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Attitudes About Sickness And Sinfulness

There are many attitudes and opinions about the relation between sickness and sinfulness, ranging from total denial to magical solutions. As to the last, a Hindu may think that a headache is (karma) punishment for a wrong committed in an earlier life (not earlier in one's life). This is an exaggerated fear of sin. On the left there are egotistical people that take advantage of others when given a chance. In this short study, of course, we cannot give an in depth account of what the Bible says about the relation between sickness and sinfulness and that checked in actual case studies; if that is possible. This area remains a subject of belief, but as Pascal said, "Faith has reasons that go beyond reason." All I do here is give a few Scriptures that are relevant and counter a few misconceptions.

"Beloved, I pray that in all respects it may be well with you and that you may be in good health, just as your soul prospers."

"Our external man is broken down."

"The internal man is renewed day by day."

"Not those that are healthy need a physician, but those that are sick." "Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for may You be my praise." "... it will be as moisture for your bones." "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones." "For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number pass away."

"He that wants to follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." "He that wants to save his life, will lose it and he that loses his life because of Me and My gospel, will save it." "...but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus." "You do not possess, because you do not ask; you do ask...but that you may spend it in your lusts." "The life of a man does not consist in what he owns." "He that gives sparingly, will reap sparingly and he that gives in a blessing way, will reap in a blessing way. And that as everybody has chosen ahead of time, not with sadness and not under enforcing. For God loves the cheerful giver."

"Confess each other your sins and pray for each other, that you may be healed." "We pronounce those blessed that have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and you have seen the end the Lord gave him that the Lord is full of compassion and pity." "Blessed is the man that endures temptation. For when he has become approved, he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those that love Him." "The wages of sin is death." "...that your joy may be completely full."

"A cheerful spirit furthers healing." "A man's spirit sustains him in his illness, but a broken spirit who will lift up?" "Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him." "There is a sin that produces death."

Ailments can be caused by guilt, but they cannot be healed by a so-called holy life. Rational(istic)ism

Wholeness is bound to come to you if you apply rest, regularity, cleanness and a holy life. Mysticism

There is such a thing as psychosomatic sickness, but it has nothing to do with the conscience. Secular humanism

The Lord promised us "none of these diseases". Prosperity gospel

There is no such thing as sin. Thus there is no connection with illness. We are but machines that break down. Atheism

Diseases are part of the illusion of temporary life. Worship the gods and they will heal you. Magicism

Live fast, die hard//Satan can sustain you

Sick from sinfulness and sinful from sickness, a vicious downwards spiraling circle (with erring opinions on the left and on the right).

According to Matthew 8.17 the verse in Is. 53 (verse 4), the verse that has been misused to claim that the Lord died for all our sicknesses, clearly is to be applied to the Lord's work on earth and not on the cross. He healed people and raised others from the dead. It is a teaching by demons to claim health and wealth on basis of Isaiah 53. I do not say that miracles cannot happen anymore, but Western society and Christendom in it has been corrupted so much that God does not grant us miracles anymore in general. This does not mean that the Lord does not give us miracles on the mission field when people are delivered from demonic bondage through conversion. But the Lord does encourage us with the words: Therefore I say to you, all that you pray for and ask, believe that you have received it and it will be yours (Mark 11.24). Yet it also says: You do not have, because you do not ask. You do ask, but it is so you can consume it in your lusts.

The great apostle Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus and the Lord, Who even raised people from the dead, left John the Baptist to be beheaded in a prison! Certainly, then, the Lord will not heal the brokenness of creation and will let us experience sicknesses as cancer and also accidents and eventually death. This is all in opposition to the prosperity gospel that even makes Christians doubt whether they are saved at all, as they go through setbacks, ill health and tribulations. And what about Job, the great and terrible example of suffering and pain? Can there be a greater contrast to these false promises!

To claim wealth in the name of the Lord is even more shameful. The Scripture states that poor believers have much faith and the rich brother in James chapter one is to regard his lowness, because he is like a flower that passes. According to that same chapter we are to glory in temptations and Peter says that we must not be surprised at the fire of persecution and setback. Also, the apostle Paul himself had an angel of Satan to beat him with what was probably an eye sickness, so he would not pride himself. However the Lord promises that if we give in a blessing way (not only money, but also time and dedication), we also will reap in a blessing way. Solomon put it this way: "The generous man will be prosperous and the man that waters, will himself be watered." And "he that gives to the poor, lends to the Lord." However, so was Job. But, yet, in the end he received double. But more important than money is a "good heart" as it "is a continual feast." And true love and wisdom build such a heart!

The prosperity gospel is a form of fideism that makes people doubt their faith and even their salvation; unless it goes hand in hand with a lot of sound preaching (which will make people confused in a certain measure). This way demons step in to make people miserable and to rob them of their joy in the Lord. Also it happens that demons use dubious people to perform healings that cause spiritual bondage that prevent people from sanctification and prayer. When you want blessing too badly, you will not receive it and demons are likely to tempt you and bother you or worse. Moreover the Bible warns us realistically that we must enter the kingdom through many afflictions. A calm journey has He not promised to us, but true Christians will reach a safe arrival.

The verse in James 5 we must be careful with. This verse is exaggerated by many and I think the oil must not be taken literally, but figuratively for the efficacy of the Holy Spirit. One should connect it to the verse that says that we should confess each other our sins and pray for one another "...that you may be healed." Also elders should bear in mind that some people may use this verse as an excuse to draw attention to themselves and to play a pitiful role, instead of looking upon the Lord directly. Moreover when a certain circumstance or disease is your cross then the Lord will not take it away and you must bear it patiently as was the case in the life of even the apostle Paul. Are we better than him? Are preachers of this false gospel better? No.

But this does not mean that one cannot have success in education, career and profession, or that we cannot be healthy. But the Word does say that when we grow older the body becomes weaker. (The prosperity gospel, in principle, denies this realistic Scripture). However the inner man can be renewed day by day. Those that expect the Lord will renew their strength as young eagles. That is also more important, the personal relationship with our Lord.

As to a mystical or overly idealistic attitude about sin and sickness. Also here there is a not so realistic a promise. No doubt rest, regularity, good hygiene and a pious lifestyle are conducive to health and even to a measure of success. But this is not at all guaranteed, witnessing the trials of Job. But the book of Job also teaches that it is a lie to conclude there must be sin at play when somebody is stricken with disaster. However the apostle Paul does say that when we do not examine ourselves when partaking of the Lord's supper, we will eat and drink ourselves a judgement from the Lord.

The rationalistic (as opposed to rightly rational) approach, it is realisticist not realistic. A half hearted attitude towards the problem of sin, will debilitate one's desire to live a sanctified life. One must not only think with one's mind, but also with one's soul and spirit in these matters, i.e. with one's emotions and a prayerful attitude.

I do not elaborate about the idea that we are just machines, or about Hindu beliefs in this matter. As to agnostic humanism, here sinfulness has been reduced to a mere problem of stress and an obviously unhealthy living. Let us not get confused about all kinds of teachings that are out there, but like the Bereans let us peruse and check the Scriptures and apply them and we will become all the wiser.

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