I have heard so much confusion around the promise of redemption that I hope this will clarify a few things about why we suffer the curse and its consequences and how God works through it all. Just because God works in a redemptive way with the curse doesn’t mean that He needed or wanted us to be messed up by it!
Can you agree with this statement? God would surely much rather work creatively through us than redemptively for us. What I mean by this is that God would rather work something good into our lives through our right behavior, than have to overturn our wrong behavior in order to accomplish something good.
The promise of Romans 8:28 is a redemptive promise. It is only necessary because the enemy continues to cause evil to happen as he works against us. It won’t be necessary in heaven.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
For the purpose of this discussion, working “creatively” means there is no sin which has to be forgiven and redeemed by the Lord, because we are being led by the Spirit. When this happens, the Father works “creatively” in us and through us to accomplish His good purposes.
Working “redemptively” means that the enemy has brought the curse (usually through our sinful cooperation) and now it has to be overturned for the sake of the redeemed and their ultimate salvation, sanctification and glorification. It “has to be overturned” because God wants His redeemed to be blessed and not cursed. The curse is simply the opposite of blessing in any area of life you can name or imagine.
How is it that the curse comes to us under the New Covenant? Let’s leave aside for the time being the potentially thorny issue of Old Covenant curse and blessing—and consider only the new and better covenant He has made with us. Under the New Covenant there are many ways that the curse (as consequence of sin) comes to us.
1) Sinful choices of thought, word or deed, attitude, desire or motivation.
2) Ungodly beliefs held deep in the heart—beyond conscious choice (until revealed by the Spirit to us). They exert pressure and influence.
3) Passivity before the enemy—not resisting the enemy when he seeks to bring sin, sickness, poverty or defeat upon us.
4) Rebellion against the leadership of the Lord—not submitting and committing to Him in all things. This effectively robs us of peace and joy, plus a whole lot more.
All of these give the enemy the right to bring the curse upon us. The curse is the negative consequences of sinful choices we make in a real world. The curse is sin’s consequence. Sin brings us under the enemy’s power, under his rule and dominion. The evil one who trips us up (by deception and temptation) doesn’t hesitate to clobber us with the curse of the laws he encourages us to break!
Why is it that the curse never comes to us from God under the New Covenant?
1) God hates both sin and sin’s consequence—the curse. The Old Covenant proved that we cannot avoid either sin or the curse in our own power.
2) We have been freely justified by the blood of Jesus under the New Covenant (Romans 3:25). We have an entirely new and (practically unbelievable) status of being received into favor as sinless children (even though we still sin).
3) God is not holding any sin against us—every imaginable sin has already been atoned for. There is absolutely no need for anyone to be punished with the curse of the law to satisfy God’s justice. His justice and wrath have already been satisfied fully by the Blood of His Son.
4) The free will issue means that as long as we turn to Him, call on His Name, desire His salvation, salvation is offered to us. It cannot be received by the one who doesn’t want it. Those who end up going to hell ane not going there because they need to be punished for their sins–Jesus has already taken that punishment for them. They go because they are rejecting His saving help.
5) As justified believers the moment we recognize any sin or the curse consequence of any sin and turn to Him to begin to be rescued and restored from specific sins, we are immediately able to receive all that comes with our new status. Nothing is withheld. God has no desire to punish us, no need to punish us.
6) God has declared us sinless, not guilty and given us the status of already being a fully restored child through Jesus Christ—with full favor and full inheritance. We are set free from the curse of the law—even though we continue to break it as imperfect believers. Jesus became the curse for us and ended its application by God to us.
7) God does not need the curse to grow us or He would have kept it in His power to put the curse upon us. He gave that power up when He chose to put the curse on Jesus–all of it. His preferred ways of growing us are by the revelation of Jesus Christ and by His Word, or in other words, by His Spirit and by belief in the Truth.
Therefore it is never God under the New Covenant who sends sickness or disease, poverty or defeat, or sinful states of any kind (He has not given us a spirit of fear or of bondage). God does not tempt us. God does not put the curse of the law upon us. The enemy tempts us and then seeks to put the curse of the law upon us whenever we give way to temptation. God restrains a lot that the enemy would curse us with, but has to allow some of it. Otherwise He would be violating both our free will and real world realities (justice)—the laws by which both the moral and physical universe function.
Why it is necessary for God to work redemptively?
1) If we could avoid both sin and the curse, there would be only one thing left that needs to be redeemed—the unrighteous attack of the enemy against those who walk in true righteousness. This is what Jesus suffered—He suffered because of doing right. This was redeemed for Him through the cross or, rather, on the other side of the cross as God overturned the evil done against His sinless Son and raised Him to the highest place.
2) Much of the evil of the curse the enemy brings against us is a kind of “righteous” evil in that it is a fitting recompense for sin. We mostly suffer because of doing wrong. God actually has less opportunities to work “creatively” through us than to work redemptively for us.
3) Because so much of what we actually offer to God is our sins, our consequences, our weaknesses and failures—God takes the offering and works with it for our good. But He doesn’t need it to grow us. He could grow us a whole lot better if we would heed His Word and let Him work “creatively” through us (through faith and trust) as fully as He desires. This is clearly His desired path for us.
Mediate on these New Covenant truths:
1) God has never wanted any of us to be sick (or defeated by the enemy in any way). He has never sent sickness to us. Or wanted us to remain sick—whenever by our own sin or the enemy’s sins against us the sickness was allowed by God to take place.
2) Jesus healed everyone brought to Him! He is the same yesterday, today, forever. He desire above all else that we be in health and prosper—body, soul and spirit. In every moment of our times of sickness, God is hating it and is present with us, ready and willing to remove it.
3) Sickness is the enemy’s work in us: it comes to us through temptation, sin, curse and consequences.
4) God has given us authority and power to heal sickness. He has committed this work to us. This has “limited” His sovereign use of His own power, but has not limited His revealed desire for us to be healed as He works through us.
5) We are to resist the devil and drive him out.
6) Satan will always try to find a reason or a line of reasoning to make the curse stick to us, especially by getting us to agree with its right to be stuck to us in our own minds.
7) But the curse has no right to remain—we have been justified freely by His blood.
So take heart! Perhaps you are dealing with some aspect of the curse, even some well deserved consequences of your own sins. God is still “on your side” wanting to help you get entirely free of the curse and its consequences. He punished Jesus and has no desire or need to punish you! Surrender and submit fully to Him and then look with confidence to His leadership. He intends for us to press in to gain “glorious liberty.”
If you need help with the curse of physical illness explore more now at Physical Healing.