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!

Divinely Hemmed

A couple of mornings ago, I was looking for something in my car, and I ran across a book I’d bought a year ago. While flipping through the pages of the book, I found a torn note card I wrote that said,

“I met God who slowly, painfully, and divinely pieced me back together again.”

 Immediately, I started to reminisce on the difficult times, headaches, and heartaches that led up to the person I am today, and I couldn’t help but to thank God. There was a time, when I first got saved, that I almost traded in my salvation card because living in the world seemed SO much easier than being saved. At least, I didn’t have this target on my back that the enemy was constantly aiming for. Now, I can look back and almost sit in awe at how beautiful the process has been. Every difficult season was a season spent at the feet of God, crying out to Him and praying in my personal intimate time.

Before I got saved, I spent my life tearing the very fabric of who God had created me to be. With every party, every drink, every guy, I was completely shredding who I was. “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me,” (Psalm 139: 5, ESV). It wasn’t enough for me to just get saved. God had to completely change who I was. I needed to reflect Him. He had to go behind me and hem the fabric I’d ripped in the process of finding myself in this world. He’s gone before us, even before the beginning of time, to make sure that we’re hemmed into what He has for us. “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them,” (Psalm 139: 15-16 ESV). He lays His hand on our lives. The very God that SPOKE creation into existence cares to lay HIS hands on MY life?! On YOUR life?! Sigh, just beautiful.

So, I thank God for the ability to find beauty in the process.

I thank Him that He loved me past salvation, that He loved me enough to not leave me where I was first found.

 I’m grateful that He nudges me to reflect Him, daily.

When I’m having bad days, and I feel like I can’t go any further, He reminds me of how far I’ve come.

I’m grateful for His strength that is readily available to me.

 I’m thankful for Him. I love Him.

I empower you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the beauty in your everyday process. Yes, living for God is not easy at all, but it is worth it. I pray God will reveal how well He has hemmed you in that when people hear your testimonies, they can’t even see the rips and tears that were once the core of who you were. I challenge you to seek those intimate moments when they come. Satan, so badly, wants to steal your joy, your purpose, and your praise, but it’s hard to give him ground when you learn to find beauty in the difficult times.