Doctor, Is My Medicine Effective?
- By Dr Joshua Raj
- Published 07/5/2008
Dr Joshua Raj
Dr Joshua Raj is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and an ordained minister. He became a Christian in medical school when the complexity of the human body revealed God’s beautiful design. His Christian journey has included opportunities to minister in Indian churches of different denominations in many countries. Dr Raj is a graduate of Seminary Theology Malaysia and has a postgraduate degree in practical theology. He has a wife and three children.
Or else, "Doctor, Is My Medicine Counterfeit?"
When we fall sick, a medicine is given to cure us of that illness. This pill contains a substance that essentially neutralizes the organism or substance that is causing sickness. For example, penicillin neutralizes the bacteria that cause pus formation. An insulin preparation neutralizes the effects of high sugar in the bloodstream. Doubtless I have oversimplified what medicines do, but a treatise on pharmacology is not the point.
The point? It is essential that the correct medicine be given for the correct illness. The wrong medicine can either have no effect, or worse, have an adverse effect. Patients would rightly be outraged if a doctor gave them the wrong medicine.
Why then are we being given the wrong medicine for our spiritual condition?
Just as a serious illness leads to physical death, spiritual death is certain if we are not born again spiritually. The Bible says very clearly that man has a fatal spiritual condition – he is born with a sin nature. He is born with the bent to sin. Notice how babies can manipulate their mothers form very early in life. Notice how kids learn the bad ways quickly but find the good behaviors that much harder to do.
This inborn tendency to be selfish and to covet what others have lies at the root of what plagues society today. But God wants us to be reconciled to Him. He wants to give us a new nature – His own Spirit, to live in us and through us. But this cannot happen by our own efforts. He has given the medicine in the form of His Son, Jesus. By His shed blood on the cross, Jesus has given us the opportunity to believe and be forgiven, to renounce sin and accept His pardon. This process results in a new birth. We are born again into the kingdom of God, and receive the Holy Spirit. We have the "Spirit of Christ” in us.
But while we can become a Christian in an instant, it takes a life time of learning to develop Christ likeness. Our goal after becoming a Christian is to have the “mind of Christ”.
This growing into the love and knowledge of God and deeper into Christ like attitudes and godly disposition requires dedication and discernment. It requires feeding on the right food and taking the right maintenance medication.
Here again, the parallels with physical well being are revealed. Once a body is healthy, after being cured of a disease by life-saving medicine, the patient must look after his nutrition to keep healthy. He should eat the proper foods and avoid unhealthy diet. He may also need to take supplements or maintenance medications.
Similarly, once we are saved from the penalty of spiritual death by taking the salvation “medicine” (believing in the good news of Jesus), we need to maintain our spiritual self. We cannot remain as spiritual baby. We need good, genuine nourishment.
1 Peter 2: 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
We need to feed daily on the Word of God and obey what it says. We need also to take regular “medicine” and this may involve painful corrective steps which God might require of us. For example, we may need to stop an addictive behavior that robs our time with God. Growing in Christ is a life long process that requires authentic and true spiritual food.
In this context, I want to warn myself and all fellow believers that it is easy to be deceived. In a third world country some years ago, a number of children died because they were treated for diarrhea with a counterfeit medication. Instead of making the pills with the antibiotic, the unscrupulous manufacturer used mil instead. The doctors could not understand why the children were not improving and many were dying. By the time the truth was found out, it was too late. Many young babes had already died.
The Christian world has many counterfeits that the devil has used to try and kill off spiritual babies even before they can grow in Christ. The devil has already counterfeited the gospel message by giving man a plethora of religions to believe in. Just like a sick patient, the spiritually sick man now finds an array of choices and is fooled into taking the wrong medicine. It breaks my heart to see that many people are unable to understand the simple gospel message of salvation.
Secondly, even those who believe in Christ are targeted by the devil with deceit. Numerous deviations and half truths are given to confuse believers. Many so-called ministers of religion are masquerading as Christian leaders and giving wrong maintenance or nutrition to churches. An extreme example comes for the Catholic Church, which has added praying to Mary to the simple gospel of Jesus. By this simple expedient, they have nullified the salvation message. It is like a doctor giving a life saving medication to a patient, but the effect is negated by another medicine the patient is ingesting given to him by a “friend”. By the time the truth is found out, it may be too late!
Then again, you have leaders who, among other things, deny the Bible, the deity of Christ or the salvific exclusivity of Jesus' Name. Anyone who tries to grow in such an environment will die, because they are receiving counterfeit medicine. For example, many so called Christian leaders now believe all religions are one. A catholic cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington when praying in the presence of King Abdullah of Jordan offered a concluding prayer "in the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate.” (1). I remember the Episcopal servie after 9/11 attended by President Bush, where a priest offered a prayer to "the God of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad"! What blasphemy!
Anyone who has been saved and then goes to these churches will quickly loose his faith. He will be led down the garden path to destruction. Why do Christians everywhere not condemn and remove such leaders? They would certainly do so if it were an errant doctor!
Then you have other pastors who have signed a document that affirms Darwin’s theory of evolution. Almost 10,000 pastors have signed The Clergy Letter Project, which says that "We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.” (2) . About 450 churches had services to honour Darwin, who only conceived the theory because he did not want to believe in God!
This deceptions are like giving milk tablets to the children with diarrhea. They will die. Churches which affirm such blatantly antithetical theories to Christianity are likely to perish with their flocks. We have to pray for the souls who go to these churches. They are being hurt and are innocent victims of the agents of the devil, who is the manufacturer of these spiritual “milk tablets”. In fact the tablets are more like cyanide, for they will trip up even the elect Christian.
I have given two blatant examples of counterfeit spiritual teaching. Many others are less noticeable and more subtle. They are like diluted pills, or less potent pills, that may spiritually weaken but not kill immediately.
Ever wondered why your life is spiritually dull or bare?
Check to see if you are in a Bible believing church, where the truth of the Bible is faithfully preached through the grid of apostolic faith. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. God's truths never change, especially today. Do not believe those who say we can change traditional understandings and plain reading of scripture in light of new cultural sensitivities (e.g. homosexuality, abortions, pluralism, interfaith services, new age practices and exercises, etc).
Ever wonder why your previosly vibrant spiritual health is declining?
Check to see if you are receiving the correct medicine, as found in the Bible, and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Leave any church and any leader who deviates, no matter how painful it may be. Your spiritual health, and mine, is all that matters.
Pray this prayer daily: (Psalm 83:11)
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
I have spent a lifetime nursing physically ill patients back to health. I know what good comes of proper medication and the harm that is caused by diluted or counterfeit medicines. I have seen the same parallels in the spiritual realm.
+Dr Joshua Raj MD, ThD
(1) By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff WriterWednesday, September 14, 2005; Page A14
(2) By Lisa AndersonChicago Tribune national correspondentPublished February 11, 2006