THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
T. Pierce Brown
In Isaiah 6:1-6, there is a graphic description of the nation ofIsrael. In verse 6 we find a summary of that description, which fits not onlyIsrael, but also all mankind. “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and fresh stripes: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil.” Mankind is cursed with the disease of sin. The basic cause of all dis-ease is sin. It is an epidemic of tremendous significance. It is extremely contagious. Man has not been able to provide a cure for it. It is always fatal, if one does not appropriate the cure been provided and offered free by The Great Physician.
There are some conditions that make it easy to catch this disease. This is why we have such warnings as “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians10:12). “Shun every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians5:22). “Evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians15:33). There are also some ailments that are the aftermath of this disease.
Let us examine some conditions that come before it and make it more easily caught, or that are produced by it and linger after it is gone. All of these conditions to which I shall refer are used with a spiritual significance rather than a physical one.
There is a disease called elephantiasis. It basically means “thick skinned.” This is characteristic of a person who has heard preaching all of his life, much of which should have been applied to his condition, but none of it penetrated. The only known cure is for the Great Physician to pierce him with the sword of the Spirit until his heart is touched. It is a sort of spiritual open-heart surgery.
Then there is myopia, or nearsightedness. This is the disease mentioned in 2 Peter 1:9. “For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.” The expression “seeing only what is near” comes from the Greek word “muopazon.” Peter is specifically referring to those who have escaped the corruption of the world and been saved from their past sins, but forget that from which they were delivered and what they should grow to be, so are very nearsighted.
There are many in the church today who forget what compromise with the world will do, or what compromise with the false doctrines and practices of denominationalism has done and is doing. They have myopia, and need the touch of the hand of the Great Physician.
Then some have encephalitis lethargica, commonly known as sleeping sickness. Paul warns against this in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “So then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober.” Each of us needs to apply the remedy that Paul gave Timothy in 1 Timothy4:16″Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.” Some need to take more heed to themselves; others need to take more heed to their teaching. But all of us need to do both.
Then there is the itch. When I was a boy, there were three things that would occasionally sweep through the little country schools. I was fortunate to escape all of them unscathed, but they were seven-year itch, lice, and whooping cough. Paul mentioned the kind of itch about which I am speaking in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts.” We see a lot of evidence of that today. There are those who are tired of sermons that let people know what sin is and the consequences of it. They have heard enough of “that old negative preaching” to do them a lifetime, and want a good inspiring sermon on “I’m O.K.; you’re O.K..” Their ears itch until they get it, and probably afterwards.
I have discovered that itching ears sometimes develop until a person becomes practically a deaf-mute. (We called it deaf and dumb). He cannot bear to hear the truth, and is therefore too dumb to tell it to others.
Then I have found many persons with hydrophobia. At least they had the symptoms. They seemed to fear water so badly that when and if baptism happened to be mentioned, they would almost froth at the mouth, like a hydrophobia dog at sight of water.
Coronary sclerosis is a frequent illness that contributes to the general dis-ease of the world and to the specific disease of sin. Any sort of hardening of the arteries is bad, but the actual hardening of the heart is worse, for it has many side effects, such as darkening of the understanding, which leads to all sorts of complications. Note Ephesians 4:17-18, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the hardening of their heart.”
There are all sorts of causes for these diseases. Ignorance, weakness of the flesh, pleasures of sin, willful rejection of the truth are probably among some of the leading causes. But regardless of what the cause may be, the only cure is found in the Great Physician. He always makes the correct diagnosis and prescribes the correct cure.
One does not need to be on Medicare or have supplementary insurance to get that cure. It is free. But one must take it in accordance with the prescription. There must be faith in the Physician before one is willing to take his medicine as prescribed. There must be a turning away from every quack doctor of Divinity that might appear, as well as turning away from that which caused the disease.
There must be an understanding of the directions. I heard of a man who went to his doctor with a stomach disorder. The doctor gave him some pills and said, “See if you can keep these on your stomach tonight, and come back tomorrow.” When he went back and the doctor asked how he was doing, he replied, “I tried to keep those pills on my stomach, but every time I would doze off, I would turn over and they would roll off.” When the Great Physician tells us to be baptized for the remission of our sins, and a person says, “I was baptized for remission of sins, but I was saved before I was baptized,” it is evident that he does not understand the prescription and therefore can not properly appropriate the cure.
Note that although the prescription is free to us, it was purchased by the blood of Christ, and, though given by grace, it must be taken according to directions. It is amazing that this seems hard for anyone to understand.
When Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” he did not mean, “He that believeth just anything, and is baptized in some way, for some reason, shall be saved.” The context shows that he means, “He that trusts in the Lord as One who has complete authority, and is baptized in accordance with His directions, by His authority, shall be saved from his past sins.”
If you have not yourself come to the Great Physician, and then pointing others to Him, we urge you to do so. No one else has the cure.