Is the Right Arm Still Good? — 7 Comments

  1. Good presentation of a vital subject. The balance must exist or there will be imbalance on either side, and faint chance for success. As for the importance; it is clear that the only ones who didn't bow to the image on the plain of Dura in Daniel 3 were those who won the battle in Daniel 1. There were many other Hebrew captives in both stories, but only three stood with Jesus in the furnace. The others needed to fix their shoe lace suddenly as the music played.

    In these chapters God shows us the importance of the balance needed to stand firm no matter what. Only when the music is played will this importance be realized. Until then most will feel they have it covered.

    Those young men didn't just know the truth, it was their life, and they took great risk to live it. It was their perfect faith in God that made it possible.

    The right arm will open doors that will otherwise never open.

  2. I would like to underline what is said, with the following consideration. Yes, the body and the right arm are a unit not to be separated. The combining core of this unit seems to be compassion. I noticed that Christ said: I was sick and you have visited me (Matthew 25:36). Being connected with Christ as the vine is connected with the branches, we will have the same kind of deep compassion that Christ had in healing the sick and suffering ones. Whatever is done in health programs, visitation of sick and suffering people and other kinds of outreach: Our words and actions cannot be separated from the great physician we are so intimately connected with.

    Any separation would degenerate into mere application of health technique, which should be avoided for the sake of those we are working for. Words and actions born of compassion cannot be classified as technique, not even as conversion technique, which would be manipulating people. However, God will open hearts for questions to be answered and witness for Christ to be given, leading people away from us towards Christ. He alone will heal broken hearts and supplant bitterness for peace, which has a healing effect on the body and its health condition. Although the gospel does not offer a technique as such, it however has a unique approach to suffering humanity.


    Winfried Stolpmann

  3. Thanks for the comment, Robert, in which I understand you to be saying that faithfulness comes as a package: Either we are faithful in all things or we are not likely to be faithful at all. We are faithful in health reform, or we may not be faithful in spiritual reform. (I believe there are exceptions in that many people do not understand God's teaching regarding health.)

    As I keep thinking about this, both (real) groups I mentioned consider themselves to be doing the work of God. But each fails to see the whole picture. God not only purchased eternal salvation for us, but He is interested in our lives here and now. Salvation comes as a package - not just for the bye and bye, but for right now too, because eternal life begins now. And if we accept Christ's offer, we will do what he tells us both in the physical and spiritual realm.

    The Bible study on "Discipling the Sick" seems to put more emphasis on recognizing Christ's interest in our physical welfare than it does on our discipling those who are sick. But I believe that if understand the Good News for us, then we will naturally want to share it. And that is best done by recognizing that only Christ's methods meet with success: The gospel of physical, emotional and mental health prepares the way for the gospel of spiritual health.

    If we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, we will want them to be healthy, happy and holy in the here and now, and we will want them to enter into eternal life through the grace of Christ our Saviour.

    • Sad to think there is actually two groups, and I have seen it expressed in comments from either side against the other, from some highly regarded pulpits. We need to be one group in the most urgent way, which is the central message of your post Inge. I was glad to read it.

      I think that it is the genuine interest in the total welfare of others that will inspire discipleship if done in the love and sacrificial manner in which Jesus worked. If we are in Him, we will labor as He did, with mercy, grace, longsuffering, meekness and lowliness of heart with complete restoration as the goal. Any of the accounts of healing show the perfect balance in Jesus' ministry for both body and soul, which are inseparable. We can't truly heal only half of an individual.

      The other aspect is that in keeping the health matters separate, there is no real purpose. What would be the reason to extend the life of sinfulness, especially when sinfulness is the source of sickness. Jesus made the connection clear when admonishing; "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee." This leads to thorough healing and cleansing. A healthy body results in a healthy mind, which can then receive the truth and wisdom of God.

      You said it well in the last sentence of your comment Inge; "If we truly love our neighbors..." 🙂

  4. Very good points in the article. Could it be there are a few common features to the two examples of amputated right arm? Both groups were busy in the service of the Master. Both were likely doing their best and both were probably accepted by God. There is value in both in spite of the segmentation. Any relief whether spiritual, mental, physical or emotional which may be obtained in this sinful world is advantageous.

    Although Christ wished to save all His help was not limited to those who might have been receptive to the Gospel, and He could read hearts. None of the help was wasted although some beneficiaries afterward turned against Jesus. Not only were the needy and the witnesses (including unfallen beings) benefitted, but the expression of compassion also helped Christ himself. As well complete ministry does not have to come from a single source for one to be completely blessed (1 Corinthians 3:6).

    There is something else though. It could be in both cases there is an implied feeling of a need to please and/or the fear of offending the target audience. A lesson we have difficulty with is that the advancement of God’s kingdom does not depend on our skillful handling of the messages. If we are moved to deliberately conceal vital elements of the truth we believe in, we may end up being mildly deceptive and the converts feeling duped (bait and switch). Some have joined the church only to be surprised about what we really believe and sometimes rebel.

    The arm of flesh may succeed in filling pews or auditoriums, but it is the Spirit who fills hearts. It behooves us to trust the Savior and share the whole truth in love. The numbers (returns) may be less than we would like, but that is on God when we do what He says (See Noah). Ours is not a popular message; but a prophetic one. It may not be pleasing to some, but truly fulfilling to all who accept.

    • Any who have joined the church only to be surprised later at what they were not taught were not thoroughly prepared for baptism. We have clear instructions and often they are not followed and people become baptized too quickly with little instruction. While there is a "gospel order", no one should be baptized until taught to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:". Yes, many think our doctrines strange, but Paul warned that many will not endure sound doctrine. We must expect this.

      We cannot separate (right arm from the body) what God has joined together. If we move by faith and follow God's directions, we will win souls, even though the vast majority will reject what is not popular: self-surrender to Christ, who is the Savior of the world. He was more rejected than we will ever be, but He healed and taught as directed by God, filled with the Holy Spirit and genuine love for the lost. He knew rejection would persist with most who heard Him, but He finished the work given Him to do and glorified God. His labors planted the Church which will ultimately triumph through faithful obedience.


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