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Are You Sick or Well?
by Clifford Tate 
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Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. KJV

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, "It is the sick people who need a doctor, not those who are healthy. I have not come to ask good people to change. I have come to ask sinners to change the way they live." ERV

Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus, answering, said to them, Those who are well have no need of a medical man, but those who are ill. I have come, not to get the upright, but sinners, so that they may be turned from their sins. BBE

You know this matter of salvation or the common used expression of being saved has somewhere down the line lost its true meaning or maybe its true meaning has never been quite understood. In order for any of us to ever be saved by the grace that Christ only can supply, we must do only one thing and that is acknowledge to Him that we are sick with the worse disease known to mankind and that is sin. We read magazines and watch news reports on how much money is being spent to find cures for diseases of the physical body such as various types of cancer and marvel at the effort being put forth by well-meaning people to bring relief or healing to the victims of cancer. I see nothing wrong with any of these efforts, matter of fact they are all good and should continue. However, the disease that is eternally fatal is sin and every person has it. Imagine if the same people put forth the same amount of time and money into leading people to the only cure for sin (faith in Jesus Christ which results in a second birth) how different this world would be to live in. Well, I know that is just wishful thinking. Our Lord told us over and over that things in this world would not get better but only worse and worse.

Matthew 24:12 “Because sin will increase”

Why is it so hard for we human beings to admit or confess that which is ever before us? Our Lord tells us in our subject Scripture above that we are under the false assumption that we are good people. We all think we are good. We never see the evil born in our own hearts, but we can easily see it in others. I tell you all the years that I drank alcohol, did drugs, had sex with many women, watched porn, and engaged in violence, hated people, and many other wicked things continually, I never considered myself to be bad. I thought I was truly a good person. Because the disease of sin is not diagnosable by some medical test like an x-ray or CAT scan we are lulled into ignoring its growing worse and worse within our souls. We are wretched creatures and we cannot be cured until we see ourselves in that reality. What we do does not makes us what we are, but what we are (vile sinners) makes us do what we do. Are you sick or well?

“Sin is the sickness of the soul; sinners are spiritually sick. Original corruptions are the diseases of the soul; actual transgressions are its wounds, or the eruptions of the disease. It is deforming, weakening, disquieting, wasting, killing, but, blessed be God, not incurable. Jesus Christ is the great Physician of souls. His curing of bodily diseases signified this that he arose with healing under his wings. He is a skillful, faithful, compassionate Physician, and it is his office and business to heal the sick. Wise and good men should be as physicians to all about them; Christ was so. Hunc affectum versus omnes habet sapiens, quem versus aegros suos medicus - A wise man cherishes towards all around him the feelings of a physician for his patient. Seneca De Const. Sin-sick souls have need of this Physician, for their disease is dangerous; nature will not help itself; no man can help us; such need have we of Christ, that we are undone, eternally undone, without him. Sensible sinners see their need, and apply themselves to him accordingly. There are multitudes who fancy themselves to be sound and whole, who think they have no need of Christ, but that they can shift for themselves well enough without him, as Laodicea, Rev_3:17. Thus the Pharisees desired not the knowledge of Christ's word and ways, not because they had no need of him, but because they thought they had none. See Joh_9:40, Joh_9:41.” By Matthew Henry

Imagine this scenario, a man diagnosed with pneumonia and in the hospital fighting for his life and yet instead of listening to his doctors he gets up out of his hospital bed goes outside walking in the rain proclaiming himself to be cured. You might say that sounds foolish and you would be right, but it is no more foolish than a person who is a member of any church claiming to be saved when they own and operate a pornography shop and they indulge in the porn themselves regularly. Which scenario are more ridicules? I submit to you both are equally ridicules.

When our Lord spoke these words in Luke 5:31-32, He did not direct them to a prostitute or a murderer. These words were shot directly at people who exercised themselves in much religious activity, temple worship, paying tithes, fasting weekly, making proselytes, praying in public and private, and many other ritualistic practices that constituted Judaism in that day. However, our Lord was being sarcastic with these people implying that they were self-righteous and therefore still sick with sin and in need of His healing as the Great Physician that He is. Wow, all of those things done in the name of God but void of life. Are you sick or well?

I suppose and believe that the toughest mission field for our Lord today is not a tribe in the amazon or some remote part of Africa, but instead it lies in a heated, air-conditioned, well lit building that may have a cross on top of it. I sadly believe that there are enormous amounts of people that have a false conversion or assumption that they are Christians without the actual life of Christ residing in their souls.

Rom 8:6-9 If your thinking is controlled by your sinful self, there is spiritual death. But if your thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace. Why is this true? Because anyone whose thinking is controlled by their sinful self is against God. They refuse to obey God's law. And really they are not able to obey it. Those who are ruled by their sinful selves cannot please God. But you are not ruled by your sinful selves. You are ruled by the Spirit, if that Spirit of God really lives in you. But whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. ERV

“Unbroken patterns of sin are characteristic of the unregenerate. No matter what a person claims about being a Christian, if he or she continues in sin, it is only a claim and not reality. When you become a Christian, the pattern of sin was broken and a new pattern came into existence. Holy affections took over. Does that mean that there is no sin in your life? No, because your unredeemed flesh is still there. But the more you pursue those religious affections, the less you will sin. Sin as a life pattern is incompatible with salvation. That’s because to experience salvation is to be save from something, and that something is sin. If a person could continue in sin after being saved from sin, that would mean salvation is ineffective.” John MacArthur, page 9, from “Is it Real?”

It becomes so easy for someone who has been confirmed in their Church or baptized to think that was when they were saved, yet their life pattern indicates an unbroken relationship with sin. I truly believe with all of my heart that the mission field of lost Church members is quite large. Just as our Lord received venomous attacks from the religious Pharisees and Scribes, I believe so too will anyone our Lord calls to enter into this realm of evangelism. We have only to look back 500 plus years at the life of Martin Luther. Luther spent years as an unconverted Catholic Monk and He would later remark, "If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them." However, he discovered as all do that salvation is only a free gift that can never be earned by anything we do, but to come to Christ with a broken and contrite spirit. To put it in the words expressed by Dr. John Gill, “Sick with our sin and sick of our sin desiring to be healed. Are you sick or well?

Sincerely in Christ,

Clifford D. Tate, Sr. (Author of Silent Assassins of the Soul, to be published this May)

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