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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

It’s Time

Friday, December 11, 2020
It’s Time to Be Healthy and Heal the World
Samuel Andres — Philippines

Dear brethren, we are the people living in this final generation in the history of a world full of woe, misery, and death—yet we are challenged to be like Christ, the healer of the world. How can this be accomplished?

As the Lord’s messenger describes a scene from the resurrection, “those who lived before the flood, come forth with their giant-like stature, more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and well proportioned. The generations after the flood were less in stature. There was a continual decrease through successive generations, down to the last that lived upon the earth. The contrast between the first wicked men who lived upon the earth, and those of the last generation, was very great. The first were of lofty height and well proportioned—the last came up as they went down, a dwarfed, feeble, deformed race.”1

As the human race as a whole has weakened, it is not only our physical stature that has undergone degradation. Our physical health and morals have as well—so our entire being is in need of healing in order for us to enjoy the blessing bestowed at our creation and extend it to our fellowmen.

The original plan

It is not the plan of God for humanity to be unhappy in its existence, for “God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the fair earth, as it came from the Creator’s hand, bore no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is transgression of God’s law—the law of love—that has brought woe and death.”2 We cannot even imagine how much we would have developed into men and women according to God’s plan in our creation if our first parents had not committed sin.

“It was [God’s] purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. Vast was the scope offered for their exercise, glorious the field opened to their research. . . . More and more fully would he have fulfilled the object of his creation, more and more fully have reflected the Creator’s glory.

“But by disobedience this was forfeited. Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death.”3

The healing of body, mind and soul sickened due to sin is to be the work of God’s people. We are called to bring healing to the world from all the maladies which sin has wrought. Christ is our pattern in this aim:

“Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). So, there is a double target of healing—both the moral and the physical. There is no real recovery if either of these is left uncured. “Virtue of character depends upon the right action of the powers of the mind and body.”4

The work of Christ

The work of Christ is to redeem man from the depth of sin into which he was sunken. “To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. . . .

“It means that in the whole being—the body, the mind, as well as the soul—the image of God is to be restored.”5 The restoration of the image of God is the healing of body, mind, and soul. This was the work of Christ when He came to this world—not only the healing of the physical ailments, but also cleansing from the disease of sin. Remember that the physical diseases were closely connected with sin; in healing the disease, Christ healed the soul. When Jesus was in this world, this was His mission. The prophet Isaiah foretold what Jesus was to declare in Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Indeed, through the scriptures, we have the wonderfully inspiring record of “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

“Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He ‘took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,’ that He might minister to every need of humanity. (Matthew 8:17.) The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character.”6

Our work

“Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions.”7 Not only is Christ our example, as mentioned, His work is our work, to “bring to men complete restoration” and to give men “health and peace and perfection of character.”8 As we do the work of Christ, we “are to learn Christ’s method of laboring,” and keep in mind that “the same Spirit that dwelt in Christ as He imparted the instruction He was constantly receiving.” This is the source of “knowledge and the secret” of “power in carrying on the Saviour’s work in the world.”9 We are the channels in His hands in the work of redemption.

“To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.”10

The commission to go to all the world and preach the gospel included the healing of the sick—and the assurance that Jesus has given is to be with us unto the end of the world (see Matthew 28:20). Glorious was the result in the experience of the apostles. The same commission is extended to us who are living in this last generation—and when we are ready to carry out this blessed task with all our heart, more extensive and more glorious will be the result.

At this point, we have not much time left because we are now living on the very verge of the close of this world’s history. The Lord will no longer delay His time because of individuals who do not care; He will have others. If you don’t want others to take your place, see to it that you make your calling and election sure. As a church and as individuals, our main concern is to prepare ourselves and our people: PREPARE, PREPARE, AND PREPARE.

A complete message

Yes, it’s time to be healthy and heal the world. As generally understood, we cannot give something we don’t have. In other words, before we can go and bring healing to the people, we must be healthy first. As mentioned, our diseases are not merely physical but rather are both physical and moral. So, it’s high time to do something about this! We should be the first ones to be healthy and not to be the last, since we have so much light and many advantages available to us.

First of all, we have the three angels’ messages intended for this very purpose. The Lord’s messenger explains that justification by faith is “the third angel’s message in verity.”11 We are the advocates of the three angels’ messages—and what is that? Justification by faith, which “invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.”12 When we receive the righteousness of Christ, it is to be manifested in obedience to all the commandments of God. This message is the answer to the disease of sin which has caused man to be physically ill. “This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.”13

Then we have the message of health reform. The Lord gave a vision to His servant to bring us this message. She relates, “It was at the house of Brother A. Hilliard, at Otsego, Michigan, June 6, 1863, that the great subject of Health Reform was opened before me in vision.”14 Why was the health reform given? It is for the benefit of God’s people and for them to share with others: “The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world.”15 We should be the first to implement the principles of health reform and then share it with the world. Disease is a great hindrance to the development of Christian character. “Since the mind and the soul find expression through the body, both mental and spiritual vigor are in great degree dependent upon physical strength and activity; whatever promotes physical health, promotes the development of a strong mind and a well-balanced character. Without health, no one can as distinctly understand or as completely fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow beings, or to his Creator. Therefore, the health should be as faithfully guarded as the character.”16

Sometimes we are confused. What is the connection between Justification by Faith—or Righteousness by Faith—and the message of health reform in relation to the restoration of the image of God in man and the perfecting of Christian character? We have a clear revelation on this point. The message of Justification by Faith is for the conversion of mind and heart to bring man to a new direction in life—“New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. A new standard of character is set up—the life of Christ.”17

“Justification is wholly of grace.”18 “Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man and works in mind and heart and character.”19

The message of health reform, in turn, has a specific purpose to reduce the strong animal propensities in human nature and instead fortify our moral decisions towards character perfection.

How should this affect how we prepare our food?

“Many mothers who deplore the intemperance which exists everywhere do not look deep enough to see the cause. They are daily preparing a variety of dishes and highly seasoned food which tempt the appetite and encourage overeating. The tables of our . . . people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards. Appetite is the ruling principle with a large class. Whoever will indulge appetite in eating too often, and food not of a healthful quality, is weakening his power to resist the clamors of appetite and passion in other respects in proportion as he has strengthened the propensity to incorrect habits of eating. Mothers need to be impressed with their obligation to God and to the world to furnish society with children having well-developed characters.”20

“When persons are spoken to on the subject of health, they often say: ‘We know a great deal better than we do.’ They do not realize that they are accountable for every ray of light in regard to their physical well-being, and that their every habit is open to the inspection of God. Physical life is not to be treated in a haphazard manner. Every organ, every fiber of the being, is to be sacredly guarded from harmful practices.”21

“God has given us great light upon the health reform, which He requires us all to respect. He does not send light to be rejected or disregarded by His people without their suffering the consequences.”22

Sadly, “the moral powers are beclouded, because men and women will not live in obedience to the laws of health.”23

Learning to live the message

“The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?

“Let all examine their own practices to see if they are not indulging in that which is a positive injury to them. Let them dispense with every unhealthful gratification in eating and drinking. Some go to distant countries to seek a better climate; but wherever they may be, the stomach creates for them a malarious atmosphere. They bring upon themselves suffering that no one can alleviate. Let them bring their daily practice into harmony with nature’s laws; and by doing as well as believing, an atmosphere may be created about both soul and body that will be a savor of life unto life.

“Brethren, we are far behind. Many of the things which the church should do in order to be a living church are not done. Through the indulgence of perverted appetite many place themselves in such a condition of health that there is a constant warring against the soul’s highest interests. The truth, though presented in clear lines, is not accepted. I wish to set this matter before every member of our churches. Our habits must be brought into conformity to the will of God. We are assured, ‘It is God which worketh in you,’ but man must do his part in controlling appetite and passion. The religious life requires the action of mind and heart in harmony with the divine forces. No man can of himself work out his own salvation, and God cannot do this work for him without his cooperation. But when man works earnestly, God works with him, giving him power to become a son of God.”24

Satan knows that if we violate the laws of health, our ruin is sure—but if we follow God’s health reform, the enemy’s temptations can be more readily resisted. “The great enemy knows that if appetite and passion predominate, the health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities and keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, Satan well knows that his power to overcome with his temptations is very small.”25

So, to make our pathway more conducive to perfection, we follow the health reform. With the combination of the message of justification and health reform—if we sincerely live by them, the victory is ours.

“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own”26, together with the people whom we have brought to the feet of our Lord.

Conclusion

“The Lord desires through His people to answer Satan’s charges by showing the result of obedience to right principles. He desires our health institutions to stand as witnesses for the truth. They are to give character to the work which must be carried forward in these last days in restoring man through a reformation of the habits, appetites, and passions. Seventh-day Adventists are to be represented to the world by the advance principles of health reform which God has given us.”27

Finally, brethren, we have a very serious mission to fulfill—to evangelize and heal the world from the deadly miasma of disease which has contaminated humanity ever since the fall of our first parents. Our prayer should be: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. . . . That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations” (Psalm 67:1, 2). The church is the agency which the Lord will use to save the world. But unless the church itself is cured and healthy, it cannot realize its mission. So, I am appealing to all members of the church (the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement) around the world, that we may dedicate our lives fully to God and ask the Lord to heal us as individuals and as a church. Over the 95 years of our experience, we have not yet fulfilled our mission—and we are already more than double a 40-year journey in the wilderness! But it is not yet too late. LET’S WAKE UP! IT’S TIME TO BE HEALTHY AND HEAL THE WORLD.

References:
1 Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 84.
2 Steps to Christ, p. 9.
3 Education, p. 15.
4 Counsels on Health, p. 505.
5 Education, pp. 15, 16.
6 The Ministry of Healing, p. 17.
7 Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 136.
8 The Ministry of Healing, p. 17.
9 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 365.
10 Education, pp. 15, 16.
11 Evangelism, p. 190.
12 Ibid.
13 Ibid., p.191.
14 Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 276.
15 Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 136.
16 Child Guidance, pp. 360, 361.
17 Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 98, 99.
18 Faith and Works, p. 20.
19 Ibid., p.100.
20 Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 563.
21 Ibid., vol.6, p. 372.
22 Ibid., vol.3, p. 311.
23 Christian Education, p. 10.
24 Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 370, 371.
25 Confrontation, p. 58.
26 Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
27 Medical Ministry, p. 187.