A Better Title for this picture would be “Believe in
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-7
There’s no denying that Jesus Christ did many wonderful miracles and works during His earthly ministry. Christians often argue that we need to emulate Christ’s ministry. I agree. Thus, we must understand that Christ’s healing miracles and other miraculous works were secondarily for the people and primarily for communicating truth about Himself. Christ did not always feed the hungry, heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. There are several clear examples in Scripture where Christ picked one out of a multitude to heal, leaving the others in physical misery (John 5:2-12). His primary motivation therefore must be something other than liberating society, providing for the poor, etc. Christ is conquering these results of the Fall, but they will not be conquered fully until the end. Thus, Christ’s miraculous works primarily communicated the truth that the results of the Fall had no hold on Him. Although He was born under the curse, and crushed under the curse, the curse could not hold Him; this is the emphasis of His physical resurrection. As a result, incarnationally, if I am viewing Christ as a model for missions, then I must point to the fact that in Him sinners have conquered the results of the Fall spiritually, and they will conquer physically as well when He returns.
Therefore, whether I follow Christ or Paul, the emphasis is the same: 1) Sinners receive the abundant life spiritually in Christ the moment they first believe, 2) Sinners receive the abundant life in Christ physically the moment they first believe as well, but this is not fully realized until they receive a new body. Whether I follow Christ’s or Paul’s example, the spiritual redemption of man is still the primary emphasis. I do believe the church is to continue the ministry of Christ on earth for we are called “the body of Christ,” but this ministry is primarily spiritual and secondarily physical. Because of these truths, my primary goal in missions is the salvation of souls with the secondary goal being to meet the temporary physical needs of sinners.
What are your thoughts?