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The Lord Your Healer: 

Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch by Paul J. Bucknell

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Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch

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The Bible Teaching Commentary on Genesis: The Book of Foundations

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Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God


The Godly Man:  When God touches a man's life

The Godly Man

When God touches a man's life

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Goodness and Contentment

Goodness and Contentment

Good Works and Salvation

And departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questioned Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"--in order that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, "What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out? "Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. (Matthew 12:9-14).

"It is lawful to do good."

Paul J. Bucknell

This powerful statement of Jesus summarized all our efforts to combat different kinds of false teachings within Christianity. With one swoop, they all fall.

When we normally speak against a certain teaching, we tend to be like an inexperienced surgeon who cuts away more than necessary. Jesus was always able to cut out only the cancerous part and retain that which was good and necessary.

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I regularly meet up with those who think they are doing good by criticizing some problem in the church. The strange thing is that I agree with them doctrinally! Something, however, is wrong with their spirit. I believe it is this excessiveness.

Clearly the Pharisees thought they were in the right. They believed that they were defending the sabbath by criticizing Jesus' activities. We can agree with them on the point that many people are not careful to observe the sabbath. However, it is the excessiveness resulting from pride that destroys any good that otherwise would develop. The blind spot originates when one side believes it has a superior judgment.

They become protectors of the law. They become like a god unto themselves saying more than what God ever said. What is worse is that they make themselves judge over other people's actions. I am personally amazed how Jesus instructed people to do the right things by doing the right things in the right spirit.

Legalism breeds a deadly spirit of pride which ends up in condemning what the law itself was designed to protect and keep. In this case, they clearly overstepped themselves when they assumed that doing good was the same as labor. They lost the spirit of the sabbath law which was to reflect the Creator. Instead they ended up reflecting man at his worse.

Truth needs no protection!We see a similar problem in the American church. There are many who feel compelled to protect the teaching of salvation by faith. We share their love for this biblical teaching. However, they are so intense in this fierce struggle that they have ripped out the seams of other biblical doctrines.

Modern Examples of Excessiveness
As above, the problem gets exacerbated when we become crusaders for God. We stand in a superior position at the helm. Pride carefully sneaks in and robs our humility from us. Without this shield of humility, we make ourselves prone to fall. Here are four cases where brothers are teaching unbiblical things as biblical so they can protect God's teaching.

False Teachings on Salvation

  • The Faith Losers
    The 'Faith Losers' love the teaching of salvation by faith. Once saved, forever saved. Their excessiveness develops when they teach that they can live anyway they wish and their salvation will still be secure.

    They say that if a person secretly or even openly sins, it has no impact on their salvation. They affirm these people have faith and faith is what brings salvation. We can almost hear Jesus respond by saying, "It is lawful to do good." Or in other words, our saving faith was given to us so that we would do good works. We read about that in Ephesians 2:8-10.
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    Discipleship #3 Library

  • The Faith Changers
    The 'Faith Changers' are not so doctrinally oriented as the ones above, but their pride still pulls them down. They clearly advocate salvation by faith, but they think differently about what this faith is.

    Their faith is essentially optimism. They know we are saved by faith, but it is a faith that has lost its original moral rooting. They believe their faith comes from within rather than from God. Unfortunately, because it is not bound to God Himself, they are easily led astray. Peter, however, binds our faith to moral excellence in 2 Peter 1:5.
    • Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, ....

  • The Faith Killers
    The 'Faith Killers' strongly emphasize the need to protect the biblical teaching of faith and doctrine. We appreciate their commitment to the truth but find that they more than often fall flat in the process of protecting the truth.

    Perhaps it is because they so narrowly focus that they are not able to look a bit wider. Once they look through the magnifying glass their regular vision is lost. In a spirit of the religious leaders during Jesus' time, they pridefully legislate the way God's law should be acted out. Legalism is a killer of faith. Churches have split again and again over how to keep the sabbath! Something is desperately wrong, but they can't admit it. They too are protecting the 'faith,' but we wonder what that 'faith' is. Faith should produce something good. James 2:22 speaks of this.
    • You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.

  • The Faith Showers
    The 'Faith Showers' care less about doctrine and more for tradition. The old teaching is right. We are saved by faith. They are confident those not like them believing do not have true faith.

    In a sense, they belong to the right church that has the right faith. Faith has denigrated into a confession of faith rather than a communion with God. Galatians 2:20 speaks powerfully about a living faith to this group.
    • "... It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

Holding on to the Truth

We all need to learn through the life of Jesus on how to hold on to God's truth and yet not get caught in the trap of pride. After all, if anyone could be the protector of truth, it was Jesus. God's truth, however, needs no protection from us but only proclamation through tongue and life. Truth is like the light. It lives on as long as it is released. Once released, it has a life of its own.

How did Jesus release the truth rather than box it in?

The Pharisees were trying to see if Jesus would submit to their man made interpretation of the sabbath. They challenged Him saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" (12:10).

Jesus refuses to be framed into their closed arguments. He uses the simple story of doing good by saving a dying animal. They focused so much on all the things they should not do on the sabbath that they forgot of its positive purpose. This is where Jesus came up with His powerful statement in Matthew 12:12 that released a great flash of light.

"Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

If the sabbath was made for any purpose, surely it was to reflect our holy God. Jesus summarized our actions as good. We see that Jesus' response basically is saying that good things come from the Good One. Anything that God requires is good. We can see the out working of this in the way Jesus summarized the Law: love both God and man. This is good..

After all, is it not God who for six days made and declared everything good? If this is God's way of working, surely we should relfect this goodness on the seventh day by doing good. God creates a good creation so that it would itself do good works. These good works then in turn bring glory to God.

God > goodness > creation > goodness > glory to God

Other great resources on God's goodness!
Next =>A Case for Goodness

(1) We could spend much time commenting on this phrase "it is lawful." It derives from two Greek words: 'out of' (ek) and 'I am' (eimi). This is the same 'I am" that is used in Exodus where Jehovah describes Himself "I am that I am.." The law then is that which comes forth from Jehovah. Interestingly, this Greek word (exestin) is the origin of our English word to exist.

Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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