A recent development in "Easy Christianity" is its gospel of health and wealth. This gospel teaches that because God loves His children it is not His will that they be poor or sick. All Christians could be healthy and wealthy if only they knew that God wanted them to be and had the faith to claim His promises! Some actually think that a luxurious home complete with swimming pool will be theirs, if only they believe in God for it. Others are certain that terminally ill loved ones will get well, if it is claimed by faith.
Of course, false doctrine is often truth taken at an extreme. There is an element of truth in the gospel of health and wealth. It is true that God may make us healthy and wealthy in answer to our prayers! It is also true that godly living does have a general tendency to produce both healthy bodies and prosperity. Scripture warns against many sins that undermine health including the intemperate use of food, alcohol, and tobacco. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians. 5:22). One who has been a Christian from youth often looks remarkably younger than his classmates at the 25-year reunion!
Scripture also teaches diligence and the avoidance of folly and excess in the use of money. Such qualities tend to produce prosperity. "Diligent hands bring wealth" (Proverbs 10:4).
Health and wealth are good. They are produced by godly living. This is taught by the Word of God. The gospel of health and wealth is not. It has nothing to do with the gospel of Christ who warned men to count the cost before taking up their cross to follow Him (Luke 14:25-33). It contradicts the plainest realities of the Word of God
There is persecution. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). Persecution often ruins both the health and the wealth of the righteousness.
There is the sin that remains in every Christian. Wealth and health may not be in our best interest! Are we more holy that the Apostle Paul? "To keep me from becoming conceited...there was given me a thorn in my flesh...to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
There is the fact that all Christians die. How foolish to think that all Christians have died because none have ever had enough faith to escape death! No, it is God's will that Christians die. But if this, the ultimate evil, is God's will, then poverty and sickness may also be.
Ultimately, the problem with "Easy Christianity's" gospel of health and wealth is a matter of timing. After Christ's return, God does will perfect health and unimaginable wealth for his sinless people. When, however, such blessings are taught as present blessings for the Christian, the results can be cruel! Such teaching raises false hopes. When such hopes are smashed, such teaching adds to the burden of sickness and poverty -the false guilt of being told that only their wicked unbelief stands between them and healing or riches. May God deliver you from the cruelty of this false teaching of modern "Easy Christianity."
9. Prophecy and the Tribulation
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