God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky Moots - Kingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:3a: “A time to kill, and a time to heal...” No one likes the idea of killing but sometimes it becomes necessary, such as in self-defense, in war, to put an animal out of its misery, or in hunting to provide food. In the spiritual sense, this verse is further clarification of the meaning of the last part of v. 2, relating to the death of Jesus.
The first killing that was necessary in the Bible was done by God, Himself, in the Garden of Eden after man sinned, in order to cover their nakedness, in Gen. 3:21: “Unto Adam also and his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” This was a picture of the future killing of Jesus who died for our sin and clothed us with His righteousness.
Jesus told His disciples in Mark 8:31 that it was necessary for Him to be killed: “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” When Peter heard these words, he rebuked Jesus for saying them. He was expecting Jesus to become King and take His throne, not to die. He could not comprehend that in order for Jesus to reign as King that He would have to die first.
Exodus 12:3-6 tells us that the Passover lamb had to be killed. Jesus had to die to give us life, for He was to become the final Passover Lamb. The Passover lamb was commanded to be killed by the congregation of Israel: “…they shall take to them every man a lamb…a lamb for a house…Your lamb shall be without blemish…and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”
It was a “time to kill” in order that there would be a “time to heal.” The lamb had to be killed and its blood applied to the doorposts of their houses. God had told Moses in Ex. 12:12-13 that He was going to execute judgment on the land of Egypt: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment…and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
God warned of coming judgment but also provided a way of escape, a way of healing, by the killing of an innocent lamb, without blemish, if they obeyed and applied its blood to the door post of each house. The blood of that lamb pointed forward to and was a picture, or a type, of Christ, the perfect, spotless Lamb of God who was killed and whose blood delivers us from God’s coming judgment.
But that killing also purchased our healing: body, soul and spirit. Isaiah prophesied of this in Isa. 53:4-5: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
The time for the Lamb of God to be killed was on that day over 2,000 years ago when He died on the cross of Calvary. We all, the whole sinful world, were responsible for that killing, because He came to die for the sins of the world so that we could be healed.
So, when is the time of our healing? The time of our healing is the day when we each personally apply the blood of the Lamb to the door posts of our hearts. At that moment He heals our sin-sick souls and delivers us from spiritual death. He also provided healing and strength for our physical bodies by faith at whatever time we may need it. Sometimes, our physical healing is gradual, rather than immediate and miraculous, and He only gives us enough strength for each day or each step we take, but His grace is always sufficient. However, the time of the ultimate healing of our bodies will be when we leave our earthly clay house and receive a glorified body, free of pain and disease.
The killing of Jesus was physical, to pay for our sins, but Paul tells us that there is another killing that must take place, a spiritual killing, after we are born again. Paul first of all states the fact that we died with Christ in Col. 3:3: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Then in v. 5 he commands us to perform a personal spiritual killing: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth…”
What exactly does he mean by this? The Greek word for “mortify” is “nekroo.” Meaning “to put to death, to deprive of power, to destroy the strength thereof.” “Members” is referring to the members of our physical bodies which we employ to serve sin, as we yield to our old, corrupt human nature, our “old man” with his earthly, sensual desires.
We can’t literally destroy our physical body members, but we can render them powerless to serve sin by considering them to be dead to sin. Paul tells us how to do this in Rom. 6:6: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Paul then tells us in v. 11 that we must accept this fact by faith and reckon it to be true in our own lives personally: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This is both a killing and a healing, for we are counted as being dead to sin, and therefore we do not need to serve it any longer. Instead, we are healed and living and able to use our members as instruments of righteousness to serve Christ.