This life can be so damaging, and even the most desirable life can leave us scarred and wounded. We live in a fallen world of faulty human beings, and no one is guiltless. We have all hurt someone. We have all done things that we regret, and very often the damage we inflict onto others was once inflicted onto us first.
This world of darkness and destruction gets into us, forms us, and uses us to do the will of darkness—which is to destroy the light in others.
Jesus is the Light, and He restores the Light as He overcomes all the darkness and destruction of this world.
The wonderful thing about Jesus is that He cares. He cares enough that He gave His life up for us so that we can be forgiven for the wrongs we have done and approach God renewed—and through faith in Jesus we are passed from death and condemnation into life, even life everlasting.
Jesus also cares enough to provide relief, even in this present world, so that we are not bound to the destruction of this world.
This is the gospel.
Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven of our sin (destructive behaviors) and we are promised a new nature that is no longer bound to the kingdom of this world: the kingdom of darkness and death.
We are also freed from the punishment of sin—which is the natural result of death. We are promised everlasting life in a new kingdom—the Kingdom of Heaven in which righteousness dwells.
This is a presently coming kingdom within the heart of all believers who repent of sin and receive the healing power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This is also a future coming kingdom. Jesus must reign, and He will reign.
The process of receiving the Kingdom of Heaven is an on-going process for the life of a Christian. Though our faith in Jesus does make us whole in the eyes of God in a judicial sense, there is more for us to pursue.
There is more of the Kingdom to receive and work in this Kingdom to be done. If we ever claim to be whole in this sense, then we can become stagnant in our growth and negligent of the salvation that was paid with the greatest price of all: the blood of the Son of God.
They that are whole do not need the Physician, and that is still true for us, even as Christians.
It does not matter how long we have been a Christian; we still need Jesus. There is more freedom from sin to experience in this life. There are more gifts of the Spirit to gain and grow in. There is more service to be done.
We should never claim perfection aside from the blood of Jesus. Even if we do live a sin-free life, we can be more perfect in our walk and in our service to the body of Christ. However, we should never admit defeat either. He said He will make us free, and He will. He said He will give good gifts to us, and He will.
A faithful Christian should never admit defeat in sin—and we certainly should not condone it. We most certainly should not use the blood of Jesus and the grace of God as an excuse for living sinfully.
We also should not claim holiness in the final sense, because this leads to a whole slew of problems—even the very same problems that the other mindset creates: stagnant growth, accusation of other believers, and hypocrisy—which keep us from further experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus teaches.
So, let us consider the ways in which we still need The Physician so that we can gain all that God purposed for us to gain through the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
10 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.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13 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.
I’m glad that Jesus is willing to eat with those who the authorities of this world reject—including the present-day religions authorities within Christianity. I’m glad that Jesus is willing to eat with sinners like me. I’m glad that He will free those who trust in Him, and He will continue to perform this work in all of us and we will not fall short in any good thing.
What does it mean, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice?”
This is a quote from Hosea 6. When Jesus came to this world and was rejected by the religious authorities, He often quoted scripture to them. He used their knowledge against them—as His word, His two-edged sword often is used—even today.
They performed sacrifices for their sin, and they counted themselves to be sinless. Yet, they had no mercy for others. They considered themselves to be better and higher than other “sinners” not realizing that they were sinners too who needed mercy—not a sacrifice that would leave them bound to hypocrisy and unable to receive The Physician who could make them well—not just judicially, but in this present world.