The Cream of the Gospel
The Cream of the Gospel
Here is an excerpt from "Who Can Forgive Your Sins?: An Exposition of Mark 2:1-12":
"First, you must understand that the forgiveness of your sins is far more important than the healing of your body. There are people out there who speak as if the cream of the gospel is material blessing, whether that is understood in terms of physical healing or financial prosperity. We simply need to keep passages like Mark 2:1-12 in our mind and remember that material blessings are, at best, secondary. Of course, we can all understand the force of the temptation to get this wrong. The forgiveness of sins can seem so abstract, whereas my broken thumb or Kaylynn’s broken wrist or Velmas’s cancer seems very tangible, very weighty, very urgent. I want to affirm very clearly that God cares about the whole range of your needs, and yet I also want to affirm in the strongest possible way that God doesn’t view all of your needs equally – and neither should you. Getting your heart right with God is far more important than a knee replacement. That is not a jab at Jackie (who just had a knee replacement) and Larry (who is about to have one). I’m just attempting to be clear! The reason that physical health and other material blessings are secondary is because relationships are primary. Being rightly related to God and walking closely to Him is far and away the most important issue – and it should be your most important issue. And sin is the very thing that undermines our relationship with the Lord....
.... When I say that the forgiveness of your sins is far more important than the healing of your body, what I am really saying is that the quality of your relationship with God is of incomparable value. I’d rather not be confined in a hospital bed, but if the Lord is with me and smiles on me, it’s going to be okay – and someday He will provide comprehensive healing, swallow up death and disease forever, and wipe away every tear. But if I’m healthy and wealthy, and success and fame meet me at every turn, and if I have a well-respected name in my community, but my sins are not forgiven and God’s wrath abides on me and my name is not written in heaven, then I am to be pitied – because after the veneer of earthly comfort is gone, I’m going to fall into the abyss with no one to help. The forgiveness of sins is the cream of the gospel because it brings me into fellowship with the living God. Therefore esteem it more highly than any earthly good."