The Church - God's Hospital
The Church: God's Hospital
By Jeff May
Last winter in our county, local hospitals were filled. Strep, flu and other sicknesses were rampant. I also noticed on television that Rehab facilities were active too. High profile people like Tiger Woods and others were checking in to deal with sex addictions.
All of this got me to thinking about the church of our Lord. Have you ever thought about it? The church is actually a hospital, a rehab facility. Consider some parallels.
Before admitting ourselves we have to see our sickness. The Bible makes it clear that we are all sick. The book of Romans powerfully demonstrates that Gentiles were sick and even Jews (who thought they were well) were truly sick. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Paul had to convince them. How many refuse to get treatment because they keep denying they are sick? For some reason, sinners have a hard time seeing sin. We just don't see it like God sees it.
God paints sickening pictures of sin in the Bible, comparing sin to putrefying sores (Isa. 1:5-6), a dog returning to his vomit and a pig wallowing in the mire (2nd Peter 2:20-22). We must see sin as the holy God sees it. God is allergic to sin and can having nothing to do with it (Matthew 7:23).
Why do we get so alarmed about the health of our physical bodies and not our spiritual health (3rd John 2)? If God gave us physical health based on how well our souls are, would we all be laid up in ICU? The health of souls is what matters and sometimes the healthiest person spiritually is the person who has the greatest physical problems (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
So I ask you. Can you see when you are sick spiritually? Can you see when you are not well? Can you we all see that we are far from where we need to be? Until we see our sickness, we will never admit to God's hospital.
Next, we see our Physician and are admitted to the hospital. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the great physician (Mt. 9:9-13). He is the doctor who has never lost a case. If we cooperate with Him, he never loses the patient.
There are some good reasons why Jesus is "hands down" the best in His field. 1) He understands better than any the sickness and its potential. 2) He has an excellent bedside manner. 3) He takes all manner of time explaining the problem. 4) His diagnosis is never wrong (Heb. 4:13). 5) He shows a good prognosis. 6) He explains the treatment in detail.
So, here we come, into the emergency room in critical condition and His first order of business is to stabilize the situation. This He does by His death on the cross and then our obedience to the gospel. When we are baptized we contact the blood of Jesus at Calvary, our sins are washed away and the situation is stabilized (Romans 5:6-8; Rev. 1:5; Acts 22:16). Can we see the horribleness of the disease by looking at the remedy? If His blood is the cure, how terrible is the disease?
Our situation may be stabilized at this point but we are not well. I'm now going to need much therapy to get back to perfect health as God sees it. This therapy is what the Bible calls sanctification. It is work the physician does on us daily to bring us back to where we ought to be? The aim is to make us perfect, holy, and like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). And as you would expect in therapy, we don't get there overnight. We are all works in progress.
This therapy will involve a very disciplined regimen of Bible study, deep thought, prayer and...change. Are you in serious therapy? Don't ever let this therapy stall out. Let's also notice that this therapy includes group therapy where we can talk to other Christians about our faults and seek their prayers (James 5:16). Our physician is always on call and readily available to us (Psa. 121:3-4).
Don't forget that you are in the hospital. Stay in. Sometimes people in the hospital become delusional. They think they are well and some even try to leave before dismissal. This too happens in the church. We forget that we are sick. The Pharisees were like that and some Christians too (Rev. 3:15-19). Don't compare your spiritual health with that of someone else. Stand next to Jesus and then measure. Now, can you see you have a long way to go? If Christ-likeness is the goal of God, we will be in therapy all our lives.
Look forward to a day of release. Isn't that always a great day? One day, after we have cooperated and made great strides we will be released. There's even a crowd of people ready to cheer for us upon dismissal (Heb. 12:1-2). We are released to go home; to go to heaven! And there will be no Satan and no sin and no maladies. Jesus first saved us from sin's penalty, then from sin's power and finally from sin's presence. Won't it be wonderful there (Rev. 21:4)?
God's church. What a hospital!!