Why is it Easier?

Matthew 9:5-7  NIV  5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 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, take your mat and go home.”  7 And the man got up and went home.

Jesus asked the teachers of the law – who came not to learn, but to accuse – if forgiving or healing is easier for Him, knowing neither was the single right answer.  Instead, there was no difference to Him.  The question I ask myself, as a believer, is why I find it easier to believe in Jesus’ forgiveness than in His healing.

In the early days of being born again, it was easy to doubt salvation, because I based it on thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors – and they looked the same as before Jesus. The “symptoms” of my life were my guide.  Through renewing my mind with the Word Christ, I grew to understand that God forgave all sins (mine and everyone else’s) forever in Christ when He was on the cross.  That meant He had already covered any current “symptoms” to the contrary.  My confidence was transferred gradually to what Christ did, instead of what I was doing.  Today, some of those “symptoms” of unsaved remain, but they no longer throw me into a tailspin concerning whether or not I am forgiven.

Jesus’ healing is no different than His forgiving, according to the above passage.  Both are included in the work of salvation He finished on the cross.  Following this to its logical conclusion, then, once we are in Christ, physical “symptoms” do not determine whether we are healed any more than unsaved “symptoms” determine whether we’re forgiven.  That’s so simple and so clear.  So why do I still rely on my physical “symptoms” to determine my state of health?

camera lensOnly as I worked on this blog post did the answer begin to come into focus.  In fact, my focus has been the problem all along.  I have allowed “symptoms” to determine whether Jesus healed me.  I focused on “symptoms” and missed Jesus, the One Who already completed the work of healing.

Concerning forgiveness, only as the Lord adjusted my focus by His Word and His Spirit was I able to rest in His finished work.   Likewise, I believe He has begun His work of adjusting my focus once again, this time in the area of healing.  He wants me fully in His rest.  And He started it all with the simple question, “Why is it easier?”

2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 12:2 NIV  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .

Love Never Fails

As I listened to a human message about agape love, that unconditional and perfect love of God, the Lord added His message to my heart.  The preacher encouraged us to love with agape love those people who are not yet saved, are not in right relationship with the Lord, or are even out of relationship with us.  If we live this love, we were promised, they will have to come around sometime, even if it’s in the distant future, because love never fails1.

I moved from there with Holy Spirit while He took me down a different path from the one on which I had just traveled.  Love never fails is the Word of God, so it is Truth2.  Not only is the Greek word for love in this reference agape, but in another reference, God is love3, the Greek word used is also agape.  God, Himself, is the agape love that never fails.  He doesn’t just have it, and He doesn’t just love with it.  He is this very love!

I then thought of many people who have never turned their lives around, as far as we know, nor have they been restored to family, despite friends and family members praying faithfully and loving them as best they could.  Did love fail?  Agape love never fails.  How, then, do we reconcile our experiences that appear contrary to the Truth of the Bible?

Since God is this agape love, He loves every person perfectly, regardless of their deeds or words.  He never messes up by saying or doing the wrong thing that moves them farther away, nor is He impatient with slow, or seemingly non-existent, progress.  Yet, even in His perfect love, people all over the world are not restored to family and friends, or end up in hell by refusing to repent and receive His love.  Has agape failed?  Has God failed?  Absolutely not!  Love will never fail!  What have failed are our man-made, man-determined, expectations.  If God loving perfectly (and patiently) doesn’t always bring about His desired change in others, our imperfect (and often impatient) efforts at living agape love for others certainly won’t.  How can we make sense of it all?

We need to understand the expectations we have had in these socalled failed cases.  We expected if we showed God’s love, we would get our will for someone else because we know it’s God’s will, too.  What we have failed to grasp is that, in His unlimited wisdom, plan, and perfect agape love, God created each of us with a free will, and He does not override those wills – ever –  even when those wills end up leading to eternal death in hell, forever separated from Him and His love.  Even in that outcome, love hasn’t failed.  Agape made the way for that person (and every other) to be reconciled to God’s love for all eternity, through Jesus Christ.  With His blood, Jesus paid the price so we could know this amazing love, even for those who would never accept it.  No, that love never fails.  It never has and it never will.

Where does this leave us, with regards to the wandering ones?  Since God so loves them, even as He so loves us, we continue allowing His love to grow in us and show through us so that all around us are exposed to His wonderful, perfect love.  The difference now is that we have removed our limiting human expectations about the outcome, for love never fails!

1 1 Corinthians 13:8

2 John 17:17

3 1 John 4:8 & 16