“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.” Luke 5:31-32
It’s easy for us to sit back and think of all the people we know who are spiritually sick and in need of a physician to heal their soul, but what about us? Are we sick?
We might like to think we are fine, but the truth speaks otherwise. A close examination of ourselves in the mirror of God’s law shows our spiritual sickness inside and out.
I must admit that I am sin sick. By nature (as I am by birth), the thoughts and desires of my heart are only evil continually (cf. Gen. 6:5 and 8:21). Even as a Christian, my old sinful nature keeps me from doing those things God’s Spirit, who dwells within me, causes me to desire. And I often do those things God’s Spirit would have me avoid.
Though I may desire to love God with all my heart and soul and serve Him by obeying His commandments, I come short. I fail. Instead of perfect love for God and neighbor, I find myself lacking in my desire to serve God and thinking of my wants and desires before considering God’s will and the needs of others.
Sometimes, my sin-sick heart causes thoughts and actions I deplore to spill over into my life. St. Paul described this when he wrote (Rom. 7:22-24): “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Jeremiah was only speaking God’s truth when he said of our human hearts (Jer. 17:9): “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
So, do I need a physician to heal my very heart and soul? Absolutely! My heart and soul are sick with sin and infected by evil.
As a spiritually-sick sinner, Jesus calls me to repentance – to acknowledge and turn from my sinful ways to Him for mercy and forgiveness. He lived a perfect and sinless life in my stead and then suffered the just punishment for my sin and the sin of the whole world when He was crucified and died upon the cross. Apart from Him, I stand condemned. In Him, I am pardoned and forgiven!
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). Why? Because our “advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2).
As the physician of our souls, Jesus calls us to repentance, forgives our sins and promises us eternal life. As a pledge and guarantee of our redemption, He gives us His Holy Spirit, who regenerates us and gives us new hearts with new thoughts and desires.
And though we still suffer the ravages of sin here in this world, He assures us that when we die and are raised up to new life with Him in His kingdom, our sin-sick bodies will be changed into glorious and heavenly bodies like His. Sin will be gone. Its ravages and results – including death – will be no more. We will dwell with our Lord in righteousness and purity forever (cf. Psalm 17:15)!
Thus, “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).
“We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13).
Remember Jesus’ words: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
To deny our sinfulness and hide it when it infects every aspect of our lives will only keep us from the help we need and result in eternal death. To acknowledge our utter sinfulness and look to Jesus for pardon and healing will bring us life and healing – and when we are raised up on the last day, we will be whole!
O gracious and merciful Savior, I am a poor and miserable sinner. Sin affects every area of my life and works death in me. Have mercy upon me. Forgive my sins for the sake of Your blood, shed upon the cross. And heal me through the regenerating work of Your Spirit and make me whole when I awake like You in Your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]