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“He that . . . wants relief must come to Christ himself.  He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise.  He must not stop short even at His holy table or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained ministers.  Oh no! . . . He must go higher, further, much further than this.  He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself.  All else in religion is worthless without Him.  The King’s palace, the attendant servants, the richly furnished banqueting house, the very banquet itself — all are nothing, unless we speak with the King.  His hand alone can take the burden off our backs and make us feel free. . . . We must deal directly with Christ.”

J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Old Tappan, n.d.), pages 266-267.

If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get.  And it isn’t enough.  Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another.  Putting community first destroys community.  We must put Christ himself first and keep him first and treat him as first and come to him first and again and again.  He can heal as no other can.  Can, and will.  If we come to him.

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5 thoughts on ““Do you want to be healed?””

  1. F. T. says:

    Thank you. God had you post this just for me. Jk but after some weeks of turning first to Christians with my troubles, or turning to Him but just to ask who/ where to go (!), he is patiently redeeming my needs and bringing me back to us.

  2. anonymous says:

    Thank you, and it is also His prayer that part of our coming to Him is through Him in us each and all…

    The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

    We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1;3,12

    and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Philemon 1:6-8,20

    that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. Rom 15: 32 Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus supplied what was lacking on your part for they have refreshed my spirit and yours. 1 Cor 16:17-18 we have been comforted, and besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 2 Cor 7:13 Onesiphorus often refreshed me 2 Tim 1:16

    …Therefore, confess your sins to one another,and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16a

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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