel the widow on how it was God's will for her son to die. That God needed a little flower and heaven so God "plucked" her son from the earth. That God had some mysterious purpose, and God is in control, that she should just trust God knows what's best. 

 The fact that God raised the widow's son up from sickness and death, confirms Elijah's words. Sickness and death are evil. The Body of Christ should stand strong against sickness and disease. We should never accept it or welcome it in anyone's life.

 God calls sickness oppression from the enemy. God calls death an enemy, the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Jesus went about doing Good and healing all who were oppressed by the enemy. The theology of Jesus says healing is God's highest and best, and sickness and disease are evil, are a curse, are what Jesus bore on that Cross purchasing our Redemption.

 In summation, let's embrace the theology of Jesus. Let's reject the theology of religious men. Let's reject the theology of sickness and disease. God is always Good, and sickness and death are always evil. Let's look to and embrace the Love of the Father, let's trust Him and receive of all His perfect Redemption. God wants us well, healed, and whole!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Is Salvation permanent once received?

 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

  Throughout the world, we celebrated "Easter" or Resurrection Sunday a couple of days ago. It was truly an exciting celebration. Believers gathered around the truth that Jesus bled and died for all. The innocent died for the guilty. 

 A sense of unity is felt as the Church universal gathered. On that Cross, Jesus shed His perfect blood. It serves as a reminder it's only the Blood of Christ that purchased our Redemption. It's only the Blood that justifies. It's not about man's work or performance.

 Because of the Blood of Jesus, we have peace with God. Peace from a guilty conscience. Peace from the broken Law. Guilt and shame have no right or claim to our lives. All because of Jesus.

 On that Cross, we see that Christ did something else. His precious Blood procured our Redemption forever. He purchased a sustained and secure salvation. 

 When we speak of eternal security, many objections arise. What about when believers sin some object? What about those who claim Christ but live in sin? We still play a part. These are just a few of the objections from tradition. 

 If our Redemption could only be purchased by His shed Blood, then why do we think our work or efforts could maintain this Redemption? If it's only by the Blood, then how could our efforts, our performance, add to or take away from Redemption? If our behavior before we received this Redemption didn't merit it, to begin with, how could our behavior undo it once we received it?

 So is our salvation permanent once received? Some would argue, that it is secure so long as you're in Christ. This argument, though meant to sound balanced, opens up more questions and produces fear and anxiety in God's people. 

 How do I know if I am in Christ? How do I know if I still am in Christ? Can I get out of Christ? These are genuine questions that tradition can't or won't answer.

 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT 

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:22-23 NLT

 We are clearly in Christ when we believed. Looking at all the in Christ Scriptures, you can't find a way out of Christ. Religious tradition has concluded though that our sin, that is too much sin, can cause Christ to depart from us and leave us "out of Christ." 

 They look at the sins and failures of believers and judge they are now lost. They see their shortcomings and unfaithfulness and declare they must have never been saved, to begin with. They conclude too much sinning means believers are shown the exit door "out of Christ." 

 What are we doing when we look at the sins and shortcomings of professing Christians and presuppose they must have never been saved, to begin with? What are we doing when see believers at their absolute worst and conclude that they are no longer saved? We are ignoring and overlooking the perfect, once for all time, sacrificial, substitutionary work of Jesus on the Cross. We are declaring the blood is insufficient to cleanse all sin, and presuming the Finished Work has its limits and another's sin is far greater than His Grace and forgiveness. 

 Sin is destructive. Sin hurts others and those in bondage and captivity to it. Yes, there are believers who have pursued adultery, sexual sins, lying, and defrauding others. Does that mean they are out of Christ? Does that mean that they were never saved? 

 Emphatically no! What it means is that some believers have not renewed their minds to the Word and are still conformed to the world in some areas of their thinking. It means that they fell for the enemy's lie when he brought temptation. It means there still exists unrenewed desires.

 That doesn't mean they are no longer saved or out of Christ. In light of the Cross, our sins are like throwing pebbles at a massive dam hoping to put a crack in it. Stand in awe of the Cross.

 When I survey the Cross, I see sinful man unable to save and redeem himself. I see a God who so loved us all that He sent His only Son to take our place. I stand in awe of the Cross and I am truly humbled, knowing I can never do enough to merit this Love and Grace. I see and understand that this and only this is what saves, forgives, heals, secures, and makes whole. 

 In summation, is our salvation permanent or temporal? Thanks be to God it is forever and eternal. It is unwavering and unchanging. Once received it cannot be undone and cannot be lost. Stand in awe of the Cross. It's only by the Blood, nothing we can do to earn it or merit it, nothing we can do to undo it or forfeit it. Salvation is forever. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

God is Not Mad at You

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life. Romans 5:8-10 AMPC

 At some time or another, all believers have asked the question is God mad at me? At some point in a Christian's life, they have wondered if God is mad at them when they sin. I would make the bold claim that many believers still see God as a vengeful angry deity willing and waiting to strike at the moment of failure. 

 Why do we as believers hold fast to this image of God in our thinking? We see the Old Covenant and the wrath and judgment poured out. We hear religious traditional ministers proclaim that God is angry and is poised to strike when we miss it. We hear preaching that God hates the lost, the sinners, and the rebellious and is going to get them by sending famine, floods, fire or pestilence, and plagues. 

 Under the Old, Christ had not yet died. Judgment seemed more swift because there was no price paid for the wicked sins of humanity. Yet in this time, we still see God's mercy and Grace. He provided temporary fixes be it through animal sacrifices, raising up intercessors, and making covenants with individuals. God was still Good then and He waited for the fullness of time to send us His Son, who takes away the sins of the world.

 As for traditional preaching, they have forgotten that their own sins were forgiven. That Jesus' Blood paid the full price. They have made much of God's wrath and made very little of His Grace and Goodness.

 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross. Colossians 1:20 MOUNCE

 The Blood of Christ brought peace. Because of the Blood of Jesus, we have peace with God for all time and eternity. God isn't mad at you or me. Our Father isn't folding His arms in disappointment when we blow it, foul-up, or sin. Because of the Blood, the price has been paid once for all time. We have peace with God and He isn't mad at us but rather He is pleased with us because of all that Jesus has done.

 We have peace through the Blood. We have peace from a guilt-ridden conscience. We have a Righteousness conscience because of the precious Blood of Christ. Guilt and shame have no place in our thinking or self-image. Thoughts of guilt and shame must bow to the higher truth that we have peace with God and He isn't accounting or imputing our sins to us any longer. 

 Only the Blood of Jesus brings peace with God. We can't promise to do better to find peace with God. We can't do enough to earn peace with God. In days gone by dueling forces, or nations signed peace treaties. Each side had forces, and manpower, and was equipped with the means for war. Each side had something with which to bargain.

 What can we offer to God as a "bargaining chip?" What position did we hold that we could earn or achieve peace with God? We had broken the commands of God. We had fallen short of God's glory. We were guilty before God.

 It was the Blood of Jesus that brought about peace. Jesus standing in the place of man, by means of His blood shed, took the wrath, the judgment, and penalty of all sins for all time. The innocent, the spotless, the perfect took the place of the guilty. 

 I'm so thankful for the Blood of Jesus. It brought about peace with God. It made us the friends of God and no longer the enemies of God. When God looks upon us now He sees us as who we were made in the New Creation. Righteous, holy, approved sons and friends. 

 In summation, understand God is not mad at you no matter what. Because of the Blood, you have peace with God. Peace from a guilty conscience, and even peace from the broken Law. All praise be to God for giving us His Son. You are now Righteous, accepted, approved, and received by God as His own. God is not mad at you, He's madly in love with you!

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, April 4, 2022

Nothing but the Blood

19 And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. 20 This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God. Hebrews 10:19-20 TLB  

One of the greatest revelations of the New Covenant is exactly what happened on the Cross and the subsequent resurrection. That God Himself took our place and shed His perfect blood on our behalf. The Blood of Jesus is what made our redemption and salvation a reality. 

 Do we really understand the magnitude of the Blood? How powerful this perfect Blood is? What this shed Blood has done for us? 

 We sing songs about the Blood of Jesus. We write about the Blood. We may even hear a message about the Blood. Yet when the song ends, the book is finished being read, the sermon concludes, how do we approach God? How do we pray? How do we see ourselves before God?

 Allow me to ask, does the knowledge that Jesus shed His perfect blood alter the way you approach God or see yourself? Or is the truth that His precious blood was shed for you, merely an abstract concept that is far off in the distance and really isn't in the forefront of your thinking and the very foundation of your Faith? 

 The Precious Blood of Christ is merely a theological concept to so many because we aren't taught the fullness of what Jesus actually accomplished for us. When we understand fully what Jesus' Blood procured for us, our lives will be radically transformed. Condemnation ceases to rule over us. Powerless, anemic faith is revitalized into powerful, dynamic Faith that overcomes and lays hold of the victory Christ purchased.

 Legalism flourishes when the Blood of Jesus is not given preeminence. Our performance takes center stage when the Blood of Jesus becomes a mere theological concept, or a stage drama once a year during Easter. Our achievements, our accomplishments, and our actions are what matter most when the Blood loses the focus of our attention, our adoration, and our adulation. Our sacrifice isn't what matters, it's the Blood of Jesus that justifies.

 The Blood of Jesus has become so far from center stage in our theology, that many believe the Blood isn't even powerful enough to completely cleanse us from all our sins. Tradition has convinced many that the Blood merely covers sin, (like placing a rug over a stain on the floor), and doesn't actually cleanse sin. Still, others claim the Blood has such limited reach and power, that it only cleansed us from our past sins up to the point of accepting Christ, but our future sins require our efforts, confessions, apologies, repentance, in order to be cleansed and forgiven. 

 When we recognize the fullness of the power of the Precious Blood of Jesus we will walk in the freedom and acceptance Christ procured for us. We will no longer look to our performance but trust in Christ's. We will cease our efforts to earn and achieve acceptance and approval and simply rest in Christ's Finished Work.

 Now, when sins have once been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no need to offer more sacrifices to get rid of them. Hebrews 10:18 TLB

 Whose sacrifice are you trusting in? Your own? Your labor of getting up early, engaging in Bible study, or devotion? The amount you gave financially? Your ability to abstain from sinful actions? Your kindness toward others?  Or are you counting your own labor as secondary compared to the once for all sacrifice of Christ Jesus?

 18 For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19 MEV

This passage makes it evident that the Blood is the source of our very redemption. Notice Peter cited silver and gold. What's the significance? Silver and gold perish or aren't eternal true, but they also represent something that is earned and achieved. Our redemption is based on Christ alone, not Jesus plus our works and efforts. 

 In summation, let's put the Blood back at the forefront of our thinking and theology. Let's give the Precious Blood of Jesus the preeminence it deserves. What cleansed us from our sins? Nothing but the Blood! What made us accepted and approved by God? Nothing but the Blood! What made us whole? Nothing but the Blood! It's not about us, it's all about Him! It's all about Jesus and His perfect, Precious Blood shed for us. 

see even more about the Blood here.

Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay