In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. ... 14 Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory - the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. [John 1:1, 14 NET]
(This is part one of two, please come back next week to read the rest.)
If our God is not bigger than our grief, sickness, addiction, depression, anxiety, fear and everything else in our life then it’s time to make Him that big!
God is so big that He was the very Word He spoke, the Word that created the universe. He, as Jesus Christ became a man and lived among men who saw His glory. Because of Jesus’ humanness He kept the law and commandments as a Jewish man. This means that out of 613 laws and 10 commandments Jesus Christ kept every one of them. Only a big God can come down to earth and live as a man while keeping all these laws and commandments.
Jesus healed the sick, delivered people from demonic spirits, turned water to wine, walked on water, raised the dead, fed thousands with little and yet He was in human form! This is a big God, hallelujah! Unfortunately, few have a relationship with this God, Jesus. Many have a relationship with the “friend of sinners” the one they believe allows them to wallow in their worldliness and still get to live eternity with Him. If one is to read their Bible they will see that is not who Jesus was or is, on the contrary Jesus held everyone to a righteous standard.
The Adulterous Woman
In the Gospel of John, chapter 8 we read of the testimony of a woman caught in the act of adultery. While Jesus was teaching in the temple the scribes and Pharisees brought Him this woman along with their accusations. The Pharisees did this in a public setting, they had no concern for her feelings they were not even concerned about holiness, they wanted to trap Jesus even at the expense of this womans life.
Most of us know this story as Jesus being her hero and telling those accusers to throw the first stone if they themselves were without sin. It is true that Jesus did save her, He brought truth and grace to the situation and He assured the woman that He did not condemn her and that she was free to go, but she was not free to go and continue in her sin. Jesus said in verse 11 “go and sin no more.” According to some of the popular grace teachings in the churches today Jesus could have sympathized with the woman's situation and allowed her to continue in sin, however, that would be contrary to the very God He was as well as contrary to His word.
Jesus didn’t allude to the idea that because He forgave this woman that she was once and for all free from repentance, in fact He said the opposite! Go and sin no more. Repentance is a spiritual practice that is not often discussed in the church and yet we tell people to forgive others. If we need to forgive and we need to ask others for forgiveness how much more should we do so with the Father? Repentance leads to restoration, there is no other way. If we want a healthy relationship with anyone, and this includes God, then we must be willing to be honest, loving, and forgiving. We must learn to value a relationship enough to say we are sorry and that we no longer agree with our previous actions and for the sake of relationship we are willing to change our minds and hearts about it and do something different.
Here's another account of Jesus saying to stop sinning only this time it is after He healed a man. In John 5 there is a testimony of a man who was at the pool of Bethesda where many would be that were sick and paralyzed. These people hoped to get in the water when the angel would stir it so they could be healed. Behold Jesus Christ Himself comes to that very place and the scriptures say,
5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been [in that condition] a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. [John 5:5-9]
Later on, in this chapter Jesus finds this same man in the temple and says to him, ..... "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." [John 5:14]
Here are two separate and very different accounts of a woman and a man being told to stop sinning. One of these sins resulted in the man’s sickness and could very well result in a similar and probably worse condition should that man keep sinning.
Sin No More
There is much debate on whether a person can live without sinning. I believe people can be very successful at living a life without sin, perhaps not constantly but at least victorious days, weeks and perhaps months of not sinning. Of course this cannot be done by our own strength but Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13. This word "all" in the Greek means all! This means it is possible to stop sinning in a life that abides in Christ. Obviously, people sin, thus the reason we so desperately need Jesus Christ, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It is a concept worth exploring with the Holy Spirit.
How Big is Your Struggle?
There is a link between sin and sickness and health and holiness but because few study the works of Jesus Christ as a holy work it is not often recognized. We are even told there is a link between soul health and physical health.
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. [3Jo 1:2]
In this context prosper comes from two Greek words that mean well and road. I believe that as we are on this journey with Christ Jesus our lives begin to manifest that journey, first in our souls that become renewed and regenerated in our thoughts but then onto a physical recovery. This journey should include deliverance from demonic spirits as well as reading the word, prayer, worship and other spiritual disciplines. Often, we see Jesus cast a demon out of a person and then heal them. Demonic spirits can cause sickness and much suffering, they are usually in our lives long before we made Jesus our Lord and Savior and they won’t leave if we don’t shut the door on their entryway!
The good news is that Jesus left a legacy through His disciples that we too could walk in His ways, in fact He said we could do His stuff and greater.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. [Jhn 14:12]
Now there are no greater or bigger works than raising the dead and the many other miracles Jesus did but there is a great need to do these things and more. Jesus is saying we will do this and even more. Yet we do not see this truth in action for various reasons.
Lack of the knowledge of Jesus through the reading of the word and lack of our identity as Christians are two of the main reasons we struggle with the bigness of our problems rather than relying on the bigness of our God. Even those with great faith will have a moment of weakness with this kind of thinking but as soon as we begin to read the word and meditate on the works of the Lord our strength returns.