While divine healing has been shown as one of the rights of every believer in Christ Jesus – as established in the first and second parts of this series – it is equally important to state here that divine health (sound) is actually God’s perfect will for believers. This truth is written in 3 John 1:2.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2. (KJV)
Although God’s perfect will for believers is sound health, the truth remains that we believers still fall sick. The possibility of sin, the presence of Satan and his demon slaves on earth, and many other factors, often make our body and soul weak and prone to sickness and disease.
In one of the previous articles, it is stated that there are two aspects to believers’ relationship with God. One is personal enjoyment of God and the other is spiritual service (Ministry) in His kingdom. It is within the scope of personal enjoyment of God that divine healing is available to every believer who needs it.
However, the second part of this series highlights lack of knowledge and careless union with Christ as two basic reasons why believers may not enjoy God’s provisions for divine healing. The goal of this article is to explain both scriptural and practical ways by which God expects a formidable union between Christ and His Bride – individual believers.
From a careful study of the New Testament record, certain doctrines have been established by different Christian denominations as requirements for salvation, so it is important to discuss the most important conditions necessary for a proper union with Christ and consequent personal enjoyment of God.
The question may be asked: is there such a thing as a careless or haphazard union with Christ? Yes!
Union with Christ
There are two aspects to believers’ union with Christ, as shown in the Bible. One is instant union and the other is continuous.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” This Scripture speaks of instant union with Christ.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you..” John 15:7. This Scripture alludes to continuous union with Christ.
Also in Romans 11:22, Paul writes, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off…” to buttress the fact of believers’ need for a continuous union with Christ.
In fact, the statement by the Lord Jesus in John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” is worthy of consideration as to why believers must remain steadfast in their relationship with Christ.
In verse 5 of John 15, the Lord expresses the need of believers to abide in Him as the means by which they can be fruitful – spiritual service.
It should be noted that spiritual service in God’s kingdom is an outflow of a personal relationship with Christ. So a continuous union with Christ is the bedrock of personal enjoyment of God and spiritual service in His kingdom.
Instant Union with Christ
Faith expressed in Christ either verbally (recommended) or by action is the first step to salvation. In many Christian denominations, this condition is the only requirement for salvation.
Truthfully, faith in Christ is the only condition required of an unsaved soul to have his or her name written in the book of life. This truth is underscored by several Scriptures and particularly by a promise which the Lord made to one of the malefactors (thieves) crucified the same time as He.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) was a promise made by the Lord Jesus to one of the thieves who petitioned Him, “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom..” (Luke 23:42)
But, then, the Lord Jesus commands in the gospel that new believers should be baptized in water. I must admit here that baptism by immersion is one of the most debated spiritual subjects in Christendom. The debate mostly borders on whether this spiritual activity is required for salvation or not.
This article is not a theological exposition to debate baptism by immersion as a condition for salvation; rather it is written to state emphatically that baptism by immersion is very important for a perfect union with Christ. This spiritual activity is a one-time experience, so it falls under the requirements necessary for instant union with Christ.
Baptism by immersion is a public declaration of God’s judgment on Christ, not as a substitute for sin, but as a representative of Man. The import is that when Christ died on the Cross, the entire human race, descended from Adam, was crucified with Him. So, baptism by immersion is a way for new converts to alert the spirit world (Light and darkness) that the new convert is now joined to God through Christ Jesus.
Baptism by immersion has no bearing to salvation by faith as much as it is for a post-salvation experience which is bound to play out in the believer’s walk with the Lord.
Without baptism by immersion, the believer will likely experience many avoidable problems; or should I say the believer may not enjoy certain spiritual blessings from God.
So, for instant union with Christ, a verbal confession of Jesus as Lord and baptism by immersion in water are the basic requirements.
Holy Communion for new converts is another important condition for instant union with Christ, but this requirement for believers’ union with Christ is usually covered inadvertently at the time of believers’ first participation in the ‘Lord’s Supper.’ This spiritual activity requires deliberate and careful planning; unfortunately, very few Christian leaders are well informed about the need for new converts to have a welcome service and proper induction into the Body of Christ through Holy Communion.
See John 6 and compare verse 47 with verses 53 -54.
Basically, the Lord Jesus Christ declares that faith in Him (John 6:47) and Holy Communion (John 6:53-54) are required for a union with Him. This Holy Communion, eaten the first time, sets in motion a complete and instant union with Christ. So the first Communion highlighted in verses 53-54, is for the sole purpose of initiation and identification with Christ. Some other references to Communion in the Bible, though it is served as the flesh and the blood of Jesus Christ, are for other spiritual purposes.
From the foregoing, it has been established that verbal expression of faith in Christ, baptism by immersion in water, and Holy Communion for new converts are the requirements for INSTANT and COMPLETE union with Christ.
What about Baptism of the Holy Spirit? You will read about this experience later…
Continuous Union with Christ
The Lord Jesus said in John 15:4 “Abide in me and I in you…” to underscore believers’ need for a continuous union with Him. This command is a clear indication that believers are responsible for their continuous union with Christ. Then one may ask: is this not a contradiction to another statement by the Lord Jesus Christ: “And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”? No!
What the Lord implies by “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” in John 10:28 refers to outside influence against the will or wish of the believer. In other words, Satan or any other external force is incapable of separating the believer from a perfect union with the Lord except the believer decides to break his or her union with Him.
It is in light of the above fact that Paul writes and asks the believers at Rome: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35. This question was asked to show the depth of Paul’s commitment and his team to the cause of the LORD.
The following words, especially in verse 36 puts the question in the right perspective. Paul writes: “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. ” to express the resolve by him and his team to die for the sake of Christ, if need be; and in verses 38 and 39, Paul declares that no outside influence can separate him and his team from loving the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Roman 8:38-39.
The believer is at liberty to not abide in the Lord, to disobey Him, to walk away from Him, or even forsake Him. If this were not so, apostasy would not have been a possibility. There is something called “the great fallen away.”
In Part 4 of this series, I will discuss in detail the-what and the-how of Continuous Union with Christ as the requirement for divine healing.
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