Is the assignment Jesus gave us bigger than just preaching salvation?
For as long as I can remember, the message of the church has been the salvation of souls. Evangelism is taken to the streets as normal people share the good news of God’s forgiveness for everyone. Perhaps it is the beauty of that message that has lulled us to sleep concerning the rest of our assignment. It is bigger than that.
Jesus clearly taught us that we were to preach the message of the kingdom to every nation before the end would come (see Matt. 24:14). That message releases the kingdom through miracles.
The message of the kingdom is the message of the King’s domain that is in effect here and now. And whenever Jesus proclaimed this message, miracles followed. Miracles were the natural result of His dominion being realized.
“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matt. 9:35, NASB). The right message attracts God’s power since He loves to confirm His Word.
Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:56). The word save in the original Greek language is sozo. It refers specifically to the forgiveness of sin, the healing of diseases and the deliverance from torment. That is salvation. Jesus made the provision needed to save the whole person spirit, soul and body.
Today people usually get saved by repeating a prayer, but little else happens to establish them in a relationship with the One who set them free and made them new creations. These converts often live with torment and affliction, some for years, some even for a lifetime. A fuller salvation at the beginning gives a person greater momentum into the relationship that God intended.
Remember the man who was healed at the Gate Beautiful? Scripture tells us he walked, leaped and praised God. He was touched in every area.
He was physically healed: he walked; he was emotionally healed: he leaped; he was spiritually healed: he praised God (see Acts 3:1-10).
I remember some years ago giving an altar call on Sunday morning. Quite a few people came forward that day, but one guy stood out. He was in great pain and had walked into the service with a cane. Disease had robbed him of the ability to walk without assistance. He was so moved with conviction that he responded quickly to prayer.
Only after he received Christ did he realize that he had left his cane at his seat. He was actually healed as he came forward to receive the love of God in forgiveness.
The salvation that wiped out the power of sin also destroyed the affliction in his body. He was saved, and there was nothing incomplete about it.
Bill Johnson is senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. He is the author of numerous books, including his newest, Center of the Universe, and co-author with Randy Clark of The Essential Guide to Healing, from which this article was adapted. Copyright 2011; published by Chosen Books and used by permission.