Richard Burgess, 20.03.2021
In the previous post we saw that those who are in Christ (in union with him) are no more under condemnation, and have a new life through the Spirit – and that is powerful! But more than that, we saw in Romans 8:29, that God has predestined us to be like Jesus. Yes, you, and me, everyone of us, not one of his children are left out, no matter your sin and shame! We also saw that Jesus is not only the object of our faith when it comes to salvation, but also for our transformation, and that if we are to be changed we need a big, glorious, all compelling, vision of Jesus!
In this blog we are going to explore how that transformation can take place.
Healing and deliverance
Some people start out well only to struggle as time goes by with different areas in their lives. They are truly saved, born again, Christian, but there’s a blockage somewhere. Somehow it doesn’t all come together for them and they get discouraged and disappointed. Many years ago my approach would have been, you’re a Christian, believe the scriptures, put a prayer plaster on it, and move on. After my own personal experience, and experience of pastoral ministry I know that may work for some, but not all. There is a need to recognise that there is a problem somewhere and help and healing are required. If not we build religious lives, lives that look the part on Sunday as we go through the motions, but behind closed doors are altogether different.
When Jesus encountered individuals he brought healing and wholeness to them and restored them to a sound mind. His invitation still stands, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He spoke peace to troubled minds, delivered people from the things that bound them, healed sick bodies. The Greek, sozo, is a big word covering salvation, deliverance, healing. The early Church didn’t simply call people to say a prayer confessing their sins and asking Jesus into their hearts, they discipled new converts bringing healing and deliverance to their lives thereby enabling them to get off to a good start.
I’ve created a graphic here to help us understand. When we come to Christ, we are born again, and he lives within our spirit and there may be a measure of change. The more we are healed the more we can be changed and that will work its way out into our engagement with the world through our body.
We all come to Christ from differing backgrounds, some better than others. Before you can go any further it may be that you have come to Christ, you are in union with him, you are right with God, it’s well with your soul, but not elsewhere, and before anything else you need help and healing. Perhaps, you’ve been put down, hurt, abused, or addicted… If you keep going round and round in cycles of behaviour: sin, repentance, renewal, there’s probably something that needs some attention, much like the car when the red light comes on, there’s some attention required, something is damaged or broken… Your emotions have been damaged… Your mind is screwed up… Your will is stuck… You need help and healing…
On the other hand you may have been a Christian for several years, things were going well, then you got hurt, someone said something, did something, or things haven’t turned out as you expected and you’ve been offended or scandalised… Scandalised by others, scandalised by God… Maybe it’s an unanswered prayer, a job loss, someone else’s promotion, someone else’s blessing, a doctors prognosis… In Mark 6:3 people were offended, scandalised by Jesus. John the Baptist, the one who announced him to the world, was scandalised by Jesus when he ended up in prison and was no longer sure that Jesus was who he said he was, because he wasn’t doing what he expected (Matt 11). Peter was scandalised by Jesus’s answer to his question (John 21:20-22). Some were scandalised by the gospel.
If you are in either of those situations you need help and healing…
If that’s you, first base I want to say, stop judging yourself, God loves you, has accepted you, and there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ. In fact all the while you live under judgement/condenation you never be changed. Christ knew what he was taking on and paid the full price for your sin and shame. Come out of condemnation. Secondly, there’s hope, because God has predestined you to be like Jesus, therefore he is committed to your transformation. Thirdly, get help, please talk to someone, a pastor, a counsellor, someone who is equipped and able to help you unpack things, and receive healing and help to transform, to be like Jesus. There are also programs like Freedom in Christ which has been a blessing to so many, or Churches that Heal, among others.