THE LORD'S PREACHING OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
We see the connection between certain diseases and sin, dramatically portrayed in the young man crippled and twisted by palsy. He was carried upon a stretcher by four friends and lowered through the roof tiles into the presence of the Lord, because of the crowd which filled the house where he was abiding (Mark 2:1–12). In all probability, this terrible affliction was a result of a dissolute life. This young man’s outwardly crippled frame portrayed his deformed and twisted soul raked with the guilt of his iniquity. His heart was evidently filled with remorse and shame and the Lord knowing his heart, went right to the issue and mentally and morally healed this young man because of his humble faith; “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee”. Yet this man would never have received this forgiveness if it were not for the determined resolve of his four friends. Their attitude was not that he had had his chance and was now unredeemable. The principle is this, that through the power of prayer and in faith brethren and sisters should resolutely work together to save sinners from the errors of their ways, in accordance with God’s will as set forth by the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Sinners” need help, but certain principles must be understood so that the forgiveness of God can be received. These principles are revealed to us in case after case of the Lord’s healing. A Christ-like attitude towards brethren and sisters stricken with sin is absolutely paramount, not only for their healing, but for ours also, because any of us can find ourselves the victim of our transgressions.
The Lord always responded to determined faith. Always! Before the Lord forgave this man his sins, Mark records that the Lord beheld “their faith”. His friends, despite their knowledge of the young man’s past, were absolutely convinced the Lord Jesus Christ would heal. Is this our attitude of mind when we set our hearts to help those who are victims of their own transgression? These friends would have gone to this young man and pleaded with him and encouraged him. Wouldn’t they all have made his sincere hope a matter of prayer?
On this occasion there were also present, the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 5:21) who reasoned in their hearts about this man who forgave sins. So there were those who were actually convinced the Lord could heal, i.e. forgive sins, and those who believed he could not. This is the issue in regard to how the ecclesia deals with all cases of sin and repentance, including divorce and remarriage for reasons other than the exception. The question is, will Christ forgive sin upon sincere confession and repentance? And if so, are we, Christ’s ecclesia, at liberty to require as the conditions of fellowship a second divorce or separation, the breaking up of another family, an attempted retracing of one’s steps? Surely the record of Yahweh’s mind upon such a course of action, plainly stated in Deuteronomy 24:4 should be heeded!