POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Walk On - Salvation is of the Lord

2 Timothy 1 contains an amazingly long and amazingly beautiful sentence.  Now you may think, Reid, it is just weird to call a sentence beautiful.  The fact is there is so much wonderful theological truth packed into this sentence that I almost called it a sexy sentence-but that is definitely weird.   Let me go ahead and share the sentence with you:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

There is much to say about this sentence, but here I want us to focus on the nature and description of the manner in which God saves.  When we break down what is said here we will be coming very close to biblical teachings on election (God's choosing and calling of sinners to himself) and a word that causes many people to twitch-predestination.   I know even writing these words may bring an emotional response, but stay with me as we look at what our sacred writings teach us about these things...for as we do, I do believe that worship will be the end of our discussion.  In this essay I have very modest goals.  First, I want to track through the above verse and cross reference what it is teaching with other parts of Scripture.  Hopefully, it will become clear as to what Paul is saying here.  Second, I want to look at some objections to what is being taught.  The first of these objections will be theological in nature, the second with be existential-or dealing with our thoughts, emotions and experiences surrounding this teaching.  Since I believe it is pre-ordained, let us begin. 

On Self Salvation

The first phrase I want to look at is this: it is God who "saved us."  Let me build a bit towards my conclusion which will simply be this: The Bible knows nothing of "self salvation."  First of all there is no self creation.   The universe and every particle that makes it up only exists because the creator God desired it to be so.  Neither we, nor stars, nor pulsars, nor dark matter, nor monkeys or eggplants choose their own existence or bring their own existence about.   Our sacred Scripture teaches us that all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16) and for from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11: 36).  Secondly, there is no ultimate self determination.  Think about how much of your life is simply out of your control.  I know it feels a bit un-American to realize that you are not the captain of your own destiny, but think about all the things of your life you did not, and could not choose.  We did not determine the time or place set for our birth.  In fact, Scripture teaches that God determined these things for his purpose (Acts 17:22-34).  Furthermore, you did not choose who your parents would be-whether we like it or not our parents are the culmination of a long line of circumstances that we had nothing to do with.  Additionally, we do not choose to get sick, get hit by a bus, create  your own personality, or choose the actions of others (whether good or bad).   I know there are books out there that will tell you "the secret" is that you can control all things, make reality obey you...but let me tell you, that is a devastating lie.  Now I am not saying that our attitude is inconsequential, your choices do not matter, or that good or bad consequences do not result from wisdom or foolishness.  This of course is true.  But we must not believe the nonsense that you can control everything and everyone around you-everyone who is in therapy is trying to get off of that drug.  Only God could sit in such a sovereign position-so just realize that we have very limited control.  Finally, there is simply no self-salvation.  I know there are aisles and aisles of books in Barnes and Nobles which will tell you how to fix it all, but new ones must be written all the time promising the same things as the old ones.  We know that humans are seeking redemption, salvation and ways to fix ourselves, but the only book which holds the truth of that matter has already been penned...and its author is God.  

You see God knows the reality of the human predicament.  The Scriptures teach a very high and very low view of human nature.  We are created in the image of God and therefore the most important and valuable creatures in the world.  Yet Scripture is also clear that we are sinful and in rebellion against God.   No one by nature is running to God; we are running away.  Romans 3 teaches us there is none that seeks God, none that does good.    Additionally the prophet Isaiah teaches us that we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way (Isaiah 53:6).   We are in rebellion, our desires are for self, sin, not submission to and the worship of God.. Paul in his first letter, the book of Galatians, he is clear that self salvation is pure mythology.  In his last letter to Timothy he again is clear.  If we are to be saved, it is he that saves us-there simply is no self-salvation.   If we could save ourselves we would not need a Savior.  We would declare ourselves without need of God for we could make ourselves perfect without his initiative.  Friends, this is the very essence of sin.

The Scriptures make this clear from beginning to end.  He saved us!  He saved Noah and his family when God's judgment fell upon the wicked on the earth.  He saved Abrahams family again and again.  He saved Israel from brutal slavery in Egypt, warring nations and its own self-destructive tendencies.  He redeemed Israel from exile in Babylon by raising up leaders such as Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel to bring people back to the land.  Ultimately and finally he saves his people and calls them to himself through Jesus Christ, the great high priest, the sacrifice given for our sins, the great King and Savior of the world.  Salvation is of the Lord !   This is the clear message of Scripture.  As such it is therefore of his initiation and volition.  He created, he redeems-all worship, credit praise and glory then go to God. We have no place to boast in self-righteousness or self salvation; we only marvel that he saves sinners such as ourselves. 

On Calling

The second thing Paul tells us is that God calls us.  Calling is a theme throughout the Scripture which states that God calls to all people generally and to those whom he saves particularly.  In other words, there are two ways described in Scripture by which God calls people back to himself.  The first we simply call a general call.  It is a theme of the Bible that God desires all people to be saved and come to him in repentance in faith (See 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).  He gives common grace to all by allowing us to have life, breath, gladness, sunshine to grow food to eat and rain for water to drink (see Matthew 5:43-45; Acts 14:17).  He also reveals himself to us in nature and conscience (see Romans 1-2).  This common grace is an expression of the love and care of God for all he has made.  Yet people resist this call because they do not desire God.  Hence, God further calls to some with saving grace and what we might say is the effectual call of God.   We see this when people's hearts are changed so that Jesus now looks lovely to them, God gives them new desires,  a new heart and saves them.  Jesus himself described this reality when he said for many are called, but few are chosen (see Matthew 22:1-14).  In a similar parable he tells his servants to go out and bring people in to his wedding feast.  The wording he uses is "compel them to come in." He calls them, liberates them from the bondage to sin, so that they now want to love, follow and worship God.  Additionally, Jesus also said that no one can come to  him except he be drawn by the Father (John 6:35-44).  Finally, Paul discusses calling in 1 Corinthians 1 and Romans 8.  Those whom God desires to save, he calls to himself such that they can and do respond to the gospel.  This calling brings us to God, gives us a desire for holiness and makes us part of his people. 

Not Because

The third thing Paul tells Timothy is that our salvation and calling is not because of our own works.  By saying that God's salvation is not based upon works, something unbelievably liberating is revealed here in the gospel.  If we are saved by grace, not by works, not from our selves (See Ephesians 2:1-10) then no matter how bad we are, God can forgive and redeem us.  There is no one too bad for the grace of God.  Furthermore it devastates human pride and self righteousness.   No Christian should see themselves as saved by God because of how good they are.  In fact, such pride in one's own "goodness" is an offense to the gospel.   Paul over and over in his letters stresses that our only boast is in Jesus (Galatians 6:14) not in our own goodness.  He saved us not because of what we have done good or bad.  Nobody is good enough, no one is too bad.  This is great news guys, unbelievable news.  In fact, many will not believe it as the default nature of our souls is to want to "do it ourselves" or "make ourselves better" or "prove our worth to God."  Such is the ruin of our hearts-only when he calls us to the free grace of the gospel are we set free from the dance of trying to earn the favor of God and man.   In the cross we receive the gift of salvation to us-and worship and obedience is now a response, not a dreaded duty.   So why did God save us? 


Here we have only a marvelous mystery to ponder.  God saved us for his own purpose and grace.  His own purpose of grace is another way to put it. One of the great mysteries of the Bible is why God saves rebellious, undeserving people.  Why am I loved and forgiven and accepted by God?  Because of grace and for whatever purpose he has.  I know that I deserve God's wrath, his judgment as I am guilty of sinning against him.  If not convinced quickly read the 10 commandments-guilty!  Yet God gives grace.  Why? I have no freakin clue but I am glad he has a purpose.  All who come to him will in no way be cast out-yet we will not come.  What is the solution?  God saves us, calls us, for his purposes in the gospel.  I have no access to the master game plan of God.  Yet he picks me for the team, places me in positions in life, calls me to follow him and gives me a part to play.  A Gift Given provokes gratitude-gratitude wells up into worship. 


The final section of our sentence tells us when he gives grace to his people .  Here is where our heads begin to explode.  Paul tells us grace was given before the ages began.  Literally it says he gave us grace before times eternal.   This means that God gave people grace before the universe was created, before time existed, before any humans were made, before my life existed, before I had done anything good or anything bad.  It means grace was given to us before we choose anything or even existed to choose.   Paul goes on to say that this was manifested in the first coming of Jesus to the earth, where he abolished death and brought life through his death and resurrection. This work continues today as God continues to save people through the sharing of good news, people believing and the church's continued mission.  


Human beings react strongly against the idea that God is the author and initiator in salvation.  We do not like that God would save whom he wants, when he wants.  We like ultimate self determination (ultimately free-free will) and work hard to put everything back on our plate.  Some Christians say God chooses us based on "foreseen faith" - that in God's foreknowledge he saves us based upon our choice in hearing the gospel.  There is one problem I run into with this.  The Bible.  For God does talk about foreknowing "our faith."  It actually says he foreknows "those" who will be called and saved, not simply their faith.  He knows them before time, he knows them before they choose in time.  There are many ways to wrestle with this issue.  I want to give you some words to google to see how Christians have historically wrestled with these issues.  Ready, set, here you go: Molinist, Ariminian and Reformed views.  Have fun-I am almost out of space.

Another Objection!

Another objection is less intellectual, but more existential in nature.  If God knows all that will be saved, what about my kids?  What can we do?   I will only say that the knowledge of God as to who will be saved is not our knowledge.  We do not have any knowledge as to which persons will or will not respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To be honest, it is inappropriate to think as if it matters to our work as his people.  We are called to share the gospel with all and allow God to save whom he will.   One thing can be certain.  God treats no one unfairly.  All deserve his justice-what is unbelievable is that God saves the guilty.  This is what Paul wrestles with in Romans 3-how can a just God, justify the guilty.  A friend of mine with whom I debate these things uses an example with me often.  He throws my daughters in the mix saying "What if God doesn't want to save them, then they are screwed and damned to hell."  Of course using my daughters is a ploy towards my emotions-for I love them more than just about anything.  Yet as I think about it, he is saying that their eternal destinies is in better hands if it lies in my own or their own power.  Yet I am reminded that neither me, nor my daughters are all good, all wise or all loving.  In fact, to put it lightly, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  My response, both emotionally and biblically, is that God ‘s hands are the best place to entrust the salvation of people-particularly that of my little girls.  I trust him to do right more than any human being.   So it is my hope and prayer that God will save them in his time.  Additionally, I am going to plant churches in places where people do not want Jesus-I go in hope because I believe God can and does save sinners...even the ones like me who were not out looking for God.  God brings new birth to people in surprising places all over the world-from Afghanistan to New Jersey and here in Middle Tennessee.  He has chosen that we be his ambassadors who bring his message-and he saves people through our efforts.


I am not a Christian because I believe in election and predestination.  All Christians are saved because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, repentance and faith, and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit .  Any Christian who follows Jesus based upon his atoning work on the cross is my sister or brother.  I will say with full conviction that I worship much differently because I know that I have received grace upon grace from God the Father, mercy through the work of Jesus applied to me by the Spirit when I wanted nothing but self, sin and rebellion.  It is interesting that the passages that deal most with the issues of election/predestination  end in worship (doxology).  In Ephesians 1 Paul reminds people that they have been chosen before the foundation of the world and that this was all to the praise of his glorious grace.  In Romans 8 in that great passage describing God's work in the gospel we read this:

Those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Yet when he ends the entire section about God's purposes in salvation he ends with worship (See Romans 11:36 above).  The teaching of Scripture about God's salvation is to provoke, awe, majesty and marvel at the grace of God in Christ.  Where God himself takes our penalty for sin and gives us his righteousness in Christ.  It is no small coincidence that Paul, in encouraging Timothy, reminds him of the gospel and all that God has done.  For the sovereign, saving God will be Timothy's hope in all the changes and challenges to be faced ahead.   I pray it would be so for each of us-Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved...so choose to believe.  But do know that we are saved by him, called to him, by grace before time, set in play in your life so that you would live, suffer and WALK ON in mission for his glory and praise. 

I am thankful today for the wonderful truth conveyed in one beautiful sentence in our sacred book.  Yours in the name of the one who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Reid S. Monaghan

Continuity and Discontinuity

There are two passages in the first chapter of 2 Timothy which brought me to thinking about a theological issue which is of some debate in the church. 

First, Paul states that he thanks and serves God “as his ancestors did.”  Second, Paul describes the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother being the same faith which he genuinely possessed.  Paul’s ancestor’s were Jewish as were those in the matriarchal line which came before Timothy.  It is very possible that both Timothy’s mom and grandmother were Christian converts, but the passage seems to hint at continuity between Old Covenant faith and New Testament Christianity. Of course this is of much debate as discussions about the relationship between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church continue until this day.  In this essay I will lay out ever so briefly four theological views that relate the relationship of Old and New Covenants, Israel to the church and surrounding theological issues.   In conclusion I will then give a few reasons why I favor a stronger continuity between Old and New Testaments and thereby make all my old guard dispensationalist friends shriek with pain.  Just kidding-but they would be a bit upset.

Dispensationalism (D) - This view holds that Israel refers to the ethnic/physical descendants of Jacob with the church beginning at Pentecost and the church is mentioned nowhere in the Old Testament.  Israel and the church have different roles/destinies in the end times  and all promises made to ethnic Israel in the OT will be fulfilled to ethnic Israel in the end times.  Salvation of some people under the Old Covenant is by obedience to the law-some have said this amounts to two different ways of salvation-one by the law, one by grace.  This view sees a strong discontinuity between the OT and NT and sees two distinct “peoples of God.”  It sees God working very differently during different time periods of history (dispensations) changing his way of dealing with humanity during seven different dispensations. The “Kingdom” in the New Testament refers to the literal, physical reign of Christ on the earth during a millennium at the end of time.  It is a very Israel centric view and has the best end times charts and graphs. Proponents-The Old Scoffield Bible, 20th century Dallas Seminary, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Norman Geisler and Charles Ryrie. Recommended Book-Dispensationalism Today by Charles Ryrie.

Progressive Dispensationalism (PD) - Similar to the old school dispensationalists, PD holds that Israel refers to the ethnic/physical people and that the church begins in the book of Acts.  It maintains the church/Israel distinction but teaches that both OT and NT people are saved by grace through faith in God’s promise.  It sees more continuity between Old and New Testaments but maintains that the promises to Israel in the OT are for the ethnic line to be fulfilled in the end.   It leans more towards the covenantal view as it acknowledges the covenants as progressive moves forward towards God’s plan in Christ.   It also breaks with the old D view in that it sees  hints at the church in the Old Testament but it is unclear and as the church/Gentile inclusion was a mystery yet to be fully unveiled. Proponents-Darryl Bock, Craig Blaising, Robert Saucy, Contemporary Dallas Seminary. Recommended Book-Progressive Dispensationalism by Darryl Bock and Craig Blaising.

Covenant Theology (CT) - Covenant Theology is an understanding of God’s work in history that has much more continuity between Old and New Testaments.  It sees Israel as both the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham and considers God unfolding a large covenant of grace throughout history.  An original covenant of works was made with and broken by Adam in the garden and the plan of God to redeem a people for himself set forth in the covenant of grace. Some also teach there is a “covenant” of redemption that took place logically prior to creation within the Trinity. The distinction between the church/Israel is not made as it sees God always having a people with whom he relates by covenant.  Israel is called and defined by its covenant relationship to God not simply ethnicity.  God’s  elect people are “one people” and the universal church has always existed in both Old and New Testament.  It sees many direct prophecies related to the church in the Old Testament and views the church as God’s Plan A throughout history and the final culmination of the covenant of grace.  It views the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 as the same as Luke 22:20, both are for spiritual Israel (the seed of Abraham by faith) according to Hebrews 8.  It usually equates baptism and Old covenant circumcision as the sign of the covenant AND holds it should be applied at the same age.  CT therefore practices infant baptism of the children of believers…sometimes on the 8th day. Proponents-John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Reformed Seminaries, Presbyterians, Walter Kaiser, Michael Horton, JI Packer, RC Sproul and Bruce Waltke. Recommended Book-God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton.

Modified (or New ) Covenant Theology (NCT) -  Is similar to CT in that it sees strong continuity in the covenants of God and sees the church as spiritual Israel and heirs to the promises of God.  It is somewhat of a halfway point sharing much in common with Progressive Dispensationalism as well as Covenant Theology.  It is not as succinct a system of theology as the above, but is a way of seeing and reading Scripture in a promise/fulfillment hermeneutic.  It rejects the baptism/circumcision symmetry of Covenant Theology and holds that baptism is for believers but sees the same united redemptive framework in the biblical covenants. Additionally, it finds the CT view that their is a “covenant of redemption” within the Trinity speaking beyond Scripture. The decree/purpose of Father/Son/Spirit to creation/redeem is there but it is not described as a covenant. As CT and many within PD it holds to a now/not yet view of the Kingdom of God known as inaugurated eschatology.  Along with CT this view sees the Old Testament as containing typological references to the church in the OT that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  In contrast NCT sees the OT law differently than CT.  CT sees the OT laws divided into various categories-civil, laws pertaining to sacrifice/worship and moral laws…with the moral still binding.   NCT sees the entire OT law as a tutor to bring us to Christ and completely done away with in the New Covenant superseded by the law of Christ.  This is an area where CT and NCT knit picks tend to scrap and NCT has more in common with some dispensational thought.  Proponents-Typically Reformed type who hold to believers baptism. Though DA Carson, Mark Dever, Tom Schreiner do not see themselves fitting neatly into any camp, they typically are mentioned along with this view.  Though John Piper distinguishes himself with his own view, his is closer to this position than any other.  See What does John Piper believe about dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology? Recommended Book - New Covenant Theology by Tom Wells, Fred Zaspel.

This is but a very small flyover of some of the theological views on how the Old and New testaments “fit together” in theological unity.   Personally I favor the approaches that see continuity between the covenants as one unfolding plan of God.  Additionally, the book of Hebrews declares the Old Covenant as abolished and the covenant by which he relates to all people is that of  the one made with the blood of Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 8-10).  Furthermore, Ephesians and Galatians teach that Jew/Gentile are one in the gospel. I believe that God has always related to his people by his grace and that his plan of redemption unfolded through the various covenants in biblical/redemptive history.  See our article Introduction to the Old Testament for more on this.   I find much to appreciate in all these systems but find the most affinity with the latter three. Old School Dispensationalism is a hard one for me to swallow but those who still hold to it are usually “all in.”  Many in my circles appreciate the Progressive Dispensational and New Covenant views.   For those who don’t want to buy books please check out these various systems at  Theopedia.   For those who are completely dizzy in all of that jazz please lose no sleep over it. 

A Biblical Theology of Hands

One of the unique biblical images God uses to teach us about life, walking with him and serving others are attached to the end of our arms.  The hands are used for various purposes in both the Old and New Testament to reflect and teach us biblical truth.  Paul's letters to Timothy have one of these purposes, the laying on of hands by pastoral leadership, on full display.  In this essay we will look briefly on how God uses "hands" throughout Scripture concluding with a treatment on how Paul uses laying of hands in the epistles to Timothy.

Handy Metaphors in the Old and New Testaments 

There are many references to hands in the Old Testament but there is an overarching theme for each of them.  Hands represent action, the state of one's heart that finds itself into the world.  Hands represent what we do, the actions we take and how our intentions are reflecting by character and works.   We see this in hands being described as clean or unclean.  For instance,  clean hands represents a righteous life (see Job 17:9, Job 22:30, Psalm 18:20-24, Psalm 24:1-6, Psalm 73:13).  Clean hands represent holiness of life and unclean hands represents a heart that is vile and wicked.   The book of proverbs talks about hands that shed blood as being the hands of the guilty and wicked man.  Furthermore the New Testament also talks about lifting up holy hands indicating the same thing.  This is all a matter of the heart, though it is expressed with metaphors of the hands.  Jesus made it clear that washing one's hands do not cleanse the inside of a man's heart; but the work of our hands is indicative of the condition of our hearts.  Additionally, the nature of our work is seen in our hands in such prayers as Psalm 90:17 which reads: Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!   Here we find people asking God's favor upon the work of their lives.   Jesus also uses a hand metaphor to talk about a manner of life in response to God's call on us.  He tells us that no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).  So it is a clear metaphor in scripture that the condition and action of hands represent the condition of the heart before God.

Finally, though he has no physical hands, God's own favor and work is expressed with the language of  "his hands."  The work of deliverance  and redemption wrought by God in the Exodus is repeatedly described as being through "his mighty hand and outstretched arm."  God's favor is expressed by his hand "being upon us."  After Nehemiah goes before the King to ask for assistance in his work to rebuild Jerusalem we read this wonderful verse: And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.   When the hand of God is upon a people it is a sign of favor and his working on their behalf.  This continues in the  New Testament when Jesus is said to be raised from death and seated at the right hand of God.  This is the place of power and authority beside a great King.  To finish this essay we will further discuss how power and authority is symbolically and actively transferred to people through the laying on of hands.

Laying on Hands 

Placing hands upon someone today to pray for them is becoming more and more common in evangelical churches.  I find no problem whatsoever with the practice as it indicates belief, faith and standing with one another in prayer.  However, the laying on of hands has specific meaning in Scripture of which I want us to be aware.    In the brief space that remains we will examine how the laying on of human hands indicates conveyance of blessing, judgment, transferring of guilt for sin as well as for the ordination of people in the authority of God for gospel ministry. 

In the Old Testament a father would convey the blessing and birthright to children and grandchildren through the laying on hands.  It was a transaction that was symbolic of a fathers generosity and favor upon his descendents.  Hands would also be placed by the priest onto an animal called the Scapegoat (Leviticus 16) which was being sent away from the people so as to take away their sins.  Additionally, a person bringing their own peace offering would place his hands upon the animal symbolically putting his sins upon the sacrifice (Leviticus 3:1-5).  Judgment upon a criminal was also demonstrated before the enactment of capital punishment by the placing of hands upon the offender.  The manner in the Old Testament is clear.  The authority to forgive sin, convey blessing, enact judgment was done in an official capacity in obedience to God's Word.  The authority of God and the action of God is visibly seen through the laying on of human hands.

In the New Testament we see Jesus speak some powerful words to the disciples before he ascended back to the right hand of God.  In articulating what has become known as the Great Commission, Jesus said the following in Matthew 28:  And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  Here is the line of authority-the Father has placed ALL authority to Jesus.  Jesus then commissions his church to go in that authority and live the mission of God.  We see very clearly that authority is vested upon Jesus' followers through the laying on of hands.   This happens in several ways.

First, hands are laid upon the sick to pray for healing by both Jesus and his followers (Mark 6:5, Luke 4:40, Acts 28:8, James 5:13-15, perhaps Mark 16:18).  Remember, it is the power of God that heals the body not the person's hands.  The hands are a way of expressing faith and dependence and petition to God for healing.  One more point.  Even when the body naturally heals  it is operating according to God's design not independent of it.  So God is the source of all healing and he chooses whom he will heal and for what reasons.  We can pray in faith and trust him to work if he so chooses.  Ultimately, the final healing will come at the resurrection of the dead where we will receive immortal, incorruptible bodies and disease and death will be vanquished. Second, the Holy Sprit and spiritual gifts were at times imparted to a person from the placing on of hands and prayer (Acts 8, 9, 19).  Note again, it is not the hands which give gifts, but God who has the power and authority.  Furthermore, though this was a means by which God gave gifts he also does so without any intermediary.  If he wants to gift his people he can also do so directly.  The Spirit is also given to people today at the point of spiritual conversion and no apostle is required to convey this as Holy Spirit is promised to all who believe (Ephesians 1).  Finally, there is a clear laying on of hands to set people apart for church leadership.  In Acts 13 Paul and Barnabas are set apart for missionary service.  In the pastoral epistles we see that hands are laid upon people, specifically our boy Timothy, to set him apart and confirm his calling to pastoral ministry.  In doing so the authority of Jesus is recognized and the calling of God confirmed by those who are current ministers.  Some see a pure line of hands back to the apostles themselves in ordaining to gospel ministry.  This is why Paul exhorts so not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure...for the appointing pastor/elders prematurely can damage the credibility of ministry by the work of the hands of warped and immature men.