1 Peter 3:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (ESV)
The power of the cross is the revelation of our inclusion in our Heavenly family. Before Adam was Adam, he was in Christ. Before you were born of your parents, you were in Christ. You were made to be like Him:
Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. (AMP)
Our inclusion is our inheritance. As His children we have ownership in His Kingdom. As King’s kids we are His royalty here on Earth. As His bride we are His expression of love to others. Our Dad is awesome so we get to be a part of His awesomeness. Our brother is amazing so we get to reveal His amazingness to others. Even more than that, we are inexplicably joined to Jesus, like Jesus, in the image of Jesus. Cats give birth to cats. God gives birth to…? You are one of His children. Jesus joins Himself to mankind and we come to life in Him. Our very structure and nature is defined by our union with Him. It is a great mystery but one that has some really powerful implications and promises.
So often we think in terms of entitlements. Most of us grew up in a culture that only understood a Penal Substitution theory of Jesus’ atonement. I suggest you read Mel Wild’s series on Easter that dealt with the errant nature of this kind of “theory.” You can find the entire series here. This broken way of seeing God and the trinity leads to an entitlement way of thinking. We claim a right to something because there has been a payment made. When we put God in the fictitious position of indifferent judge and jury ruling over a cosmic justice system that spins out of control if moral economic balance isn’t restored…we have missed His heart. We have become entitlement seekers instead of children. We have moved out of wealth from inheritance and embraced puny pensions. We have elevated the power of Sin over the power of the cross. We have missed Him completely.
I am stepping out of “darkness” on so many issues because of the “light” of the finished work of Jesus. Healing is one of those areas where I am still learning. The entitlement mindset has us declaring “by His stripes we are healed” not really knowing what we are saying. Often (at least in our heads) we still see God as the stingy giver or taker. We still have Him in the role of healer who has a desire about “this or that” outcome while using our health as a tool for discipline. That is so far removed from who He really is. In Mel’s series he showed us how even our old standard verses that implicated God in the horrific death of His son have been mis-interpreted. For example check this one out:
Isaiah 53:10 “But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” (NASB)
But in the Septuagint it reads differently:
Isaiah 53:10 “The Lord also is pleased to purge him from his stroke. If ye can give an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed” (L.C.L. Brenton)
The Greek word in the Septuagint for “crush” in the Hebrew text is katharisai which is the word from which we get cauterised in English. So the text is actually saying that God was pleased to heal His Son from the wounds that we gave Him, just saying.
Why do I mention that contrast? This is the same passage where we get the “by His wounds we are healed” reference like in the Peter passage.
Maybe we need to “see” this healing differently. Just like how the finished work of Jesus has revealed in other areas, there is a finished work associated with healing or wholeness. We are healed or made whole because Jesus took all the power of Sin and killed it on the cross. His body was beaten and broken to reveal the ugliness of Sin in mankind’s fallen nature. He took all the “penalties” of sin into His body, even the payment of Sin which was death. Sin did it to Him and used us as the agents of administration of penalties. Sowing and reaping takes on a whole new perspective when we see who is holding the whip and the hammer.
Still the beauty of the cross is Jesus took all of that into the dirt with our fallen nature and left it in the grave. 2000 years ago something so profound happened. I wasn’t there in consciousness but I am there in faith. I can’t understand what the before and after looks like but I can “see” what the before and after looks like in Jesus. I can see Him in me.
“Sin” personified must have been pretty surprised to see Jesus come out of the tomb. The devil must have been pretty ticked off to see Jesus raised as a man-God still inexplicably joined to mankind. That must have really made the enemy mad to see that God hadn’t given up on us but had saved us. We were no longer subjects of a fallen Kingdom but children of a Heavenly Kingdom. We were no longer miserable fallen nomads with no promise or purpose but now royal children of a divine inheritance. Religion had taught us the stuff of entitlement but Jesus revealed the truth of inheritance.
Now we are joined to Holiness Himself. We are joined to love perfected. The healing blood of Jesus pulsates in our bodies. The Holy Spirit is moving and working in and around us. We have rivers of living water flowing from our bellies. We are joined to healing Himself. Listen, God isn’t just “one who heals,” He is healing itself. Think about what would happen if you walked into the throne room and had any kind of disease. What would happen? Just like one of those Hollywood productions you would see the disease leave your body. Spielberg would have a field day using silicon graphics to show the black icky stuff leaking out of your body and being vaporized by the blinding light of God’s goodness (glory) radiating from His being. OK, here is the shocker and of course the mystery of it all: All the fulness of God is in you. That same glory that melts away cancer is in you. That same glory is the “hope of glory” of Christ in you.
Can you see healing differently now? In one sense we are made whole by the cross. In another sense we get to “make whole” by our union with Jesus. Our divine attachment to the divine healer is a mystery but a certainty in faith. God will give you the faith. He is that good.
Let me leave you with The Message version of this passage in Peter. I bet you will see His wounds differently than before:
1 Peter 2:21-25 This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls. (The Message)