Exploring God’s Purpose in Giving the Health Message
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;… and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23
Greetings Emmanuel Brinklow Church Family
In our last Health Ministries Letter, we shared God’s top priority for our health, His order in achieving health and His standard for measuring the health that He desires for us. This month, I would like to explore further God’s holistic will and purpose for giving us the health message. There is a lot of attention on health in the secular and religious world for many good reasons. In the fog of all those good reasons, we need distinguish God’s reason for focusing our attention on health, so that we might expend our energies on present duties. Over the past 2 ½ years I have been involved in the Church’s study of the book of Revelation. I must testify this study has brought color and clarity to my spiritual lenses such that I now see clearer highlighted priorities that were not as apparent to me before. If we were to trace the giving of biblical health principles, we see them clustered in the first five books of the Bible and scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments based on the needs of the time. However, as we look at the messages to the Seven Churches of Revelation and the Seven Church Periods they represent, consider this fact. Great light on these health principles came to the seventh and final church period. Articles, books, and compilations like How to Live, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, Counsel on Health, Ministry of Healing, Counsel on Diet and Foods, and Temperance all bring together and expound in great detail on all of the biblical health principles. Following this light was an explosion of scientific study and understanding of such subjects as nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology, public health, preventive medicine, and functional medicine. These all have validated and filled in the gaps of our understanding on how to best care for our bodies.
“The work to be accomplished in the closing period of probation is to be, if possible, more full and complete in every respect than at any previous time. Such a work includes a physical as well as a spiritual preparation”. General Conference Bulletin, February 15, 1895, p. 148.6
What Have We Done with the Light?
In spite all of this light, God’s last day church has had mixed acceptance and adherence to these health principles such that we are now the ideal study group in the Adventist Health Study. This study looks at health outcomes in various levels of adherence to these health principles. As I have contemplated this, I ask the questions, “Do we just need more scientific evidence and more concrete knowledge? Alternatively, do we need spiritual eye salve to see things as God sees them, to see our true physical and spiritual conditions, and the intimate link between the two? Do we need a glimpse of what God desires for us?”
God’s Purpose in Giving the Health Message
While Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, who were deeply concerned about the imminent return of Jesus Christ, he also spoke of the will of God for the final church just before the coming of Christ. He says, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification… and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23. God’s will for us is to experience a sanctification that is complete in every way to the end. It involves the preservation of our spirit, soul and body unto the coming of Jesus Christ. The inspired pen tells us “The work to be accomplished in the closing period of probation is to be, if possible, more full and complete in every respect than at any previous time. Such a work includes a physical as well as a spiritual preparation, for it is our “whole spirit and soul and body” that are to be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. For this purpose, God has given us the health reform”. General Conference Bulletin, February 15, 1895, p. 148.6. The spirit in man represents all of the mental faculties of the mind such as attention, perception, memory, reflection, contemplation, and meditation. God sanctifies us by his word, which is the truth. If we cannot pay attention to the word of God, perceive saving truth, remember, reflect, contemplate and meditate upon the truth, we cannot assimilate the truth and through the Spirit of God, incorporate it into our lives. We can neither live out, practice nor witness what is not part of our being. Since the brain is the capital of the body, anything we do in our eating, drinking or doing that clouds or benumbs the mind, wars against our souls and hinders the will of God in our complete sanctification.
The Call to be Overcomers
As in all of the church periods, Jesus is calling us to be overcomers. However, there is something grander in this final call to us. He is calling us to overcome as He overcame and to receive the same eternal honors as He received. As a springboard to our next issue of the Health Ministries Letter, we will look at what Jesus overcame, how He overcame, what His overcoming means for us, what we have to overcome, and how we are to overcome in our own behalf. Until next issue, may God richly bless us with spiritual eye salve.
Robert V Sigh MD, MPH
Health Ministries Director
Emmanuel Brinklow SDA Church