Matthew 9:4-6 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home."
I agree with much that has been said already, but just wanted to add my own personal experience. Healing is a sign of God's forgiveness, in as much as he forgives the sins of all of his children, however a physical healing is not a necessary product of this true healing.
The wife of one of the ministers at my church has had a brain tumor for almost a decade now, the Lord is faithful to sustain her, and although she is visibly shaken by the ailment she continues to serve joyfully, this I think is the true sign of healing.
I don't remember whom I heard this from, either Zac Poonen, Leonard Ravenhill or KP Yohannan (thats who I've been listening to lately) but I think it is an apt point. [In reflection, I'm pretty sure it was Zac Poonen, somewhere in his series entitled 'basics']
Acts 3:1-10 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayerat three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
This man evidently came to the temple gate called Beautiful, and since he was crippled from birth one could suppose that he had been doing this for quite a while... now it doesn't say how long this was after Pentecost, or after the crucifixion, but one can reasonably assume that Jesus had passed by this man on his times entering the temple. Why hadn't Jesus healed him earlier? If he was always begging there, Jesus could have gone over and touched him years ago.
But this serves a purpose in God's plan; this man's sickness gave the Apostles an opportunity to proclaim the Word of God to those whom had crucified Christ. Isn't it an amazing testimony, through his own sickness, the word of God was spoken boldly in the temple!
God allows people to have sickness; it is so that in it we may find God and his plan for our lives. Apostle Paul often complained about the thorn in his flesh, yet God didn't remove it even after Paul pleaded with him three times. Paul was an Apostle in every sense of the word, why couldn't he just drive out the sickness!? God was being glorified more in his suffering than he would have been in his healing.
Ravi Zacharias in his own personal testimony alludes to a thorn in his flesh, which led him to believe that he could never be an itinerant minister. However he also stands by the supposition that it is those who suffer that seek meaning, those who are in pain that look for the face of Jesus
and in all our comfort, we forget about the fleetingness of life and suppose ourselves to be immortal, until we have wasted the life that God has given us.
I think he said something along the lines of [because of the suffering in India] In India they do not question whether God exists, but instead, which God to believe in. [as opposed to the West where we are debating whether God exists.]
Sorry brother Ravi if I have horribly misquoted you!
The suffering that God allows in India, as well as in our lives, makes them fertile soil for the Gospel. Why would anyone think that the Gospel is especially good news if they're living comfortably and without pain? Why do you think God had to cut down the number of man's days... because the longer and more healthier we live, the less we think about God!
| 2006/11/4 14:54||Profile|
Healing is a sign of God's forgiveness, in as much as he forgives the sins of all of his children, however a physical healing is not a necessary product of this true healing.
Do you mean that 'healing of the soul' is a sign of God's forgiveness? Even then I'm not sure that I am comfortable with that connection. The only true 'sign of forgiveness' is the resurrection of Christ. If we make anything else a 'sign' we shall be looking in the wrong place for confirmation of forgiveness.
| 2006/11/4 15:06||Profile|
I was using healing in the sense that Jesus was in the verse I quoted at the start of my post... Jesus connected healing and forgiveness of sins. I don't think this is is necessarily heretical!
To continue that thought I submit 2 Cor 4:10
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
I never intended to start a topic on 'signs of forgiveness' but Apostle Paul said that we carry this sign of 'crucifixion' ie. the death and life of Jesus in our bodies... that is through the forgiveness of sins, and lives lived dying to self day by day... that in us others may see the act of forgiveness that Jesus made on the cross.
What I mean to say is that as a professing Christian, we should all be billboards for Jesus... for lack of a better anology. Whether it be in physical healing, spiritual healing, or downright suffering... we all show the marks of Jesus to the world. The sign of forgiveness is a Christian holding onto the foot of the cross and saying "Today, let me live for you, no matter what my circumstances."
Edit: as much as I can't figure out what the heck I was trying to say... I won't edit my post, but it did remind me of the essay 'Branded for Christ by Leonard Ravenhill: http://www.ravenhill.org/branded.htm
It's worth a read.
| 2006/11/4 15:23||Profile|