Last week and the week before we talked about the fallacies of the “100%” criticism. The “100%” criticism claims that we have no right to teach the biblical doctrines of faith and God’s will to heal if we don’t demonstrate them 100% of the time.
Scripture couldn’t be more clear about God’s will to heal, and Jesus’ promises concerning faith are extreme! Yet many people struggle with accepting these scriptural promises at face value. They feel like accepting such a high standard inevitably leads them into a mire of guilt and condemnation. In fact, even the mention of these promises in scripture is painful, because they feel like if they take these scriptural promises at face value, then sickness is their “fault.” If God’s will is always healing, God has done his part, and now it’s up to the body of Christ to act, who is to blame now for disease and suffering?
In part 2 of the “New Faith Movement,” we saw why the “New Faith Movement” totally rejects blaming a sick person for their disease or “failure to receive” healing. Yet even if some people understand that we’ve rejected “blaming the victim,” they feel like they are at fault for “failing to believe” for someone close to them. Or they conclude that if what we are saying is true, we are to blame for their sickness if we haven’t “gotten them healed” yet. The emotional pain that comes from playing the “blame game” is at the root of many angry comments by critics of teaching faith and divine healing.
On the other hand, people who step out to minister healing also sometimes fall into the trap of playing the “blame game.” If they don’t blame the sick person for “failing to receive their healing” because of “unbelief” or other “issues,” they blame themselves. After all, God has empowered us to do the works of Jesus. He said that if we would believe, we’d do the same works and greater.
That’s true. But it doesn’t need to lead to blaming ourselves if we step out to minister and don’t see the results we want. Falling into that trap is one of the quickest ways to get discouraged and stop ministering to others.
A High Standard Isn’t The Problem
Jesus said “Those who believe in me will do the same works, and even greater works will they do.” And Jesus healed all who came to him, all who touched him. Is this standard too high? Must it inevitably lead to guilt and condemnation? No! The problem isn’t the standard, but our perspective. Are we always trying to measure up, or are we enjoying life in Christ because Jesus has measured up and we are in Jesus?
Let’s consider what we believe about holiness. Do we believe it is ever God’s will for a person to sin? Of course not! So God’s will for the Christian is an absolutely sinless life? Yes. Is that too high of a standard? No, it’s quite reasonable.
So why would we think of it as “too high” of a standard to say that God’s will is for us to heal all the sick who come to us and live absolutely free from sickness?
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NIV) It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Colossians 1:22 (NIV) But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation
Hebrews 10:14 (NIV) For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Does a high standard for holiness lead us into guilt and condemnation? It depends on our perspective. Are we always trying to measure up? Or did Jesus measure up and we have the joy of participating with him in holiness?
If we are coming from the perspective of being in Christ, we are perfect and blameless. We are at rest. That place of rest and abiding in Christ produces the fruit of holiness.
It is the same with manifesting God’s power. A high standard (“the same works and greater”) will only lead us into guilt and condemnation if we are trying to measure up instead of resting in Christ.
Trying To Measure Up, Or Already Adequate Because We Are In Christ?
This is such an important issue to understand if we are going to step out and do the works of Jesus. I remember I ministered to a lady for about an hour almost every day for a few months. She died of cancer.
If Jesus had touched her, she would live. What do I do? Blame myself? Wallow in defeat? Think “I just don’t have enough faith…I’m not good enough?” Or do I strive to enter God’s rest?
If I had blamed myself for losing her, I probably would have stopped. It would have been too painful for me to keep ministering healing or insisting on God’s will to heal. And a little boy who had cancer might not be alive today!
Does striving to measure up morally produce the fruit of holiness? No, abiding in Christ does. In the same way, abiding in Christ produces the manifestation of God’s nature through is, it is what produces the manifestation of God’s power through us.
Never fall into the trap of healing ministry or the gifts of the spirit becoming an attempt to “measure up” or “be good enough.” You may not feel like you have enough faith. But if you are resting in Christ, then His faith and His adequacy are yours.
2nd Corinthians 3:5-6 (NIV) For that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…
If a high standard for walking in God’s power makes someone feel guilty, they are already coming from a perspective of trying to “measure up” instead of abiding in Christ. They are already “playing the blame game.” If we have changed our perspective and are resting in Christ and His work, a high standard doesn’t lead us into condemnation. A high standard for manifesting both Christ’s nature and Christ’s power is exciting! It is the great privilege of being joined to Christ, never something that makes us feel inadequate.
We manifest God’s power out of a place of rest, knowing we are in Christ, our competence is in him, and we don’t have to try to “measure up” because Jesus has “measured up.”
Jesus The Scapegoat
The word “scapegoat” comes from the Old Testament. The nation of Isreal would take a goat and lay their hands on it, imparting the sins of the nation into the goat. Then they sent the goat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22) This was a picture of Jesus, who carried the guilt of the whole world on his back.
Jesus came to end the “blame game!” And he made us perfect and blameless before the Father. Playing the “blame game” and “scapegoating” will sap your strength and your ability to persevere in ministering to others. Acting out of rest and abiding in Christ brings increasing manifestation of God’s power and nature—until we grow up in every aspect, into the full measure of the stature of Christ!