Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are coming soon. Many of us are examining ourselves in preparation for those days so we observe Passover in a worthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). It is not too soon to start examining ourselves. One way to do this is to study significant passages in the Bible and meditate on how well we are living up to those instructions, such as the ten commandments in Exodus 20 and the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5 through 7.
We have been taught that the shed blood of Jesus Christ pays the death penalty for sin so we can be forgiven and reconciled with God the Father. Christ's death enables us to be given the gift of eternal life. Without the payment Christ made of the death penalty for sin by dying in our place, all of us would die permanently without hope of the eternal life God wants to give us. The Passover wine is a symbol of His shed blood, that is, His death.
But Christ did more than die for us. He suffered for us. His body was scourged and tortured. And we have been taught that He suffered in the flesh so we can be physically healed of our sicknesses and infirmities (Isaiah 53:5-6). The broken unleavened bread we eat at Passover is a symbol of Christ's broken body. Part of the penalty of sin is suffering, and Christ suffered for us so we don't have to suffer in our sickness and diseases.
These teachings are true, and the Church of God has taught them for decades. Mr. Armstrong taught these truths consistently.
But there is a third aspect of the matter of Christ paying the penalties for our sins I have not heard taught in the Church of God. I don't say it has not been taught - maybe it has - but I have not heard or read it or come across it.
So whether this is completely new or not, I cannot know for sure. But it seems so obvious to me I do not know how anyone in the Church of God can, or would want to, refute it.
We need to be reconciled to God the Father and forgiven by the blood, the death, of Jesus Christ so we do not have to die the second death. Christ paid that penalty for us. God can forgive us and give us eternal life so we can live with God forever.
We also need physical healing in this life and relief from the pain and suffering that comes from sickness and disease that comes from our physical sins against the laws of health, and Christ paid that penalty by suffering for us so we can be physically healed.
But, and here is the point I think should be obvious, but I have not heard it in the Church of God, we need to be spiritually healed.
Probably this has been taught and I have not heard it. If you have heard the Church teach about our need for spiritual healing related to Passover, I would like it if you send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or enter a comment below, even anonymously if you wish.
Christ's suffering enables us to be physically healed but also spiritually healed.
Christ paid ALL the penalties for human sin so we can be completely forgiven and healed spiritually and physically.
Here is the passage about healing that connects our healing with the suffering of Christ.
"He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:3-6).
Notice how these particular verses focus on the suffering of Christ, not just His death. And it specifically says that by the stripes Christ endured we are healed. And in verse 6 this passage talks about us like sheep going astray.
This passage directly connects the suffering of Christ (not just His death) with our sins in which we "go astray" and all go our own way. Do we only go astray in the matter of health laws? Is this what this is talking about?
Is this only about breaking the laws of health and being forgiven of our physical sins so we can be physically healed of our sicknesses and diseases? Or is it talking about something more, something that goes beyond this physical life into eternity?
Sin causes perversion of mind. Mr. Armstrong taught this and the Bible teaches it. That is one of the penalties for sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, something happened to their minds. They were not the same. When Lucifer sinned, his mind became perverted, twisted, evil. His wisdom became corrupted. Speaking of Lucifer who became Satan the devil, God says, "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor" (Ezekiel 28:17).
When Lucifer, who was perfect in his ways as originally created, turned to vanity, something happened to his mind. His wisdom, his character became corrupted, twisted, perverted, and evil. The more he sinned, the more evil and sinful he became.
Perversion of mind and character is one of the penalties of sin.
When we sin, sin becomes a habit of mind. It becomes part of our character. We acquire a sinful nature. And that sinful nature causes us to sin more and more.
And that sinful nature leads to more sin which leads to mental as well as physical suffering. It leads to guilt. It leads to conflict. It leads to divorce. It leads to war and violence. It leads to anger, frustration, and depression. Sin robs us of the joy and happiness we could have. It destroys unity. It destroys friendship. It destroys love. It destroys the closeness we could have with God and other people.
Certainly physical sin - the breaking of the laws of health - can lead to the suffering that comes from sickness and disease. But spiritual sin - lying, stealing, committing adultery, murder, idolatry, hatred, etc. - the breaking of the spiritual law of God, can lead to greater suffering for ourselves and others brought on by a sinful way of life.
Christ's suffering brought on by the breaking of His body through scourging and crucifixion paid the penalty of all of our suffering, both physical and spiritual, that comes as a result of sin, any kind of sin, physical or spiritual. It enables us to be physically healed, yes, but also spiritually healed.
I wish I heard more in Church of God sermons about this. But all I have heard is that Christ's sacrifice pays the death penalty so we can be given eternal life and live forever and pays the penalty of our physical sicknesses and diseases that come as a result of breaking health laws so we can be physically healed.
But consider what the consequences would be if we were given eternal life, spared the death penalty, but were not spiritually healed of our sinful nature.
We would continue to sin for all eternity.
If we carried our sinful nature and our tendency to sin into the kingdom of God, we would make ourselves and everyone in that kingdom miserable with our continuing sin. It would be Lucifer and his demons all over again. Eternal life would be a curse, not a reward.
But Christ paid the penalty for all our flaws and faults and sins - physical and spiritual both - so we can be healed of everything that causes suffering as a result of sin, not just in this physical life but for eternity in the kingdom of God. He suffered for us so we don't have to continue to suffer as the result of any kind of sin, physical or spiritual.
How does God heal us spiritually?
By the power of the Holy Spirit. By Jesus Christ living His life in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The sacrifice of Christ, both His death and His suffering, makes it possible for God to give us His Holy Spirit, which heals our character and gives us eternal life in the resurrection.
But this spiritual healing does not happen all at once in this physical life. We have our part to play, and God is teaching us lessons for our good. We have to struggle against sin and overcome, and this takes time. But in the resurrection to eternal life, the process becomes complete. We will not have the tendency to sin in the kingdom of God. Sin and the suffering that comes from it will be abolished forever.
Dear reader, if I am wrong about this, show me from the Bible, or from Church of God history, or from sound logic. Email me or enter a comment.
If I am right, how should we respond?
We should first of all appreciate even more the suffering Christ endured. It is not just for physical healing but for spiritual healing so we can have a happy existence in the kingdom of God for eternity. We should give thanks to God for the sacrifice of Christ so we can be spiritually healed.
We should also trust God to heal us spiritually. Some may struggle and struggle against sin and be discouraged by many failures and setbacks. But God will save us in the end. Why? Because Christ paid the penalty for our sins by His suffering.
Paul seems to affirm this in Romans chapter 7. Read the whole chapter. This is about our struggle against sin. Then notice verse 24 and the first part of verse 25: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25).
In other words, God WILL save us from our sins and our sinful nature through Jesus Christ. And Christ dwells in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must never give up fighting against sin.
God will save us from our sins in every way because Christ suffered and died for this very purpose. He is our Creator, and if he paid such a high price, we can be sure He will use that sacrifice to save us to the utmost.
Christ suffered so we can be freed from All the penalties of sin that bring suffering, and neither Christ nor the Father will minimize the suffering Christ endured. And that should give us confidence in God, that He will give us the help we need, that the suffering of Christ will not be in vain for anyone.
This is not the first time I have posted about this. Here is a listing of other posts in this blog on this subject:
Physical and Spiritual Healing, Monday, April 2, 2012.
Passover Symbols: What Part of the Sacrifice of Christ Makes Possible the Healing of Our Character? / Should You Partake of the Passover?, Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Spiritual Healing, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.