Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Word of Faith (Part 2)

Are you healthy and wealthy?  If not all you have to do is...trust in a false gospel.  Prosperity teaching is all over the place.  There are prosperity gospel churches all over the place and if you are not near one, than get your remote and flip over to the "Christian" channels because prosperity preachers have raided the television.  They will tell you how to become healthy and wealthy in this life but sadly they will leave your soul empty.  Today I want to look at the Word of Faith teachings of "Health and Wealth."

 Physical Prosperity is twofold – health and wealth.  Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law – sickness, poverty and death.  Health and wealth belong to the believer.  Meditation on the Word and acting on the Word will bring results.  When you act on the Word, mix your faith with it and do not doubt in your heart, the Word will work for you.
We cannot settle for prosperity in the physical or mental realm only, just as we cannot settle for spiritual prosperity alone.  We can’t afford to be lazy and to discount physical and mental prosperity simply because we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is God’s will for us to be made whole – spirit, soul and body – and to be kept that way until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Kenneth Copeland, Understanding Prosperity)
A passage often quoted by Word of Faith preachers on physical healing comes from 1 Peter 2:24:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.

This is a great passage speaking about the gospel of Jesus Christ but rather than focus on the entirety of the passage they quickly read it over to get to the words: “By his wounds you have been healed.”  This is a quotation from Isaiah the prophet where Isaiah is prophesying about the suffering servant Jesus Christ.  My argument is not against the words, “By his wounds you have been healed” because I completely affirm this truth but how the Word of Faith movement turns this into a physical healing passage.  God never promised good health in the gospel.  If good health is the point, than God didn’t need to crush his Son on a cross.
So what is the point?
The point is salvation found in Jesus Christ alone.  This passage is clear on what the life and death of Christ accomplished for sinners.  Earlier is the text Peter writes, “He committed no sin.”  This is essential because every other human being is born into sin.  Our nature is a sin nature.  We are sinners in Adam but Christ (The second Adam) “committed no sin.”  He was / is not a sinner.  Yes, he healed people.  Yes, he cured diseases.  Yes, he did call himself the great Physician.  But his perfect obedience to his Father helped accomplish the deepest issue of sin.  Not everyone who was healed by Jesus repented and trusted in Christ.  Unfortunately there were those who still loved their sin even though they were made well.  Today there are many who are relatively healthy people that have no relationship with Christ.  Christ did not come for physical healing but to wash away sins.  He could be the sinners substitute because “he committed no sin.”  Therefore he is the only One who could die in our place. 
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”  He took upon himself my sin.  Isaiah talks about this substitutionary death when he says, “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (53:4-5).  The reality of healing is ours; all of our sins washed away, God’s entire wrath against us removed and the promise of the Holy Spirit.  “By his wounds we have been healed.” 
Please do not buy into the lie that God wants you healthy, wealthy and prosperous.  He wants you to trust in his Son Jesus Christ so that you may have eternal life.  He wants you to know your sins have been forgiven in Christ.  He wants us to be like the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8 who knew the grace of God and gave in abundance out of their poverty.  Why?  So they could have more wealth?  The Bible never says that they received more wealth because they gave.  They got something even better:  The gospel!  They understood the practicality of Jesus Christ giving his life for them so they in turn gave what they had to bless the saints.  “For you know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was right, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (8:9).  They had the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives so they gave in abundance out of their poverty.  The Macedonians were concerned about the building of the gospel not the building of comfort.  Take the Macedonians gospel and cherish it.  Know that the best is yet to come.  Don’t settle for a false gospel of physical healing and wealth.  Take the true gospel which can remove sin forever! 
Grace upon grace,
JRL

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