Saturday, March 9, 2013

Even the Lame Can Limp Into Glory

Continuing with the subject of Divine Healing, with a review of some pertinent scripture verses: Isaiah 53:3-51 Corinthians 13:9-10Romans 8:10-11Ephesians 1:13-14John 9:1-3Luke 10:1-12Mark 16:15-181 Corinthians 12Matthew 9:28-30Mark 9:23-24Mark 6:1-61 Corinthians 11:27-32James 5:14-20; Revelation 22:1-3

As grateful as we can all be for the manifold blessings God brings our way in this life--forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, participation in the work of God, answer to our prayers, provision for our needs, healing for our bodies--we need to remember that these mortal coils were born of Adam's race and can only receive the earnest (i.e. down payment) of our inheritance in Christ. We don't get anything perfectly or completely in this life, because what is mortal must be put off before what is immortal, or perfect, can be put on.


I think this proves true for the Spirit of God we receive through Christ, for our knowledge of God, even for our faith in God, and certainly for those bodily blessings made possible by Christ's death and resurrection. For now, we live in the realm of the partial awaiting the day of the complete. In this divine health is no exception to the rule! It has always been thus for the redeemed of God on fallen earth, it will be so until Christ returns.

Look at those who have gone before: Paul had physical problems; Timothy had physical problems; Jacob had physical problems; David had physical problems. All of them had the same gracious Father we have, who granted them the same kinds of promises and benefits we depend upon. How can we avoid the same experience of bodily health they faced? If faith is the key, as I've claimed it is, which of us would seriously put our faith up against any of theirs?

Since we cannot avoid the thing (death itself) that more than anything else proves that this is not place of ultimate fulfillment, should we not walk in humility while we humbly accept what it is that God will do for us hereGod can do virtually anything, that's true. But how often, really, does he replace a detached limb, or separate a set of conjoined twins, or fuse a severed spine? Likely, there are anecdotes of healing concerning each of those scenarios, and there is no reason to believe, should the Holy Spirit inspire the gift, that any one of us could not speak forth such wonders today, but are we guaranteed such action here and now?

Personally, I look in faith for the blessing of Moses and Caleb to be mine. Yet, in that pursuit I also know that a refusal to accept reality is not the same as faith, that bearing false testimony is not the same as confession, and that nothing in life is a reason to give up on God. So please, dear readers, don't settle for less than God's grace and faith provides, but understand this: even blind with only one arm to raise in praise, we can still limp into glory.

Addendum: A great post on this subject by a Southern Baptist missionary.

14 comments:

  1. I'm not sure where to start. There is much about the subject of healing that we seem not to understand and/or experience. My experiences must not dictate my faith. My faith must be firmly planted in the Word of God.Psalm 103 states that we should not forget all His benefits - who forgives all our iniquities and heals all our diseases. Is this a true statement? I believe it is. He forgives all my sin and
    cleanses me from all unrighteousness. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was not partial it was complete. My salvation has been purchased with His precious blood and the stripes that were put on Him were for my healing. Matthew 8:17 states, "And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah..." Did He or did He not??

    It is true that many in the Bible suffered with physical problems and it is also true that many did receive healing based on their faith. Jesus used words like "great faith"; "no faith"; "little faith"; "according to your faith". Faith works, it always has and it always will. But we must be careful not to base our faith on experience, mine, yours, or even those we read about in the Bible. Faith must be based on the Word of God and nothing else. Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. If I am healthy and strong physically I do not need faith for physical strength. But if I am sick then I need to stand in faith and believe God for the impossible. My faith then becomes the substance or the thing which stands under what I am hoping for. I reach out in faith and receive what I'm hoping for even though I do not see that thing I'm hoping for.

    Romans 8:11 - But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your MORTAL bodies..." Notice it does not say "immortal" but our mortal bodies will receive life.

    2Cor. 4:13 - "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak."

    We should not have the mentality that we are going to limp into Glory. We should go into Glory standing firm on the unfailing Word of God praising His holy name all the way.

    I know first hand what it is like to be in pain and discomfort. I know what it is like to "feel" like you can't take another step. I know how it feels when your joints refuse to bend and your feet feel like your walking on marbles. But I refuse to let pain and discomfort control what I believe. I am not moved by what I feel or see. What moves me is the powerful Word of our Lord. The almighty power of God which is in His Word is working mightily in me. God's Word is life to me and health to all my flesh.

    I told you that you hit a nerve!

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  2. Larry,
    After reading and rereading your comment, I really don't know how we are apart practically, for what you describe as your approach to your own physical struggles is basically the approach what I have shared so far would perscribe. You keep trusting in God's provision as you walk through the realm of the not yet perfect. Despite pain and discomfort you look to God and continue in faith. What you have described could serve as a case in point for what I have shared.

    Let me ask you a couple of questions that may help our discussion about this subject. 1) Are we going to die? If so, how can it be said that all that Christ accomplished on the cross is efficacious now? Is there not a "now but not yet" aspect to it? Paul seemed to think so in I Corinthians 15. 2) Do you know God like he knows you? If not, then have you come into all that Christ has a mind to achieve in us? Paul seems to say no in I Corinthians 13.

    To say what I have said does not in any way impugn what Christ has accomplished through his atonement, once and for all time. All it does say is that God has arranged things in such a way that we cannot receive all of it in this life. If I lost a leg in this life, I certainly hope I would indeed limp into glory rather than hobble off in unfaithfulness.

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  3. Another great post!

    I think one of the flaws in our thinking is that we have a limited view of salvation.

    Paul repeats himself 3 times in his letters to the Corinthians that we are BEING (continuous, present tense) saved (1:18, 15:2, 2:15) whereas we tend to think that we have BEEN (past tense) saved.

    But that word saved is "sozo" which basically means to be made whole, to be fully restored.

    God is restoring us. We should expect to see evidence of salvation, "sozo", in increasing measure in our lives every day - e.g. relational wholeness with God and with one another. But it is for sure that we will not see the fullness of every kind of wholeness this side of the new earth. We will leave this earth with some measures of brokenness still waiting to be fully restored.

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  4. slw - Indeed it is better to "limp into Glory" than to "hobble off into unfaithfulness" - but wouldn't it be better to go into Glory victorious by that which Christ has provided for us in this life.

    It is true that we have an appointment with death.Our earthly tabernacle will one day be laid aside but our sspirits will not die. There will be no need for healing in heaven because sickness will not be there. We can be assured if we are missing a leg in this life when we reach the portals of Glory we will be standing on two feet. Healing is something we need now in this life.

    I am encouraged by the fact that I can find no place in scripture where anyone ask Jesus for healing and walked away without it. Even Paul was told, "my grace(unmerited favor;undeserved blessing) is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect(or complete) in weakness." Paul went on to say, "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Paul was not denied healing or anything else.Paul was made aware that the strength of the Lord is sufficient for any need. The Lord is the strength of my life.

    I do not know all but I know the One who does know all. My faith is not in what I might know but in what He knows and has revealed to me. My faith is firmly planted in His Word. The Holy Spirit has been given to me to guide me into all truth. To take that which belongs to Christ and show it to me. As long as I am connected to the vine what flows in the vine will also flow in me, one of the branches. The life that is in the vine is the same life that is flowing in me because I am connected to the vine.

    I enjoy reading your thoughts but we must be careful not to give people the idea that what Christ has provided might not be able to be received in this life. Our sins have been washed away by placing faith in the finished work of the cross. When we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all our sin. In this life and in the life to come. I am saved by faith even if I don't feel saved. I am saved by faith even if I don't always act like I saved. The same holds true with healing. I am healed by faith regardless of what I may feel or see.

    May the blessing of the Lord rest upon you.

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  5. It's the "what ifs", "He cans", "someday", and "if He wills" that seem to snare us and get us into trouble when it comes to healing. I am interested in what the Word says I can have in the here and now. Here on earth, right now, is where I need it. If faith is the key factor to receiving (healing), then I want to know how to appropriate it in my (present)life.

    Larry, I am on the same page with you. "We must be careful not to give people the idea that what Christ has provided might not be able to be received in this life."
    Not only do we have a "limited view of salvation" but also a limited view of faith.

    Another thought...who said this appointment with death means we have to leave this life diseased/or crippled(?), if the atonement is true, "by whose stripes ye were healed." IPtr 2.24

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  6. Larry, Amerikan. Great points.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that the ball's in our court. Jesus paid the price in full and it's irreconcilable that He doesn't want what He's paid for - in full.

    So I feel I'd like to elaborate my earlier comments, and also receive some welcome sharpening from your well articulated arguments.

    I don't know about you but I live in this agonising tension between all that Jesus has provided and my inability to secure it in full while ever my spirit is warring with my flesh - and my flesh will war with my spirit while ever I have it, just as all who have gone before me have done. Hence, I know I will never be totally free of this battle on this earth and in that I recognise I can only look forward to the fullness, in every measure, in every way, of all that Christ has done, until a future time when I see Him face to face without this resistance from my own flesh. I cannot escape this fact.

    Having said that ...

    I 100% believe that Jesus has made total wholeness of every kind available to us. It is our own faith that fails to secure it. I think Jesus was very clear on that point! e.g. Mark 19.

    But neither can I defend a defeatist attitude towards my own relative lack of faith. I am exercising it at every opportunity and by His grace I am growing in faith daily and seeing more and more people healed every single week - praise Jesus! (See my own blogs for regular testimonies and lessons learnt)

    But this war between our own flesh and our own spirit is truly agonising. And I think from reading all the comments here that we all recognise it. His work is perfect and complete. Our own - contending for faith - is very much a work in progress. That to me seems to be the nub of the matter. Would you agree?

    The reality is that there will be those who contend for the healing that Jesus has paid for us, and those who don't. I'm in the former camp. But I must be careful not to destroy the faith of those who I recognise to be in the latter camp. It's a tricky balance to get right - to allow people, even ourselves, to "limp into glory", but at the same time to remain true to the Scriptures and to keep on contending for more faith to secure the promises therein - and encouraging others to do likewise without squashing what they do have. I really battle with this. Perhaps too much?

    So I very much appreciate your exhortation not to give the impression that "what Christ has provided might not be able to be received in this life" and in one sense I acknowledge a corrective check in my spirit. Thank you. But in another sense I think we must acknowledge that this is actually true - not because He is holding back, but because we are lacking in faith.

    I suggest that what we must be careful not to give is the impression that what Christ did for us is any way incomplete or lacking in extravagance, or that His desire for us to receive it is anything less than 100%.

    The issue is us. It has always been us. That's why I believe that we are BEING sozo'd - as we contend for greater faith, we receive and minister a greater measure of the complete wholeness that Christ secured for us - until the day that we are free of our flesh and what we were agonisingly unable to secure by faith floods over us anyway. Oh, what a day that will be! Outrageous grace!

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  7. slw...very nice, humble, reflective comment, which to me, says it all. Like you, I'm in the former camp you mention but still learning to appropriate my faith and make it active.

    Whether we are in the "former camp" or the "latter camp", I think the importance of correct teaching on the subject is paramount. There was a time in my life where I believed that God healed, today, but it was not a strong conviction. Only until I heard more enlightened teaching on the subject, read more and eventually taught the subject, myself, did my faith begin to grow in that area of my life.

    There are denominations/organizations that are weak in teaching their parishioners about divine healing. Rhema in Tulsa, Oklahoma has taken this a step further and offers to the public at large, specialized healing classes called Healing School. You can go as long as you desire and is set up for "hands on" prayer after the teaching sessions for those desirous of healing in their bodies. This has produced positive results of healings which otherwise may not have occured. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Rom. 10.17 The true Greek rendering of that verse is "hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing." It is a process of consistency.

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  8. slw - I offer this to you or anyone else that might be interested. On my blog is a page titled "Who I am In Christ" it is at the top of the page below the header. I would copy and paste it here but it is a bit long. I did not write it but I have adopted it. I hope you enjoy it. Please go to www.ggtwo.wordpress.com Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such an important subject. We have all benefitted from your insight.

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  9. Amerikan,
    I think you meant to refer your last comment to Mark.

    To Mark, Amerikan, & Larry:
    We may end up having to agree to disagree on some of these points. I think, however, all of us seem to be in the same ballpark in practice; i.e. that healing has been provided in the atonement, is readily available to us and that faith is our means of appropriating it.

    As far as what can be had here and now and what cannot be had, I see the scriptures as clear on the subject. No matter how much faith one has in the eternal life that Christ has vouchsafed for us, if Jesus tarries, that one will still die. We cannot have (physical) life unassailable by death (or even insusceptible to sickness), even though it has been thoroughly, completely supplied for us by Christ's passion. That is scriptural fact and I see no danger in declaring it. There are other areas of blessing (some mentioned in the body of the post) for which the same can be said-- absolutely, completely provided for by what Christ has finished but not achievable in the here and now, regardless of how much faith one has. Again, this is clearly taught by scripture and I see no danger in declaring it. The principle is well established, denying it would be unscriptural.

    IMHO not acknowledging the nature of the partial, and thereby living with the expectation that one can gain it all here and now, is likely to result in either existential frustration (no contentment) or psychotic spirituality (incapable of admitting reality). I don't see either possibility as abundant life.

    It's a whole 'nother animal if someone ceases to stretch for the high-calling of God (Phil 3:11-16) just because in this life he or she will always be stretching. That would be immature and anything but faithful.

    I like what Mark said about the struggle to develop a faith which can lay hold of what is provided through Christ (that is a big part of this), as long as its borne in the peace that Christ also purchased for us. I have seen folk become self-absorbed trying to have more faith or beating themselves up over not being able to. The most fundamental thing Christ provided for us is an actual, experiential fellowship with him. Eyes glued on him will do more to perfect faith, then constantly trying to scare faith up in order to do or get things.

    As for the title phrase of this post, it may have been misunderstood gauging by your comments. I was not making a figurative statement about eeking into the Kingdom of God, unblessed, waiting for the sweet by and by. I was dealing with the loss of a body part. Do you fellas believe that, let's say, a soldier who's lost a leg should claim by faith that sometime before he dies his leg is going to grow back? Sure it's possible with God, but is that what we mean when we talk of appropriating healing through the stripes of Christ here and now? Would a lack of faith be the reason he would limp into the kingdom? I don't think so.

    Mark said something else I find extremely interesting in regard to all this:
    "The reality is that there will be those who contend for the healing that Jesus has paid for us, and those who don't. I'm in the former camp. But I must be careful not to destroy the faith of those who I recognise to be in the latter camp. It's a tricky balance to get right - to allow people, even ourselves, to "limp into glory", but at the same time to remain true to the Scriptures and to keep on contending for more faith to secure the promises therein - and encouraging others to do likewise without squashing what they do have. I really battle with this. Perhaps too much?"
    I truly appreciate the heart in that statement, it reminds of Christ saying "I have much more to tell you than you can bear now." Mark, if ever anything revealed a shepherd's heart in you, it's that (don't worry, I won't start calling you pastor).

    I think we all see the centrality of faith, that the time faith is most needed is when we're most in need, that the atonement of Christ is the fountain of all blessing (and certainly healing). However, I can't say in the name of faith what I don't see in the word. There, I see clearly that this life is not the place of ultimate fulfillment but only of the earnest. What excites me, is how astonishingly broad and deep that earnest is.

    I thank you all for excellent, thought-provoking comments. Even when we differ, the interchange is edifying.

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  10. Thanks SLW. Very well put. FWIW I'm not agreeing to disagree - I'm just agreeing! (But wishing to explore the details with you all)

    I think the nature of our flesh is obvious. As Paul put it, in my flesh I find myself doing the things I do not want to do, and I find myself not doing the things I want to do. Hence, amongst other things, Paul had his thorn and came to accept that God's grace was more than sufficient for him in his current state. His inability to secure by faith what Christ did on the cross in this area of his life did not define him and his relationship with God. It did not discourage him or crush him. It was simply a fact of being a fallen man in a fallen world. I am grateful for this testimony of Paul's. I imagine he looked forward to the day that he would be free of the flesh, whilst at the same time living every day for Christ, happy and contented, and contending for greater faith for the sake of Christ's ministry of reconciliation to others.

    It all comes back to the cursed state in which we live with which you opened the series. We receive outrageous grace. We receive revelation. We contend for greater faith. But in our flesh we will always be limited. We are not set free from this state in this realm of time. We become "weird" and "dangerous" (for want of better words) if we think that we can - infact that is a different religion entirely ;-)

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  11. I guess I'm trying to pull all these threads together. I'm not convinced that they're contradictory - just facets of the same?

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  12. Mark,
    I do like your reading on all this, and I do think you and I are in the same boat rowing the same way. Your remarks (particularly the last ones) have been helpful and encouraging. The writer of Hebrews (11:39) said something instructive about those who lived in faith to those of us living by faith today:
    "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised."
    They died faithfully, exercising faith in what was not fully in their grasp. I am sure we will have to go the same way.

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  13. Agree/disagree or just an good open discussion on such an important subject that touches all of our lives in one way or another. One day when we "all get to heaven" we will rejoice over having arrived and will enjoy each others company for years to come. Thanks slw, for opening your heart to me/us. Thanks to all that have made comment thus far. You have stimulated my thinking and my desire to dig deeper into the Word of God. Truth is a beautiful thing and we can be assured that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us into truth if we will open our hearts and receive from Him.

    slw, I am looking forward to reading more of you insight on this and any other subject.

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  14. Larry,
    It's been a pleasure to have you "sittin' in."

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Any comment in ill taste or not germane to the post may be deleted without warning. I am under no obligation to give anyone an opportunity to call me names or impugn my motives or integrity. If you can't play nice, go somewhere else and play.