Archive for October, 2013

Forgiveness and the message of reconciliation

October 5, 2013

God has been teaching me about two scriptures regarding this. John 20:22, after giving the disciples the Spirit, Jesus then given them authority to forgive anyone their sins and, more scarily, if we withhold forgiveness of anyone, then it is withheld. And that despite Jesus never accusing anyone of their sins, but always forgiving.

So we can tell any ‘sinners’ that Jesus has given us authority on earth to forgive them, not based on their repentance or apology, but freely and without any precondition and without any care as to how bad or many the sins were. Jesus refused to accuse a woman who he knew had been caught red handed in the act of adultery, not because she apologised, but in his words because all her other accusers had left.

The bigger message is 2 Cor 5:17-21. Paul says that we regard no one according to the flesh, I other words we take no note of whatever evil things they have done, where they are living etc. God reconciled you and me to himself through Christ and has given us the message of reconciliation. (See Luke 4:18-19 anointed to proclaim the year of the he Lord’s favour and John 20:21 Jesus sends us in exactly the same way the Father sent Him.) That message is not one of conditional reconciliation subject to us turning from sins saying the traditional sinners prayer (that actually denies the gospel). It is the message that in Christ God was reconciling and therefore has already reconciled the world to himself. That God says even though unsaved, they are already reconciled to him. That God is not counting any of their sins against the and is not waiting for some prayer of apology.

We see this truth in the story of the prodigal son. Every day the father was looking out hoping that the son would one day return and, when the son arrives back, the father has no interest in the confession of sins. He ignores and and declares a celebration because the reconciled son is now living in the reconciliation that he did not realise he had.

God is making his appeal to the world through us as his ambassadors – God does not care about your sins, he dealt with them 2000 years ago. Jesus became sin for us and when he dropped down into hell he took all sin with him and left it there. In God’s sight all the sins and pains of the unsaved have been taken, carried by Jesus to hell and left there forever.

Jesus became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. God is declaring everyone already clean. It is an unconditional gift. No repentance. No promising to make his best efforts to change. All of that is God’s job and Jesus has already done it. It is finished, not it is started, not I did my bit, now you have to do yours!

We need to bring our message of evangelism in line with Jesus’ practice and the truth of Paul’s gospel. Stop threatening the year of the Lord’s anger and start declaring that this is the time of God’s favour. Any message declaring less than God’s favour on all mankind denies the gospel and the work of Jesus.

Can sins be a blockage to healing

October 3, 2013

Many teach that when someone is not healed, it is often due to unconfessed sin, or harbouring unforgiveness against another. Can this be true, when Jesus never required either as a precondition for healing? I say no, but I must get my theology from the bible, so here goes.

Contrary to what many believe of me, I am fixated on knowing what is true and have no problem with changing my theology when I find I was in error. Since 2009, when I heard Steve Thompson preach a message about how Satan is called Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and how he twists scripture to turn truth into falsehood, my beliefs have changed beyond all recognition.

So I have been thinking about the question of how it is that when you take people through forgiveness of others or confessing, rejecting and turning from sins, they are healed. My problem with this is that Jesus never did it. And, the one time in the gospel someone is not healed, the disciples ask Jesus what the problem was. He does not point to either of the above but in Mark says this kind only comes out by prayer (fasting was added in later versions, but not the original) or in Matthew He says the problem was the disciples (ie the healer’s) weak or puny faith/unbelief.

But I have linked this thought to the story of the paralysed man let down through the roof. The man does not get to speak, so clearly has not confessed any sins. Jesus unilaterally and unconditionally forgives his sins prior to healing the man. Maybe the sin was a blockage here. We do not know and can only speculate. But if it were, Jesus’ way was for Him (the healer) to pronounce unilateral forgiveness, not to ask the man to confess.

Paul says in Rom 8:31-32 If God is for us who (Greek tis which can also mean what) can be against us? [So this could be saying is God is for us, can sin be against us – answer an emphatic no].  Paul goes on to say:  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Not some things, but all things. John 10:10 makes it clear that ‘all’ here must mean things of life, not things that kill steal and destroy. So, healing being a ‘thing’ it is covered by this verse. It says we are given it graciously, ie by and with grace, and it is freely given us with Jesus, not conditionally given depending on our confession or forgiveness of others.

2 Cor 5:19 tells us that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. If God is not counting the unsaved’s trespasses against them, by definition they cannot be a blockage to healing. And if so for the unsaved, does God really begin counting them the moment you are saved. How about all your sins that you have done since saved either forgotten or not recognised as sin? We can never confess all of them. Is God selective, withholding the healing paid for by Jesus when he was whipped Is53 due to certain selected ones? That is simply nonsense.

Jesus became sin for us in order that in Him be may become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21. We are permanently seated with Jesus in heavenly places Eph 2:6. If sin is an issue at any given time, we cannot concurrently be seated in heaven with Jesus.

In John 20:22 Jesus gives us the authority to forgive anybody (believer or not) their sins and equally the authority to withhold forgiveness. Jesus never did the latter, so we too should not – be we can and often do. Is that what is happening here with the healing ministers? Are they withholding a forgiveness that God had given and only releasing the sick person following their confession? It would explain why people have to confess and forgive to get healed!