Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin once said, “Faith begins where the will of God is known.” You must know the Word of God in order to believe what the Word says. The Word of God contains the power within itself to cause what it says to come to pass. If you believe God’s Word, and use it as God intended for you to use it, then the Word will begin to work in your life. You must act on the Word. Faith is an act! The best way to act on the Word is to speak it!
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
This verse is remarkable in what it says, so I have included several translations to give you a real opportunity to meditate on it:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], (AMP)
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (NIV)
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. (NLT)
This word “gave them up”, translated as abandoned in the NLT, is the Greek word paradidomi. It is the same word used for Judas when he betrayed Christ (Matthew 10.4). However, it is not always used in the context of betrayal or abandoning.
It can be used to committing a trust to someone – for example in Matthew 25.20, it is used about giving money to someone to look after. In Acts 15.26 it is used to describe people committing and risking their lives for Christ. In 1 Cor. 13.3 it is used for giving up your life as a martyr.
It is even used for revelation knowledge. Paul in 1 Cor. 11.23 talking about communion says that what the Lord has delivered to me, I deliver to you. It is the same word. In Jude 3, Jude tells us that faith has been delivered to us.
So what is the context of this word which as we shall see as we read through Romans 1 is used three times in the next 5 verses. It is vital we understand what this word means to understand this verse and indeed this entire passage.
The word, looking at several classical Greek dictionaries, means to give up or let go of what you have been entrusted to look after. It can therefore mean betrayal, or it can mean a sacrifice. Now, has God betrayed us like Judas to Jesus or is God making a supreme sacrifice of love by giving us up?
I am sure it does not take a theologian to know that the nature of God is love (1 John 4.9) and that God, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6.8), could NEVER betray His creation.
So God is actually making a sacrifice here. He is doing the most loving thing that can be done.
Remember the context of this verse. In the previous two verses we find that we are talking about people who have stepped away from a living relationship with God and turned to idolatry.
As soon as someone turns to idolatry, God hands them over. He passes them on to someone else. He should be looking after every human on the planet, but when they willfully reject Him and turn to a false god, He passes them on. He gives them up.
And what does God give them up to? Uncleanness.
This is the start of the downward spiral of EVERY nation, EVERY community, EVERY individual, EVERY Christian that rejects God and creates a false god.
The first step is uncleanness.
Now, God gives you up out of love and sacrifice. God could come and visit you in ALL HIS GLORY and MAJESTY. You would fall at His feet and beg for His mercy and love. But God is not a bully who shows off His strength every chance He has. If you want to leave, He will NOT lock you in and imprison you. God never misuses the fact He is God. He always operates in love. God makes the most powerful sacrifice of all: He gives up His happiness in walking with you and sacrifices it so you can have free will and decide to ignore God and create a false god.
But, as soon as you are outside of God’s hand, uncleanness grabs hold of you. Uncleanness is the Greek word akatharsia and means impure motives. Have you noticed as soon as you try and do things apart from God’s will, God’s plan and God’s leading your motives go all over the place? You start to question yourself, you start to do things out of arrogance, to prove a point. You lose the security of knowing God is your source and your joy and your place of acceptance, so you start pushing about making people accept you, forcing people to like you, criticising people who succeed.
But then uncleanness develops and leads to dishonouring your body. Now yes this includes sexual immorality such as fornication, masterbation and homosexuality. And one of the things that happens as soon as you create false gods is sexual immorality. You lose the perspective that sex is for marriage, and marriage is for life.
Every false religion on the earth leads to sexual immorality. Whether it is a Muslim blowing himself up for 72 virgins, or a practiser of Wicca involved in a skyclad (naked) ritual, every false religion will lead to sexual immorality. This is a Scripture principle and cannot be denied.
If you are living an unclean life, you can try and fight it but you will fail. You will fail again and again. You might weep and repent each time, but you will not succeed in living clean. Because your problem is not uncleanness – uncleaness is the fruit.
Remember this truth: your problem is NEVER the fruit, it is ALWAYS the seed. If you don’t like the fruit, change seed.
Your problem is stepping away from God. Failing to glorify God, failing to thank Him for the things He has done for you, failing to control your imagination, and failing to fill yourself with the Word.
If you watch TV with adultery and “scenes of a sexual nature” you are filling yourself with the wrong seed, you are committing idolatry and you will end up in uncleanness. Fighting that harvest after sowing the wrong seed is nearly impossible.
You need to change your seed! Spend your time thanking God, glorifying God, and imagining your life of victory and meditating in the Word. Then change will be effortless. And fun!
If God has let you go and you are aware that uncleanness has grabbed you realize this: God let you go because YOU wanted to be let go. Want to be back with God and He will set you free, pour His love in your heart, rejoice over you with singing and enable you to live pure and clean in this world.
Glory and freedom,
One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.
Paul is praying for the Romans what he is praying for is the chance to see them. We all know Paul’s great hymns of praise (cf. Romans 11.34-36) and Paul’s theological prayers (cf. Ephesians 1.16-23) and they are beautiful. Paul was a deep man.
But just because someone is deep doesn’t mean that they are not a human! Paul is praying for the Romans – not for deep revelation, not for truth and life, for wisdom, for the will of God – no, Paul is praying that he can get a chance to see them and visit them.
It is perfectly acceptable to pray for things that you might think are mundane. Not every prayer has to be for a worldwide revival and power and glory sweeping the earth!
It is ok to ask for a parking space, to ask God that you would bump into an old friend that you miss, that someone in church would give you a lift home. That is great.
Notice as well that Paul did not know the will of God – here he prays that he would journey to them by the will of God (Paul was not asking for the will of God to be that his journey was prosperous, but that God would allow him to go!).
Paul prayed about things that he didn’t know what God wanted. That is fine. It is ok to say “if it by Thy will” when we pray.
Sometimes as faith people we get the revelation that when we are praying for something that the Bible clearly tells us is the will of God, then it is sin and doubt to pray “if it be Thy will”, and then we go overboard and never pray “if it be Thy will” again!
Listen if the will of God is clearly revealed in Scripture or by revelation, DO NOT pray “if it be Thy will”. The Bible says “By His stripes We Are Healed.” Never pray for healing “if it be Thy will” – what an insult to the stripes. Never pray for prosperity or joy “if it be Thy will” – pray the Word.
But some things we don’t know. Paul didn’t know at that stage if God wanted him to go to Rome or not. You might not know if someone is the right person to marry, or if a church is the right church to go to. At times like this there is nothing wrong with asking God “if it be Thy will, I want to go to Rome”, “if it be thy will, I will marry her/ him or not”, “if it be Thy Will, I will join this church”.
Or whatever. Don’t get silly about it, there is no need to pray for which breakfast cereal to eat. Grow up – remember God is our Father. If my children asked me to tell them what cereal to eat, I would be stunned. If I replied to such a ridiculous question it would be to say “Eat the one you fancy, it doesn’t matter”.
If at any point it did matter, I would let my children know. “Adam, the milkman hasn’t come, don’t have cereal because you will use all the milk, have some toast and a croissant.” He is my son – the lines of communication are open, so I don’t expect silly questions.
Some of ask God the most silly questions – I know someone who used to pray what socks to wear in the morning. Now if it bothers you, then He is touched with our infirmities. God is our Father and loves us – and that is fine. If you ask him “look, Father, which tie looks best with this shirt”, He will tell you if it matters to you. He knows what is important to you.
But in general, we should not be asking about trivial things – God expects you to just do them. Even in the street, people ask God should I talk to that person when the Bible says preach to every creature. If you are asking the question, you should be speaking to that person!
But for important things – which church should I go to, should I go here or there, where should I go on holiday – ask Him, and freely say “if it be Thy will”. By saying this you are letting God know that He is GOD! That if He says go to Rome, you will go to Rome. If He says don’t go, then you won’t.
Be that kind of person and you will very soon find out the will of God for your life. If you are prepared to do anything, you will quickly find the something you are called to do.
10. The Bible says that His Name is Healer (Exodus 15.26) – it is important to God that He is always faithful to His name.
9. Jesus wants us to enjoy life in abundance, and if you are sick you cannot be living life to the full. (John 10.10)
8. God created Adam sickness free and declared that it was good that man was healthy (Genesis 1.26ff)
7. In heaven there is no sickness (Revelation 21.4), and we are told to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 7)
6. In Deuteronomy 28, sickness is a curse and health is a blessing and Galatians 3.13-14 says we are totally set free from the curse and we have the blessing. Sickness has not suddenly moved to the blessing side!
5. Jesus said healing is the children’s bread (Matt. 15.22-28), and we are the children of God (John 1.12)
4. Jesus went around healing the sick and doing good (Acts 10.38) and Jesus has not changed (Hebrews 13.8)
3. Jesus Christ carried our sicknesses and our diseases on the cross (Matt. 8.16-17) and we should not carry something that He carried for us.
2. Six one syllable words that it would take someone to help you misunderstand and misinterpret their plain and simple meaning: By His Stripes, We Were Healed (1 Peter 2.24)
1. The number one reason I know God wants you well is that you are beloved of the Father, and if you ask your Father for bread He will not give you a stone (Luke 11.11). It is that simple: God loves you as a Father and every Father would want their child to be well. That is just a fraction of how much God wants you to be well.
All you have to do is believe and receive (Mark 11.23-24) and you can enjoy divine health for the rest of your life.
Glory and freedom,
“Many believe God sometimes heals the sick but they have no personal knowledge of Jesus as the indwelling, ever-present healer.
They know nothing about the many facts which prove that physical health is part of everyone’s salvation. They see others healed, but question whether healing is God’s will for them.
They are waiting a special revelation of the will of God concerning their case. A careful study of His Word will prove that He is both the savior and the healer of His people – that it is always His will to save and to heal all those who are willing to serve Him.”
Faith For Healing Is Based On Knowledge
By Andrew Wommack
At one of my Gospel Truth Seminars, I ministered to a man who had detached retinas. I was standing right in front of him, and he said I was just a blur. With the service about to start, I only had a moment to minister, so I told him to come forward at the end, and one of our prayer ministers would continue the process. He did and, after further ministry, gave a great testimony. Not only could he see me clearly, but he could see the faces of the people at the back of the auditorium. Thank You, Jesus! That’s a miracle!
In the same service, a woman came forward whose eyes were clouded with cataracts. She could barely see, but after the prayer minister prayed for her, the white glaze over her eyes was gone, and she said her eyesight was great. Another man came off the oxygen tank he had been attached to for months. Deaf ears were opened; cancers were cured; and backs were healed. Hallelujah!
The most exciting thing to me about these miracles is that I’m NOT the one who prayed for most of these people.
Not long ago, I was doing all of the ministry. Don’t misunderstand; I enjoy ministering God’s healing to people. But, as the crowds grew, it became difficult to pray for everyone. I often prayed with people till after midnight, and yet there were many more that couldn’t stay and left without their healing. Now that we have prayer ministers, hundreds of people can be ministered to each night. Many more miracles are taking place, and it’s especially satisfying to see them experience the same and even better results than I do.
I think this sends a much needed signal to all who will listen; television ministers are not the only ones who can operate in this miraculous power of God! Praise God for the true men and women of God on television, but Jesus said that believers will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover (Mark 16:18). The job of the minister is to train the body of Christ so that they can do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). The day of the one-man show in the body of Christ needs to come to an end, and we’re literally seeing that take place in our meetings.
Some of the local prayer ministers we train have never seen a miracle happen through them before. I remember one man who helped us at a seminar. He received the pre-seminar instruction and training, and on the very first night saw a person’s blind eyes open when he prayed. He told us the next day that he was so excited, he didn’t sleep all night. Not only did the blind person get healed, but I can guarantee you, that young man will never be the same. That is awesome!
Would you like to see the blind receive their sight or the lame walk when you pray? Do you desperately need healing yourself? Here’s the good news—whether you’re praying for another’s healing or receiving your own, it’s available to every true follower of Christ! Jesus gave every disciple who believes the power and authority to do the same works that He did. What a statement! But it is absolutely true. John 14:12 says,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
All believers will do the same works that Jesus did; it’s not limited to ministers. There’s just a shortage of believing believers.
How do you get to the place where you can see the miraculous happen in and through you? It starts with the renewing of your mind. Faith is based on knowledge, and everything we need to know to be a victorious Christian is explained in God’s Word. That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3-4:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Knowledge of a few basics truths, when properly understood and applied, will make a huge difference in releasing His power and receiving your healing. Last month I shared one of the most important things the Lord has ever shown me: God has already placed His healing power within us, and it is now under our authority. It isn’t up to God to determine who receives healing; it’s up to us! What a powerful statement! It’s our failure to understand and use the authority we have that is keeping God’s healing power from flowing as it should. It’s imperative that we discover what we have and learn how to release it. If you don’t have my album entitled The Believer’s Authority, you need to get it. The message will not only affect the way you receive and minister healing, but it will change the entire way you relate to God. It’s a powerful teaching.
Here’s another indispensable basic truth you must know and understand about healing: It’s never God’s will for us to be sick; He wants every person healed every time. That’s nearly-too-good-to-be-true news, but that’s the Gospel. Most Christians don’t know or believe that. They think the Lord makes them sick, or at the very least, He allows Satan to make them sick to either punish or correct them. That kind of thinking will get you killed; it’s not what the Bible teaches.
One of the most elementary principles in God’s Word is given in James 4:7. It says,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
This verse clearly teaches that some things are of God, and some things are of the devil. Notice it doesn’t present a third category: from God through the devil. No! Sickness has nothing to do with God! Submit to the things of God, and resist the things of the devil. It’s that simple. To believe that God allows or approves of Satan’s actions defies the logic of James 4:7. It eliminates our responsibility to resist and places ultimate responsibility for everything back on God.
The widely-accepted doctrine that God controls everything is a deception. If Satan can confuse and deceive you on that issue, he’s got you! Why? Because you’ll stop resisting. No one wants to resist God’s will, and if you think that God is behind your sickness, you’ll submit to it. That violates the instruction of James 4:7, it won’t get you healed, and it lets Satan have his way in your life.
You must believe God always wants you healed. It’s so simple, it takes help to misunderstand. But sadly, most Christians receive plenty of help from religion in misunderstanding this. Look at it this way: If God wanted you sick, for whatever reason, then why visit the doctor or take medication? It would seem more logical to allow the sickness to run its course so God’s purpose could be accomplished. Of course I think that’s foolish, and hopefully, so do you.
What’s the bottom line on God’s will for our healing? His Word reveals that to us in 3 John 2, which says,
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
John was writing a letter to believers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He revealed that the Lord wants us healthy just as much as He wants us to prosper emotionally and mentally.
When Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius in Acts 10:38, he summarized the ministry of Jesus by saying,
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Today some preachers are saying that healing is of the devil, but that’s not the message Peter gave. Notice what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Not only was Jesus doing good when He healed people, but He healed all that were oppressed of the devil, not of God. That scripture clearly proves that sickness is not from God.
Isaiah 53 should end all debate. It was written prophetically about Jesus, the Messiah. Isaiah 53:4-5 says,
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
These verses reveal that physical healing is a part of the atonement of Christ. The Lord redeemed us from sickness just as much as He redeemed us from sin. He would no more want us to be sick than He would want us to sin. Those are radical statements to many Christians because we’ve been taught that forgiveness of sins is what salvation is all about. Well that’s certainly a vital part of salvation, but that’s not all that Jesus accomplished. We were also healed by His stripes. Sickness is not of God just as sin is not of God. Thank You, Jesus!
Just in case anyone might be thinking that the healing spoken of in Isaiah 53:4-5 is not physical but only emotional, the Bible gives a commentary on Isaiah’s prophecy. In Matthew 8:16 Jesus healed all the sick people brought to Him, and verse 17 says this was done…
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”
Therefore, Scripture comments on itself and makes it very clear that the healing spoken of by Isaiah is referring to physical infirmities and sicknesses. If Jesus bore our sicknesses, then we don’t have to.
Heard a very powerful illustration in church today. The pastor told a story about a farmer who used to shoot the side of his barn with a rifle.
Someone came to see him and was amazed at how great a shot the farmer was. Every single shot in the side of the barn was in the middle of a bull’s eye.
The farmer then revealed the secret of his accuracy: he would shoot the barn first, then paint the bull’s eye around where the bullet hit.
The pastor said that that is hw most Christians determine God’s will. They let circumstances take them wherever and then declare it must be God’s will because it is what happened.
He said we need to spend time with the Lord before we face our circumstances, because we need to know our destination before we step out because you cannot determine the will of God by what happens.
A very powerful illustration of a very powerful truth.
I was having a debate with someone recently via a blog similar to this one. The issue up for discussion was can we have guaranteed healing because of Christ’s redemptive work. If you look at our church website, you will find a number of articles explaining that God’s will is healing.
In this debate, I mentioned that in the Lord’s prayer Jesus taught us to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” There is no sickness in heaven, so it is obvious that there should be no sickness on earth.
The lady I was debating then said that well if that was true then there should be no hatred on earth because there is no hatred in heaven. I am not sure why she thought this invalidated my point, but as I was writing a response, I was struck by the fact that paralleling hate and sickness will give many people revelation on how to deal with sickness, and why sickness is still around.
Here is my post:
You are correct. Logically there should be zero hatred on earth and zero sickness.
However, you know that people still hate and still get sick.
However, if you have hate in your heart do you go: ah well, people get hate, this is a fallen world, and these things happen, I will just lie down and let hate win. Or would you go into the Word of God, find out Scriptures that deal with hate, learn them, meditate on them and change your mental attitude with the Word of God? Because if you take the former attitude you will be filled with hate even though the will of God is that you love your brother.
It is the same with sickness. If you have sickness in your body do you go: ah well, people get sick, this is a fallen world, I will just lie down and let sickness win. Or would you go into the Word of God, find out Scriptures that deal with sickness, learn them, meditate on them and change your physical body with the Word of God? Because if you take the former attitude you will be filled with sickness even though the will of God is your complete healing.
If you get sick, real faith is not denying the sickness. Real faith is deciding to live by the Scriptures of healing and fighting the good fight of faith and watching that sickness leave. It is so much fun to live healthy in the world, it is so much fun to lay hands on the sick and see them recover. I live by faith (in the Word) and not by sight (what I see).
The problem is that we have made sickness our friend in the church, we have told lies about it: we have said it teaches us humility, that it is a blessing in disguise, that Christ’s redemption is not really redemption from sickness, that it is something you cannot escape. But if you study the Word, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
My heart was really stirred this last month. I attended a meeting where an old friend of mine was ministering. He had been through some terrible things that nearly destroyed his faith. He became bitter and angry at God for the things that had happened. When I heard him, he had humbled himself and was again loving the Lord and excited about the future. Praise the Lord! However, in the process, he had come to believe that it was the Lord that caused all his problems. He had resigned himself to the “sovereignty of God.”
I believe this is the worst doctrine in the church today. I know that this is a shocking statement and is near blasphemy to some people, but the way sovereignty” is taught today is a real faith killer. The belief that God controls everything that happens to us is one of the devil’s biggest inroads into our lives. If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant, and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be.
If we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, it gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in God, and leads to passiveness.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament of the New International Version, but it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.
Religion has resulted in the invention of a new meaning for the word “sovereign,” which basically means God controls everything. Nothing can happen but what He wills or allows. However, there is nothing in the actual definition that states that. The dictionary defines “sovereign” as, “1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent: a sovereign state. 4. Excellent.” None of these definitions means that God controls everything.
It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His approval. That is not what the Scriptures teach. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly states that it is not the Lord’s will for anyone to perish, but people are perishing. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13). Relatively few people are saved compared to the number that are lost. God’s will for people concerning salvation is not being accomplished.
This is because the Lord gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn’t will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by not choosing Jesus as their Savior. It is the free will of man that damns them, not God.
People virtually have to climb over the roadblocks that God puts in their way to continue on their course to hell. The cross of Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit are obstacles that every sinner encounters. No one will ever stand before God and be able to fault Him for withholding the opportunity to be saved. The Lord woos every person to Him, but we have to cooperate. Ultimately, the Lord simply enforces the consequences of people’s own choices.
God has a perfect plan for every person’s life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn’t make us walk that path. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose. He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), but He doesn’t make those choices for us. God gave us the power to control our destinies.
Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. On the surface that looks good. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. However, the Scriptures paint a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. We are the one doing the driving. We are supposed to take directions from the Lord, but He doesn’t do the driving for us.
Man has been given the authority over his own life, but he must have the Lord’s direction to succeed. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” God created us to be dependent upon Him and our independence is at the root of all our problems. As if it wasn’t bad enough for man to try to run his affairs independently of God and His standards, it has been made even worse by religion teaching us that all our problems are actually blessings from God. That is a faith killer. It makes people totally passive.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. The word “resist” means, “Actively fight against.” Saying “Whatever will be will be” is not actively fighting against the devil.
If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God’s plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God’s correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy.
Acts 10:38 says that Jesus healed all those who were oppressed OF THE DEVIL. It was not God who oppressed them with sickness. It was the devil. It’s the same today. Sickness is from the devil, not from God. We need to resist sickness and, by faith, submit ourselves to healing, which is from God through the atonement of Christ.
I know someone is thinking, What about the Old Testament instances where God smote people with sickness and plagues? There is a lot I could say about that if I had the space, but a simplified answer to that question is that none of those instances were blessings. They were curses. God did use sickness in the Old Testament as punishment, but in the New Testament, Jesus bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The Lord would no more put sickness on a New Testament believer than He would make us commit a sin. Both forgiveness of sin and healing are a part of the atonement Jesus provided for us.
Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings of God and the last 53 verses list the curses of God. Healing is listed as a blessing (Deut. 28:4). Sickness is listed as a curse (Deut. 28:22, 27-28, 35, 59-61). God called sickness a curse. We should not call it a blessing.
Knowing that God is not the author of my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. If I thought it was God who killed my father when I was twelve, and some of my best friends before I was 20, if it was God who had people kidnap me, slander me, threaten to kill me, and turn loved ones against me, then I would have a hard time trusting God, if He was like that.
On the contrary, it is very comforting to know that God only has good things in store for me. Any problems in my life are from the devil, of my own making, or just the results of life on a fallen planet. My heavenly Father has never done me any harm and never will. I KNOW that.
I am not saying that there is nothing to learn from hardships. Most of you reading this article have come to the Lord because of something in your life that overwhelmed you and caused you to turn to the Lord for help. That situation was not from God regardless of the results. It was you turning to the Lord and the faith you placed in Him that turned your life around, not the hardship.
If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best. That simply is not so.
Let me illustrate this with a story about my son, Joshua. When he was only a year old, I was loading lumber on a large truck in the heat of a Texas summer. I had Joshua with me, and he was having a big time playing in the lumber yard. By mid-afternoon, he was tired and sleepy and started to lie down in the dirt for a nap. I knew his mother wouldn’t like that, so I put him in the cab of the truck to lie down and take his nap.
He had been wanting to get into that truck all day, and when I put him in there, he revived. I had to roll the windows down because it was hot, and Joshua was leaning out the windows and waving at me in the side view mirrors. I told him to lie down and even gave him a spanking, but he didn’t take heed. He leaned out the window too far, fell out of the cab, hit his eye on the running board and landed on his head.
I ran up to him, prayed over him, and held him until he quit crying. Then I told him that was why I told him to lie down and go to sleep and not lean out the window. I used that situation which caused him pain, to teach him, but if Joshua would have been like the sovereignty teachers of today, he would have gone out and told all his friends that his father made him fall out of that truck to teach him to obey. That’s not so. I did what I could to restrain him. I would be very hurt if that’s the way Joshua thought I was.
Likewise, I don’t believe it blesses our heavenly Father for us to blame Him for all the problems that come into our lives. Sure, He will comfort us when we turn to Him in the midst of our problems, but He doesn’t create the negative circumstances that hurt our lives.
God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn’t make our choices for us.
In many instances, it is our wrong choices that bring disaster upon us. In other cases, our problems are nothing but an attack from the devil. In some cases, natural forces of an imperfect world cause us pain. Our tragedies are never the judgment or correction of God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The devil came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Don’t ever get that confused. If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s bad, it’s the devil.
This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that must be understood properly if you want victory in your life. Believing that God controls everything renders a person passive. Why pray and believe for something better? Whatever God wants will come to pass. That simply is not true.
The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem.