Matthew 26:26-28 (NKJV)
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
When the number flashed on the screen of the phone, it did not bring the unsettling in my stomach as it had so many times before. In fact, I had barely thought about the PET scan or MRI results over the weekend. But when the call came, I anxiously wanted to hear the voice on the other end of the line. It was the Hematology/Oncology office who has overseen our son’s cancer treatment for more than a year. The familiar voice was his doctor and not the usual physician’s assistant or nurse who we usually talk to. She asked if anyone had called us yet regarding the results of his testing. She excitedly said, “Good, finally I get to give some good news!” She went on to explain that our son is now in remission. Although his last few series have all indicated that cancer was undetectable, it was now that she confirmed our hope. It was if a huge unseen weight was instantly lifted off my shoulders and relief flooded my soul. God had once again demonstrated His Faithfulness and Goodness to our family.
Remission is not to be confused with complete healing or restoration. It is a medical term used for abatement or subsiding of the symptoms of a disease. This period is quite common in cancer patients as the doctors carefully watch and monitor their patients over a period of time until it can be determined if the patient is free of the disease. We have been in “remission” before but it only lasted about six months. The clock begins ticking once more as our son will continue to have scans and testing every three months for the next two years. He is considered high risk because the cancer in his body recurred so quickly in his bones distally from the original site which the professionals consider quite perplexing and signs of an aggressive, resistant disease. The same people who tearfully gave us the news six months ago are simply amazed at our son’s physical tolerance of chemotherapy, his blood’s amazing recovery from such an attack and his emotional/spiritual fortitude to continue with his life in the midst of opposition. They are waiting and watching hoping for a miracle and I believe that is exactly what they are going to get. Now we must learn to live in this state of being called remission. We are not alone.
Remission is not reserved for cancer patients. Every single person ever created suffers from a deadly infection called sin. It has the power to kill a human being physically and more importantly spiritually. Jesus Christ shed His Precious Blood for the remission of sin. It is available for every believer, but like those who have the silent killer called cancer – early detection is vital. We are all sins in need of a Savior whether we choose to self-identify or not. A lack of belief in God does not exempt us from this penalty. But God in His Wonderful Grace and Amazing Love for His People provided exactly what we needed to be forgiven of our sin and discharged from the death penalty. Now we must choose how to live in remission and our newfound lease on life.
Romans 3:23-26 (NKJV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
For many years, we have maintained health insurance. Paying out thousands of dollars to ensure that it was there for our family if needed it. We have used in minimally as the Lord has blessed us with otherwise excellent health other than minor infections and injuries. The true value of such an investment was not clear until we began to fully utilize it over the last year. With medical bills of over a half a million dollars and prescriptions costing thousands of dollars each month, there is no way that we could have paid it all ourselves so that our boy could maintain the very best care. However, our relationship with the health insurance company including the maintenance of monthly payments has allowed us to use its benefits to our advantage. By presenting our health insurance card, we were granted the best possible care without question and monthly bills that we could afford. Our relationship to Jesus Christ has given us the faith to face our fears and overcome just as Jesus promised. I pay for health insurance but my relationship with God came at a great price to our Lord. When sin demanded the penalty payment of my life, Jesus died for me. By accepting His Righteousness by His Grace, I am justified which means just as if I never sinned. The Lord shed His Blood as propitiation or atonement or favorable pardon of my sin. Now I am free to live under the generous forbearance of the Lord. Now by faith, I can live free from sin just as our son is now living from cancer. As a believer, I must learn to live in remission. However, many times instead of using God’s Love and Grace to live outside of darkness and in the Light of His Love, we forget the Gift of His Blood and choose to return to our past and the sin that compromised our relationship to God in the first place. Nothing irritates me more than walking out of the cancer center past the long line of smokers attached to pumps receiving treatment. Why would you seek treatment just to live the same way and undergo a lifetime of hospitalizations and recurrence of such a dreadful disease? It happens at the hospital and it happens in the church. God has provided full payment for sin that once prevailed but now we are empowered to break the chains of bondage to bad habits, poor choices and continual destruction by living as a new creation.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
When facing the reality of death, our soul comes into full view. There is no way to escape death for one day it will surely come. The problem is human beings live as if there is always a tomorrow. This is very dangerous. It is appointed to man once to die AND THEN judgment. When you die, you immediately face the Judgment of God. There is no time to get your affairs in order or repent turning from your wicked ways. Without repentance, you will die in sin. The Blood of Jesus Christ is a daily requirement to maintain a holy life acceptable to God. Grace allows us to remain righteous with flesh that struggles to rebel. Faith fixes us firmly in the foundation of Jesus Christ so that we can grow to the Glory of God. We are called to wait eagerly on the Return of our Savior – Jesus Christ APART from sin. To live in remission of sin is to live apart from sin. After facing death from cancer, do you really think my son will subject himself to the risky behaviors that are blamed for this dreaded disease? He did not exercise such bad habits before his diagnosis so why would he try them now? So why do Christians believe that it is okay to live in sin and expect Jesus Christ to be Lord of their life and the Holy Spirit to guide them to God’s Very Best. It is not in the darkness just further separation from God. To live in the Blood of Jesus which is required to make us holy (Hebrews 9:20-22), it is imperative that we live separated from sin continually striving to widen the gap between good and evil in our life.
Luke 1:76-79 (NKJV)
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied over his son, John the Baptist. His Words reveal the life of one who would foretell of the coming of Jesus Christ but also the destiny of all who believe. Salvation is for the remission of sin. It is the once and for all final payment of all we owe due to our inability to live apart from sin. God empowers us with knowledge through His Spirit to escape the stronghold that demands our freedom and restricts our life. Through the tender mercy of God we can live in the light outside the shadow of death as He guides us to eternal peace that becomes a lifestyle of righteousness, faithfulness, obedience and holiness that allows us to move deeper into the Presence of God. As we have embarked on this journey of survival, it has become clear that for many years we allowed life to dictate our mind, will and emotions. Now as we have had to rely on our faith in the Lord to survive, it has become clear that to live in the remission of sin and under the grace found in salvation I must separate myself from the things of this world and invest fully in repentance and following the Lord. My life of remission as a believer begins with salvation but does not stop there.
Mark 1:4-5 (NKJV)
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward revelation. Spiritual baptism by the Spirit of God empowers us to live productively after the remission of sin as the Counselor guides us through the pitfalls of life constantly checking our heart and mind, convicting us and directing us away from the dangers of darkness. Yes, baptism by water and spirit are definitely part of living in remission of sin. Salvation gets us out of our mess much like chemotherapy eradicates cancer cells in the blood of a man. Baptism empowers our spirit to remain sin free and live in the remission so graciously given to us by the Lord.
Luke 24:45-49 (NKJV)
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Once we have the mindset of God through His Word, believers can comprehend and turn His Word into wonderful wisdom. Jesus Christ suffered and died to enable and empower us to overcome sin and darkness in our life. But after repentance and remission, we should preach Jesus Christ to the nations. How are you going to tell people about God’s Power if you are still living in the mess of your past, overcome by sin, defeated in life? Who will want what you have? But if we live to the Glory of God as a result of repentance and remission of sin in His Power armed with His Word, walking His Way then we will have His Will including prosperity, favor and peace…you will then have what the world is looking for and the boldness to share it as one who lives as the redeemed!
Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV)
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
To attempt to live after the diagnosis of cancer without treatment is a terrible risk. When we discovered cancer in our son, the doctors immediately came together and offered a detailed plan then guided us through the process. Jesus Christ knew that once we identified sin without His Help it would continue to pursue, apprehend and overwhelm His People. He sent to us a Helper. Once we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, we must allow His Spirit to reveal His Promises to us one by one. God has a carefully laid plan for your life and His Spirit has full knowledge of what it is and how you are to achieve it. Don’t try to live as a Child of God without some assistance. You are never alone. His Spirit is with you every step of the way. Use Him. Feed your mind God’s Word so His Spirit has something to work with. Do not ever forget that He is with you no matter where you go!
Acts 10:42-43 (NKJV)
“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Living in the Lord’s remission ordains us to be prophets, witnesses, evangelists to the Glory of God. Throughout this ordeal, our family has experienced firsthand the faithfulness, goodness, righteousness and favor of God, now we tell the world what the Lord has done. We have watched Him deliver our loved one from death. Although we did not ask for front row seats, we have benefited from our vantage point. Friends and family have been diagnosed with cancer since the all began and now we share our knowledge of treatment but more important our journey of faith with them. God commanded us to preach the Gospel and through salvation has given us quite a story to tell. If you are living in remission of sin, it is your obligation to share this Good News with the world one person at a time so they can receive the same gracious gift and live in remission to tell others of what the Lord has done!
Hebrews 10:18-23 (NKJV)
Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Yesterday, I celebrated our son’s deliverance from cancer and as he entered remission. Today, I will continue to celebrate the Lord’s mercy and grace extended to my child but will begin to demonstrate rejoicing of my remission from sin which is greater than what he has done physically for my child. I do not have to live in guilt and shame anymore. God has taken full charge of my life due to my faith being firmly planted in Jesus Christ. That is something to revel and about. It should cause me great joy every day as I live in the Great Truth that whether I continue to live in this world or die today that I am saved and set free. My destination is Eternity. My sins are paid in full. I have nothing to worry about and everything to rejoice in. God is faithful. In all things, He is true. The Lord has not let me down but holds my life in the palm of His Nail-Scarred Hand. I am in remission, too! I will choose to live each day apart from sin by faith and live to the Glory of God. I am a new creation! You are, too! Do not fear the Voice and Calling of God – your Father takes great joy in you! He loves you! He has promised great things to you and guaranteed it with His Spirit. Live life for Jesus today and rejoice! You are in remission!
John 8:36 (NLT) So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.