Summary: Understanding the many benefits of a relationship with God
" One of the disturbing things about Christianity is that very few Christians ever advance beyond their first revelation."
Walking with God is (or at least, should be) an unfolding process in which we get to know Him better and better. As we discussed before, one of the exciting things about the Christian life is discovery, daily getting fresh bread from His table. Acts 3:21 describes a time of restoration of all things which God has spoken through the mouths of His holy prophets. There is no "new" truth, but there is plenty of neglected truth, life changing truth, just waiting to be drawn out by dilligent students of God’s Word.
A real milestone in my Christian life came during a home Bible study about 12 years ago, when we studied the Redemptive Names of God revealed in the Old Testament, and how they give us insight into His nature and character. Although an in-depth treatment of this topic is beyond the scope of this article, I would encourage you to study this sometime. It will bless you tremendously. I will, however, give you a brief definition of a few of these Redemptive Names:
Jehovah Tsidkinu: The Lord Our Righteousness
Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Our Peace
Jehovah Raphe: The Lord Our Healer
Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Our Provider
Jehovah Shammah: the Lord Who Is Ever Present
Jehovah El Shaddai: The All Sufficient One, The God Who Is More Than Enough
We vividly see these character traits in the person of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus, annointed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, healing and delivering all who come to Him in faith (Acts 10:38.) Often, these miracles set the stage for the proclamation of the Gospel, and people regularly came to know Jesus as the result (Matthew 9:26, 31; Mark 5:20; Luke 5:15; John 4:30, 42; 6:2; 12:9-11, 17-19.) Whats more, He calls on all believers to follow His example, and promises us the same supernatural power to accomplish this mission! (Mark 16:15-20; John 14:12; Acts 1:8)
We see exactly what He meant in the dramatic events described in the Book of Acts. The power Jesus spoke of was mightily poured out on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1-4.) From then on, the early church continued in the same vien as their risen Lord, boldly preaching His Gospel, as He faithfully confirmed it with signs following. Whether it be healing (Acts 3:6; 4:10, 30; 5:12-16; 6:3-8; 9:34; 14:8-10; 19:11-12) deliverance (Acts 8:7; 16:18; 19:11-12,) or whatever the needs of lost, hurting people may have been, the Spirit’s power was there in abundance to meet them, and to give powerful testimony to Jesus’ message preached through His church. Just like in Jesus’ ministry, these miracles were also important tools that God used to draw people to salvation (Acts 8:6; 9:35, 42.)
It is here that we must ask ourselves some important questions: Has God’s program for His church changed? Is Jesus any less compassionate to lost, hurting people now, than He was during His earthly ministry? Is the Book of Acts simply an old, dusty relic? or is it a living, dynamic model for how the church is to operate in today’s world?
To assert, as some do, that Jesus doesn’t heal or work miracles today is to put Him in violation of His own nature. The never was an "Age of Miracles." There is a God of miracles, and He never changes! (Malachi 3:6) He is eternally Jehovah Raphe, the Lord our Healer. He is eternally El Shaddai, the God who is more than enough. He is eternally Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider.
All Christians obviously believe that Jesus is our Savior. However, we often overlook many of the things that are involved in His saving work. We generally define the word "salvation" as simply meaning going to Heaven, instead of Hell, when you die. This is certainly the most important aspect of it, but it is not, by any means, all there is to it. The Greek word for salvation comes from the word "sozo" (see Strong’s # 4982) which means to save, heal, preserve, and make whole. It involves all of the blessings bestowed on men by Christ. It shows that salvation is for the whole man, spirit, soul, and body, and is for the here and now, not just for the afterlife.
Similarly, the Hebrew word "Shalom," (Strong’s #7965) which is usually translated "peace" in the Old Testament also has a deeper meaning than many realize. It does mean "peace," but it also means favor, health, prosperity, and wholeness.
The Bible refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace, or as the Hebrew points out, the Prince of Shalom. He certainly is the prince of Peace. He is also the Prince of Wholeness, the Prince of Prosperity, and so on. Friend, He is everything you will ever need!