Sunday, January 13, 2008

By Whose Stripes Ye Were Healed

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1Pe 2:24 AV)

This wondrous statement carries such importance in our Christian lives that to understate it is to do an injustice to the faith we live. It was the passion of Christ that brought life to each of us, restoring our spiritually dead condition to that of a healed servant of God whose every thought should now turn to the things of God. We were healed of every spiritual affliction in that moment that faith brought us into the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Peter was teaching the saints through his epistle to endure and trust completely in what Christ had done for them. The particular verse above comes near the end of a passage encouraging obedience and humility toward whatever powers we find ourselves under all the while knowing that while we may suffer indignities as servants of Christ, we can be comforted in knowing that Jesus suffered worse and fully for our benefit. It was this suffering endured by Christ that healed us through the faith we have in Him.

Lately I have been heatedly engaged in a running dispute with a Calvinist fellow who has taken upon himself the disingenuous task of subjecting this passage as a support for the unique notion that Jesus performed the actual work of healing all elect souls at Calvary 2,000 years ago before any of us ever existed. Aside from the Gnostic inclinations of such a theory, the idea lends itself to the doctrine of a pre-existent soul or at a minimum a healing occurring in the past that is only effectively manifested when one is saved. Further, when pressed on the matter, identifying what specifically was healed at that time becomes a gymnastics exercise in illogic finally settling on "mystery" as the only answer that can be submitted. Of course this doctrine the fine gentleman is promoting is silly at best and heretical if carried to its logical end. We know what we were healed of when we were saved and there is no mystery in that knowledge. We know as well that the doctrine of a pre-existent soul has no scriptural basis except among the Mormon fellows and other various cultic entities. Now, I cannot state with clarity that the Calvinist with whom I was conversing endorses the pre-existence of the soul for the discussion meandered into a time and eternity exploration and the topic soon muddied into a tangled morass. In any event I am certain we will not see eye to eye on this matter and I have resolved to let the matter go between us. However, it may be profitable to formulate a proper Christian exposition on the passage to offer a sound Christian understanding. Suffice to state however that such a doctrine as employed by this fellow offers no legitimate support for his Limited Atonement position (that being the true motive for his eclectic manner).