We then prayed for a person who is suffering bad skin infections. His skin eruptions cause much itchiness and irritation.
God said “There are many reasons for bad skin conditions. Some people are just allergic to physical things. These allergies cause skin eruptions. There may be mental short term causes such as thinking, stress, and pressure. These emotional, submerged, factors result in chemical changes in the blood which in turn cause physical skin eruptions, which are usually treated with creams but this is ineffective. There are alternative spiritual long term causes: unforgiveness; anger; other issues which are buried.”
God’s answer reminded me of something that I have read in a book called “The Mountain.” This is one of the recent books written by Robert. On page 201 of the book I can find the following passage: “We always will think that we can control them—anger, bitterness, guilt, we think that we are stronger than them. But we are not. Such emotions come out in our actions, yes, but they also come out in our body. Bitterness correlates with blood pressure problems, strokes, heart attacks. Even dermatitis seems to be related to anger.”
Some days later, in response to our prayers for the healing of my friend’s skin conditions God gave us an obscure answer: “Iniquity is resident as a stain upon the soul. Transgression is resident as a stain upon your habits. Sin is resident as a stain upon each decision made. And any of these may be a source of affliction or a gateway to oppression.”
I was not sure that I understood what God was saying, so I asked again “Is there anything that can bring deliverance from past iniquity, transgression and sin?” And God’s answer was “Grace nullifies iniquity. Redemption nullifies transgression. Forgiveness nullifies sin.”
After receiving this answer I went online to do research on ‘sin, transgression and iniquity.’ Unfortunately I could not find any information that can help me understand what God was saying. I guess I was looking for a certain method that I can apply to help my friends trapped in the bondage of damaging habits, to bring results and relief, and to ‘set the captives free.’
Several days ago I felt that God asked me to study Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing.” I have read that book before and I did not benefit much from it. However this time I read the book slowly with a humble attitude and I learned quite a lot.
With reference to addictions and bad habits, Robert’s book says that it takes many poor choices to get a person deeply entrenched in a bad habit. Usually deliverance from addiction involves a long, slow process. By seeking God’s mercy daily, we are led by the Holy Spirit to make the correct choices day by day, so that we can eventually replace a bad habit with a good one.
The rest of this article is taken from Robert’s book “Enoch’s Blessing,” page 31, in the section called “GOD AS SAVIOUR – THE SPIRIT OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD”:
Fearing God brings provision of everything we need – and this requires that we turn from our wicked ways. That we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness in Christ and in this way God releases good and peace to us. He desires to walk with us, as he walked with Enoch. He wants to speak to us, and his ear is attentive to those who cry out to him, to those who fear him and repent of their wickedness.
Renovating the vehicle for the journey
Did you know that the cost to run and maintain a family car is 3 times higher than the manufacturing cost over the life of the vehicle? That means if it cost $35,000 to manufacture, it costs $105,000 to maintain over the 25 years it serves you. This number doubles again if there is renovation and extension of life. This is because cars require lots of maintenance. Not at first, but increasingly as time goes on.
The damage in a vehicle comes in three distinct forms:
- Substandard construction. There are things that were not built properly in the first place – substandard, below acceptable level. Often these are fixed within the first seven years under manufacturer’s warranty;
- Abuse or improper use. There are things that get used improperly, or overused and abused. The car owner takes responsibility for the wear and tear of abuse by occupants;
- Long term ageing. Things damaged by age, the stain of use. Rubber seals decompose, metal fatigues, paint cracks in the sun, plastic bits split and fade.
As with vehicles, so too with people. We have almost exactly the same issues going on, but the damage is not only bodily, it is emotional, mental and spiritual too. We have three kinds of damage needing three kinds of repair too. I call this renovating the soul.
Three kinds of damage
The ancient Hebrews used three different words to describe the damage done to the human condition as time wears on things go wrong. To them there were three categories of damage, and therefore three remedies or courses of action to take toward the varying forms or damage. The words they used are: khata, aveira and avona.
Khata – substandard behaviour (sin)
Probably an archery term used when something fell below the target or missed the mark. Khata described when something was substandard, below the acceptable level or missing the mark. The “mark” was considered to be the way a human was created – their purpose, the right thing; to do good. The way Adam was made.
For us to act in a way that goes against our created purposes is khata, and it causes damage. Falling short of the mark was a violation of intended purpose and violations cause damage to the arrow as it falls into the rocky soil.
• cultural laws (saying please and thank you, washing hands, dress standards);
• moral laws (not committing murder, adultery, rape);
• ethical laws (honesty, integrity, honour).
When people violate these “laws”, we fall below the mark or become substandard. The word khata describes the damage done by this – falling off a balcony results, because of gravity, in a broken bone. Everything has consequences. This is only the first kind of soul damage: sub-standard behaviour.
Aveira – to abuse (transgression)
The second kind of damage is when things are continually used improperly. The rear view mirror was designed to look backward, not protect you from the bushes growing at the side of your house! Continual use in an improper way will break it.
Aveira means to continually abuse something, to go across the line repeatedly, to trespass the created purpose. This idea was similar to invading someone’s property illegally, poaching their animals or food crops. When a person repeatedly makes a series of poor choices, a number of damaging relationships or continually crosses their conscience. We might also call it developing bad habits.
Bad habits also have consequences on the soul (and the mind and body). If you continue in a bad habit, like smoking for example, you will contract lung cancer. If you continue to use anger to control someone, that relationship will be harmed. This is only the second kind of damage done: to abuse or transgress.
Avone – ageing or staining (iniquity)
Lastly there is the damage of age; the stain of use. There is a long term kind of damage on a vehicle that causes the long term maintenance costs. The car does not live up to wear and tear, weathering and environment it is in. Like a tan from long exposure to the sun, or the coffee stain left on a mug, it marks a person.
Avone means a stained and fallen state of disrepair: an unmaintained soul. When a person lives a life in this way – a lifestyle or permanent choice they would say the soul bore the stain. Mechanics looking at pornography, miners swearing, children being neglected, sexual abuse, someone living in poverty as they grow up all leaves a stain on the soul.
The good news is that as with buildings, all three kinds of damage can be worked on and restored. The first thing to do is enter the building and take a proper assessment. Quit pretending that we are in “good shape”. Make a radical and honest assessment of the damage.
What’s the damage bill?
Substandard behaviour (khata) – where have you fallen short of the mark, behaved in a sub-standard way, lived below your intended purpose?
Abuse or transgression (aveira) – where are you crossing the line, not acting according to your intended purpose, trespassing or have developed a bad habit?
Aging or staining (avona) – what is the stain left on your soul from the life you have lived and the circumstances you have lived through?
When you come to fix a vehicle there is a tearing away of the old and a replacing with the new. There is a negative or painful element first, then a positive or reconstructing part. Renovation of the soul is painful and then a blessing. After reading a story about my grandfathers old, worn out Renault Caravelle in my book, “The Sons of Zion,” Keith Keating decided to help me repair it. Five years in, the car is an empty shell, and all the parts are stored around his shed. But it is in better condition now than when we started! The rust is gone, the panels have been beaten back into shape, and the chassis is straight again. Now comes the rebuild.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)
If you have engaged in substandard (sinful) behaviour you first need to realise this and be convicted of the need to change. Repentance turns the heart toward God again. If you are not living according to your purpose, you need to go ahead and discover your life purpose, which God has placed inside you to do. The stain left on our soul – the weariness we feel – the depression resulting from our lifestyle choices can be met with renovation – to tear out the old choices and rebuild. To sand back the panels and repaint. This is a very painful process, as we have become accustomed to the gloom of our deteriorated state.
The three remedies
There are an entirely different category of remedies for sin, transgression and iniquity. As with an old vehicle, you have the ‘tear out and rebuild’ option – the upgrade:
• Falling short (sin) is met with forgiveness.
• Transgression is met with redemption.
• Stains (iniquity) is met with grace.
The power of forgiveness
So when a person “falls short” of our expectations, when they let us down, or behave in a way that is not acceptable, we do not throw them out. Nor should we rant and rave, or injure. Instead, when they apologise, we forgive them. Then we train them, teach them, show them a better way and they adopt it. For their part, they recognise that they have fallen short. For our part we offer forgiveness. But we must also show them what is right – model a better way. This positive modeling is so powerful that psychologists assisting people with irrational fears have found that 67% of fears can be overcome by modeling positive behaviour. A child who is afraid of dogs need only see a child of his own age playing with a puppy safely for 20 minutes before they go into the same room. Our heavenly father is the same. He might not be “safe” or “nice”, but he is kind and forgiving.
The power of redemption
When a person is struggling with poor eating choices, or smoking and wishes to change we do not condemn. We should not reprimand or reject for their “way”. But instead when they have recognised their poor choices, the bad habit and want to change we offer an alternative way of life. We offer redemption. Almost all the time this will involve an exchange of one way of being, for another; or of one set of choices for another. Old habits must be broken, new habits must be formed. Step by step, choice by choice a person is redeemed. Think of the way in which a person loses weight. It is not all at once. Week after week passes, sometimes without weight loss. But as exercise increases, and difference food is eaten the person loses weight. Redemption is the same – God offers us a journey together with Him to work through process that step by step replaces the old ways of being and doing.
The power of grace
When a person is marred, marked, stained from a life of poor choices we should not demolish them. We should not greet them like rubbish, refuse to be discarded. But it takes a wholly different order of love and acceptance to enter into relationship with such a person. Grace – unmerited acceptance – must be extended to them. Usually a person who is run down, used up, tossed aside does not have the fortitude to come back into circulation. They feel rejected. God is the first one to extend grace to us, to all humanity through Jesus Christ. All we must do is come, broken.
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave them.” (Psalm 32:5 NIV)
As we extend forgiveness (mercy), redemption (restoration) and grace (repair) it will be extended to us as well. This is so practical, so very much like the father of a family, so normal. I think the disciples walking to Emmaus could grasp this, and so can we.