FORGIVENESS AND HEALING
Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Much error abounds across our religious land today concerning health and healing, with little, or no mention concerning true godly forgiveness! But we must not allow these waters from the dragon’s mouth to pollute us. Let the earthy ones, who sit not in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, swallow it up. But let us have none of this deception! (Rev. 12:15,16).
The Scriptures are very clear concerning the primary reason for the Incarnation and the Atonement! Let us consider some verses. 1 Tim. 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Matt. 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
And in Psalm 67:2 we read of God’s “saving health!” That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. In the first verse the Psalmist is crying out for mercy – a grace for the guilty alone! And in the fourth verse of this psalm, he seeks for righteous judgment and government of all the nations on earth! So this health is specifically the health provided for the soul of man!
Healing Used to Show Forgiveness
And let us now consider the very words from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in our text from Matthew chapter nine. Notice his immediate response after seeing faith! Faith pleases God! (Heb. 11:6). In chapter eight he had just been thrown out of the borders of the people who cared more about hogs than they did people. In fact, their whole city came out (8:34) to get him to leave. They had rather have their hogs than God’s Lamb! That had to be disappointing!
But now he comes into his own city (Capernaum) and finds faith. The contrast is so great that he suddenly exclaims to the paralytic, Son, be of good cheer! The next words may surprise most religionists of our day! For he didn’t add, “I going to heal your body!” But the delight of God exclaims that He is doing the greatest thing he can accomplish for the sinner – thy sins be forgiven thee!
Then there had to be a heretofore unexperienced joy in the heart of that bed ridden frame! For immediately old things passed away, and all things became new! At once he was translated out of the kingdom of darkness, where he was led about by Satan and his own lusts, into the kingdom of the dear Son of God! The toxic fumes of transgression, lust, pride and self centeredness were dispelled by the sweet aroma of righteousness and joy unspeakable, full of glory! BUT! He was still paralyzed in his physical body!
And want to take a guess as to who murmured against this wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defiled? It was murmured against by the religious gang! Mark adds a phrase that Matthew omits. Mark reveals that they said, who can forgive sins but God only? And they were right! Jesus Christ as very God did forgive this son his sins!
Then the Lord, who can see the faith of the righteous in verse two, is now said to know the thoughts of the wicked in verse four. He poses to them a question. He asks, “Which is easier, to say, thy sins be forgiven, or, take up thy bed and walk?” We must remember that what God says, happens! So he is not just talking about lip service, but about commanding it to be so! And neither can be effectually commanded except upon the basis of his accomplished redemption!
Now he sets in proper order God’s relation between Forgiveness And Healing! The physical healing will only follow the spiritual forgiveness to reveal that He, as the Son of man, has power on earth to forgive! Therefore the paralytic would rise up in order to reveal that the Lord Jesus would rise up for his justification! Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Long before the Lord would exclaim, All power is given to me in heaven and earth, (Matt.28:18) he would display this to these people who glorified God, which had given such power unto men! (V.8).
Exodus 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
In the early history of God’s dealings with his people after isolating them from Egypt, into the wilderness, this precedent of Forgiveness And Healing was established! For in this account, recorded here in Exodus 15 we can clearly see it!
Let us first consider the words, and there he proved them in verse 26. In Exodus 20:20 we have a more extended and meaningful view of this phrase. For there it says, for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. So we see that God’s “proving them” has to do with his dealing with their sin! So this comes first in God’s requirements!
Then we read in verse 26, that only with their diligent hearkening to God, and listening and keeping his commands, will he put none of these diseases upon thee, which I brought upon the Egyptians! Here we see that the Lord, early on, establishes this order with his newly delivered people Israel!
The Christian Era
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
There are three “Is any” questions set forth here for instruction in the Christian era. The first – Is any among you afflicted? – is an instruction to any individual believer who has gotten in trouble with the Lord and is being afflicted for his correction in righteousness. He is to pray for his own forgiveness and correction. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The next question requires little explanation. Then the third, and last, brings us to our subject. Is any among you sick? As we have already set forth, God’s healing of sickness is a physical, visible matter which is to show the spiritual, invisible work of the Spirit within the heart of the elect of God! Here are two verses that come from the mouth of our Lord that present this.
John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
In the first verse our Lord informs the disciples that this sickness was not the result a specific affliction. Sin, in general to all mankind brings sickness, in general to all mankind! And the works of God were manifest in that situation.
Then in the second, that concerning Lazarus’ physical death, there was opportunity for the Lord to show that the resurrection is not just an event, like the majority of religion believes! But The Resurrection is a Person, Jesus Christ! For here Christ would be glorified as life giving God!
But back to our verse in James 5:14. Even in this third question, which concerns the believers who ‘come down’ with some type of illness, the provision of the church’s prayers for them includes this statement, this promise from the Spirit: the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. The afflicted believer knows of his wrong doing, and prays for himself concerning his sin. But the sick believer is not without sins! None of us are, at any time of our spiritual lives!
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Gal. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
The Glorious Local Church
What a blessing it is to have spiritual fellowship in a true local church! None perfect, but all going on to perfection in the Lord! They experience continuous cleansing of the soul by the washing of water by the word of God! (Eph. 5:26). The glorious gospel is opened to hearts, and hearts are opened to the Scriptures! (Luke 24:32, 45). The toxic fumes from the lust of the flesh and pride of life are blown away by the breath of the Spirit!
The work of spiritual photosynthesis is sustained by Him, for they receive the Light of the Son, even with the carbon dioxide of the world’s sinfulness, and not returning evil for evil, sugar and oxygen are sent forth! The individual believers as leaves heal every nationality wherein she dwells! For she not only produces her fruit in it’s season, but exchanges the toxic air of sin, for the sweet, clean atmosphere of godliness wherein her people are made spiritually healthy. And this, not without great physical benefit! Isa. 66:14.
Those two words, the leaf in Ezekiel 47:12, which are for medicine, come from the Hebrew word translated, and offered him up in Genesis 22:13! For these ‘leaves,’ are ever lifting up to the Son’s rays, neutralize the evil by the inner Spirit’s good! They are but living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, ready to do good to others as Christ hath done for them! These are those joints in the Body of Christ that supplieth! Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. O God, return thy church to holiness!
Pastor Gene Breed
January 31, 2010