Time to get mad about it.
And there is a difference between God’s gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgment of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!”Romans 5:16 GNB
“What God says is best, indeed is best, though all men in the world are against it. Seeing, then, that God prefers his religion; seeing God prefers a tender conscience; seeing they that make themselves fools for the kingdom of heaven are wisest; and that the poor man that loveth Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world that hates him: Shame, depart, thou art an enemy to my salvation.”John Bunyan
At my very first Kenneth Hagin Campmeeting, I was on my way back from the men’s room when I heard God say, “Stand up straight, boy! You’re the righteousness of God in Christ.” It seemed audible and emphatic. I stopped in my tracks, pulled myself up to my full height and headed off with a new outlook on life. It was transformative! I’d been saved just a few months and was less than a year clean and sober. A sense of unworthiness pervaded my relations with people and with God. I was fighting several physical problems, all connected to my sinful behavior. Though I had heard that I was a righteous new creation, it was never real to me until that moment.
A personal revelation of your right standing with God will enable you to grab hold of all God’s promises with a new confidence and determination. This is especially true in the area of healing. In my case, this new confidence allowed me to overcome a long battle with chronic bronchitis. I thought I deserved to be sick because of the years I had spent smoking various substances. When I prayed for healing, I heard a nagging voice saying, “You did this to yourself.” Armed with the knowledge that my past poor performance didn’t limit my future success, I was able to obtain and maintain healing in this area.
Over the last 40 years, I have worked with many people to help them receive healing. One of the biggest hindrances lies in the inability to shed the remnants of the old identity and fully embrace the new one. Identity issue number one is acceptance of the righteousness that Jesus purchased. I don’t care how you get there, but it’s important that you do. Here are three truths about being a righteous new creation that are guaranteed to help you if you can internalize them.
- Healing and righteousness are part of the same package. Jesus Christ bore the punishment for your sins on the cross. Looking forward to that event, Isaiah prophesied, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)” Notice, the work of cleansing your sin and the work of healing your body ae both here in the same verse, referring to the same event. The same faith that receives forgiveness also receives healing. By grace are you saved through faith. You are not guilty. (Ephesians 2:8) The same is true of healing, by grace are you healed through faith. It’s free, He did it, it’s yours. The moment you add any other requirement for salvation, it is no longer grace. The same is true of healing. You can’t earn it, you can’t deserve it, but it’s yours. All you can do is believe and receive. You believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth. (Romans 10:9-10) Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24; Psalm 103:1-5
- Shame cripples faith. Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit? They went from an intimate, personal relationship with God to being afraid at the sound of His voice, hiding and trying to cover their nakedness. (Genesis 3:7-10) That sense of shame, that you have failed beyond repair, keeps you from receiving what God so generously offers. You are righteous by faith. It’s who you are whether you feel that way or not. Shame is a lie. Don’t believe it. Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:19-23; Romans 5:1-5 Many folks are tormented with a vague sense that they have done something wrong, though they don’t know what it is. Religion often tells you that you have some “unknown sin,” that God is displeased with you for something you don’t know about. Please don’t listen to that nonsense. You have the Spirit of God on the inside of you. If He is displeased about something in your life, you know it. He lets you know. He wants you to know. When that happens, confess it and let God cleanse you. He does so the instant you ask Him. God is not vague. He wants you cleansed, not condemned. After you confess it to Him, it’s gone. 1 John 1:9
- You ought to be healed. God paid a terrible price for your salvation. He gave it to you free of charge. It’s yours. In that same package, He included healing. Your failures don’t disqualify you from the gift. Consider the woman in Luke chapter 13 who was bent over for eighteen years. Jesus healed her on the Sabbath Day and made the religious people mad. In his rebuke of their religious meanness, He uttered these beautiful words: “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath? (Luke 13:16 NKJV)” “Ought not?” There is a certain air of irritation in that phase. I’m healing her because it’s the right thing to do! Luke 13:10-17
In this response, Jesus tells us three things. First, her plight was caused by Satan. So is yours. God didn’t do it. Second. she is a child of Abraham, the man with whom God made His covenant. Third, because she’s a child of Abraham, it’s right and proper for her to be healed. She ought to be free from this bondage. Now here’s the good news: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29 NKJV)” You see, when sickness and disease trespass on your body, it is an affront to God because of His covenant. Jesus said His blood brought you into a new covenant. (Hebrews 8:6) You are now an heir. You ought to be free from the satanic bondage of sickness. It’s the right thing. God agrees with you. Don’t settle for less.
Think about it. Suppose your Dad takes you to the ice cream store. He buys you a double-dip with sprinkles. The guy at the counter takes Dad’s money, then hands you a cone with one dip and no sprinkles. What’s your first response? “Where’s my other dip!” When you get a gift, you ought to get the whole thing! God paid for your healing and gave it to you as part of your salvation package. He guaranteed it with the blood of Jesus Christ: “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:20)” You ought to be healed, and it ought to irritate you when the thief tries to steal your second dip.
Here’s the Point. Your identity, the way you think of yourself, determines how you respond to life’s events. If you know you’re righteous then you know you’re free from shame. Your old life is gone, you are made new. If you don’t know it, you find yourself cringing before God, apologizing and begging for what He already bought for you, even saying things about yourself that are contrary to what He says about you. Learning to allow yourself to enjoy the privilege, the boldness, and the freedom of being right with God enables you to turn your indignation toward the enemy where it belongs. You can quit being mad at God and demeaning yourself. You ought to be healed! It’s time to develop an “ought to” attitude.
NEXT STEPS: You can’t change your thoughts and attitudes by simple will power. What you can do is intentionally engage the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to work in you. For the next week, begin your day by praying this simple prayer that Paul prayed for the Philippian church, only you pray it for yourself:
And this I pray, that my love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that I may approve the things that are excellent, that I may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV edited)
Each day, take time to open your Bible and read some of the scriptures cited in this article. Don’t get in a hurry. Spend time with each one. Ask God to show you how this passage applies to your life today. During the day, pay special attention to your speech. Listen for things that contradict what you read in the Scripture about your new nature. This is the beginning of finding patterns in your thought life that are in opposition to who God says you are. It’s time to tame those thoughts. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Finally, Every day, before you leave the house, look in the mirror and say, “I ought to be healed!” Keep saying it until you sound like you believe it. It’s true, you know.
Pastor Virgil Stokes