Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Forgiveness of Sins, a Cure for the Sick

6 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--then He said to the paralytic, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home."

12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:6,12)
It amazes me how quickly and easily I can sometimes read over verses that I am so familiar with and miss something that is truly awesome. It is so beautiful and clear how these two verses fit together with the overall message of salvation in Christ. And it is the punctuating statement of verse 12 that is so powerful. I used to think that Jesus was saying that the “sick” were people who had not been born again whereas the “healthy” were people who had already. But, the more I understand the Savior’s audience and the overall message of the gospel, the more I see that the “sick” refer to those who know of their sins and of their need for a savior whereas the “healthy” are the self-righteous who do not need a savior.

The reality of life is that everyone is worse off than the paralytic that Jesus healed; we are like Lazarus, we’re dead, until we are born again by the Spirit of God. But the sad situation is that the vast majority of men proclaim their own goodness with their mouths and see their situation as less than dire before God. This condition is not limited to the practitioners of self-righteous religious systems, but it extends to all men. And in a real way, all non-Christians are practitioners of a self-righteous system even if they are unaware of it. Many of the non-conformist or non-religious people have individual and self-styled idolatrous systems that they have created for themselves to go along with the god that they’ve made in their minds.

I thank God for his grace in showing me my own sinfulness so that I may repent of it and be made more like my Lord. I consider it one of my primary goals in ministry to shine the light of God’s Word onto the sins of those who are under my care and teaching. And once the Word has done its work, I pray that the flood of grace would abound to those who find themselves to be sick and in need of a physician.

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