Our Nature in Christ: Healed

“But he [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, New International Version)

(For starters, let me begin by saying that this first paragraph is a little [very] graphic and made me squirm)

“These ‘stripes’ (or wounds) were administered by whipping the bare backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The phrase ‘by His stripes we are healed’ refers to the punishment Jesus Christ suffered—floggings and beatings with fists. Whips made of braided leather with pottery shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends tore the flesh open with each whip. When we picture this terrible, inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, sin that Jesus willingly took upon Himself.” (GotQuestions.com)

Can I be honest? I am a very visual person so picturing Jesus in these beatings definitely made me uneasy. However, it also made me think of His love for me. I love the author’s point that Jesus had to “undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father.” The first time that I read that, I literally had no idea what that meant.  I was praying and trying to figure out how God measured sin in physicality? Then, the Holy Spirit revealed that He took on the fullness of shame, guilt, and condemnation.

Let’s be real for a second here. The shame, guilt, and condemnation from disobeying God for myself can be bad, and has even proven to be crippling from time to time in my life. In the past, I’ve had panic attacks from being so overwhelmed. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what it is like to take on the shame, guilt, and condemnation of EVERY, SINGLE person in the name of love.

Just take a moment to take that in.

______________

“Some have taken this [verse] to mean that every believer has the right – the promise – to perfect health right now, and if there is any lack of health, it is simply because this promise has not been claimed in faith. In this thinking, great stress is laid upon the past tense of this phrase – by His stripes we are healed. We can say that God’s promise is perfect, total, complete healing, but we must also say that is is not promised to every believer right now, just as the totality of salvation isn’t promised right now. The Bible says that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8), we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18), and we will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15). We have been healed, we are being healed, and we will one day be healed. God’s ultimate healing is called ‘resurrection,’ and it is a glorious promise to every believer. Every ‘patch-up’ healing in this present age simply anticipates the ultimate healing that will come.

What Christians must not do is foolishly ‘claim’ to be healed, despite ‘mere symptoms’ that say otherwise, and believe they are standing on the promise of Isaiah 53:5. What Christians must do is pray boldly and trust God’s goodness and mercy in granting gifts of healing now, even before the ultimate healing of resurrection” (Guzik).

I LOVE this latter section!!! Haha! I have struggled with everything that the last two paragraphs refer to. Today, I even asked Holy Spirit, “Uhhh, are we sure that Christians can’t claim healing despite symptoms? I think it’s faith!” But I love the rest of this article and this quote from Charles Spurgeon, “‘With his stripes we are healed.’ Will you notice that fact? The healing of a sinner does not lie in himself, nor in what he is, nor in what he feels, nor in what he does, nor in what he vows, nor in what he promises. It is not in himself at all; but there, at Gabbatha, where the pavement is stained with the blood of the Son of God, and there, at Golgotha, where the place of a skull beholds the agonies of Christ. It is in his stripes that the healing lies. I beseech thee, do not scourge thyself: ‘With his stripes we are healed’ (Spurgeon).”

I love the humility of this.

Resources
https://www.gotquestions.org/by-His-stripes-healed.html & https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Isa/Isa_53.cfm

Our Nature in Christ Series

So, until this year, battling for my identity in Christ was really hard for me. A few years ago, a leader from a small group gave me a list of 90 items that refer to our nature in Christ. I never looked at it too much, but honestly, I’ve needed it. I tend to get caught up in my feelings, and while I read my Bible a lot, I don’t think I always take time to really digest the Word in relations to my identity.

So, I decided that I think that I want to deep dive into that list. Instead of simply saying each of these things out loud, I’m going to unpack them, and I want them to come alive as the Word promises, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires,” (Hebrew 4:12, New Living Translation).

So, join me! I’m sure most of it will be notes that I find from online resources, but it’ll still be awesome, and hopefully it’ll help you too!

Morning Revelation.

Lately, I’ve been preparing for a lot of changes in my life. From getting ready to move to making sure that everything is taken care of for going back to school, I’ve been putting God on this timetable of when things have to be done, and when they’re not done in time, I struggle with trying to not rush the process along. Sometimes, I’m so bad about having one foot in faith and the other in self-reliance, but the truth is this: Apart from God, I can do nothing, and God is VERY good at being God.

This morning, I was reminded of a story in John 11, that my church speaks on a lot. It’s the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. In John 11, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, and Jesus’ reply was, “The sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son,” (John 11: 4, MSG). In case you forgot from the couple of sentences before, Lazarus died. (I felt like I needed to go and google the definition of “fatal” again because I KNOW Jesus just said Lazarus wouldn’t die!) Mourners had shown up and were visiting Mary and Martha, and Lazarus was in the tomb for FOUR days before Jesus showed up. Just think about that: They had a FUNERAL for someone Jesus said wouldn’t die before Jesus ever even showed up! 

After Jesus finally got there, there’s this beautiful depiction of the heart of Martha as she speaks to Jesus, and she says, Even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give to you,” (John 11: 22, ESV). There is then an exchange of Jesus telling Martha that her brother will live, and she believed He was talking about after the resurrection, at the end of time, and Jesus explained that He is the Resurrection and the Life. Fast forward to them standing outside of the tomb, Martha’s a little apprehensive since her brother had been buried for four days, and Jesus, looking her in the eyes, says, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11: 40, MSG). He speaks to Lazarus, and Lazarus is raised from the dead. 

Isn’t that SO GOOD?!!

 Even if your situation looks grim.

 Even if it’s dead. 

Even if it’s BEEN dead! 

Even if the mourners have shown up, and you have had the funeral for whatever the Lord has promised you, Jesus is standing at the tomb reminding us, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” In Him is everything we need in its perfected form. His timing is perfected. He’s never been late to the party. He never will be. Trust Him. Right now, He’s standing at the tomb.