Dr. Couch, many pastors are teaching their people that God guarantees believers total protection today—food, clothes, health, a roof over their heads, etc. I heard a Christian commentator say that we're not promised material possessions but we are promised food, clothes, and other benefits, though he did not give any scriptural references. The only verse I know that might fit is in Luke 12 concerning Christ's disciples. How do you answer?
ANSWER:The Luke passage won't work. Christ is working with His disciples under the dispensation of Law, not the dispensation of grace. The church/grace dispensation does not start until Acts 2 with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Christ's twelve disciples had a special mission while He was with them. Now under the age of the church things are different. In interpretation, and in application, you have to keep the lines straight; don't get the dispensations mixed up.
There are two truths that work together in this church dispensation. God does give protection to His own. I have no benefits or blessings unless they come from Him. And generally, Christ does watch over His own, however, there is no absolute, rock-solid guarantee of blessing and protection at all times. He can bring difficult things upon us for different reasons when He wants to! We are here as witnesses and often as martyrs to suffer for Christ's sake.
Paul told Timothy that persecution would come (2 Tim. 3:12). He also reminded believers that our bodies are decaying and we should be looking not "at the things which are seen, which are temporal, but the things which are not seen [and] are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Many Christians today are looking at the physical and the material, and think we're going to hold on to this life forever. And this is not true.
Paul goes on with this argument and told the Corinthians that there are no guarantees in this life (6:1-10). He wrote about "beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, as dying yet behold, we live; as punishment yet not put to death …" (vv. 8-9). And, "as poor yet making many [spiritually] rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things [that are spiritual not temporal] …" (v. 10).
Christians are not promised a feather bed here on earth. We are just passing through. Too often (especially with American Christians) we measure everything by the prosperity we have had for so long. But this has been a historic exception and not the norm in church history!
And what we have had, is all rapidly coming to an end, as anybody who can observe well knows. We are moving into dark times that are engulfing the entire world. I am more and more convinced today, even above last week, that we are moving rapidly into the prophesied apostasy. Some have interpreted "the apostasy" in 2 Thess. 2:3 as the rapture of the church. I have just discovered the absolute evidence that proves that is not so. The rapture is clearly taught in 1 Thess. 4 but not in 2 Thess 2:3! The "apostasy" in this verse is the departure from THE Truth and from THE Faith! And this is what is happening in our churches.
I have found the scriptural key! For those who want this evidence, you need to purchase the Conference CDs on Dispensationalism we have done on the weekend of Sept. 21-22. You'll have all the biblical evidence and goodies!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch