Today I will try to clarify my point about what we Christians call salvation through Jesus Christ as being all about spiritual healing. I will try to put my thoughts into more of a concrete form and set aside metaphors and abstract language as best I can. Frankly, I don’t see spiritual healing as all that abstract or mystical. I think of it as being pretty straight forward except for one thing: it is not directly visible. God’s Holy Spirit has always relied upon some outward manifestation, read as metaphor, such as wind and fire. We simply have to image God, or imagine, as this trinity of body, mind, soul in which we, likewise, are created. That seems more concrete to me, and it helps me understand, and hopefully explain to others, this connection between our salvation and our healing as Christians.
For me, having a relationship with God means my being able to interact with God’s body, mind, and soul using my own body, mind, and soul. The 3 of me, if you will, form this intimate bond with him such that my body and Christ’s body can understand each other’s feelings, hurts, pleasures, fears, desires, my mind and the Father’s can understand each other’s tough decisions and choices amidst the conflicting inputs between our body’s feelings and desires and our unseen soul’s superior wisdom and insight. Where my unseen soul and God’s unseen soul, Holy Spirit, are concerned, they understand each other totally. They have this unconditional love at their command, and yet unconditional love is just that: it never forces itself upon others. It acts only to influence our minds’ choices in whatever direction delivers us our best future consequences. Our minds still have to do the choosing, and so our salvation involved a consensual decision between God’s own mind and ours. God will choose us first, but we must choose him back, if you will.
My own little human mind, so trapped in the middle between my body’s desire for immediate control and my soul’s desire for eternal consequences, lives in awe of my Heavenly Father’s absolutely flawless decision-making. Even when His own body, Jesus, desired an escape from the cross of Calvary, my Heavenly Father so wisely chose instead to go with the Holy Spirit’s superior wisdom concerning the eternal consequences for all humanity. God so loved the world!!! I’m in awe of my Father’s ability to say NO to his own body and YES to his own soul. That’s my own goal in life. To use my little mind to think like God’s big mind in ways that clearly bring about the best future consequences for all concerned. “Our God is an awesome God” means to me that the Father’s mind is an awesome mind, the Son’s body is an awesome body, and the Spirit’s soul is an awesome soul. I want to be like that when I grow up someday!! All 3 of me like all 3 of him (pardon my use of the male pronoun to describe what I think of as simply “personhood.”)
When I think of salvation through Christ, the Son, I like this basic example borrowing from image of personhood and ours as the same trinity. Jesus Christ, in all his human existence, is willing to die to his own bodily feelings, hurts, pleasures, fears, desires, wishes and wants and obey the choices of his Father’s mind. (That alone is awesome enough for me, because my body doesn’t do a lot that my mind chooses for it to do now that I’m getting old!) The Father’s decisive “judgment” (see Hebrews 9:27) then provides new life, resurrection, for Jesus because of the Spirit’s amazing grace and unconditional love, which desires the consequence of eternal reward for the obedient Son. This is a key point in Christ’s own salvation, you see. The Father accepts the Son’s willingness to die to self and so chooses the consequence of the Son’s eternal reward as promised by the Holy Spirit. The unseen Holy Spirit acts as “higher power” for the Son in his sacrifice and for the Father in his judgment. The Son’s wounded body receives, thanks to the Father’s judgment in accepting Christ’s crucifixion, its ultimate healing, its ultimate salvation, thanks to the Spirit’s promise of eternal resurrection.
For me, and I believe others as well, the way in which I am invited to participate in God’s mighty acts of salvation and healing is to identify with Jesus Christ, the Son, and follow him in his willingness to die to my own bodily feelings, hurts, pleasures, fears, desires, wishes and wants. This means my willingness to accept the choices, and judgment, made by our Heavenly Father under the unseen higher power (Holy Spirit) whose unconditional love and amazing grace promises our consequential reward of resurrection into eternal life. That’s a long, very long, way of describing one short word: FAITH. And, to me at least, it is what it means to be saved by grace through faith.
Having shared this Gospel here and elsewhere as opportunities prevail, I will now turn next time to this question: ……then what is the meaning of Baptism? I will answer this based entirely on one chapter of the scriptural Gospels: John 3. Stay tuned.