(Started October 18, 2021)
Here we are, hot off the heels of our Sunday message, on how we are Forgiven, and how this is a guarantee.
Interesting conversation we had at our Pastor’s meeting yesterday. So interesting that I needed to forego everything else I usually do on a Monday night just for me to go ahead and let this out of my head before anything else.
Apparently, I fit the bill as a ‘carnal’ Christian: one, who, by the definition of a good many in the church (who themselves may or may not be in the actual body of Christ, if you know what I mean), ‘puts their trust in the senses’, and therefore isn’t attuned to the ‘spiritual‘.
My response to this – and this is probably why I needed to stop everything else to type this, in order to just reinforce myself – is that it’s not that my trust is in what my senses perceive as my reality – no, it’s because I acknowledge that eternity, beyond my senses, is what is much more real to me. From another point of view, the truth of eternity overwhelms me and renders me confident to look at this reality as it is without the weight of adding flawed ‘spiritualization’ to the picture.
Also apparently, my elders in the council (or two of them, at least) have no qualms is declaring that the healing of our mortal bodies is up there as a guarantee, along with salvation and the rest of the Words in The Gospel In Ten Words.
They talked about how one other Pastor present had the ‘gift of healing’, and when we asked said Pastor what he had to say about that, he proudly announced that he had accounts of a grand total of four – yes, four – complete healings. Four out of so many prayers he had for countless other people – I guess we could say that he has a higher success rate.
As they went down this slippery path, I couldn’t contain myself. Sadly, I showed weakness, and it was in my tone of voice – I got emotional. See, this same Pastor who was apparently ‘gifted’ prayed for my own old man, oh, 2 days before he died? And I remembered his words – ‘Lord, he’s in Your hands‘; No, not ‘Lord, we command cancer to die’, not ‘Lord, we proclaim healthy organs‘, or what not – ‘Lord, he’s in Your hands’. In response to this the rest of the group in discussion, or at least those actively involved, said, ‘we don’t have a 100% batting average, but we still pray and declare it.’
To this I say, sure. Go ahead and pray. Anyone asks me to pray, I’ll pray for healing, sure. But I’m not about to go ahead and tell this person that his healing is guaranteed – I’ll say Christ is with Him whether a miracle happens or not.
The meeting eventually ended, and as usual, I did my thinking on the drive home.
If you’ve known me for a good amount of time you’ll know my stance on attraction, and obsession, to be precise. Without going into any detail, you may have heard me ask you, or tell you that I at least asked myself:
Are you in love with the person, or are you in love with your idea of the person? Are you in love with the actual person, or are you in love with what you can get from the person?
Considering this and the discussions we’ve had, I asked myself, and I might as well ask you, dear reader, something along those lines, ESPECIALLY if you identify as a Christian:
Do you believe in Christ and His finished work, or are you placing your trust in what you can get from Him? Do you spend your life celebrating Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension, and all its eternal guarantees and implications, or are you going to continue to agonize over the vague possibility that He will accede to your precise instructions on how you think people should be delivered from what you think are overwhelming circumstances?
I confess, that literal last question was convoluted and exaggerated. But really, as you go over these questions, I want you to notice the subtle, but completely vast differences in the mindsets it takes to say ‘yes’ to one over the other.
Let me be clear: I’m not about to fall into the trap of standing on how I answer any of the questions I present above. No, my answers now are for now, and are therefore subject to flaw.
What I will say is this: What overwhelms me is that Christ’s finished work guarantees that no matter where any of us stand in the vast spectrum these questions present, we are not separated from the love of God, but on the other hand, the Holy Spirit continues to remind us of His faithfulness, in spite of all we have in our heads.
No matter how I cringed and no matter how I hemmed and hawed at the discussion on healing, no matter how disappointed I felt about my co-Pastors who I thought had enough to ‘mentor’ me, no matter how disgusted I was over how weak and immature I exposed myself, Christ serves as my Rock.
Christ, who makes all things work for the good of those who love Him (read: respond to His love) and are called according to His purpose – He makes our discussion work for our good.
Christ – who constantly reminds us with every day, that His faithfulness is great, and, more importantly, absolute and infinite – He gives me peace of mind, right here, right now, teaching me, and teaching us all.
By His finished work He guaranteed that we will always, ALWAYS be with Him. He paid such a great price to prove how He would NEVER leave us, and no delusions of what my senses perceive in the here and now are going to separate me from Him.
Oh, to continually wonder how Christ paid it all for us to be with Him, and for Him to be with us now and forever – To just keep playing with that Truth, and how it plays in all this, all that we see and do not see – Does it not overwhelm us?
Last Sunday I didn’t really know where I was headed with my message. However, I am glad for the point which was birthed in the middle of my rambling at the pulpit: When you realize how God, through Christ, forgave you, your way of thinking is changed. Renovated. Overhauled.
I’m sorry because I went through all sorts of circles here, just to say the same thing: That when you understand the absolute guarantees you have, when you see what Christ and His finished work have guaranteed for you, then your being, your reality changes naturally, and inevitably, no matter what possibilities present themselves.
It’s fun and certainly a boon for one and all to realize that we are loved, forgiven, saved, accepted. It’s beautiful to continue exploring the infinite truth of our being made righteous and royal. To keep taking in how we have been placed in inseparable union, died and made new – oh, it transcends anything we could ever experience in this temporal universe! Beautiful as they are, they all trail back to Christ, who did not leave us wondering if this was all true or not – No, by His finished work, He guaranteed all this good news. He Himself is the guarantee.
Christ is our eternal guarantee, no matter what the possibilities.
Funny how Christ, whom we call absolute and unchangeable, is Who changes us. But that gives us more insight on how we acknowledge He is the Alpha and Omega, both First and Last, both Beginning and End – He who may be considered static and ‘perfect’ is also, at the same time, dynamic and eternal and infinite (!?).
Talk about rabbit holes.
How are you taking this so far?
Question is, how am I taking this so far?
Here’s a sad observation: We live in a world where it is certainly prevalent that reconciliation and salvation through Christ is a mere possibility. This is the same world that would have us think that it is prosperity and healing that are the guarantees.
Yes, healing of our physical bodies so close to the soil because it was actually crafted from the soil, healing of the same bodies we call our mortal bodies, the same bodies we say would be swapped out for new bodies in Christ’s return – People would have us exalting these experiences as guarantees, much more than what the Word says about our being new creations in more ways than one, being made entirely new beings, in which our physical bodies are only a mere perspective of.
It is the stigma of sin that would have us doubting what Christ has guaranteed. It is the fear of death that would have us desperately believing in the deliverance of our earthly circumstances.
I think our church is in a prime position to truly clarify possibilities and guarantees. We need to clarify what is absolute and what is variable.
The Word says His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways. But as I believe Christ’s finished work and the consequent reconciliation we have with God, I believe now that His thoughts, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent – they are with our thoughts, as His ways are present with our ways.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.