The Sin Nature and Sickness
God gives his people a wonderful promise in Psalm 103:2,3 where we read, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases…” Notice that the forgiveness of sin and healing of the body are mentioned together in one verse. Notice also the order in which they occur: the forgiveness of sin is first and healing of the body follows second.
There is a definite correlation between sin and sickness. This is not to say that someone who is ill is more sinful than someone who is well, but the fact is there would be no sickness at all if there were no sin. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before they sinned, there was no sickness and no death. It was only after they sinned that these came upon them as a direct result of their disobedience to God. And because of this fall from grace, all persons born since then have been born with a sin nature—an inward tendency towards sin and selfishness that none of us can escape. Jesus came to earth to bear the penalty for our sin Himself and to die in our place. He took our punishment for us and when we believe in Him by faith, we are assured of the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. Even though we have these wonderful assurances of His love, we still face sickness and eventual death. This is because we still have an indwelling sin nature. Only two people out of all those who ever lived have escaped death, Enoch and Elijah. These men’s experiences, along with several Scriptures, give us all the hope that some day we too may escape sickness and physical death.
It seems logical, and the Scriptures bear this out, that the only way to escape sickness and death is to be without a sin nature. The Bible tells us Jesus is returning for “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Jesus is returning for a church that has been set free from the sin nature. This is not something we can accomplish ourselves by being good and doing everything perfectly. It is going to be a sovereign work of God that requires our cooperation. This freedom from the sin nature has never been possible in ages past because it has been reserved for the church of the end times. Those of us who will be entering into the age to come and walking in the powers of that age (Hebrews 6:4,5) will experience deliverance from this indwelling sin.
The Bible tells us that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:25,26). We are the body of Christ. All those who died in Christ before us and are now in heaven are also part of His body. We on earth at this time are His feet, the rest of His body being in heaven. We, the “foot company,” will see death put under our feet and destroyed!
There is an exciting passage in Romans 8 about the lifting of the curse from creation and the redemption of the physical body, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
That was from the King James Version of the Bible. Let’s see what the New Living Translation says for this same passage, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for the future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. For even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.”
This passage reveals that God will bring His people into full redemption including freedom from death and decay first, and then, as we work together with God, the curse will be lifted from all creation. What a glorious day that will be!
Have you ever wanted to pet a lion or snuggle up to a beautiful Bengal tiger? It is only because of the curse from the fall that these animals are dangerous and that all animals prey upon each other. When God removes the curse, then “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
John the Baptist made an interesting statement in Luke 3 where he said, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” This has commonly been understood to mean that all men everywhere will have a revelation that Jesus Christ is the only true God. However, it can be understood a different way. The Greek word for “flesh,” sarx, means, among other things, “the body (as opposed to the soul or spirit).” This passage could also be saying that all flesh, the whole body, will be saved.
Our deliverance from the sin nature may also be seen in the Old Testament. The New Testament explains that Old Testament stories are a type of New Testament reality, or as is commonly said, “The Old is in the New revealed, and the New is in the Old concealed.”
First Corinthians 10 reveals that the Israelites’ passage through the Red Sea was a type of baptism and salvation. The Rock from which they drank in the wilderness was Christ. Everything in the Old Testament means something in terms of New Testament reality.
In Exodus 17 we read about a battle between Israel and Amalek. Joshua led the Israelites into battle while Moses, along with Hur and Aaron, remained on top of a nearby hill. When Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed in battle; when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed. Moses’ hands became too tired to hold up on his own, so Hur and Aaron stood on either side supporting his hands.
This is an Old Testament story depicting New Testament truth. The Israelites represent the church of Jesus Christ. We are all fighting against Amalek, a type of our sin nature. We know Amalek represents the sin nature because he is a descendant of Esau who is undisputedly known to represent our carnal nature. Moses holding up his hands represents our reaching up to Jesus in prayer and praise. We can’t do this alone; we need each other in the body of Christ, as seen in Hur and Aaron.
Israel won this battle and then the Lord said an amazing thing to Moses. He said, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”
God was saying here that He was going to utterly destroy even the remembrance of the sin nature. He is going to bring humankind to a place in the end times where we won’t even remember what it was like when we had a sin nature. If you will remember, Joshua was the one who led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Joshua is a type of Jesus Christ, the One who leads us into his kingdom—the Promised Land of full redemption and total victory over all our enemies. We, the church of the end times, can expect to see Amalek in us totally wiped out as we follow Jesus, our Joshua, into the fullness of redemption in spirit, soul and body.