The second statement the Father made to the oldest son in Lk. 15:31 was
"All I have is yours."
Now usually we find this statement being spoken from man to God, especially nowadays. I can think of several songs that have this line in them. Unfortunately, when we say this to God, He isn't getting much, even though it's all we have to give.
It's amazing to consider this statement. ALL God has is ours! We have His best. We have His all. He gave us Christ! He did not withhold, even the very best from a sinful, God-dishonoring world. The oldest son had everything that belonged to the Father. His proximity to the Father gave him many benefits!
Not only are we given close proximity to God through the reconciliation and cleansing brought through the blood, we now are sons and daughters and have inherited all that Christ has inherited! What has Christ inherited??? Everything!! We know that "all things" are under his feet! He is Lord over ALL! Every power, every principality, every authority is subject to the name of Christ. And we are his fellow heirs! This is what the Bible states and I'm one that believes that God meant what He said.
So why....why do we not experience this in every day life? Why do people die before their time? Why do people die of sickness at all? Why can catastrophic things happen to people and take their lives? Why do many believers live in lack and want and despair?
I'm no theologian but there has to be a logical explanation to this. God is logical. And if He didn't want us to know and understand Him why did He go to all the trouble to write the Bible and give us the Holy Spirit so that we could come to understand it?
One reason I believe that bad things happen to Godly people is that we live in a sinful world. We are in this world, but we are not of it. Still the things that affect the world affect us as well. We're not immune from everything that happens in the world. Often the consequences of other's sin affect us. However, as Christians, sin should not affect us. We are no longer under it's dominion if Christ lives in us. The two cannot reside in the same body or we would explode!
But as the scriptures say, we are not OF this world. There is a plethora of blessing and rights and privileges that are ours as born again believers. We should not be living as the unsaved do. But many times we do. Many times we needlessly suffer through things just as the unsaved do when it's not necessary.
One reason is ignorance of the Word of God. I was barren until I saw that God's will was for me to have children. Even after conceiving and giving birth to our first child, I needlessly lost 3 children to miscarriage because I was ignorant of the promises made to the redeemed concerning miscarriage. Miscarriage is a curse in scripture. Until I realized that I was no longer under a curse, I lost baby after baby. But when I realized that Satan was stealing from me something he had no right to take, the miscarriages stopped and the births started.
One of my friends lost a child at 16 weeks. It was devastating to her. When I tried to show her scripture, she said to me "I would rather believe that God took my baby than that Satan stole something from me." That sounds all well and good to some. But to me, she had just opened the door for a lifetime of burglary. Furthermore, the truth was not that God killed her baby. What kind of a God would give a child and then steal it before it was even born??? He's not schizophrenic! Yes, He allowed it to happen, but He neither desired for it to happen or caused it to happen. It's not God's will nor desire that ANY should perish, but they do, by the millions everyday. God doesn't cause it, but He allows it. WHY? I believe that the answer lies more with us than with Him.
Everything we receive from God must be by faith. It we don't have faith to believe that a promise is ours, it cannot come to us. The circumstances that we find ourselves in sometimes are not always God's will. Those that perish and end up in hell are not there because God didn't love them. They are there because they did not receive the promised one by faith! So why would any of the other promises be any different?
Too many times Christians read something in scripture and pray that it will come true in their lives and it doesn't. What then is their response? So many times I hear this statement. "God is sovereign." Yes, he is, but He has revealed His sovereign will in scripture which is why we can pray about things and expect that they will come to pass. His Word is what our faith can attach itself to to receive from him. But when we don't we immediately say "God is sovereign" and off we go until we hit the next crisis in life and we start the whole process all over again. If God is so sovereign that He can say one thing in His Word and do whatever even when it contradicts His Word, then can we really believe anything that He says? Can we believe what He says about provision, healing and most importantly salvation? We can accept God's sovereignty over our finances and the healing of our bodies, but we wouldn't ever say that about our salvation. But the truth of scripture reveals that healing is part of the atonement! So if our sins have been atoned for, so has our health!
Instead, when our experience does not line up with the Word of God, we ought to be looking at ourselves. Where did my faith fall short? Where was there doubt and unbelief in my approach? Was there unconfessed sin? Did I ask amiss? Did I try to apply a promise to this situation that does not apply or was out of context? Because if we don't do this, what has happened to every movement of God throughout most of history will happen to us. We will start to change our doctrine based on our own experience until it looks nothing like what it was originally. In fact, based on the knowledge that this has happened so many times, maybe what we are basing our beliefs on is already faulty thus yielding the wrong results. As I study Christian history, it amazes me how much doctrine has changed especially in the last 50 years.
I believe that people die "in the Lord." But I don't believe that God ever intended that to happen except for the case of dying in persecution of the gospel. He said if any man suffer, let it be for the sake of the gospel. Many people who believe that their poverty, their lack, their suffering is "suffering for Jesus" are actually accepting something that God has already provided for so that they don't have to suffer it. The only cause of this is either ignorance, or unconfessed sin or doubt and unbelief. That sounds harsh, but in light of scripture, what other explanation can we really offer? At the end of the day, fault will not be found in God, His promises, or His Word. It will be found in us.
If we study scripture, we find Jesus forgiving sin as part of healing. We find doubt and unbelief hindering healing. We find also that sickness can be caused by demonic forces as in the woman bent over. So many times especially with healing, I find myself just praying for healing without identifying what might be causing it. When I was having miscarriages, God helped me identify what was causing them. Literally, the moment I prayed about what God had shown me, the miscarriages stopped and I got pregnant.
I know some will think I sound judgemental. I'm not trying to be. I'm trying to figure out why I don't live in the promises of God the way He has set them forth in His Word and as I have been open before God to inquire for understanding I am coming to the conclusion that I, and many other Christians that I know, do not understand what faith really is. The problem is not God's will being contrary to what His Word says He provided through the cross. The problem is that my faith is not an appropriating faith in that I can appropriate all of God's promises into my life and see them working there. I have knowledge, but knowledge is not faith. I have experiences, many of them miraculous but that does not mean that my faith is completely perfected. So, my first priority this year is to seek and find the true definition of faith and begin to exercise it. It's daunting, challenging and exciting all rolled up together!
Hebrews 12 tells us of the faith that has gone before us. There is a great cloud of witnesses that can attest to the true-ness of the promises of God. They were men and women who appropriated faith without the indwelling of the Holy Ghost! Then there are those who came after the cross. Men and women who we revere as part of our Christian history and heritage who also did the "greater works" that Christ promised his disciples. None of them were any different than I am. They were flesh and blood. So if I will do what they did-fix my eyes on Jesus and run the race-I can see and know and experience all that they did, perhaps even more! It's a lofty goal. I realize that. But it's a good goal. I will never be perfect, but I can be better, much, much better.