Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spontaneous Remission

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:15-18, NKJV).
Usually associated with sudden healing, spontaneous remission, is what happens when, for no apparent reason, the course of a fatal disease or ailment is reversed.
In one sense this is an inaccurate characterization of our sins being forgiven through Christ. We know the cause and source of forgiveness, Christ's loving death on the Cross. Yet, on the other hand, that moment of forgiveness is akin to a mysterious "out of the blue" healing, because the moment itself is frequently spontaneous, without apparent cause or precedent.

What precipitates the softening of a heart baked solid in sin? What enables someone to finally set aside all self-reliance or dependence on religious ritual or ceremony? For indeed, both the inveterate sinner, and the outwardly religious man are fatally afflicted by unforgiven sin.

It is as much an act of God's grace and mercy for someone to really believe the gospel, as it is for the establishment by God of the saving gospel itself. 

Note that it is the Lord alone who saves. He puts His laws into the hearts and minds of sinful human beings, giving them the measure of faith to believe. Our responsibility is simply to receive the gift of this New Covenant, which then enables Him to declare, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Once that all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross was accomplished in time and space, all prior means of propitiating God's righteous wrath against sin were nullified and rendered void. No amount of ritual, ceremony, or performance of good works mattered in the least.

For some, this is the greatest stumbling block of the pure and simple gospel of Christ, and it is the single most significant distinctive between the truly saved and the merely religious. So many people are deceived into thinking that they can save themselves through a tipped-scale of good versus bad deeds.

Bargaining with God is a prevalent human activity. It goes on more or less undetected in the lives of everyone who is not a rabid atheist and who has not yet come to saving faith. The bottom-line formula is this: if my goodness outweighs my badness then God is obligated to allow me entrance into Heaven at my death.

This is a supposition based on no evidence and in direct contradiction to the revealed Word of God, yet it holds sway in the hearts and minds of most of humanity. It operates under various guises and takes as many forms as there are unique fingerprints. But underneath it is all the same idea.

And it is blasphemy.

Anything we attempt that is not from faith is sin. There are no longer any offerings that will satisfy the wrath of God.

This should be a mind-numbing truth that strikes fear into the very core of unregenerate humanity because it declares there is nothing we can do to achieve that healing and forgiveness necessary to escape judgment.

To appropriate that spontaneous remission so freely offered we must set aside all pride and self-reliance and believe solely on Christ. We must cease working, and let His Spirit work in us and through us.

But these are just words until we come to faith. These are truths that are spiritually discerned, and cannot be understood by the natural man, which makes belief in Christ that much more of a miracle.

God wants all to be saved, and wishes no one to perish, so He has made the gospel accessible to everyone. He then miraculously offers us the faith to believe repeatedly until we either accept the gift, or our hearts are hardened beyond remediation.

Each time an unbeliever hears or reads the truth, he or she is on the precipice of a supernatural event. Each time that truth is rejected, the mundane is substituted for the miraculous and the miracle moves farther afield until finally, it becomes unreachable.

We are all afflicted with a fatal disease. There is a cure, a means to be healed forever, but it must be accepted.

If it is not, there is no other means of survival, and the resulting fatality is not the cessation of pain and suffering that the world would have us believe. It is, instead, the beginning of endless torment apart from God.

Be healed or be condemned forever. The choice is yours.