Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
It’s easy to tell someone his sins are forgiven; it’s a lot more difficult to reverse a case of paralysis! Jesus backed up his words by healing the man’s legs. Jesus’ action showed that his words were true; he had the power to forgive as well as to heal. Talk is cheap, but our words lack meaning if our actions do not back them up. We can say we love God or others, but if we are not taking practical steps to demonstrate that love, our words are empty and meaningless. How well do your actions back up what you say?
We each have many needs. And the Lord is aware of them all. Above all, we need to be born again – not just forgiven, but healed so that we can stand upright and walk a righteous life serving God.
If we are just accepting forgiveness and not changed and healed and living out a repentant life, where is the miracle, where is the example set forth so that others might see the fruitful change in our lives and draw near to Christ?
You see, beloved, we are each not just forgiven, but we are a miracle. We each have a testimony of being snatched from the darkness and delivered into the light. If we don’t yet have that c testimony, if we haven’t yet received that miracle, He promises that if we seek Him, if we continue to knock, He will answer.
We find Hope in the promise that He will answer, that He will hear our call, as we surrender our lives to Him – that He is faithful and true to honor His promise of accepting those who believe as His adopted children.
And yes, we will be tested. If we are seeking to follow in the footsteps of Christ, if we are hungry to learn more each day from our teacher and to walk in the Spirit, we will encounter trials and tribulations and suffering – and it is in these that the miracle of what we claim with our words is proven in our changed actions. A verbal claim of forgiveness is backed up, is proven, by the visible proof of healing and repentance. And this is our life lived as a testimony to others that He is Faithful and True.
And as we grow in our faithful walk, as He is proven alive in our lives as we trust Him and cling to Him through the challenges, we find that even those challenges were for our good, as He uses them to bless us with the fruit of the Spirit that comes from standing firm during the trials. Love springs forth. Not judgement, not hatred towards others, not condemnation, not fits of anger towards others – but love. If we are trees growing by the stream of living waters, we bear fruit to nourish others, even the leaves from our branches are used to provide healing for others.
We are to be peacemakers, humble in spirit, like Christ, knowing that we are a total priesthood because of His promises, but as He demonstrated in His example – we should be satisfied midst in laying down our crown at His feet, and serving others with this gospel message, and praying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Call to Action
It is easy to claim forgiveness and to not live out the example, but if that is the case, can we be sure that we have laid our hands on the only treasure that really matters? Are we sure that we have not forfeited our soul to gain the world, beloved?
Take heart. Rest in Him. Prove yourself today in accepting His forgiveness, in claiming your miracle, in living out a repentant life remembering the grace that has been extended to you, and may your grattitude and ginger for the Lord spill out onto the lives of all around you in love, in service unto others.
Forgive others. And receive forgiveness.
Be healed and walk upright so that others might find healing for themselves.
Know that your home is in heaven and that you are just a traveler in this land, so that His Love, His Kingdom is come in your life today, as a shining light on a hill, as a servant’s hands washing the feet of others, as Christ alive in you today, beloved.
Don’t just claim Christ, be the body of Christ today – child of God, vessel of the Holy Spirit.