Thursday, January 16, 2014

God Our Healer (Guest Post, Jeffrey Hubbard)

If there is one idea that I think is worthy of a blog post it is the idea that God is in the business of healing.
What do I mean? Doesn't that seem obvious? Well maybe not.

Most evangelical Christians hold to substitutionary atonement or the idea that Jesus had to pay our legal debt so that we could be freed from sin. Let me be clear, I absolutely believe this is the case. However it is not the whole case. My reason for saying this is that when we only speak in legal terms we miss a lot of what Scripture has to say on how Jesus has worked on our behalf and we miss how we are not only justified but we are glorified and changed.

Let's first look at the definition of sin. Generally,  we think of sin as a breaking of a law or rule, an act of rebellion and the penalty must be paid. That penalty is death, sickness and suffering. However as a Wesleyan I believe that sin is also a sickness that is both the result and the cause of lack of love for God and others. If sin is not just a broken law but is a lack of love, and causes further lacking of love, than sin makes us sick and is itself a sickness. To see how a lack of love is a sickness it will help to look at what God is after in His project called creation.

So what is God after in this whole creation thing? It is the realization of the overflow of love that is active within God. That is to say, God is love, creates out of love and desires to give His love in personal relationship to His creatures, especially those He has made in His image.

The problem of sin is that for love to exist there must be the potential, only a potential,  for a lack of love. This potential became actual in the Fall and humanity became ill and unable to act out of love.
So sin is a sickness that God first had to quarantine (Gen.3-11) and then He set out to heal it (new heart, Jesus' death and resurrection,  the giving of the Holy Spirit, the promise of His return and the resurrection to everlasting life, white throne judgment) just as any good physician would with any deadly, contagious disease. 

Pentecostals have a habit, as do many other Christians, of thinking of healing as only being Divine intervention or coming through medicine. However,  I would argue that salvation is healing, sanctification is healing, victorious death is healing, right relationship within a family is healing. 

 I believe everything God does is about healing the effects of sin so that every person who is willing to be loved and love will receive the power to love through Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice. First God gives all people sufficient grace to respond to His gospel and when they do He empowers them through the justifying and sanctifying work of Jesus imparted through the Holy Spirit.

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