By: Elder Jonathan Alvear
“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”
Placebos are inert, neutral substances with no real medicinal value which are sometimes prescribed more for the psychological relief of a patient than for the actual effect of his disorder. They are also used in testing a new medicine in which certain people are given the actual drug and others will unknowingly receive placebos, in order to compare the results from these two groups.
The reason placebos are used at all is because there is often an apparent improvement in the condition of a sick person using them, but which cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used. This occurs through the power of suggestion, and is known as “the placebo effect.”
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that placebos are not restricted to the medical field, but are found in modern religion as well, in high doses. The key to this realization is found in the origin of the word itself. Placebo comes from the Latin and means, “I shall please.”
In the setting of our text, Israel was in a backslidden condition, completely contaminated with the bacteria of iniquity. Yet instead of their prophets leading them in seeking the Lord for deliverance, they soothed the people with unfounded pronouncements of peace. Even with judgment threatening, they clung to this deceit and refused to repent. The outcome can be seen in verse 15, “We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!” And in verse 22, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”
Sadly, this tragedy is replayed constantly today. Billions are suffering from the ravages of sin. Society, failing to recognize the cause, merely busies itself treating symptoms, such as: alcohol and drug abuse, crime, rebellion, broken homes, poverty, strife, etc. Some of these noble efforts offer temporary relief, but cannot effect a permanent cure.
In the church world, thousands of ministers do recognize the real disease but are all to reluctant to deal with it directly. Fearful of offending an important church member or hurting someone’s feelings, they avoid rendering an honest diagnosis. They choose instead to elaborate grandly of more appealing subjects such as prophecy, current issues, blessings and miracles. While these are valid considerations, they do little to stop the viruses of worldliness, carnality and sinfulness.
Doctors who only try to please their patients by giving them what they want are not serious about offering a true remedy. Thus, preaching that majors on fad topics may be entertaining, but does little to aid one’s spiritual health. And the majority of those church leaders who do confront sin turn around and prescribe the wrong medicine. “Accept Christ as your personal Savior and confess Him as your Lord,” they say. But though recognizing one’s need of God is certainly a positive step, it does not automatically complete a recovery. Yet many, in stopping right there, are misled into thinking that all is well. It is important that a ‘plan of salvation’ that is not fully scriptural may still cause someone to “feel better.” This, however, is only a placebo effect.
Psalms 107:20 says, “He sent his word, and healed them.” This is where the great prescription is found–the Word of God. What does it show? First of all, REPENTANCE. We will never get better till we admit we are ill. Desist immediately from every activity condemned by scripture.Examine carefully II Cor. 7:9-11 to discover what is really involved in repentance.
Second, to really be cleansed from the contamination of sin, you must be washed in the blood of Jesus. This is done through baptism into His death so that “the body of sin might be destroyed…” Rom. 6:1-6. This can only be accomplished in the Name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:38, 4:12).
Third, we need something to give us power to repel sin. For this, we are given the Holy Ghost (See Rom. 8:13).
Finally, get in a church that upholds these vital instructions. Don’t trust your salvation to fables, lies, or placebos. Thank God there are still churches and preachers who are truly interested in scriptural healing of mind, soul, and spirit.
The Above Material Was Taken From A Transcribed Sermon By Elder Jonathan Alvear. This Material May Be Used For Study And Research Purposes Only.