The Heart Of The Healed — Blessed But Not Saved
Chan Gin Kai
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
Our first article in this series explored how tragedy equalises us, the second examined obedience by faith and the third discussed how we must be moved by gratitude. Today, we look at how blessings are not indications of faith or salvation.
When Jesus instructed the 10 lepers to go to the priests, all of them set off. All of them believed in Jesus’ power to heal, all of them put their faith into action, and all of them were healed.
However, only one of them, a Samaritan returned. He came back and connected with Jesus. In praising God and kneeling at Jesus’ feet, he acknowledged Jesus’ lordship. Jesus was more than just a miracle worker who healed him, he regarded Jesus as his Saviour.
Jesus noted and remarked that only one had returned. And his parting words to the one was, “… your faith has made you well.” Why state the obvious? It was obvious that it was through faith that all 10 of them were healed of leprosy. But Jesus didn’t say it in reference to the Samaritan’s physical healing, it was about his spiritual healing.
Belief in Jesus’ power healed all 10 of them physically. Acceptance of Jesus’ lordship saved the Samaritan spiritually.
We can be physically blessed by God and yet not be spiritually saved.
Some in Christendom wrongly equate earthly blessings with faith and salvation. The “prosperity gospel” teaches that if we have faith, God will definitely bless us with health and wealth and rescue us from our various problems. They also inversely conclude that a lack of earthly blessings reflect a lack of faith.
This can’t be further away from the truth.
These false teachers ignore the facts in the Bible. Were the early Christians all rich? Were they all free from health and other problems? The majority of them were poor and Paul even had to build tents at some points during his ministry to support himself (Acts 18:3, 1 Thessalonians 2:9). Paul had a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7), which most scholars believe to be a chronic ailment. Timothy had a stomach problem and was frequently ill (1 Timothy 5:23). How about the fact that many of the early Christians were heavily persecuted? Where were the earthly blessings that the false teachers claim will be showered on people with faith? Or were the Apostles and early Christians all faithless?
These false teachers ignore the realities of life too. Aren’t there non-believers with an abundance of earthly blessings despite having no faith in Christ? Aren’t there even terrible people who are amazingly rich and healthy? And don’t we see some faithful and devoted Christians in poverty and suffering sicknesses too?
Jesus taught us to store treasures in heaven and not to love money (Matthew 6:19-24). Paul taught the same about money (1 Timothy 6:10), and exhorted us, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)
Yet these peddlers of “prosperity gospel” focus so much on earthly blessings in their sermons, prayers and daily conversations.
Acceptance of Jesus’ lordship requires us to give up all of our idols. Are we overly focused on earthly blessings? Is Jesus really our Lord?
Poverty and sicknesses are not the results of faithlessness, just as blessings are not proofs of faith or salvation. Let’s set our eyes on God’s eternal promises.
Read more about ‘The Heart Of The Healed’:
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.