19 March, 2012


"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")" ~Galatians 3:13

That curse is fully outlined in Deuteronomy 28. It includes all manner of tragedy, failure, loss, defeat, sickness, illness, malfunction (I think some of those words are the same thing, but you get the picture). If it is bad, it is listed in that chapter. The Lord goes so far as to list "every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law" (v. 61). If you can think of it, it is listed under the Curse. That is what Jesus took upon Himself. Jesus did not just bare our sins on the cross. He took everything. 

We sing a son about our redemption: "let the redeemed of the Lord say so." We get to the bridge, and chant "I am redeemed" about 30 times. It's a good song. It makes me happy to hear a song sung at my church that is also done at all those conventions I go to that are put on by a bunch of preachers my church is not too fond of. Yet, do we actually believe it?

We claim we are redeemed from the Curse (the Curse placed upon this whole earth the day that Adam fell), but we do not act much like we are at times. Once the song ends, we tend to go back to talking about everything wrong with the world around us. We talk about our financial troubles. Complain about gas prices. Exalt our failing health. "Hope" God will come through for us. "Believe" things will improve. In short, we (myself often included) do not act very redeemed from the Curse.

 What is sad is that too many Christians assume God has them right where He wants them. They assume their financial situation is tough, because that is God's way of teaching them to trust. Some assume that God only heals in select cases, based upon whether or not He will get more glory out of it or not. Many struggle with various addictions, and have been led to believe that God is slowly "walking them through the process" of overcoming their sins, rather then freeing them instantly. Here is the issue that arises with these thought processes: they are "anti-redemption." 

You see, salvation encompasses all of those areas. To say that God won't bless you financially is to say that a piece of redemption is being arbitrarily held back from you. To say that it is God's will to heal some and not others ("for His glory") is to say that He is arbitrarily withholding a part of His redemption from some of His children. And to say that God frees some instantly from addictive behaviors and not others is to (your guessed it) say that He is randomly granting the full plan of redemption to some and not to others. Not to mention, that unintentionally calls Jesus a liar. Remember John 8:36?

Here's the point: redemption covers everything the devil can come up with. Jesus took a beating so we can be healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1Peter 2:24). He bore sickness and disease, as well as our sin. He bore the Curse so that we do not have to. For anyone to operate under any symptoms of the Curse is a violation of the Scripture and God's plan of redemption. It cheapens what Jesus went through on our behalf. It is important that we believe the words of that song we declare. More important that we believe the Words our God has given to us. It is that simple. 

Notice I didn't say easy. I know as well as anyone that there is a huge difference between ease and simplicity. Jesus didn't say everything would be easy, but He did promise that the world had no power to harm us (John 16:33). The Bible calls us over-comers (Romans 8:37). It reminds us that Jesus came to destroy all the things the devil uses to brings us down (1John 3:8). Jesus didn't rob Satan of his devices so that He could turn around and use them on us, instead. If there is anything going on in your life or a life of a loved one that is in stark violation to the Scriptures, remember: you are redeemed. Right this very moment. Addictions of any kind have absolutely no power of you. Sickness has no right to be in your body (and it is not God's will that it be there). Finances will not be your downfall. You have been rescued from all those things. 

"The Bible might say that, but it isn't happening in my life; what do you have to say to that?" Check back later... 

(you have to admit, that was a pretty good cliff-hanger)  

02 March, 2012


'But [H]e said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [M]y power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me' ~2Corinthians 12:9, NIV.

This Scripture came to mind the other day as my wife and I were praying. My wife was acknowledging His faithfulness in the midst of various trials, and the Lord brought to my mind this passage of Scripture as a biblical example of what He is endeavoring to do in or lives and in the lives of all those who will let Him. This passage is one that I find to be very misunderstood within the Body of Christ today, so before I can fully explain what the Lord placed on my heart, let's dispels the myths:

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2Corinthians 12:7-9.

 The first myth we need to dispel is that Paul was not sick. Many people point to this passage as an "excuse" for why God does not always heal people. That's not what this passage is saying (nor is it the discussion we are having here at this time). The Bible is extremely clear: it was a messenger from Satan. Some Scriptures use the word "infirmities" in this passage. That word means "weakness" not "sickness." This was an intense attack on Paul's mind, will or emotions. We talk about "crucifying the flesh" all the time. Last time I looked, nobody was committing suicide for Christ. That's the flesh he is talking about here: the carnal side of our humanity.

Our next myth to dispel: God did not do it. The messenger was sent from Satan to stop Paul from growing in his faith and teaching God's people. God does not use Satan to accomplish His purposes. Satan is self-employed. If he were following the Lord's instructions he wouldn't be in the state we find Him now. God is not responsible, Satan is.

Thirdly, we must remember: God didn't say "no." It has been taught repeatedly that Paul went to the Lord for help and that God said "no." Reread that Scripture. Where do we see the word "no"? Jesus responded by saying "my grace is sufficient for you." Meaning: you already have everything you need to overcome whatever the enemy throws at you.

The Lord was showing me this the other day: that we are growing in His grace, making the testings and trials of Satan all the easier to overcome. We have been in Paul's position many times - begging God to "make it stop." But, as we can see here, that is not a Scriptural prayer. How man of us still do that, though? How many times to we go before the Lord, worn-out and ragged, and ask Him to simply make it stop? His answer to us all is: My grace is sufficient for you.

 I am noticing that everyday. Things that once frightened me and seemed impossible to overcome seem easier to face these days. The devil never quits. So we need to stop praying and asking the Lord to make that happen. What we can do, however, is come boldly before His throne and obtain what we need to overcome (Hebrews 4:16). That's what Paul learned in his situation. Remember, this is the man who wrote "in all things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37), and "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). Does that sound consistent with the teaching that God told Paul "no"? On the contrary, God is not going to make life go away. He is not going to put an end to the devil before his time. He is going to strengthen you to overcome everything that comes your way. He will provide the escape (1Corinthians 10:13). And He is not the one Who is causing it to happen (James 1:13).