Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul which was written unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twelve and thirteenth of this New Testament book. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:1-8).
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21).
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their does: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:1-10).
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11-14).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the epistle written unto the saints of Rome taking another turn as it transitions to the apostle Paul seeking to encourage and exhort his readers concerning Christian living. If you begin reading with and from the opening verse of this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul beseeching the saints which were at Rome according to the mercies of God to present their bodies a living sacrifice which was holy and acceptable unto God. The presentation of one’s body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God according to the apostle Paul was their reasonable service. There are some translations which would render this last phrase as “spiritual act of worship.” Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found here in this portion of Scripture for with them the apostle Paul continues along this line and motif of death which has been present throughout the epistle. The more you read the words presented here in this epistle the more you will recognize the tremendous language the apostle Paul uses to call and invite his readers and audience into a place where they put to death and utterly crucify the members of their flesh. The apostle Paul spends a considerable amount of time in this epistle speaking of the sin nature and the carnal members of our body which are yielded unto sin and the tremendous need for it to be put to death. In fact I would dare say that you cannot read the epistle written by the apostle Paul and somehow think you can escape the responsibility that is placed within and upon your shoulders to completely and utterly mortify and put to death the members of your body which are or which were previously been yielded as instruments unto sin and unrighteousness.
The more you read the words written and recorded in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous and powerful truth that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Moreover you will encounter the truth that the wages of sin is death but the [free] gift of God is eternal life. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome reality that the body of sin within us must be destroyed in order for us to not only experience true and genuine life but also authentic and lasting freedom. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that it would be through the sin and disobedience of one—the first Adam—that sin and death entered into the world. Moreover the apostle Paul would also declare that it would be through the disobedience of this first Adam sin and death would be transmitted throughout the generations according from the time of Adam until this present generation. What’s more is the apostle Paul would go on to write how both sin and death reigned within and upon the earth from the time of Adam until the time of Moses when the Law was given. From the time Adam transgressed in the garden until the time the Law was given unto Moses atop the mountain of God in the wilderness both sin and death reigned within and upon the earth among men.
I have previously written concerning this body of sin being destroyed and put to death and how the only hope for this body of sin being destroyed is through death. What’s more is I have likened this unto the narrative of Lazarus and the sickness which was present within his physical body. If you turn and direct your attention to the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find three siblings which lived in the town of Bethany which was nigh unto Jerusalem. These three siblings were Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. The twelfth chapter of this narrative begins and opens with the declaration that there was a man from Bethany named Lazarus who was sick—and not only was he sick but this sickness threatened his very life. Scripture records how Mary and Martha sent word unto Jesus concerning the one whom he loved being sick. Upon hearing and receiving word concerning Lazarus being sick the apostle John writes and records how Jesus abode two more days where He was. Not only this but you will also find the Lord Jesus emphatically speaking and declaring unto His disciples concerning Lazarus and that this sickness would not be unto death but that the glory of the living God might be evidenced and manifested in the earth. What we ultimately find happening in this gospel narrative is the sickness which was present in the physical body of Lazarus ultimately killing and taking his life. Despite the fact Jesus declared this sickness would not be unto death Lazarus would indeed and would in fact die. As if this weren’t enough Scripture goes on to reveal how when and by the time Jesus actually showed up Lazarus had been in the grave four days. This seems to indicate that it was a total of four days from the time Jesus received word that Lazarus sick to the time Jesus showed up that Lazarus was in the grave. What’s also possible is that it was an even greater number of days which had passed from the time Jesus first received word that Lazarus was sick and when He actually showed up.
I am absolutely convinced there is a great need for us to consider the words and language which is found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for they bring us face to face with something which we rarely think about—much less even take the time to consider. It would have been very easy for Jesus to heal Lazarus in this life and to keep and prevent him from experiencing death. Jesus could have departed from where He was upon hearing and receiving word that Lazarus was sick and He could have showed up at his bedside and raised him up from that bed of affliction. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus did not rise from the place where He was and immediately heal Lazarus of the sickness which was present in his physical body. Jesus deliberately and intentionally remained where He was knowing that His friend whom He loved was sick. What’s more is that I would even dare say that Jesus knew this sickness would ultimately and eventually take and claim the life of Lazarus. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus knew that Lazarus would indeed and would in fact die and that his lifeless body would be buried in the earth. The question then becomes how and why Jesus would and could speak and declare unto His disciples that this sickness would not be unto death but for the glory of God to be manifested in the midst of the earth. Why would Jesus declare unto His disciples that the sickness which was present in the physical body of Lazarus would not lead to his death and yet He undoubtedly knew Lazarus would die?
I sit here today thinking about and considering the narrative of the life of Lazarus as it was recounted by the apostle John and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the knowledge Jesus had. There is not a doubt in my mind the Lord Jesus knew this sickness would indeed and would in fact take the life of Lazarus. You cannot convince me that Jesus did not know nor was He aware of the fact that the sickness which was present within the physical body of Lazarus would indeed kill and claim his life and that his lifeless body would be buried in the grave. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is that not only did Jesus allow Lazarus to die but He also allowed Mary and Martha to walk through that valley of the shadow of death concerning their brother. Jesus deliberately and intentionally allowed Mary and Martha to walk through that sorrow, through that anguish and through that grief knowing the glory of the living God was at stake. Jesus allowed Mary and Martha to bury their brother Lazarus in the tomb and grave and to even watch and witness as the stone was rolled before the entrance of the tomb. Jesus was undoubtedly aware of the fact that Mary and Martha would watch as their brother Lazarus would have his lifeless body wrapped in graveclothes and be laid in the midst of the grave. Jesus knew Mary and Martha would walk through the valley of the shadow of death concerning their brother Lazarus and that they would indeed walk through this valley for a short and brief period of time. Scripture makes it very clear that Mary and Martha would walk through this valley of the shadow of death for at least four days for by the time Jesus showed up at the sight of Lazarus’ grave.
It is with this in mind I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the actual words which are written and recorded in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. There is not a doubt in my mind the words we find in this passage of Scripture bring us face to face with something we must needs recognize and understand concerning death and that which is destroyed through death. Oh just recently I attended a funeral of someone who people believed the living God was going to heal and raise up from their bed of affliction. The individual who died had suffered from a tumor in her brain which would take its toll upon their physical body for more than a year. For more than a year this particular individual would suffer from the side effects of the brain tumor as it completely and utterly destroyed her motor senses and mental faculties. People continued to pray unto the living God that he would hear their prayers and would heal her of the cancer which ravaged her body. Ultimately, however, she would end up dying after more than a year later—after more than a year later of suffering in the flesh in the midst of the earth. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you consider the fact that healing can take place in two distinct realms and spaces. On the one hand healing can take place in the natural world in which we live as the power and glory of the living God can in fact bring healing to men and women and completely and utterly heal them of that which they suffered from and struggled with. There is a healing that takes place in the natural realm as the power of the living God completely and utterly heals someone of the sickness which plagues and ravages their body. With this being said, however, there is another realm where healing takes place and that is through the realm of death. It is entirely and altogether possible that healing can indeed take place through death and that although the living God allows someone to experience death—if that particular individual believed on Him their death would actually bring about the healing of the sickness which was present within their physical body.
It is at this time I would like to present you with the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Moreover I would like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the opening verses of the twelfth chapter of this same New Testament book as Lazarus is briefly mentioned there as well. In the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Lazarus becoming sick and ultimately dying of that sickness. It is in the eleventh chapter we find Jesus receiving word that he whom He loved was sick and how upon hearing and receiving word concerning Lazarus Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose to abide where He was for another two days. By the time Jesus showed up in Bethany and at the grave where Lazarus’ body had been laid he had already been dead and buried in the grave for four days. In fact when Jesus called for the stone to be rolled away one of Lazarus’ sisters declared unto Jesus that their brother had already been buried in the grave for four days and how by that time his body would stink. It would be at this particular point Jesus would emphatically declare and proclaim unto her how He had told her if she believed she would see the glory of the living God. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:1-16).
“Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: and many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord if thou hadst ben here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see” (John 11:17-35).
“Then said the Jews, Behold, how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the siter of him that was dead saith unto him, Lord by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that hou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:36-44).
“Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. Much of the people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed in Jesus” (John 12:1-11).
The more I have read the words which were found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth concerning Lazarus—and not only concerning Lazarus but also concerning the sickness that was present in his physical body and his death and resurrection. Jesus would declare unto His disciples that this sickness would not result in or produce death but to the intent that the glory of God might be manifested and that the Son of God might be glorified that they might believe in Him. Ultimately we know that Lazarus did indeed perish and die as a result of this sickness and that his lifeless body would be buried in the grave for four days. Lazarus’s lifeless body lie in the grave for four days before Jesus would show up at the tomb and call for the stone to be rolled away. Upon Jesus showing up at the tomb and the grave of Lazarus we find Jesus calling for the stone to be rolled away and then calling he who was dead to come forth. Oh there is a part of me which can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for those who were present on this particular day to watch—and not only watch but also hear and listen—to Jesus as He not only spoke the name of he who was dead but also called unto him as though he could hear Him. Imagine what it was like to be present there at the grave of Lazarus as Jesus called unto him as though he would or could hear him. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if those who were present on this particular day thought Jesus was completely and utterly mad for calling unto one who was dead and whose lifeless body was buried in the grave for four days. The truth of the matter, however, is that not only did Jesus call unto he who was dead by name but he who was dead rose from the grave and came forth from the midst of it bound head to toe in graveclothes before Jesus gave the command to loose him and let him go.
I have to admit that I am completely and utterly captivated with the instruction Jesus gave there at the grave for there were indeed two distinct instructions which must be understood. There would be the initial instruction for the stone which was before the entrance to the tomb to be rolled away and there would be the second instruction for Lazarus to be loosed from his graveclothes and be allowed to go. There is not a doubt in my mind we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for within it we are brought face to face with the stone which needed to be rolled away and removed in order for Lazarus to come forth from the grave as well as for Lazarus to be loosed from the graveclothes his body was bound in that he might go forth—not only free from death and not only free from sickness but also that he might walk in newness of life. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that when Jesus gave the command and instruction for Lazarus to be loosed from his graveclothes—not only was this instruction to loose him from the graveclothes that he might be loosed from death but also that his body might be loosed from sickness. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave He raised Him from death to life that his body might be completely and utterly healed from the sickness that was present in the midst of it. It is true Jesus could have healed Lazarus while he was still alive and prevented him from tasting and experiencing death. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus deliberately and intentionally allowed Lazarus to die and experience the valley of the shadow of death for it would be through death he would be completely and utterly healed from the sickness that ravaged and plagued his body.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the narrative concerning Lazarus and I am brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth that when Jesus sought to minister in the life of Lazarus He chose to do so in and through death. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Lazarus was raised from death to life the sickness which was present in his body prior to his death was completely and utterly destroyed and removed from his physical being. I firmly believe that when Jesus raised Lazarus whom he loved from death to life He did so having completely destroyed the sickness which was present in his physical body through death. The more I read and consider the words found in this narrative the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth concerning Lazarus and the sickness which was present within his physical body. It is indeed true Jesus could have healed this sickness in the land of the living and in life itself, however, Jesus would and could not do such a thing. The glory of the living God was of greater worth and greater value at this time and the glory of the living God would allow this sickness to take the life of Lazarus and even die with Lazarus. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what happens to that sickness which is present in the physical body of someone whose life is ultimately claimed by it. Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law died from a different form of cancer and both of my mother-in-law’s parents also died. The question I can’t help but wonder is what happens to that tumor, or that cancer, or that leukemia, or AIDS, or any other type of sickness that plagues and ravages the physical body of an individual in death.
I can’t help but wonder what happens when someone’s physical body is plagued and ravaged by sickness—regardless of whether it’s a form of cancer or some other type of sickness. Should that cancer be permitted to actually work and produce death in the life of that individual whose body was plagued with it what happens to that sickness upon death? Does that sickness remain in the physical body of the person whose life it was permitted to claim or is it somehow destroyed upon death? DESTROYED UPON DEATH! DESTROYED THROUGH DEATH! There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if in the midst of death the sickness which was present in the physical body of someone whose body was plagued with and by it is destroyed. Is it possible that upon death whatever sickness was present in the midst of someone’s physical body is completely and utterly destroyed and removed from their body? Is it possible that through death—not only is that person completely healed of that sickness through their passing into eternity but also that sickness is destroyed in the physical body? We know that there is coming a day when the dead in Christ shall rise and their bodies shall be changed into that which is immortal and incorruptible. With this being said I have to ask and wonder if it’s possible that in and through death whatever sickness plagued and ravaged their body is destroyed through it. We oftentimes think of death as something that is negative and yet I can’t help but wonder if death not only works healing in the lives of those whose bodies were plagued with sickness as they are relieved of that sickness in the next life. Moreover we oftentimes think of death as something that has an adverse effect in the lives of our loved ones, friends and family members and yet what if it is through death that the sickness which was present in their physical body is completely and utterly destroyed? What if through death sickness which is present in the physical bodies of men and women is completely and utterly destroyed and is no longer present in their body no longer?
When we think about and consider the narrative concerning Lazarus we must needs recognize and understand that it would be through death Lazarus would be completely and utterly healed of the sickness which was present in his physical body. There is not a doubt in my mind that it would be through death the sickness which was present in his physical body would be completely and utterly destroyed. As Lazarus was raised from the grave after four days his physical body would be raised without that sickness being present within it. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that Jesus would not raise Lazarus from death to life and allow him to experience newness of life with the same sickness which was present in his physical body on the other side of death and the grave to remain. I firmly believe that when Lazarus died and his body was buried in the grave the sickness which plagued and ravaged his body was completely and utterly destroyed. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth concerning death and how more often than not it is through death that sickness is destroyed. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it was through death that the cancer which was present in the physical bodies of my in-laws was completely and utterly destroyed. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it was through death that the sicknesses which were present in the physical bodies of countless men and women throughout history was indeed and was in fact destroyed. Is it possible that it is through death that the sickness which was present in the physical body of a man or woman is completely and utterly destroyed according to the working and will of the living God?
As Lazarus was raised from death to life I have to believe that his physical body was raised from death to life completely and entirely absent the sickness which was present in his body in the first place. I do not believe for a single moment that Lazarus was raised from death to life—raised from death to newness of life—with the sickness which was previously present in his physical body to remain. Jesus could have healed Lazarus in and through life and prevented him from tasting death, however, that which Jesus chose to do was allow Lazarus to taste and experience death that through death the sickness which was present in his physical body might be destroyed. It would be through death the living and eternal God would completely and utterly destroy the sickness that ravaged and plagued the physical body of Lazarus. Upon the resurrection of Lazarus from the tomb his physical body would be raised to newness of life completely and utterly absent the sickness that had previously ravaged and plagued his body. Pause for a moment and think about how and even why the Lord Jesus would raise Lazarus from death to life and allow that sickness to remain within his physical body. Why on earth would Jesus raise Lazarus from death to life and allow the sickness which was present in his physical body to remain within it? How and why would Jesus raise Lazarus from death to life and permit and allow the sickness which had claimed his life on the other side of the grave to remain in his physical body? We would be completely and utterly foolish to think even for a moment that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the grave with the sickness which had previously plagued and ravaged his body to remain present within it. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life He raised him to newness of life completely and utterly healed of the sickness which was present within his physical body. I firmly believe that when Jesus raised Lazarus up from death to life He did so having completely and utterly destroyed the sickness which had plagued that physical body completely delivering and setting Lazarus free from it within his life.
It is with all of this in mind we must needs recognize and understand the absolutely awesome and powerful truth concerning the death of Lazarus and how it would be through his death the living God would completely and utterly destroy sickness. That which we find and read concerning the life of Lazarus must be carefully considered concerning the Lord Jesus for Scripture describes how He who knew no sin would become sin in the sight of the living God for us who believe. It was John the Baptist who spoke of the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world and we must needs recognize and understand this reality. The New Testament authors wrote and emphatically declared concerning the Lord Jesus that He not only became sin but also took upon Himself the full weight of sin that through death He might destroy sin in the flesh. It was absolutely necessary for Jesus to come in the form of human flesh for through His death the body of sin would be completely and utterly destroyed. The Lord Jesus needed to take upon Himself the form of human flesh for it would be through that human flesh which was untainted and unmarred by sin, iniquity, rebellion, wickedness and transgression sin could be conquered and defeated. Scripture makes it very clear that the Lord Jesus would take upon Himself the full weight of sin that through His death He might completely and utterly destroy sin. The more we think about and consider the death of the Lord Jesus the more we must needs come face to face with the tremendous truth concerning the destruction of sin through death. The epistles and New Testament writings make it very clear that not only are the wages of sin death but also the only way to deal with sin is through death. The apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that sin produces and works death within the lives of men and women and how the answer to the sin plague and sickness is death—and not only death but death on two different fronts.
If you take the time to read the words which are found in this epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find that the answer to sin which works and produces death within our spirits, souls and physical bodies is in fact death. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that despite the fact that the wages of sin is death and that from the time of Adam until now sin and death have been at work in the lives of men and women throughout history. What’s more is that when you read the words written and recorded in this epistle you will find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring and proclaiming how sin is not only dealt with but also destroyed. Through the writing of this epistle the apostle Paul described and declared how sin was first dealt with through the death of the Lord Jesus when He died upon the cross atop the hill of Golgotha. The apostle Paul made it perfectly clear that the way the living and eternal God dealt with the plague and problem of sin was through the death of His eternal and only begotten Son. It would be through the death of His only begotten Son that sin might be destroyed and rendered completely and utterly powerless in the hearts and lives of men and women. It would be through the death of the Lord Jesus that sin would first be dealt with for it would be through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that sin would be placed upon Him that it might be destroyed. Stop and consider how the living and eternal God allowed the full weight and measure of sin to be placed upon the only begotten Son that through His death sin might be destroyed. The eternal and only begotten Son knew the only way to deal with sin was through death and that death would be the means of completely and utterly destroying sin.
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is for the apostle Paul makes it perfectly and abundantly clear that it would first be through the death of the Lord Jesus upon the cross that sin would not only be dealt with and destroyed. The apostle Paul emphatically wrote and declared that the Lord Jesus would completely and utterly destroy sin in the flesh upon His death upon the cross. Despite the fact the wages of sin is death and despite the fact that sin and death would be at work in the earth from the time of Adam until the present day the apostle Paul recognized and understood that the answer to the plague of sin was indeed death—and not only death but the death of the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. The apostle Paul knew and understood that the first response to sin was not one of our own initiative or making but that of the eternal and living God. It was the Lord Jesus Himself who emphatically declared unto Nicodemus that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Moreover the Lord Jesus would declare that God did not send His eternal and only begotten Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that the Lord Jesus would become sin and would indeed take upon Himself the sin of the world that through His death and in His flesh He might completely and utterly destroy the power and plague of sin. It would be through the death of the Lord Jesus the problem and plague of sin would be completely and utterly destroyed in the physical body of the Lord Jesus. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth chapters of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulations worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1-6).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raise up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:1-14).
The more you read the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome the more you will encounter the truth that in response to the body of sin within the world and even within our flesh there are indeed two manners of dealing and contending with it. The first means and method of destroying the power and influence of sin is through the death of the Lord Jesus. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that although the wages of sin is death and although death has reigned in the earth from the time of Adam until now according to the violation of the command of the living God there is another means of dealing with it. The apostle Paul emphatically land beautifully declares that it was through the death of the Lord Jesus—and not only the death of the Lord Jesus but the death of the Lord Jesus in the person of flesh that sin was able to be destroyed and rendered powerless. Through the death of the Lord Jesus—not only was the penalty of sin meted out and satisfied through Jesus dying once in the flesh but so also was the power of sin dealt with and destroyed. It was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus to come in the flesh and die in the flesh for it would be in the flesh He would destroy sin through His death. Much like the sickness that was present in the physical body of Lazarus was destroyed through death so also was sin destroyed through and by the death of the Lord Jesus. Although Jesus who knew no sin became sin and took upon Himself the full weight of sin—when He died sin would be destroyed in His flesh thus rendering it completely and utterly powerless. It was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus to die in the flesh for it would be through His death that sin would be destroyed in His flesh and through that death.
SIN TRANSMITTED INTO AND UPON THE FLESH OF JESUS! SIN CONFINED TO THE BODY OF JESUS! THE PHYSICAL BODY OF JESUS WOULD DIE THAT SIN MIGHT BE DESTROYED! Oh it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand this tremendous truth for it calls and brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful picture that through the death of the Lord Jesus sin was destroyed—and not only destroyed but buried with Him in the grave. When Jesus rose from the grave and emerged from the grave—not only would He be raised to newness of life but the sin which was placed upon Him would be entirely and altogether destroyed. Just as Lazarus was raised from death to newness of life absent the sickness which was present within his physical body so also was Jesus raised from death to life absent the sin which was placed upon Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it was necessary that Jesus experience death for it would in and through death that sin would be destroyed and the power associated with sin be destroyed in the body of His flesh. There is something truly remarkable and powerful about this particular truth for it brings us face to face with the awesome reality that when Jesus died sin itself would be destroyed in the physical body of His death not only rendering it powerless to those who believe in Him and are buried in baptism in death but also allowing it to be destroyed within their own beings. There was a great need for the physical body of Jesus to be put to death that what was placed upon it and what was present within it might be destroyed through death. Through the death of the Lord Jesus sickness would be dealt with and destroyed thus stripping it of its power and its influence within our own lives.
With all of this being said we must needs recognize that while the first means and method of dealing with sin is and was through the death of the Lord Jesus the second means is on our part. It is in fact true the Lord Jesus dealt with sin through His own death in the form of His physical flesh, however, there is also a greater knowledge we must needs have of death within our physical bodies. It was most certainly enough for the Lord Jesus to die in the flesh that sin might be destroyed and the penalty of sin be satisfied, however, it is also necessary that His death be appropriated within our own physical beings. There is a great need within our hearts and minds to recognize and understand that in order for sin to be fully dealt with in our lives we must also diligently strive to mortify and put to death the members of our physical beings that they might not be yielded as instruments of unrighteousness. We must needs recognize and understand this tremendous and powerful truth for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that there is a responsibility that is placed upon our shoulders that sin might be destroyed. The apostle Paul made it very clear that the only way for the body of sin to be destroyed within us is through a conscious and deliberate decision to put to death the members of our physical beings. It is true that Jesus Himself died upon the cross that sin might be destroyed, however, it is also true that His death is and was an invitation given unto us that we might appropriate that death within our own lives. The words and language we find in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome calls and invites us to present our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and acceptable unto God. The apostle Paul did not mince words when writing these words and continues the motif of death which is absolutely necessary within our own physical beings so long as we are in the flesh.
The words and language we find in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome call and invite us to present our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and acceptable unto God which is our reasonable service. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found here for in the Old Testament the sacrifices which were upon the altar were always dead—put to death by the one who brought and presented it before and unto the Lord. There was never an instance in the Old Testament when the sacrifice which was placed upon the altar was alive and experience death as a result of the flames of fire upon the altar. The sacrifice and offering was always put to death prior to being presented upon the altar and the blood was always shed and spilt before its pieces and members were placed upon the altar to be consumed in the fire as an offering before the Lord. It wouldn’t be until the death of the Lord Jesus that the concept of a living sacrifice would be implemented and brought to pass for when Jesus was nailed to the cross He was still very much alive. Although Jesus would ultimately die as the sacrifice for the atonement of sin He would be a living sacrifice which would hang there upon the cross suspended between earth and heaven for six hours. SIX HOURS OF LIVING SACRIFICE! HOW LONG DOES YOUR SACRIFICE LAST? HOW LONG WILL YOUR SACRIFICE LAST?
It is important for us to recognize and understand this particular truth for when Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice and offering for sin and atonement He presented Himself as a living sacrifice. His living sacrifice would endure for six hours as His physical body hung suspended between earth and heaven on a cruel Roman tree. It wasn’t until all had been finished and all had been accomplished He was able to cry out with a loud voice and declare “It is finished.” This is something we must needs recognize and understand on our end for there is a great need for us to acknowledge our own bodies as living sacrifices. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice until all has been accomplished and all has been completed. Jesus offered Himself a living sacrifice and allowed that living sacrifice to endure for six hours until the work was completed and finished. Despite all of hell itself mounting an assault and attack against Him and surrounding Him as he hung there upon the cross He still remained fixed upon that cross very much alive until the work was completed. We must needs recognize the words and language Jesus used on the cross for while it was indeed true He was a living sacrifice that living sacrifice would be present upon the cross for six hours. For six hours there was a work which needed to be done in the midst of this living sacrifice until all had been accomplished. If there is one thing we must needs understand is that Jesus could not utter those words “It is finished” until everything which needed to be accomplished was accomplished. Six hours according to the realm of time and space needed to be accomplished in order for the work of the cross and the death of Jesus to be accomplished. What must be understood is that our time of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God are not limited to six hours but is an entire lifetime of offering our bodies as living sacrifices.
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the truth concerning the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices. There is a great and present need within our hearts and lives to ensure that we are not only presenting our bodies as living sacrifices but are also allowing the full time and work of the sacrifice to be accomplished. It’s interesting to note that while hanging there suspended between earth and heaven there were mockers and scoffers who would dare tempt Jesus to come down off the cross and they would believe Him. Perhaps the single greatest struggle and temptation with a living sacrifice is that of wanting to come down off the cross prematurely or to remove ourselves from the altar before the time. What we must needs recognize and understand is that there will always be the temptation to remove ourselves from the cross and to essentially save ourselves and our lives. We must remember the words of Jesus when He declared that anyone who wishes to save their life would lose it and anyone who loses their life for His sake will gain it. The underlying temptation with being a living sacrifice is that of coming down off the cross and even coming down from off the altar that we might somehow avert the suffering, avert the death, and avert the work that needs to take place. It’s important to recognize and understand that Jesus would and could not come down off and from the cross until the work was finished. There is a tremendous significance that surrounds His declaration “It is finished,” for with that declaration was a statement that He had fulfilled and accomplished in those six hours the work that was needed as a living sacrifice.