Saturday, 26 July 2008
Bill Johnson on Christians tolerating suffering and sickness
"The sufferings of Jesus were realized in the persecution He endured and in the burden He carried for people. He did not suffer with disease. That must be removed from our idea of Christian suffering. It is vain to carry something under the guise of the will of God when it is something that He purchased that He might destroy its power over us. An additional concept to remember is that He suffered that we might not have to suffer. For example, He bore stripes on His body applied by a Roman soldier so that they could become His payment for our healing.
If this suffering of His was insufficient, then what did it accomplish? This error, if carried through, brings the whole issue of conversion and forgiveness of sins into question. It's true that the sufferings of Jesus are not yet complete, but they have to do with our call to righteous living in an unrighteous world. This brings pressure upon our lives that range from the realm of persecution for living for Christ to the burdens we bear as intercessors before our heavenly Father where we plead the case of the lost.
There are few prophetic declarations that are more appropriate for this hour than this word from Hosea: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." -Hosea 4:6
Ignorance that exalts itself with a false sense of accomplishment for meeting religious requirements is one of our greatest enemies. For ignorance creates tolerance. And what we tolerate dominates.
When we allow sickness, torment, and poverty to be thought of as the God-ordained tools He uses to make us more like Jesus, we have participated in a very shameful act. There is no doubt He can use them, as He is also known to be able to use the devil himself for His purposes. (He can win with a pair of twos.) But to think these things are released into our lives through His design, or that He approved such things, is to undermine the work at Calvary. To do so one must completely disregard the life of Christ and the purpose of the cross. None of us would say that He died for my sins but still intends that I should be bound by sin habits. Neither did He pay for my healing and deliverance so I could continue in torment and disease. His provision for such things is not figurative: it is actual.
Furthermore, it dishonors the Lord to disregard His work in order to justify our difficulty to believe for the impossible. It is time to own up to the nature of the gospel and preach it for what it is. It is the answer for every dilemma, conflict, and affliction on the planet. Declare it with boldness, and watch Him invade Earth once again."
(scriptures referred to; Isaiah 53:4-5, Colossians 1:24-the word for affliction in this verse is not sickness. It means to put under pressure, as when grapes are crushed for wine or olives for olive oil. Righteous living put us under pressures that bring out the inward anointing and joy of the Holy Spirit., Acts 4:28-29)