In our efforts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, let us never allow our intellect to interfere with the “sword of the Spirit,” the living Word of God. There can be an intellectual approach taken in evangelism that makes “the cross of Christ…of no effect.” Even the apostle Paul did not preach “with excellence of speech or of wisdom”, “but in demonstration of the Spirit”.
Perhaps in our attempts to be ‘sensitive’ to hurting souls both within and outside the church we’ve forgotten a basic truth: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Man has a very serious problem called sin. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can wipe away the guilt of the past and make us new creatures in Christ.
As I see it, many believers are turning more to programs for help than to Jesus. Now I’m not questioning the existence of a problem, or a personal conviction that the Lord could use a program to bring about deliverance. What bothers me is that any person, saved or unsaved, can enroll in a rehabilitation program and with sheer determination kick the habit which enslaves them. Born-again Christians are not the only ones who have quit drinking, doing drugs, gambling, etc. There are many rehabilitated pagans! But overcoming one bad habit does not empower a person to avoid others.
The gospel of Christ, however, is not a mere ‘spiritual rehab program’, but “it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”. Rehab programs are fine as long as they’re not seen as alternatives to the gospel. I fear, though, that many ‘disciples’ of these programs see them as ‘God-sent’ while remaining strangers to Jesus and His church family. Perhaps some, who may even say they “used to be Christian”, were hurt by careless, insensitive words, but the plain truth is that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.”
Modern psychology calls alcoholism a disease (that is licensed and taxed?). God says drunkenness is sin, one of the “works of the flesh”. How does one overcome this sin? Through the cross. Now the discussion about alcoholic tendencies being genetic may sound convincing, but God would not prevent someone from entering His Kingdom because of a disease! Cancer has not kept saints out of glory, but sin not covered by the blood of Christ, resulting in a “new man…created…in true righteousness and holiness”, will.
Regeneration does not mean perfection, and saints struggle with their sin nature. A rehab program cannot solve the sin problem! Regeneration is not rehabilitation. Only rebirth gives new life, and those whom the Son (not rehab programs) sets free, “shall be free indeed.”