Does the Bible promise us prosperity? Does is it say if we live a righteous life then we will be prosperous? Some would even teach that sickness is evil and, as a result, sickness is from the Devil, and we in fact sin when we say God is responsible for sickness. Are those teachings right?
Often, people use certain passages to say such things as “we are not to be sick” or “while living here we should always prosper.” Do such statements contradict or conflict with other verses in the Bible?
Does God mean something else when the Bible speaks of prosperity? Should each passage be looked at the same way, with the same meaning? Is God totally sovereign that He not only permits, but designs all things and, therefore, controls all things?
Are there other reasons for sickness or suffering in poverty? What is the purpose of the Bible? Should we interpret verses by each passage or by the Bible as a whole, jointly fit together?
Remember that the Bible is a story, God’s story. A story written to tell us of how He has created man, chased man, loved man, redeemed the elect unto himself and is crazy about the elect. It is not a convoluted book of separate passages and meanings where verses say one thing that may contradict something else. When we read the Bible as a cohesive book, we are less likely to make mistakes in application and meaning.
The type of teaching that spurs these types of questions is often called or known as the Prosperity Gospel, the Word of Faith Movement, or the Seed Faith Movement. No matter what it is called or referred to, we should state that all such movements falling under these terms are a perversion of the real gospel.
It runs from an extreme of “God wants you wealthy” to “you’re the Kings Kids and he wants you wealthy, healthy and happy,” to just simply downplaying pain, suffering, poverty and sin. Along with this come teachings that the Christian life will solve all of our problems, and if we ask anything in Jesus name He will give it.
The truth is that a greater return comes from a life of sacrifice towards kingdom advancement. Christ taught that life was not found in the pursuit of things, but in the willingness to give up things for Him.
This does not mean that we should not pray for our needs, the needs of others, or bring every care, concern, burden, weight of life, the pains of everyday living to God. For, He is indeed a Father who knows how to give good gifts.
One of the gifts He has given is the ability to cry to Him as we would our earthly father with such things. He instructs us to bring every care to Him because He loves us.
God is a good God who eagerly wants to show us that love through His generosity and goodness, which He may or may not show through material blessings. Sometimes He shows it through the comfort of friends, love of our brothers and sisters, comfort of His Holy Spirit, the ability to now live as we were created to be, through His grace, which is the greatest gift we have been given.
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