Suffering within the Body of Christ
As you read this word, please keep in the forefront of your mind this fact: There is no record in scripture that indicates that Christ ever suffered from an illness. Further, when Christ went to the cross, His death was not as a result of illness, but of beatings, stabbings and torture.
Rom 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
I completely disagree with any premise that would suggest God would or has ever allowed or ordained Christian suffering based in illnesses, nor of early death that might result from such illnesses. Jesus, and subsequently the apostles, made it very clear that the future Body of Christ (His Church) would endure the same sufferings that Christ did. Only in the same ways that Jesus suffered, no more and no less, are the ways that the Christian Church might suffer. Jesus and the apostles said this so that the Church would understand the wonderful process of being perfected by sufferings, to be made ready for out Bridegroom.
We are made dependant by sufferings, we are not to be shut down by sufferings.
While Christ was on earth, he healed the sick, cast out demons and raised the dead; and of which was over 1/3 of his total ministry as written in the scriptures. He was fully a man when he walked the earth. Certainly at some point in the earthly life of Christ, He got sick. Maybe it was a cold, or maybe a stomach virus or who knows what.
When something is presented in the scriptures as a point of record, God has a reason that it be written. We therefore can surmise that since there was no record of Jesus being ill, His illnesses had no further meaning into the Church that would be to come. If Christ illness was a suffering as a manifest example to the Church to come, it would have been recorded in the word.
In this way, Jesus allowed Himself to be our perfect example of what it was to suffer for the cause of Father God. He was our example of what it was to be filled with the Holy Spirit and moving out in the power of the Holy Spirit to reap a harvest. He expressed His heart as fully a man filled fully with the Holy Spirit in the very same way we must believe and live ourselves. Jesus said that we would do the very same things and suffer the very same things that he personally exemplified while here on earth. He moved out in power and was hated for it. The result… persecution.
However, Jesus sufferings did not include illness. Rather, Jesus healed people from illness to testify to the healing power of Christ. His sufferings were based in hatred. He was beaten, yelled at, hated by the world, falsely accused and judged, and yet he still loved unconditionally. None of Jesus sufferings were infirmity based, rather, he healed infirmities by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before the cross, healing power was not available in the same way, and so there was a clear difference in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that became available because of the cross. This was then and remains today the very power of the cross. The power of the cross is not for our selfish gain (such as taking away suffering). The power of the cross and all such miracles of healing are for the benefit of the lost and for God’s glory. As such, His power is far more for the harvest than it is for us. We get in-filled with the Holy Spirit, become revealed to Kingdom truth and anointed with Kingdom power, and then we give it all away.
It is the “giving it all away” part that results in persecution and sufferings. Neither of Satan or the world desire for the Church to take it to the streets! Persecution and sufferings are designed by the devil and the fallen flesh of man to cause those who are moving out to cease and wallow in there infirmities. The devil’s primary purposes are to lie, steal, and ultimately kill. The primary tools of death are demonic spirits of infirmity. They come to steal life, the very opposite of what Christ came to do. Demons remain only by the rights we give them. They remain because of the religious lies the Church has accepted. One very big lie… that such events of illnesses within the Body of Christ are sufferings that we should accept for “our spiritual growth and for the glory of God.” How patently false! And this is clearly so when one examines the word of God. So there they are, lies, theft and death, all wrapped up in one process… infirmity.
If the devil, being “anti-christ”, comes to kill with tools of infirmity, then how is it that God would ever use infirmity to bring life?
The devil is only allowed to traffic in that which he has been given a right to traffic in. And so he traffics in the law. This is the very key premise of deliverance. Satan works in the carnality of our outer man. He works in our minds to get us to fall into whatever sin we can be tripped up in. When we sin, the devil gains rights against us. Satan is a legalist. The scripture says that the “accuser of the brethren” (satan) accuses us day and night (Rev 12:10). He does so legalistically. But the consequence of the law changed through the completed work of Christ on the cross. Christ’s death became our “get out of jail free card.” Through faith in Christ and the work of repentance we become released, free of charge. Infirmity is tied directly to the broken condition of this world. But Christ came to save the world through faith in Him and in repentance.
Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
So we must ask what do we the Church adhere ourselves to? Do we adhere to the law which leads to death? Or do we adhere ourselves to mercy and grace that leads us into life in the fullest? And where does this idea come from, that our fullness does not happen until Heaven? This too is patently false. Persecution happens out of fullness, infirmity does not!
Does not the word say that adherence to the law of the word rather than the law of grace results in death? Look closely at these scriptures:
Rom 7:21-8:2 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God– through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
But now I have to choose what truth I will live in. Will it be the “truth” of the world and our soulish thinking or the truth of the Spirit, the very Kingdom of God come on earth?
If I choose to be under the law of sin and death and give the devil the right to make me sick, I will get sick. Whatever I choose to come into agreement with becomes either the right for the devil to come in, or the power that forces the devil to flee from me.
If I agree that sicknesses are from God, then the devil has a right to traffic in it. Problem is that the Church has come into agreement for generations that sicknesses are allowed, even used by God for the purpose of our benefit. Indeed God turns the bad things to our good. But He did not cause the bad things to happen in the first place! God is our way out of trouble, not our way into trouble!
This is why the Lord gave us the Holy Spirit; so that we might be dependently led into all truth. This is opposed to the independent conclusions of our earthly minds. Lies become exposed in the manifesting Presence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is of the mind by which we fail. For this reason, our minds must be in the constant state of change, out of the old and into the new. The mind must change, not of our own doing but by the Councilor who leads us into all truth, namely the Holy Spirit.
There is a famous line from the movie Dune, “Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens.” “The sleeper must awaken!” So it is with the church. The sleeper (the church) must awaken to the truth made available to it generations ago:
John 16:13-15 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
We can’t figure this thing out on our own. All Kingdom truth is in heaven and we are down here. Therefore what is real truth cannot be concluded, it must be revealed. But if the power of the Holy Spirit is vacant in a church or in a person’s life, that person is left with only his/her mind to make conclusion.
Spiritually speaking, human mental conclusions rarely are correct. Because the very specific point of any spiritual truth, the very definition of a spiritual truth is Kingdom based and therefore must be Kingdom given. If I am concluding, I am only stabbing in the darkness as to what is true in heaven. If I conclude of my own thinking, I conclude in error. Therefore spiritual truth comes only through a state of complete dependence. For those who operate in independent thinking, worldly truth is easy, but spiritual truth is all but missed.
In order to be revealed to this issue of illness, we need a paradigm shift of the mind. We must choose to humbly receive rather than pridefully conclude. We must come out of the natural way of thinking into the spiritual way of knowing. Even Spirit filled believers can miss truth if they have set their minds firm on a lie they conclude to be true.
We need the manifest Presence of the Holy Spirit to come and change our minds through our own conscious agreement. We must be willing to let God change our mindsets and realign us with the Kingdom of heaven. If Christ is a King, then Heaven is a Kingdom, not a democracy. Furthermore, what is true in the Kingdom so far outweighs any definitions the world establishes on any issue. How can one presume Kingdom truth by what one experiences in a short lifetime of experiences on earth?
If all the knowledge of the earth through all time is contained in one grain of sand, then beholding the beach full of sand before us as the whole of Kingdom knowledge gives us a small idea of how much more vast is the Kingdom of God! Who are we to make any conclusions outside of the revelation that comes through the Holy Spirit of God.
And did not Jesus teach us to ask of God, “Lord your Kingdom come, your will be done one earth as it is in Heaven.”
Alignment with the Kingdom of heaven and the manifestations that result will always result in persecution from a contrary world. This is because Kingdom truth is almost always in enmity with worldly “truths”. So we must stop thinking as the world does and start thinking with the supernatural mind of Christ. We will be persecuted when truth flows into darkness. We will be persecuted when the sick are healed, demons are cast out and the dead are raised! But those persecutions do not include illnesses that we should embrace or accept.
It is also important to say that the devil does bring sicknesses in the form of intrusion. I know this from personal experience. But when such things come, we have, by way of the cross, a given authority to command them away. We don’t allow such spirits to stay. When we do allow them to stay, we come into agreement with it and in disagreement with what God says. This does not contradict the premise of this discussion.
Sometimes it takes a significant amount of time to see such things cast away. These are very rare. They are forms of prevention set up against ministries who are moving in great deeds. Perseverance results in success though. And if we don’t have the vision that we will succeed we can so easily give up. But out of these events God gains great glory in the testimony of the faithful who persevered. The classic example is Job. These are the kinds of events that much of the church points to as God ordained events. Again I say no they are not. The author of death comes from one place alone… hell.
Healers not Infirms
Infirmity is not of the Lord for the purpose of sufferings that we should endure that bring glory to God. If Christ meant for this to be so, then why did He command us to heal the sick under the power of the Holy Spirit?
God never contradicts Himself. If so, He would be a liar and in so being, completely disqualified.
We have all authority to command sickness to flee from the lost, that they might be saved, and from those in the Body of Christ, that they each might be free to reap the reward of Christ’s sufferings. Besides salvation, this is what Jesus died for!
We live a life full of personal experiences and witness the lives of our forefathers’ experiences. It is so easy to build a theology around those experiences. We might say that because we have not experienced healing from illnesses, it must be God’s purpose that illnesses exist. In other words, we tend to define what truth is by what we and our forefathers have experienced.
However, we must have the courage to believe for greater things than what we have believed in or have experienced. We must have the courage to think out of the very small box of our own thinking, however intelligent we might be. Our faith must return us to the first church and restore us to the manifest power of the Holy Spirit once again. We need to trust that we will experience healing first hand. We need to just get up and start moving in it. We must persevere until we see it come to pass. The old adage applies, “If at first we don’t succeed, try and try again.”
I have heard it said many times, “Faith without experience is dead.” This is the absolute truth. If one has not been experiencing the manifest Presence of God, one doesn’t yet have faith for it. CHOOSE RADICAL FAITH! Then you will experience the power of God; then your faith will explode! Believe and then go rock your world regardless of persecution by from what people might think.
The focus on power and God’s use thereof is never to be seen for our own gain. And I think this is where there is much confusion. As I see it, there is always confusion where self is the focus. We want to know the “whys”, but most times there are no answers this side of Heaven. My focus is therefore not on myself and my whys, but on the harvest and the reward of Christ’s sufferings.
We see so many “Christian healers” on TV making a mockery of the healing ministry. Meanwhile when someone (like Todd Bentley) who is really moving in truth, they become discounted as a result of those who make a fool of Christianity. The problem lies in those who are in the “Business of Christianity.” Healing is never selfish; it is always selfless, as Christ lived His life.
So why do we deal with so much sickness? Maybe it’s the mass accumulation of sin from generation to generation, and which is ever increasing. Even the patriarchs who lived well before our generations lived hundreds of years beyond the current lifespan… before the accumulation of worldwide sin. Who knows? That’s a question I’ll talk with Jesus about when I see Him in a few years!
But I am convinced of this, sickness is, for whatever reason a right of the enemy and not a work of the Lord.
In a lesser way, sickness is simply the way of the world. We deal with it to some extent or another in our everyday life. But the power of the cross and the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven, are supposed to manifest into the world the greater power that forces illnesses and death to yield.
Illness leads to death… but the counter to illness is the power of the cross that brings life, exercised by the Saints who are operating in the revelation of it.
I know of certain Christians who have dealt with terrible illnesses that have lasted much of their lives. But I must say that when there seems to be no other answer as to why such things happen, we tend to come into agreement with a false theology that says that sicknesses therefore must be from God as a punishment, or to repair some flawed character. This is great error!
Today, much sickness is in the world. The reason is because the enemy is hard at work, not because of an angry God who is operating in forms of judgment. The reason that sickness is so prevalent in and around the Church is because the power of the cross is so missing in the way God meant for it to exist within and outside of the Church.
I am convinced; infirmities and death are under the authority of the blood of Christ, not over it.
In closely reading the New Testament scriptures, I find no direct reference to the Saints being made sick by God to perfect character flaws. Job was affected so that the Glory of God was revealed through him and then fully restored, and so was Lazarus. But neither was being disciplined. So was Hidi Baker who has also been afflicted time and again for her works in the harvest fields as has been her husband Rolland. They both have been restored.
There is something greatly in error when infirmities come and then remain.
I cannot connect the concept of Christian suffering to sickness. The suffering that Jesus speaks of is a persecution for invading the world with the Kingdom of God through a dedicated life. Beatings, judgments, anger, conflicts of every kind, the sword and murder are what are defined as sufferings, not sickness or early death as a result of sickness.
We must know that the Saints have been given the authority, even the command to deal with sickness and command it away in the exact same way as Jesus exemplified. We can’t command God’s sufferings away, but we can command sickness and death away. The reason for this is to show the mercy of the Father that leads to repentance and salvation into the world.
Notice that the following scripture suggests that Jesus healed all from that which was inflicted upon them by the devil:
Acts 10:38 “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Of what value is wrongful suffering? And from where do such things come? Certainly suffering is not given by God to perfect ones character. I can never agree to that. Look closely at this scripture:
1 Pet 2:19-25 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness– by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
The point is that there is no sense in a suffering that comes from sin. The result is healing so that the mercy of the Father might be shown.
Consider this promise to Israel:
Deut 7:13-15 “And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.”You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. “And the LORD will take away from you ALL sickness (emphasis ALL), and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.
The way I see it, sickness is a manifestation of the failure of the church to understand and operate in the power of the cross.
Consider the following example set before us in Acts:
Acts 5:14-16 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
The key word here is that they were all healed. Every one who showed up was healed. Now if any one of them were undergoing sufferings established by the Lord to correct character flaws, it makes no sense that they would have all been healed at that time. The anointing of healing overcame all infirmity. It was this very anointing that Jesus died on the cross for His Church to move in. And scripture says, “It is the anointing that breaks the heavy yoke.”
If God establishes infirmities for our benefit, then how is it that God would heal people of that which He had Himself established?
Though no one is perfect in operating under the anointing, clearly the Lord is restoring these Kingdom revelations back into the Spirit filled church that hold no limits to the love that emanates this very power.
The Spirit of the Lord is just now moving to restore the fullness of Pentecost. In such a way, I am convinced; we will see a day in which entire cities will be sickness free. In fact Bill Johnson at Bethel church is operating on this very word and believes this for his city of Redding, California.
Bill Johnson has a writing that I strongly suggest… The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind. He speaks directly to these very issues we discuss, including those things of the mind that block such understandings. Bill Johnson not only writes about healing, he has a long confirmed record of success in both the ministry of healing and the understanding of it.
Some more encouraging scriptures:
IKing 17:17-24 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.”
Matt 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
Matt 10:7-8 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Matt 13:15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs– heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
2 Cor 1:5-7 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
Phil 3:8-10 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…
2 Tim 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God…
Heb 10:30-36 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise…
1 Pet 5:6-10 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
Many blessings and the powerful strength of love to all who read this word!
T. Scott Morton