The Spread of Gangrene

by Joanna Deffner on February 05, 2020

It’s winter, and it’s cold. This is normal and supposed to happen, although I don’t like it. When I step outside my warm home into sub-zero temperatures, the cold and wind cut through every layer of clothing I have. If I’m not dressed properly, in no time at all, my extremities start to become numb, stiff, and unusable.

I’ve had a scare a time or two where I’ve become so cold that my fingers and toes become red and start to swell, then morph into an in-human paleness. By the time I re-enter a heated room, my digits twitch, tingle, and scream with pain.

I’m lucky to find shelter to reverse these symptoms and nurse my frigid body back to health, but others have not been so lucky during the winter season. They suffer from gangrene when left out in the cold too long: the death of body tissue due to either a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection.¹

When you’re in the wrong environment (bacterial) or suffer from poor conditions (no blood flow), this affects body tissue and causes death. We must be watchful and protective of our natural bodies when we are in adverse conditions. This is an ongoing concern as we traverse through the winter months.

But avoid all irreverent babble and godless chatter [with its profane, empty words], for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their teaching will spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have deviated from the truth… (II Timothy 2:16–18, AMP).

We can heed this vital warning for the natural body and see the connection to our spiritual ones. When we fill our spiritual selves with bacteria (gossip, negativity, and untruths), or fail to let the blood flow (repenting daily in prayer and keeping ourselves under the blood of Jesus), we experience death that will utterly consume us like gangrene.

Gangrene in Scripture is from a Greek word gaggraina, which is an eating sore. This sore, if left untreated, will cause mortification or death in us—spreading to corrupt or attack the other parts of the body.

But, gangrene in our spiritual man is more serious than gangrene in the natural. Gangrene in the physical body will only affect the individual. However, gangrene in the spiritual has the potential to spread to others. Gangrene affects the body, and as children of God, we’re a part of the Body of Christ. When gangrene gets in our spirits and is left untreated, it will spread out to other parts of the Body: the church. This is exactly what happened to Hymenaeus and Philetus.

Living right, staying right, and seeking after the Lord isn’t just personal/spiritual health care. It’s our duty to protect and care for the overall Body of Christ. We can’t allow bacteria to spread. We can’t allow sin to attack and corrupt others beyond ourselves. We need to find an altar of prayer and ask God to cover us with His blood once again; to purge and cleanse us; to create a clean heart in us; to remove the dead and replace it with life. Before we step out into the blustery weather (the world), we need to put on the right protection—the whole armor of God—to keep us warm so the blood can flow and life can stay in the body.

Lord, help us to stay true and pure in our walk with You, and to keep ourselves protected so we keep Your Body protected. Help us to stop any spiritual gangrene before it spreads. If anything does emit from us and spreads throughout the Body, let it be Your love and Your anointing. We praise You that instead of bringing death, You bring life!

¹Mayo Clinic Staff. “Gangrene.” Mayo Clinic. July 13, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2019