Submitted by: Richard B. Sauls, Pastor at Lee Worship Center
Most Christians have an understanding of the cross as it pertains to the initial Salvation experience.
In other words, in order to be saved, they place their faith in Christ, understanding that He died for them on the cross. But regrettably, most Christians park the cross after the initial Salvation experience, attempting to go elsewhere with their faith. Please let the following be clearly understood:
The cross of Christ, or "the finished work of Christ," has just as much to do with your everyday walk before the Lord, with your everyday victory, with your everyday progress in the Lord, as it did with your initial salvation experience. Regrettably, most Christians don't know that! And that's the reason why we have Christians running all over the world chasing one fad after the other, attempting to find victory. They don't know anything about the application of the cross within their lives on a daily basis; therefore, they walk in defeat.
One of my associates some time back was in a particular meeting where God was moving. The evangelist specialized in laying hands on people with them being "slain in the spirit," etc. They asked my associate to help catch the people when they fell, etc.
He told me that many of them, upon coming up to be prayed for, whispered in his ear, "Please pray that the Lord will move mightily upon me, for I'm hooked on pornography," or whatever!
Not knowing the great word of the cross, which incidentally is the only source of victory, these individuals, whomever they may have been, were hoping that the Lord would use this particular evangelist to lay hands on them and they would be delivered.
While the laying on of hands is certainly scriptural and definitely beneficial if it's carried forth biblically, when it is used in this manner, however, it is wrong, which means, that the individual will not find the victory for which he seeks.
In fact, at that particular time, they might be mightily moved on by God. They may in fact be "slain in the spirit" or some such thing, but they still will not receive deliverance. But yet, that's where most believers presently are. They're trying to get the preacher to deliver them by the laying on of hands or something of that nature.
Jesus never really said anything about preachers delivering people, at least in this manner. He did say that we are to "preach deliverance to the captives." (Lk. 4:18). What did He mean by that?
He meant that preachers should do exactly what I'm doing right here, tell you the way of deliverance, which is the cross of Christ, and that only might I quickly add!
When Jesus died on the cross, He atoned for all sin by giving His life. He satisfied the curse of the broken law, which, in effect, hung over every human being. In doing so, He handled the claims of the law against us (the Law of God, Ex., Chpt. 20). The scripture plainly says, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross." (Col.2:14)
However, when He did that, He also destroyed Satan's legal claim on humanity, which is sin. Having atoned for all sin, Satan now has no more claim, at least as it regards what He has done for us at the cross.
In doing that, He "spoiled principalities an powers (all fallen angels and demon spirits), and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Col. 2:15) This means that every single demon spirit and Satan himself for that matter, were totally defeated at the cross. This also means that every individual in the world, at least if they will only believe, is already delivered. In fact, "deliverance" is the great message of the cross. It's the great hallmark of Christianity.
Jesus sets men free (Jn.8:32). However, for deliverance to be carried out in the heart and life of any individual, such comes, and in fact can only come, by one having faith in what Christ did at the cross. The moment we attempt to deliver people by laying hands on them or something else of this nature, whether we realize it or not, we are trying to add to the finished work of Christ, which God can never honor and in which the Holy Spirit can never function. In fact, such is an insult to Christ of the highest order, as should be obvious.
Due to its great significance, please allow me to say it again: every single person in this world has already been delivered, which was carried out at the cross, which is effected within their hearts and lies by simple faith in what Christ did there. When faith is exhibited accordingly, the Holy Spirit then works mightily, guaranteeing to us all what Christ did there. (Rom. 8:1-2)
Now it's not wrong to lay hands on believers respecting deliverance, if the believer and the preacher understands what is taking place. In other words, I'm to understand that my performance of this act will never set anyone free, that having already been done at the cross; however, the laying on of hands can definitely be a blessing as it is intended to be and can even help one's faith, doing so as a point of contact. But if I believe that this particular action will set people free, then I've just made something else other than the cross of Christ, the true object of my faith, which God can never honor.