The Fix-it God, Part 2

It is an absolute riot that regenerated people spend practically all their inheritance on seeking solutions to problems, which are, admittedly, resolvable by a mere word, or by mustard-seed-sized faith. One person prays in the common language, another prays in tongues. One fasts in expectation of miracles, others rejoice in the sad circumstance, confident of God’s love and guidance. Another utters decrees which cannot possibly be fulfilled because they claim to do things that belong only to Christ and are only released by Him at the parousia . Some dance and whirl, others make a noisy and repetitive display. They stomp their feet and clap their hands. All the while they are claiming to be God’s children and agents, but in the absence of solutions one does not have to imagine God shaking his head in dismay. In what sense is this either deliverance or edification? Do people not believe that God is their Ever-present Help? Which part of the God-with-us reality do they not want to embrace? Is God’s precious love absent when we think we have a problem?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom. 8:35)

You know the answer. No-one! Not tribulation, not distress, not persecution, not famine, not nakedness, not peril, and not sword.

Are church-goers really that gullible? Or are we satisfied with the good feeling that comes from reading, singing and hearing “what’s possible”? Perhaps not.

Because faith is substance we would be negligent if we said we see results when there is no evidence of God fixing anything or everything. Is a miracle all there is to faith in the Son of God? After all the talk about what God can do, when all is said and done we should ask, “What did faith do today?”

Compared to what the 11th chapter of Hebrews reports as accomplished by faith we can say confidently “I did not see”, “there is nothing to report”, especially to the claim that all suffering is banished by virtue of our sonship and by virtue of the power to decree and declare. It is most problematic for a Christian to claim things that even Christ does not do. The kingdom of God is not “anything goes”.

Or are certain worshippers of the Fix-it God expecting us to have a faith that is not perceptible? Do they want people to just have faith? Do they have real information about what God is doing, when He will do it, and how He will do it? Prophets used to be acclaimed when their utterances come to pass, and they were in dire straits for being found to be false. Gospel ministers should subscribe to the same standard.

This kind of riot helps us along the road to unproductive fields. There ought to be a manifestation of honesty and clarity about God’s interest in our daily lives in addition to the long-term issues. To be sure, Christ did not promise you that He will remove your challenges and disabilities. You are mad and misguided if you, a child of God, go to church for a miracle sideshow, ritualistic prayer, and dead-end faith.

Lock your brain onto God’s grid! If the things we call problems are not problems to God why do we bother people with our fix-it routines? Since the things we typically call problems – tribulation, not distress, not persecution, not famine, not nakedness, not peril, and not sword – are not problems to God why bring the matter up as if we can be the fix-it guy? After all, are not these miracles part of the atonement?
A huge amount of Christian credibility is on the line every time we declare things that do not appear. When God said “Let there be…” there was. When Christ said “Your sins are loosed” they were loosed. When he said “Lazarus, come”, Lazarus came. You get the picture.

Fix-it or deliverance ministries ought to be just that. They ought to deliver people, not harass them with rituals and useless manifestations. They ought not to burden the sufferer with guilt about his or her little faith, for if a little faith and just a touch of the Saviour’s garment can do wonders why are we taken in by long prayers, fasting and healing services?

May God protect you the next time you go to church and encounter one of these fix-it agents. Let your faith be on the God who is with you, the God who hears your cry, who knows what you need, and who is taking care of you, no matter where you are or what you are going through. Our great God and Saviour is most certainly a healer, surgeon, and yes, we can say it, a fix-it Person who does much more than fixes things. He fixes people by transforming them.

Grace is greater than all our shortcomings!

Elbert Joseph, PhD

The Fix-it God, part 1

The Fix-it God idea is characterized by approaching God primarily as the One who addresses human problems by fixing them. This is the popular and time consuming proposition and practice of those who encourage believers to approach God exclusively on the basis that Messianic salvation is not only salvation from sin but that He has one response to human problems, namely instant and miraculous fixes. There is a Fix-it God in the Bible. The Serpent in the Wilderness narrative offers a view that God heals His people of life’s fatal bites. The snakebite healing was not salvation in the sense that humans are saved from sin, because the journeying Israelites were not unsaved persons. Yahweh had already saved the entire family of the Sons of Israel in the Exodus. The Fix-it God is therefore a picture of maintenance and ongoing healing to saved persons. We find in Moses’ narrative that divine healing is indeed on tap for the Israelites as they journeyed.

“And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died”

Num. 21:6-9

The Fix-it God delivers needed healing for those on salvation’s journey. In this mode of divine intervention the invitation to healing is “Look and live”,

And Yahweh said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall be, that every one that is bitten, when he looks on it, shall live. Numbers 21:8

One could say that salvation from sin or the inheritance of life does come in exactly the same way. It is a “look and live” proposition. For example there is the global call found in Isaiah 45:22

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

There is too the Pauline teaching (2 Cor. 3:18) that by gazing at Christ we access ongoing change towards the divine image. There is the prophecy of Micah (7:7) which expresses confidence in the saving power of God as one (the saved) looks to God and waits.

Is everything we call a problem a problem to God? On realizing that there are problems which are unresolvable by us and which need divine intervention, we can either find God’s answer or park our brains, set our mouth on automatic and recite all the things that earthlings and believers have ever said, looking for a way to use faith as a battering ram, when we should simply and first of all say “Amen”.

There is nothing wrong with confessing to Houston “We have a problem!” Learning to say “Amen” to wherever God places us is the right attitude setting with which we can console ourselves. We can also seek to be elevated to God’s thinking and operation, at which level we deceive ourselves with the emotional, unsubstantiated and unscriptural idea that (1) God wants to fix everything and (2) we only need to confess it or declare/decree it.

Does God face unsolvable problems?

No. Frankly, nothing is a problem to God. His healing power is not incidental. He does not rise as healer when sickness arises. Our appreciation of Yahweh as Salvation or Messiah as Salvation is our acknowledgement of the salvation that is in the godhead eternally. Our Lord’s eternal place as Son in the Godhead is inseparable from his place as pre-foundation Salvation.

Few fixes in nature and civic life

The evidence all around us is that God does not fix everything, whether we ask in faith or not. He knows every situation and condition in which we find ourselves and He chooses what gift to bestow and when to bestow it. We deny that we are related to God through and in Christ, acting as if His love must be expressed in giving us everything we ask for. His thinking, at the micro-level, is often beyond our ideas and beyond our capacity to perform. We are often not even listening to his voice.

Restoration and birth from above

What need is there in the church’s assemblies for the sentiment that there is no such thing as cross-bearing trials and adversities? No-one knows or can know the power of God in both its once-for-all manifestation and in its ongoing revelation and bestowal of a sanctified life, except through the weakness and humility of mortal life. Our only guaranteed victory is over the problem of the carnal and worldly nature.

The ultimate fix

The difference between what is possible and what is probable should not elude us. Just as the difference between the present and the future should be equally clear to all of us. The difference between what God wants and what He does is also clear – He wants all men to be saved, yet many are being lost. Since this is true for physical and mental disabilities how can it not be true for tears, death and sorrow?

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. (Rev. 21:4)

Elbert Joseph, PhD

Skirting the city to create a hamlet

If the returning exiles needed a guiding light it was not the Sinai Covenant or the patriarch traditions. Mosaic traditions had by this time become useless – blood that cleansed nothing. Where was the crown? We do not know how the Lord inspired Cyrus to decree the return, but Cyrus could not but have been impressed by the proud attachment of a people to a palace for an invisible king; a palace built by a king whose kingdom is the opposite of his own. They celebrated and embraced the Mosaic legacy but skirted the throne and the truthful village connected to SSolomon’s dynasty.

He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

1 Chronicles 22:10
No monarchy in the restoration

Cyrus learned from the records that his predecessor’s reign came to an end just as predicted. He also learned that there was a king whose kingdom was not going to end. His own name appears in prophecy stating his role in rebuilding the Province of Judea.

The return to Judea had just about everything except a Solomonic monarch. Solomon may have had an unimpeachable life as a wise ruler but he was a poor model for Mosaic orthodoxy. No conscientious disciple of Moses would rush to line up behind Solomon. The returnees chose to distance themselves from anything connected with the reason for their captivity in the first place. Solomon was the poster boy for idolatry, the classic Israelite folly. Yet the sure mercies of God to David found its legs in the Solomonic throne. David’s son will build the temple and it is his throne that  will be established for ever.

What is Jerusalem without a Davidide ruler? A desolate house.