The absence of the cross from the range of declarations made by possibility preachers is diagnostic. The Cross is comprised of sacrifice: body and blood offered for sin remission. Cross also distinguishes Christian life from unregenerate life with its glory in suffering. A possibility preacher will tell you unabashedly that he/she rejects adversity and infirmity. The possibility preacher wants only to wear a crown and identify only with the Risen Christ. However, Christ is in glory because He suffered and learned obedience to the Heavenly Father’s will, even in mundane expectations, comparable to the wonders worked for Israel’s benefit. However, things such as the care of widows and the cleansing of lepers were never met, yet the life of the disciple is spoken of as a place of unfettered access to everything. Our inheritance in light does not include the temporary world. The world is not ours to buy or sell, damage or fix. We serve the earth, just as Adam did and are often at its mercy. Does not God strengthen us for all these things?
It has become popular among evangelicals (broadly speaking) to claim that a victorious Christian life must have at its core invincibility and, frankly, omnipotence. When these claims are made against the background of the Gospel their blasphemous character must be clear, since the believer’s daily needs and experiences are no different from the rest of humanity. Christ taught us to ask for bread daily. One possessed of omnipotence does not need anything and therefore has no need to ask. It ought to be clear that the absence of the Cross and the need for a prayer-life of the believer is contradictory to possibility-preaching and deliverance ministry’s main claim.
The Extremes of Human Existence
Man is either inside or outside of Eden. The flaming sword on the eastern side of Eden is perhaps the best explanation of the axis of human impossibilities. The way back to the tree of life is the same for the man.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:24
With this decree man is put at at risk and his bandwidth reduced. He does not have power over everything as he did inside the garden. The curse, as this new regime is called, has a dramatic effect on man, the serpent and the ecosystem. There are conditions that persist to this day, and there is no natural condition against which man is inoculated.
Condition #1. The Serpent is declared cursed to travel on his belly, and eat the dust.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: Genesis 3:14
Condition #2. The woman is subjected to pain in conception, and her longing for her man.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Genesis 3:16
Condition #3, The man is destined to eat of the ground in sorrow. The ground itself is cursed.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Genesis 3:17
The signs of these conditions are all around us. The cross is not a reversal of these conditions. It brings relief from the human-wide rebellion (all have sinned) and the sentence of death. The reversal of the Edenic curses is co-ordinate and simultaneous with the renewal of the earth itself. The wonder of spiritual regeneration could not be in clearer contrast. The cross brings an open door to spiritual renewal. Not even the resurrection of the dead as it occurs (and this was rare even in New Testament times) before the parousia, being the most dramatic reversal of the curse and death decree – you shall surely die – is a manifestation of the decisive and final reversal of the curse. Man remains subject to adversity and exposed to risk until the redemption of the body in the great end-time transformation when we shall all be changed.
There is little biblical support for faith as capable of bringing the reversal of man’s corruption or of demonstrating kingdom power as primarily effective in healings and other temporary fixes.
We have seen already that “all things” may need interpretation as less than absolute, yet there is still a popular appeal to sayings that refer to “all things” and human capacity or competence. Philippians 4:13 is a well-used example.
(to be continued)