Authentic New Testament Solutions

Healing Devotions: Day 6

Today’s Scripture: For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Confession: I am the righteousness of God in Christ. My standing with God is secure. God is for me. He is my friend. My prayers are powerful and effective.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Being a Christian means that we accept that Christ and Christ alone is our righteousness. We were created in his image and likeness, and we were fearfully and wonderfully made in our mother’s womb by God. God sent us here during this generation for a purpose.

Because of our tendency toward sinfulness and the influence of evil all around us, we need Christ’s righteousness continually infused into our lives. This happens as we grow in the Scriptures, are continually filled with the Holy Spirit, and as a result of our deliberately developing life-giving relationships with others.

That is why we can fearlessly declare that God has made us righteous. We didn’t do it. God did it. Righteousness means right standing with God. Jesus who is righteous became our righteousness so we can stand in the presence of God as though we had never done wrong. We can stand in God’s presence without a sense of condemnation or spiritual inferiority.

We can measure how healed we are in a variety of ways. Any physician can test our physical healing, and our mental health is often revealed by our long-term life-giving friendships. But how do we measure our spiritual health?  It’s simple—by how we respond to someone else’s sin.

To the degree that we are impressed with ourselves and our own righteousness is the degree to which we respond to another’s sin judgmentally and/or punitively. To the degree that we believe that Christ and Christ alone is our righteousness is the degree to which we respond to someone else’s sin redemptively. When we are spiritually healthy, we are like God in our response to the failures of another. God sent Jesus, his son, in response to our sin. We, as his instruments, view the sins of another as our opportunity to model the effectiveness of the Gospel.

We must be experience some healing to effectively heal others.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53: 4-5).

The Hebrew word which is translated weaknesses in Isaiah 53:4 is translated everywhere else in the Old Testament as sicknesses. Remember, He was whipped so we could be healed.

Matthew quotes this passage in Matthew 8:

That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, ‘He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases (Matthew 8:16-17).

So the cross provides healing for our weaknesses, sorrows, rebellion, and sins. We are made whole in Christ. He was whipped so we could be healed. And since he took our sicknesses and removed our diseases, we can be whole physically, mentally, and emotionally. As we receive his righteousness and the other benefits of the cross, we are fully capable of being, as Paul says, ambassadors of Christ in our generation.

Though none of us will be perfect until we see him face to face, we are God’s people, chosen by him to do good works. We are saved by grace through faith in who Jesus is and what he did for us, and then we are empowered by his love to serve others. Let’s do that.


Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at

Authentic New Testament Solutions

When Paul Said “Our Flesh,” Could He Have Literally Meant Our Flesh?

“Ted, you do not have a spiritual problem. You are spiritually strong,” said the lead therapist of a team of counselors who met with me in 2006. My goal in being there was to determine why I struggled with an incongruent issue in my life.

“You test in normal ranges on all of our tests. You are mentally and emotionally healthy,” he continued, “your ability to reason is substantial. If your struggle was spiritual or rational, you would have settled this long ago. But it is neither of those – it’s physiological.”

The doctor continued, “You experienced a traumatic incident when you were a child that you have never addressed. That trauma conflicts so much with who you are, your faith, culture, commitments, and relationships, that you have ignored it until now. But now it’s demanding expression. That’s why you thought it was spiritual. It was so contrary to everything you stand for, you couldn’t imagine it being part of who you are. But it is. It’s physical, and we know how to work with it. You’ll go through trauma resolution therapy while here. It will force your brain to deal with an incident in your life that you’ve resented for over 40 years. Once this is integrated, it will effectively give you relief, and as time passes, that relief will be progressive. This will be an answer to your prayers.”

This conversation changed my life. It gave me the explanation I needed to go forward because it explained so many things Paul said about himself, and it clarified my own growth process in Christ.

I had been confused in 2006 about the events that transpired because I was sincere in my beliefs and commitments, and at that time I thought my sincere devotion was enough to help me overcome anything. I was not a hypocrite or a manipulator. I sincerely loved God, the Scriptures, and the Church. But I struggled with unwanted, intrusive thoughts and compulsions that kept me from fully being the man I wanted to be. When my sins became public in 2006, I readily resigned, confessed, repented, and submitted to church authority. My goal was to grow in sanctification.

Since that time, I’ve become even more convinced that we can do everything Christ wants in our lives if we’ll take responsibility to pursue him at any cost. In my case, it’s been costly, but my prayers have been and are being answered.

So why do we do the things we do? As committed Christians, we hope that all of our actions, attitudes, thoughts, and words are a reflection of Christ’s lordship in our lives. But we human beings are growing and developing, knowing that we’ll only be perfected one the day when we see Jesus face-to-face. But in the meantime, as Paul said, we have opportunity to renew our minds.

Renewing our minds involves neuroplasticity, which is the ability of our brains to structurally change. I think this is the dynamic Paul addressed when he told us to think on certain things (Philippians 4:8), to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), and to develop the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). In other words, we must overcome the natural tendency in our minds that motivates behaviors that are not congruent with our Christian call (Romans 7:14-25, Galatians 5:19, 2 Corinthians 12:7).

For over 2,000 years, Bible scholars have struggled with Paul’s use of the Greek word “sarx” in his writings. This Greek word has been traditionally translated into English as “flesh,” and in some newer translations the “old sin nature.” Both of these translations are, of course, accurate and helpful. But now, with our developing understanding of how brain physiology impacts our lives, the word “sarx” takes on a new depth of meaning.

In Romans 8, Paul exhorts us to be dominated by the Holy Spirit as opposed to our “flesh” or “old sin nature.” Due to advances in neural science, we now understand how biblical references to our minds can improve our brains, and thus transform our lives. Our brains are repositories of natural thinking, survival instincts, unforgiveness, trauma, and fear. They physically store the portion of our lives that we Christians want to crucify in order to live a stronger Christian life. Our minds, our brains, can be rewired so our lives can be transformed. When Christ fills us with his life by his Word and Spirit, our old sin nature and our new nature in Christ conflict. But the potential for transformation is the reality that the Bible encourages, and now we are beginning to understand how that works.

Could it be that Paul meant EXACTLY what he wrote, and that we can, in fact, be transformed in every area of our lives by the renewing of our minds? I’ll write more about this in the future and explain the renewal Christ has given me.