As your soul prospers

The sermon on Sunday (9th June 2013) was insightful and instructional – Because we experience much of God’s forgiveness, we now love Him much, and hence, our forgiveness flows freely to others. As we discern correctly how God’s love and forgiveness impacted others, we extend acceptance, appreciation and affirmation for our brethren.

Somehow my pastor digressed into 3 John 2

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (KJV)

Wonder why he did so. It appeared to be defensive – was it meant to address concerns raised by those who question the Health and Wealth teachings? But definitely he was not apologetic, as he went on with the Greek grammar on our present position with regards to wealth (passive) and health (active) – all in the context of our “just as your soul prospers”. It would be more convincing to me if he had dwelt on the meaning of the primary text instead of the Greek grammar and tenses; and in the context and usage during the NT times and referred to the more current translations rather than the KJV.

It is good to rightly set the precedence and primacy of “just as your soul prospers” before “prosper in all things and be in health”. And my pastor did remark that the health and wealth teaching can and has been abused – (abnormal use). Would be good if examples are cited, so that we can be careful. He said something that our approach to H&W must be in the context of being “in truth”. Actually, “truth” was mentioned 5 times from vv 1-8.

Would be better if “soul prospering” be cross-referenced to 1 Peter 2:11

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul”

And then further cross-referenced to 1 John 2:15-17

“15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

So it is clear that the lusts mentioned do wage war against our soul, and would prevent our soul from prospering.

Mankind was tempted along these lusts in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3), and our Lord Jesus was likewise tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). And broadly, tempted about health and wealth.

Can we be tempted to lust for health and wealth by the pulpit?

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