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It Says We Are Healed, So Whats Wrong?

By Bob Slosser Columnist - One of the most-debated passages of Christian Scripture in Christendom is surrounded by beautiful, yet difficult and complicating words of promise. These words were used by Peter the Apostle in his first letter to struggling Christians midway in the first century. A truncated version of the passage, widely remembered in the charismatic renewal of the sixties and seventies, says simply: ". . . by His wounds [stripes] you have been healed."

And here I am stumbling around like a man looking for his deathbed. Que pasa, one might say if he could punctuate it on his computer. I must be doing something wrong.

This troublesome passage of that transformed man, who served the Lord mightily until his death in the late sixties of the first century, comes in a passage that started out about slaves and how they should act toward their masters. He was not endorsing slavery, but was using Christs example in suffering. He says flatly that we should follow in His steps: "He [Jesus] committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:22, Isaiah 53:9, NIV).

Sinlessness. Truthfulness. Weve heard all this I know but please, lets hear it deeply: "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree." The Cross. He bore all sin, ALL SIN, in those awful hours. He alone. Once. It was done .

Why? "That we might die to sins." To be positionally dead reckoned dead, seen as dead to sins. Note the tense of the translation "that we might . . ." It opened the way. It was an accomplished fact, but we could ignore it or reject it. All sins were forgiven, but not all people were saved.

But it didnt stop with forgiveness. It added the possibilities for righteousness, for sanctification, as we say, for holiness "so that we might live for righteousness." Again, note the tense "that we might . . ." We could ignore it.

Peter is stressing the importance of the cross on sanctification. We can put on the new man, live new lives, and present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness," not as instruments of sin. The cross, you see, makes it possible for us to be experientially what we are positionally.

Then Peter concludes or sums up: "By His wounds you have been healed."

So that leaves us with this the "us" being Christians, the church. Commentators, even conservative ones, most of whom are evangelicals (at best) often have some difficulty acknowledging that "healing" in this case is broader than spiritual healing. I, dear friends, believe were dealing with all healing spiritual, physical, mental, social. They are all possible because of the cross.

Peter certainly seemed to be harking back to Isaiah 53. Look at verses 4-6: "Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed." It seems clear to me that that points "wholeness" and restoration.

Furthermore, Matthew 8:16-17 says the healing done by Jesus was in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases."

And Peter extends that to the ongoing work of the Cross through the church. It is unquestionable that Christ himself bore our sins on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. Here is my remaining question: How sure are we that have died to sins and are living for righteousness? Jesus has done His part, but . . .

Yes, healing is in the world, beloved, wholeness is in the world. This is the time of the Lords favor. But, it seems, we need the church to help us get to where we should be.

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