Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 9, 1961
NUMBER 39, PAGE 3,14b

Treatment For The Disease Of Sin

Jerry F. Bassett, Antioch, California

"And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matt. 9:10-13) In this introductory text Jesus likens himself to a physician in that he came to heal those who are sick. Yet, Jesus differs from a physician in that his objective was not to heal men physically, but spiritually. He came to call sinners to repentance and thus heal them of the spiritual disease of sin.

The fact that Jesus is likened to a physician, in so far as that figure depicts the healing of sin, demands that every sinner be aware of certain principles which are involved in dealing with a physician, and which logically follow from the figure. First, the sinner must desire and seek to be healed. A doctor can treat no one who does not wish to be treated and who will not seek help. This is also true of treatment for sin. "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) Jesus will give you rest, but the responsibility for seeking it is upon you; you must do the coming. Second, by the very act of submitting to the help of a physician one admits that the physician is superior in knowledge and ability. So also in seeking God's healing power against the disease of sin. The sinner must place himself completely in the hands of God by absolute submission to his will. The sinner must determine to walk by faith (God's wisdom as revealed through his word) and not by sight (man's wisdom). (2 Cor. 5:6-7) Third, the physician can never be held responsible for the consequences suffered by the patient if the patient refuses the prescribed treatment. God is able to save every sinner, but the sinner must accept the prescribed treatment. "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21) If you refuse God's healing power which is in Christ Jesus you have no one to blame for your death but yourself.

Healing Of Sin

The treatment of any disease requires five basic steps:

I. Examination, 2. Diagnosis, 3. Prescription, 4. Treatment, and 5. Prognosis. Each of these steps is seen in God's power to heal the disease of sin.

1. Examination, the observing of the symptoms. It is almost impossible to engage in a conversation of any consequences without sooner or later the subject of what is wrong with the world in general and mankind in particular being introduced. What is more, almost everyone has his own private idea as to what that ailment is Fortunately man's plight is not left to his own discernment, but in the hands of the omniscient God who created man and thus knows his every need. It would be foolish for an untrained person to attempt a physical examination of the human body and its complex functions, but how much more foolish for man to attempt such an examination in things spiritual. This must be left to God for he alone is able to look into man's spirit and discern whether it is right or wrong. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Heb. 4:13)

2. Diagnosis, determining the disease indicated by the symptoms. God has declared that the disease of man's spirit is sin, for Jesus as the physician has come to call sinners to repentance. (Matt. 9:13) Further, he has pronounced that all are afflicted with sin saying, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) Every person must realize sooner or later that he is sick with sin. To ignore this fact is to let sin do to your spirit what cancer does to your body if you ignore it. You may ignore a cancer for awhile, but it is still there and eventually it will destroy you. Concerning sin James wrote, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15)

3. Prescription, the selection and designation of a cure. For the healing of man's sinful spirit God has prescribed only one cure, the sacrifice of his only begotten son. In reference to a prophecy by Isaiah that men would be healed Peter said that that prophecy was fulfilled by the death of Christ and that the healing offered is separation from sin. "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin might live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Pet. 1:24) Notice that Christ is at one time the physician and the cure. He offers the cure to men which is his own pure and purifying blood. (Rev. 1:5)

4. Treatment, the application of the prescribed cure. The blood of Christ is applied in only one way, by obedience to the truth. In 1 Pet. 1:18 Peter said that Christians were redeemed by the blood of Christ and in verse 22 made clear the means by which the blood is applied to the individual saying, " have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit...." In Romans 6:17-18 Paul said, "God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Sin is the disease that afflicts man's spirit, and to be free of it is to be spiritually pure and strong in God's sight. However, those who are so purified are those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ. There is no other way to be free of sin except by application of the blood of Christ through obedience to the gospel for " is the power of God unto salvation...." (Rom. 1:16)

5. Prognosis, the forecast of the course and outcome of the treatment. In telling a patient what to expect regarding his illness, its treatment, and the eventual outcome a medical doctor sometimes errs. The unpredictability of the flesh and the sometimes imperfect knowledge of the doctor in a given case make impossible an inerrantly accurate prognosis. However, this is not true of God in healing men of sin, his word will never fail. (1 Pet. 1:23-25) Hence, these are the things that men may expect, and can know for certain that they will come to pass, in the treatment for the disease of sin. First, those who accept treatment in obeying the gospel will be saved. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...." (Mark 16:16) Second, those who continue in the gospel will never die of sin. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." (John 8:51) It is true that sin, may appear again in the life of the Christian, but by repentance and prayer to the Father through Jesus Christ he may once again be cleansed and made whole. (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:8-10) Third, those who reject the gospel, God's power to heal sin, will most certainly die. "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins: (John 8:24) Fourth, and last, those who obey the gospel but refuse to continue in it will also most certainly be overtaken by sin and shall be destroyed. "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." (Heb. 10:37-38)

6. Jesus Christ stands ready to cleanse you of sins and to present you in spiritual perfection to the Father by the power of purification in his own blood. The question that remains can be answered only by you; are you willing to receive that purification by obeying the gospel? If you were afflicted physically with a fatal disease you would not delay in seeking cleansing from it. Neither delay in using the same wisdom in a far more serious matter, the cleansing of your spirit, that you may escape the consequences of sin and inherit eternal life.