“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but . . . a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7
Have you heard the analogy of the person asking God to rescue him during a flood? He first receives a warning to evacuate and the neighbors offer to take him in their car. He decides to stay, believing that God will save him. When the water begins to rise, a man comes by in his canoe and calls to him to get in. But the man says, “No thanks, God will save me.” As the water rises higher, a police motorboat comes by and later a helicopter. He also refuses their help and dies by drowning.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”
And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”
I’m not sure how many years ago it was when I heard that story in church. It seemed like a silly story. Why wouldn’t he accept such obvious help?
The man died because of his idea of faith. His faith was in God, not in people and their manmade things. He expected God to miraculously save him by circumventing human involvement, forgetting that God works through people to fulfill His purposes.
Some Christians claim they do not need to social distance or wear masks. We’ve been told that we don’t have faith if we wear masks. They add that “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear.” This is true, however, the entire verse says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). We see taking precautions and preventative measures as biblical (see my post: A Faith-Based Approach to the Coronavirus) and the use of that “sound mind.” Faith is obeying God’s word, so we do what is right even if it’s difficult.
Some are skeptical about getting vaccinated. We believe the vaccine is an answer to prayer. Some are concerned because it was manufactured so quickly. However, we believe that has been an answer to prayer too. The statistics also bear witness to its effectiveness. In July it was reported that with 58% of America fully vaccinated, over 99% of those who were dying from Covid-19 were unvaccinated people and that less than 1% of vaccinated people were dying (Business Standard, 2021, July 5)
, 2021, July 5.
God gives humans the ability to make boats and helicopters which can save people from floods. He also gives humans the ability to develop medicines and vaccines to save lives.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
We have an opportunity to be the light in a dark time. Some Christians believe their faith will protect them from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are complaining at our governments for passing laws to hinder our movements. Even if you have lots of faith and are feeling fine, you could still be carrying the virus without your knowledge. Faith, which comes from God’s word, teaches us how to behave when there is a contagious disease. Leviticus and Deuteronomy have many verses dedicated to clean and unclean things.
Faith in God’s Word
God’s people were given instructions that they had to obey concerning contaminants on their bodies, clothes, vessels, and walls of their homes. There were many instructions for washing, but those things that couldn’t be saved were broken or burned. People who were deemed unclean for different reasons were to distance themselves for a time. If the person had a contagious disease, they were sent outside of the camp and the priest had to visit that person outside of the camp to determine if they were still contagious or not.
Undeniably, washing and distancing are biblical practices, so let us spread love and not germs.
What of those who don’t hear of Christ? Is God unfair?
No, because God’s word says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12).
The text shows that mankind is innately unrighteous, without understanding and disinterested in God. Therefore, just as God would not have been unfair if He had never sent Jesus and given us the gospel in the first place, He is not unfair to any who do not get to hear the gospel now.
We can be thankful that God is not fair with regard us in our sin, because, if He was we would be forever separated from Him and without hope.
In fact, God has already made Himself plain to everyone through creation, but our indictment is that we refused to acknowledge Him.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:18-20).
GOD CHOOSES THE BLAMELESS OF HEART
“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10).
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13).
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chron 16:9).
BLAMELESS BY FAITH
So, how is it that God chooses those who seek him with all of their heart if we have established that mankind is innately disinterested in God and that none seek after Him?
God can overcome our disinterest by initiating contact with us. And, He did this by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins and by sending this message into all the world so that the message would interest people and lead them to hopefully believe. And, where people respond by faith in His message, He is pleased and He credits them with righteousness, just as Abraham was credited when he believed.
So, because none of us are blameless in our thoughts and actions, being righteous by works is impossible. Furthermore, we have emotional and intellectual obstacles in our hearts that prevent us from coming to faith in God, therefore righteousness by faith is impossible. However, God’s word is able to overcome these obstacles and allow us to believe with our hearts.
Where God’s message to you is believed, He credits righteousness. Have you allowed God’s message of love and His offer of forgiveness a chance in your life?
Because of sin, the wrath of God has existed against mankind. And, it continues to be stored up for judgment against those who are not reconciled through faith, especially against those who have rejected the Gospel.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
The necessity for Christ to come as a propitiation (to satisfy God’s wrath) is evidence that God’s wrath existed prior to the rejection of the Gospel. And, where it says “the wrath of God remains on him”, the term “remains” confirms that God’s wrath existed toward mankind prior to Christ. It is clear then that God’s wrath is not brought about by the rejection of the Gospel, but by our natural rebellion, though, no doubt, the rejection of God’s Son would add immensely to God’s indignation.
So, though God’s just wrath has been satisfied by Jesus’ sacrifice, those who do not believe on His Son will nevertheless have to face His fierce judgment, because His wrath continues to abide on them.
BENEVOLENT, BUT RIGHTEOUS
God’s wrath is hard to imagine because He is kind to those who He is angry with. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt 5:45). Nevertheless, God (and Jesus since His ascension) has been judging the peoples of the earth throughout history and, in the end, He will bring all before His throne for His final judgment.
Therefore, we should warn people who haven’t believed in God’s Son as their substitute, for their sins to be forgiven, not to think that His goodness towards them means that He won’t judge them in His wrath, because He most certainly will!
I believe that John the apostle reflects the general will of God toward us when he says, ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers’ (3 John 1:2). Having said that, contentment without these is often necessary too. Also, ‘prosper’ here does not mean ‘gain great wealth’, but that things may go well.
Prosperity is Not Everything
Prosperity is like health. They are blessings, but they’re not everything. Paul left Trophimus ill at Miletus and Timothy was instructed to take wine for his stomach and his frequent ailments. Nevertheless, that does not mean that we cannot trust the Lord for healing nor does it prevent us from teaching others to do the same too. But, it does show us that God may allow us to go through unpleasant experiences while we are still in our fallen bodies and in this fallen world.
Similarly, expecting God to prosper us is not abnormal as long as it does not override a greater expectation that God will most certainly give us the grace needed for whatever the circumstances are that He permits.
Contentment is Better
So, though prosperity is a blessing, nevertheless contentment without prosperity is far better than prosperity itself. In Php 4:11-13, Paul says, ‘Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’
Clearly prosperity is a blessing, but it should never be the goal. Instead, our goal should be faith with contentment.
“MOUNTAINS, FALL ON US…HILLS, COVER US” are words that have echoed in history, and the echo has not ended.
BUT, WHOSE WORDS ARE THESE?
The prophet Hosea spoke of Israel’s impending judgment with these words: “The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, ‘Cover us,’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us'” (Hosea 10:8).
Just as the prophet predicted, it came to pass that God judged Israel (the northern tribes) by the hand of the Assyrians.
On His way to the cross there were women who were weeping for Jesus. “Turning to them Jesus said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us,” and to the hills, “Cover us”‘” (Luke 23:28-30).
It came to pass that Jesus, being at the right hand of God, came in judgment in that same generation and destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.
ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'” (Rev 6:15-17).
Just as surely as the previous judgments occurred that were foretold by the prophet Hosea against Israel and by Jesus against Jerusalem, along with countless other judgments by God and His Son throughout history, so too will this final judgment occur against all the people of the world.
SEVERITY OF GOD’S JUDGMENT
Consider the severity of God’s judgment if death by falling rocks and mountains is preferable to facing ‘him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’
WHO CAN BE SPARED?
Because of His great love for us, God is not willing that any should perish, let alone face judgment. In fact, in order to rescue us, the full severity of God’s righteous anger toward us was experienced by Christ on our behalf. By Jesus’ sacrifice, justice and wrath were fully satisfied in order that through faith and repentance no one need face God’s judgment.
“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
In short, yes, it is quite normal to get sick and not be miraculously healed. And, while there are definitely some who are not healed when they could have been, it will relieve many to learn that it is Biblically normal not always to receive a miracle.
Reasons Why Many Are Not Healed
Here are a few reasons why many do not find healing:
Just as when He was in Nazareth, Jesus cannot do miracles where there is unbelief.
Mat 13:58 And he did not do many mighty works there (His hometown of Nazareth), because of their unbelief.
Our Faith vs God’s Gift of Faith
We don’t need lots of our faith. We simply need a Rhema word that imparts a gift of faith from God, and it need only be the size of a mustard seed.
Luke 17:5-6 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Sin, Consequences and Punishment
While Jesus healed “all” who came to Him or who were brought to Him regardless of their past behavior, subsequent to His ascension He clearly allowed and even brought sickness upon His own because of their behavior. Where sickness is brought on by sin and there is no repentance, we cannot expect healing.
For example, some were sick and even died because of their the attitude that they had around the Lord’s Supper.
1 Cor 11:28-33 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—
Others were warned that they would receive sickness as a punishment if they did not repent of evil. Jesus is not going to immediately heal such a person without repentance.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works
We Only Taste Now What We’ll Later Eat
We are told that we can have a taste of the powers of the age to come. Constant healing and wholeness is not tasting, but a meal. This meal has been paid for, but is reserved for His coming.
Hebrews 6:4-5, having tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.
Premature Expectation for Constant Physical Wholeness
While Jesus demonstrated His kingdom in its fullness when He came, which meant ALL were healed and even the dead were raised, nevertheless the kingdom will only completely manifest this fullness at Christ’s return. Until then we can receive tastes of the things to come, but clearly the Spirit did not come to exactly fully replicate Jesus’ healing ministry through the Church, because otherwise He failed.
Remember too, though He does heal our bodies even now, the fact that Jesus healed the blind was also as a sign that He would heal the spiritually blind, and that He healed the sick was a sign that He would heal the spiritually sick, and that He raised the dead was sign that He raises the spiritually dead.
While these were signs of power over the physical, they pointed to His power in the spiritual. And, clearly He has chosen to attend primarily to our spiritual need first through our rebirth, then to the renewal of the mind, and only at His coming will we receive our new glorious bodies.
Rom 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
2 Cor 5:2-4 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling … For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Sick and Unhealed Saints in The New Testament
Besides those being disciplined, the Bible clearly shows that even the best of saints were sick and not miraculously healed. Consider –
Php 2:26-27 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
1 Tim 5:23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
2 Tim 4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.
Jesus’ Expectation for the Church
Jesus had an expectation that we would care for the sick in His Body, the Church, and not necessarily heal them. Take a look:
Mat 25:34-6 Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. WHEN I WAS SICK, YOU TOOK CARE OF ME, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
Furthermore, Jesus clearly understood the normality of sickness and physicians.
Luke 5:31, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do.”
Does God Still Heal Today?
Yes! But, He has a far greater agenda than running a healing Drive Thru.
Psalm 41:3 The LORD will strengthen him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to health.
Whether you will be healed miraculously now, or naturally now, or at His return, your healing is coming.
2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness…
Whether we receive a miracle, or are comforted in our hope, ‘in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us’.
The Devil knows that he is defeated and he also knows that he has no authority over a Christian’s life. However, being the deceiver that he is, he wants you to believe that he is still a threat to you and has authority over you.
It’s to the extent that we believe him over God’s word that we are defeated. Sometimes, he or his demons don’t even have to participate in defeating us, because our own thoughts, feelings or bad doctrine are enough to bring us down.
Our ultimate salvation is secure through trusting in Jesus’ work on our behalf at the cross. Yet, clearly, we can still have a hard time here on earth and be made ineffective for God’s kingdom through faulty faith.
Today, I read an article on the value of communion. I believe that, more than anything, it establishes us with the right perspective by reminding us of what has been done on our behalf to make us safe with God. Sharing communion isn’t just a nice idea left for us by Jesus. It is a way of armoring ourselves for battle! Consider these verses the next time you take communion and I believe that they will become more meaningful to you on a daily basis:
…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Eph. 6:10-18).
When last did you have communion? Perhaps today is a good time!
The Bible is clear about how we as mankind stand before God. Romans 3:23 says,“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and Romans 3:11-12 says, “There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God… there is none that does good, no, not one.” Because of our sinful nature it is impossible for us to live up to God’s standards and be righteous in and of ourselves.
Despite our sinful condition, God, in His love, made a way to make us righteous so that we could forever be in His presence. He sent Jesus to take our sin upon Himself, and the penalty for our sin, death. In this way God could satisfy His holy anger toward sin and at the same time He could justify us and declare us righteous. But most of all He could satisfy His love for us.
So, through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be made righteous. And, righteousness is a free gift that is given, once and for all, to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Below are some verses from the Bible that tell us this:
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight …But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law… the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation(satisfying God’s anger) by his blood, to be received by faith…For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Rom. 3:20-28).
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …” (1Peter 3:18).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Empowered to Succeed
At the point that we are made right with God, our nature is also changed and His Spirit comes to live inside of us enabling us to love Jesus and keep His commandments.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Apart from this grace we could never love Him properly nor keep His commandments.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so you do not do what you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16-25).
God is Approachable
Hebrews 12:1 speaks of “the sin that so easily entangles us”. Essentially, we sin when we fail to walk in the power of the Spirit. Yet, despite sinning, weare forever called the righteousness of God! This, however, doesn’t mean that we are licensed to freely sin. Nor does it mean that sin doesn’t have consequences. What it does mean is that we can forever freely enter God’s presence where we can enjoy His love and friendship and be enabled to satisfy a new inner desire to love God and those around us.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).