Saturday, June 9, 2012

RE: Psalm 41 A Terminal Illness

What is sin like? Christianity has an abundance of symbolic words for sin: a wayward path, a stain, darkness. Most seem to explain why only Christ can remove our sin, and I think Psalm 41:3&4 can make a vital contribution to our medley of metaphor. The Psalmist called to God for merciful healing, because of his sin. His sin was referred to as an illness which needed healing.

Now some may argue that God punishes sin with disease, but personally I think it's foolhardy to blame an illness or calamity on God unless God has explicitly taken credit for the injury. Certain Christian figureheads like to talk about why God sends disease and disaster, and it embarrasses me every time. In scripture God did strike some people with punishing sickness, but others just got sick. Some were healed, and some were not. The only time we can tell which afflictions were punishments from God and which were not is when the Bible clearly delineates. Since the Bible does not say that God punishes such-and-such a sin with such-and-such an illness I'd just as soon take the Bible as is and not add anything to it. In any case the only illness of eternal importance is the illness of sin, and that is not a punishment; sin is self-inflicted.

Photo By: Beverly & Pack
Sin is our fault, and we are fully responsible for our own; at least, we were. Jesus, as you remember, did an awful lot of healing. He still heals, and most importantly he still heals that worst illness: sin. This is why the Psalmist called for mercy. We can call for mercy as well, with perfect confidence that Jesus Christ is the great physician who comes not to the healthy but to the sick. (Mark 2:17)

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