THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT HEALING
by Herbert W. Armstrong
Is the day of miracles past? Does the living God heal
sickness and disease today upon believing prayer? Or was healing performed only
by Christ and the original apostles? Did God raise up medical science for our
day? What about modern faith healers and public healing services?
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
One: Healing in Our Time?
Two: Learning to Believe
Three: What the Old and New Testaments Reveal
Chapter Four: What
Five: Is Healing Always God's Will?
Six: Claiming God's Blessings
WHAT IS FAITH?
You can be healed! Jesus said
so! But also He said, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29).
First, are you sure you know what faith is? Very few know. Yet without
faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6): "... For he that cometh to
God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently
Looking down into our latter half of the twentieth century,
Jesus said, "... When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
(Luke 18:8.) Yet you must have faith for salvation! How, then, may you have it?
You can't work it up. Yet if you can't have the faith to be healed, how can you
have the faith to be saved? God said, "For by grace are ye saved through faith
..." (Ephesians 2:8).
Jesus foresaw the near total absence of faith in
our time. Few today know what faith is or why they do not have it!
Certainly the world has almost lost sight of real FAITH. No wonder so
few have any -- no wonder so many say, "My faith isn't very strong," or "I just
can't seem to work up the faith." People today do not know what faith is or why
they do not possess it. Yet without FAITH none can ever be saved!
Jesus Had Faith
When Jesus walked the earth in human
flesh, He possessed faith!
Yet He said plainly, "I can of mine own self
DO NOTHING" (John 5:30).
Few realize that what He did -- the miracles He
performed -- He did not do by any supernatural power of His own. Everything He
did, every miracle He performed, was done literally through FAITH, setting us a
But how, then, did He perform His miracles,
accomplish His mighty works?
"... The FATHER that dwelleth in me,"
explained Jesus, "he doeth the works" (John 14:10).
Yes, even as you and
I may be, Jesus was filled with God's Holy Spirit -- God's dynamic supernatural
POWER! This power of God Almighty, the Creator, was literally in Jesus; and the
same identical power of the same identical living God may be within you today!
All the apostles and evangelists of the first century true Church of God
did perform miracles, and even greater miracles than Jesus had performed, until
even Peter's shadow passing over the sick and afflicted caused them to be
Peter, Stephen, Philip, Paul -- common, humble, ordinary men
themselves -- all had that power, the SAME identical power Jesus had, because
they lived and walked CLOSE TO GOD and were filled with the Holy Spirit!
And we seem to LACK that power today, NOT because God denies us that
power, but because we are so close to a modern, materialistic world -- our minds
are so filled with the material interests of this life; our minds and our hearts
are so far from God; we are so out of touch with Him through lack of enough time
spent in the study of His Word and lack of enough of the right kind of
surrendered, submissive, earnest and heartrending PRAYER -- and, consequently,
we are not filled with the Holy Spirit which affords us the power of God!
So now let's ask two questions:
First, what is faith?
And, second, how may we have it, and how may it be increased?
What Faith Is
Now notice, faith is the substance --
the marginal rendering says ASSURANCE of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). So
FAITH comes before possession.
Once you have received the possession,
you no longer hope for it. But even before you receive it, you have it in
SUBSTANCE; and that ASSURANCE that you shall possess it is faith.
again, faith is an EVIDENCE -- the "evidence of things not seen." Faith precedes
the actual receiving of what you ask for. And faith is the EVIDENCE you shall
have it before you even SEE it. It is the EVIDENCE of things not yet seen. You
do not have it. You do not see it or feel it -- yet faith is your EVIDENCE that
you have, or shall have, it. Faith is the assurance of receiving that which you
still HOPE for.
Proof of Healing
So I want you to
notice that when you hope for things or ask God for things, there is an EVIDENCE
-- a proof, because where God is involved, His evidence is proof -- that you
shall receive what you have asked. And what is that proof, that evidence? Is it
the actual receiving of the answer, so you see or feel or hear that you have it?
Suppose, for instance, you were ill -- taken with a disease. Now
Jesus healed the sick continually. And He said the works that He did -- and this
was one of them -- we should do also. Now suppose you ask God to heal you.
Naturally, you want some evidence that you are going to be healed.
what is that evidence, that proof? Is it the evidence of the pain ceasing -- or
the swelling going down -- something you can feel and see? I know a man who
said, "When I can see anyone healed by direct prayer, then I'll believe in it."
This man said he wanted to BELIEVE in it -- he wanted to have FAITH in it! He
was looking for an EVIDENCE that he could SEE, and he died without ever seeing
Because what we SEE -- what we FEEL -- is not the true EVIDENCE.
Having the thing -- SEEING it -- is not faith. Faith precedes possession because
FAITH is confidence, ASSURANCE, you shall possess it.
The human mind,
naturally, can receive KNOWLEDGE only through five senses. These are five sole
channels capable of transmitting knowledge, by natural processes, to the human
brain: the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling.
Faith Is Spiritual
But that is not FAITH! Faith is a
spiritual matter, and it has nothing to do with the five senses, which are
Prayer is a spiritual matter. God is a SPIRIT! And when we
ask, for instance, for healing, we do have an evidence -- proof positive -- that
the healing will be done. But that evidence is not something seen or felt or
heard -- it is not a physical evidence of FAITH. FAITH is our evidence.
Let's understand plainly where your human nature has clouded the issue
and deceived you. God has told you in Exodus 15 that He is your healer -- your
God-healer -- that is one of His names, and God is named what He is. God sent
His Son into the world to be beaten with stripes, to suffer the penalty of your
transgressions of nature's laws (which God set in motion) in your stead. His
body was broken for you, and by His stripes you are healed! God gave you His
word that it is His will to heal you. He commanded you to call the elders of the
Church, which you did. He promised to heal you. But God has also made it a part
of this contract, in His Word, that "according to your faith be it unto you" --
in the very words of Christ!
Now FAITH is your evidence that God will do
what He promised. You can't see faith -- you can't feel it. What you see or feel
has nothing to do with faith. But the point your human nature -- under the
influence of Satan -- wants you to overlook is that God did not promise WHEN or
HOW He would heal you!
purpose in your life is to transform you from what you've been into the very
image of His Son -- into the very character of God Himself. Part of this
character is the learning of PATIENCE! And God instructs you in James 1:3 that
the trying of your faith works PATIENCE into your character. God has revealed to
you in this and other scriptures that He will sometimes delay healing you in
order to TRY your faith and to teach you to be patient! Your healing, God has
promised, shall be according to your faith.
Faith is trusting God to do
that which He has not yet done. After the healing is completed you no longer
need to exercise faith. Faith is the ingredient you must exercise until God
heals you -- until you can see and feel that you are healed. It's the same with
spiritual salvation. You are not yet in the Kingdom of God, but those of you in
Christ have the ASSURANCE -- the faith -- that you shall be. After God has
healed you then you won't need FAITH in it any longer. But your faith must
remain firm and steadfast and patient, regardless of what you see or feel, until
God actually heals you as He has promised to do.
Your human nature --
swayed by Satan -- wants you to believe that faith is something you exercise in
about 30 seconds, while you are still praying, and then if God has not done what
He promised as soon as you expect, you are to find God guilty of lying. The
instant you yield to the devil's influence over your human nature and render a
verdict that God will not do what He promised just because He has not done it
yet, that moment you make God out a liar -- you lose all FAITH in God. You
thereupon break your part of the agreement, which is to have faith and keep on
having faith and trusting God and relying upon Him UNTIL He performs what He
Simple Reliance on God
Faith is simple
reliance upon God's Word. It is the evidence of what you do not see or feel.
Therefore Christ calls upon you to have patience -- to keep on TRUSTING God
until He heals you, and then He will heal you!
You must render your
verdict based upon the evidence.
Which, now, is the evidence you
believe? That which you see and filthy physical evidences that often are
deceptive -- or your faith that God's Word is true, that His promises are sure,
that it is impossible for God to lie?
If you BELIEVE this latter
spiritual evidence and reject the physical evidences of sight and of feeling,
you pronounce sentence that His Word has been VINDICATED by your verdict. You
shall be RELEASED from the disease and what He promised shall be carried out.
But, if you decide that the physical evidences of sight or feeling are
to be trusted over and above the Word of ALMIGHTY God, and you reject His Word
and His promise and refuse to believe in it -- refuse, in other words, to accept
and trust in the evidence of FAITH until God completes it, then you yourself
must render your verdict, "NOT HEALED," and you will not be healed!
see, God does not promise healing or anything else unless we BELIEVE. According
to your FAITH be it unto you, said Jesus. And remember the FAITH must precede
and, therefore, is a condition to the possession.
One man expressed it
very well: "Faith is the assurance that the things which God said in His Word
are true and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This
assurance, this reliance on God's Word, this confidence, is FAITH!" And it is a
true Bible definition. This Work of God has been built by putting it into actual
Learning God's Will
God says, ... Be ye not
unwise, but UNDERSTANDING what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17).
Remember, whatever your need, the first thing to do to be sure of receiving an
answer to your prayer is to search the Scriptures to learn whether it is God's
WILL (Ephesians 5:17; II Timothy 3:14-17).
The Bible reveals God's will.
We need never say, "Well, I know God could heal me IF IT IS HIS WILL." You can
know His will. And so far as healing is concerned, I can tell you definitely
that His Word says plainly and emphatically that it is His will. The Bible is
full of promises -- literally FULL of them. If you need anything, study to see
whether God promised it, and if He has, HE CAN'T BREAK A PROMISE!
Claiming a Promise
I remember one time a number of
years ago when my two sons came to me and asked me to do something for them -- I
don't now remember what. They were then around 7 and 9 years old. I do remember
I didn't want to do it.
"But, Daddy, you PROMISED," they said, "and
you've GOT TO KEEP YOUR PROMISE."
And then I remembered I had promised.
Well, what do you think? Do you think I could break a promise when my two sons
came to me and put it like that? No, and if you'll just as boldly tell God He
has promised and then CLAIM that promise as applied to your case and TRUST God
to keep it and quit worrying about it -- quit trying to work up faith -- just
RELAX and let God take over from there -- leave it with Him -- let Him do it --
He'll do it, every time!
I know whereof I speak, because I've put what
I'm now telling you to the test not once, but literally hundreds and thousands
of times, and God has never failed to keep His promise once. I've seen the
answers come so often and so frequently that I expect the answer when I ask!
God promised to supply every need -- that if we'll seek first the
Kingdom of God and His RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is right doing, He will provide
every material need (Matthew 6:33).
Work a Living Example
Why, this very Work we conduct is a direct answer to prayer. This Work
of the Worldwide Church of God -- The World Tomorrow broadcast, The Plain Truth
magazine and AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, which now has grown to national and
international scope and influence -- started as small as any work could start --
literally from NOTHING.
It has been from the start 100 percent a work of
FAITH, and we had to really learn this lesson of faith before it had even
Why People Lack Faith
And now, very briefly,
WHY don't we have FAITH, how may we get it, and how may it be increased? So many
say, "Well, I have no impression -- I have no feeling, no conviction -- that I
shall get the answer."
They want to wait until they get a certain
CONVICTION, a certain FEELING, a sort of ASSURANCE they can FEEL, before they
really believe they shall have the answer.
But THAT is not faith!
That is FEELING!
Your feeling, your convictions, your
impressions, have absolutely not one thing or the other to do with FAITH.
FAITH HAS ONLY TO DO WITH GOD'S WORD! The one question is, Has God
promised it in the Bible? If He has, then probabilities, possibilities,
feelings, convictions, impressions, have nothing whatsoever to do with it. God
has a thousand ways we know nothing of, of answering and providing whatever He
has promised. We don't need to see HOW He is going to do it or even when!
And that's another thing: He almost never will do it the WAY we expect.
So don't try to figure out how it is possible for God to do it. You are trusting
SUPERNATURAL POWER! God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. What He
promised He will perform; but He will do it His way and in His TIME. Leave all
that to Him and just TRUST HIM. Rely upon His Word.
And let us remember FAITH is the GIFT OF GOD.
think that everything else that comes from God is His gift, but the FAITH
REQUIRED to receive these things is something we ourselves must somehow work up
or strain and strive for. But we have to just relax and TRUST God, even for the
FAITH by which we receive everything else! (Ephesians 2:8.)
Revelation 14:12 is a description of the true Church of THIS DAY. Those in this
Church have the FAITH OF JESUS. Notice, the FAITH OF JESUS! It is not just our
faith in HIM, but His faith -- the very faith with which He performed His
miracles -- placed in us and acting in us.
How can you get it? Draw
closer to God. Get to know God. Surrender all the way to Him and do His will.
And then PRAY. You get to know Him in PRAYER. We are too close to the material
things. Through PRAYER, much more prayer, you can come closer to God and the
spiritual things. And what a happy, joyous experience it is, once you have
really done it!
Faith Required for Salvation
subject pertaining to Christian salvation is more generally misunderstood than
that of saving FAITH.
Just "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved" is the popular teaching today. And that statement is absolutely
true -- if you understand what kind of BELIEVING is required.
Unfortunately millions are being deceived -- led to trust in a faith
that will never save one single soul -- by a very popular and very false
It is customary to quote only a PART of the scriptures on this
subject -- reading a false meaning into them -- and thus by subtle half-truths,
popular teachings, shackle most of Christendom to spiritual blindness and
Do These Scriptures Contradict?
not usually reveal all the truth respecting a particular subject in any one
passage alone. "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to
understand doctrine? ... precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept;
line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah
28:9-10). To understand any general subject in the Bible, it is necessary to
view all the scriptural evidence touching that particular subject. And we cannot
read our inherited or desired meaning into any particular passage, for "no
prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20), but
each passage is interpreted by, and in light of, other texts.
example, it is quite popular to quote Romans 3:20: "Therefore by the deeds of
the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ..." and from this
passage alone assume that salvation comes by faith, in disobedience to God's
law! Those who thus interpret this passage never tell you that in Romans 2:13
the same apostle Paul was inspired to write: "... Not the hearers of the law are
just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified."
a contradiction here? If the one scripture is intended to reveal that we do not
have to make an effort to obey God's law to be justified and then saved -- but
that we are saved by faith without obedience to God's law -- then, indeed, God
contradicts Himself in His Word! And if you wish to make Romans 3:20 say that,
you must consistently acknowledge there is contradiction in the Scriptures, and
if this be true, you have no basis for your faith!
Again, Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of
works, lest any man should boast." But those who quote this text so freely to
teach the doctrine of no works never tell you that the same inspired Scripture
says also: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (verse 10).
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and
have not works? can faith save him? ... Even SO FAITH, if it hath not works, IS
DEAD, being alone ... I will shew thee my faith BY my works. Thou BELIEVEST that
there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But
wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is DEAD? (James 2:14-20.)
There is no contradiction here!
Rather, by putting all the
scriptures on the subject of saving faith together, we learn that there are TWO
KINDS of faith. And the kind so blindly trusted in by the majority of this day
is nothing but a DEAD faith -- and a DEAD faith never will save one soul!
Notice! James 2:20: "... Faith without works is DEAD -- just a DEAD faith.
James continues: "Was not Abraham our father JUSTIFIED by works, when he
had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how FAITH wrought with his
works, and BY Works WAS FAITH MADE PERFECT? ... Ye see then how that BY WORKS A
MAN IS JUSTIFIED, and not by faith only" (James 2:21-24). Then are we saved by
works instead of faith? No, Never! We are saved by FAITH! But faith functions
with our works and BY WORKS our FAITH is MADE PERFECT! That is LIVING FAITH!
Why Salvation Is Needed
Why do we even need
salvation? Because we have SINNED, and the penalty of sin is DEATH!
how have we sinned? What is sin, anyhow? Sin is the transgression of LAW -- that
is God's answer (I John 3:4).
"Yes," answers the victim of modern
fables, "but we are not under the law today, but UNDER GRACE! Why certainly!
"What then?" asks the inspired Paul. "Shall we SIN [transgress the law] because
we are not under the law, but under grace?" And Paul's answer is, "GOD FORBID"
(Romans 6:15). And again, "... Shall we continue in SIN [transgressing the law],
that grace may abound? GOD FORBID. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any
longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2.)
The law has a penalty -- DEATH. It
claims the life of the one who transgresses it. The law has power to take the
life of the transgressor. It therefore is more powerful than the sinner -- and
is OVER the sinner, holding a claim on his life. It is the SINNER who is UNDER
the law. But when the sinner REPENTS of his transgression and accepts the
sacrifice of Christ as payment for the penalty of the law, then he is PARDONED
-- UNDER GRACE -- the law no longer stands OVER him, claiming his life. Those
who are still sinning are still UNDER the law! And those who, through
repentance, obedience and FAITH, have turned from disobedience and are, through
faith, KEEPING the law are the only ones who are UNDER GRACE!
God's Spiritual Mirror
Let us understand it! "... By
the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ..." No,
certainly not! That scripture is 100 percent true, and there is no
contradiction! You cannot be justified BY the deeds of the law -- not at all!
Why? The last half of this same verse gives the answer. Why do most
preachers never quote it? "... For by the law is the KNOWLEDGE of sin (Romans
3:20). THAT'S WHY!
The purpose of the law is not to forgive, to justify,
to wash away, to cleanse. Only THE BLOOD OF CHRIST can do that! The purpose of
the law is to tell us what sin is -- to define it, to REVEAL it -- so we can
quit it. Sin is the transgression of the law -- that's what sin IS.
women ought to understand this. In every woman's handbag is a little mirror. She
knows what it is for. Every little while she takes out this mirror and steals a
glance at her face. Sometimes it reveals a speck of dirt. And we might
truthfully say, "By the use of these mirrors are no dirty faces washed clean."
You women understand what we mean! But do you throw your mirrors away because by
them your faces are not washed? Of course not -- what a silly question it seems
when applied to a MATERIAL case! And if we ask you WHY your faces are not washed
clean by your mirrors, you answer: "Because by the mirror comes the KNOWLEDGE OF
God's law is His spiritual mirror. We look into it and see
the dirt on our hearts! But by looking at the law or keeping it no dirt is
WASHED from our hearts -- only Christ's BLOOD can do that. By the law comes the
KNOWLEDGE OF SIN!
Listen to James explain it! "But be ye DOERS of the
word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of
the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a
glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth
what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect LAW of liberty,
and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a DOER of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:22-25).
"But," argues the no-law deceiver, "no man can keep
the commandments. It is not humanly possible. Since FAITH has come, we keep no
law -- faith has made it VOID."
Thus even "... Satan himself is
transformed into an angel of LIGHT. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS
MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness .... For such
are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles
of Christ" (II Corinthians 11:14-15, 13).
"Do we then make void the law
through faith?" comes the question in inspired Scripture -- and the answer: "God
FORBID: yea, we ESTABLISH THE LAW" (Romans 3:31).
Yes, faith establishes
the law! By keeping it is faith made PERFECT!
Yet, can we keep the
commandments? Is it possible? Satan's no-law deceivers say NO! What is the PLAIN
TRUTH? A man came to Jesus and asked how to be saved. The Savior Himself
replied, "... If thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS" (Matthew
19:17). When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who
then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is
impossible; but with God all things are possible" (verses 25-26).
is Christ's own answer! With men it is impossible- -utterly impossible to really
KEEP His commandments. But -- here's the blessed truth -- WITH GOD it is
possible even to keep His commandments. Do you begin to see? IT TAKES FAITH --
faith in the power of God! And, just as your own diligent effort coupled with
faith makes faith perfect, so faith coupled with your effort makes PERFECT
OBEDIENCE! The two go hand in hand. And you cannot have the one without the
A LIVING FAITH, the only kind that will SAVE, is an active faith
-- one that trusts God to make it possible to OBEY Him, to live the true
Christian life, to KEEP His blessed commandments!
Think! Could a just
God command men to do what is IMPOSSIBLE to do? Or can we conceive of Jesus as a
smart-aleck young man who knew more than His Father and who did away with His
Father's commandments? How absurd! Yet this is the popular conception today.
The Law Is Eternal
God's law is not a horrible
monster! Just and right laws are a terror only to the criminal -- they are made
to PROTECT the good! God's law is PERFECT (Psalm 19:7). It is a SPIRITUAL law
(Romans 7:14), HOLY and just and good (Romans 7:12). ALL His commandments are
SURE and stand fast FOREVER AND EVER (Psalm 111:7-8). Don't you believe it when
men tell you differently!
God's law is, simply, LOVE! It is the perfect
way of life. Every particle of human suffering, unhappiness, misery and death
has come solely from its transgression. It was given to make man HAPPY and is
the only philosophy of life that can do so. It came from a God of LOVE, and LOVE
is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).
But not YOUR own natural
love! It requires "... the love of God ... shed abroad in our hearts BY THE HOLY
[SPIRIT] ..." (Romans 5:5). God has and will give you the love that will fulfill
His law. And so it is possible through FAITH and the GIFT of God's Holy Spirit
for man to keep His commandments! And whoever claims differently God calls a
plain LIAR (I John 2:4).
Faith Necessary for Obedience
The true commandment-keeper is forced to trust God to make obedience
possible. And thus faith does not void, but establishes, the law! And to keep
the law requires FAITH!
A thrilling example of this eternal truth is
recorded in the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, erected a great
"Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O
people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the
[band] ... ye fall down and worship the golden image ..." (Daniel 3:4-5). "And
whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the
midst of a burning fiery furnace" (verse 6).
Set over the affairs of the
province of Babylon were Daniel's three young Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach
and Abed-nego. One of the commandments of God's eternal spiritual law forbids
such worship of images.
Had you been in their place, what would YOU have
done? Would you not have said: "Well, I have to bow down to this image. I have
to do it or be killed!" And perhaps you would have excused yourself by reasoning
thus: "I don't think God would be fair if He punished me for this, when He knows
I am FORCED to do it. Anyway, He tells us to be subject to the power of state!"
Yes, it is easy to use reason to excuse disobedience to God. But God is not
looking for chances to punish us -- but rather for opportunities to SAVE US
THROUGH FAITH -- TO SAVE US FROM THE FOLLY OF SIN and the sad consequence our
own acts impose!
God's law is intended to protect us from suffering.
Whatever we sow we shall reap. It is not God who punishes us when we do wrong;
it is merely our own acts rebounding like a boomerang!
But these three
young Jews knew the truth -- that we should OBEY God rather than men; that
through FAITH God makes it possible. When they firmly REFUSED to bow down to
worship the king's image, Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded they be
brought before him (verse 13).
Listen to the quiet, trusting, unafraid
answer of these lads. "... O Nebuchadnezzar ... our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace ..." (verses 16-17).
Test of Faith
Sometimes God tries our faith. He tried theirs. You
might think He failed them, but He only permitted their faith to be tested.
"Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was
changed ... therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace
one seven times more than it was wont to be heated ... Then these men were bound
in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments" -- surely
the God whom they trusted would have them released now? But no, there was no
physical evidence whatever that God so much as heard! -- "and were cast into the
midst of the burning fiery furnace" (verses 19-21).
The furnace was so
hot the flames leaped out and "... slew those men that took up Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego." And they fell down "... bound into the midst of the
burning fiery furnace" (verses 22-23).
God permitted them actually to be
thrown in! Was He unmindful of those who trusted in Him to make possible the
keeping of His commandments? Not God!
The king looked into the furnace
and said, "... Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and
they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (verse
25). So Nebuchadnezzar came near the mouth of the furnace and called to them.
"... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come
forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the
midst of the fire ... these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor
was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the
smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed
be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and
DELIVERED his servants that TRUSTED IN HIM ... (Verses 26-28).
an example of living FAITH -- a faith that TRUSTED God to make it possible to
live the way of His law! Yes, WITH God it is possible to keep all His
commandments. Don't let any man deceive you to the contrary.
Worshiping in Vain
When God's Word says, "... BELIEVE
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ..." (Acts 16:31), it does not
mean the DEAD faith now popularly taught. The common teachings of this day
distort this to mean a mere belief in the FACTS of Christ's existence, His
sacrifice and His saving work. Just accept these FACTS and accept HIM -- without
any obedience to God's laws! But the demons believe these things -- and they
TREMBLE -- but they are not thereby saved!
Christ was the Messenger of
the new covenant -- a Messenger sent from God. You cannot BELIEVE on such a
divine Messenger unless you believe and obey the MESSAGE that He brought. "...
If thou wilt enter into LIFE," was His teaching, "KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS"
"REPENT", said the inspired Peter, "and ... ye SHALL
RECEIVE the gift of the Holy [Spirit]" (Acts 2:38). God gives His Holy Spirit
only to them that OBEY HIM (Acts 5:32). And His Holy Spirit is the LOVE that God
gives us to fulfill and to keep His commandments. And it all comes BY FAITH!
Christ came to save us FROM, not in, our sins. To FREE us from the
enslavement of sin and unhappiness and wretchedness it brings -- not to make us
free to commit sin.
Is it possible to BELIEVE in Christ -- to worship
Him in the customary manner of the day -- and yet be lost? Christ Himself says
YES! "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom
of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew
Hear Him again! "Howbeit IN vain do they worship me, teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye
hold the tradition of men ..."(Mark 7:7-8).
There it is! From Jesus' own
lips! Such a dead faith -- such worship is IN VAIN. Those who trust in it, and
in the men and denominations who teach it, ARE LOST! And the quicker we come to
realize it, the better.
God's True Purpose
PURPOSE in salvation is to rescue men from SIN and its resulting unhappiness,
misery and death. To REPENT of sin is the first step. Then the BLOOD OF CHRIST,
upon acceptance and faith, cleanses all past sins. And by FAITH we are kept from
sin in the future. Thus the resulting righteousness is of FAITH -- the
righteousness imparted from God.
We are not justified BY THE Law -- we
are justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. But this justification will be given
only on the condition that we REPENT of our transgressions of God's law. And so
it is, after all, only the DOERS of the law that shall be JUSTIFIED (Romans
How plain and how beautiful is God's Truth!