The Healing Debate

 

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”

 

By Mark Greenwood

2001/2002

 

We live in an age of great achievements by man, but incurable sicknesses and diseases are still striking people down. So what does the bible have to say about the healing debate?

I love to hear ministry, which encourages us in our faith and stirs us up to minister God’s blessings to others.  Unfortunately there are many teachers of God’s word that do the opposite and cause unbelief to grow in the church as they proclaim that healing is not for today.  This article is written to show a scriptural basis for divine healing being relevant today, while still recognizing that there are many reasons why people don’t see miraculous manifestations when they are prayed for. 

When Jesus walked this earth he healed all that came to Him.  The only thing that would stop anyone from being healed was unbelief.  He wasn’t able to do many mighty works in Nazareth, because of their unbelief. 

In Mark 9 v 14 – 24, we read how a father had brought his child to the Lord’s disciples for them to heal him, but they were not able to.  When Jesus arrived, the father asked Jesus, “if you are able to do anything, be moved with pity on us, and help us.  And Jesus said to him, the ‘if you are able’, is if you are able to believe: all things are possible to him that believes.” 

Is it true that if we believe all things are possible?

The problem today is that we have ministers of the gospel who preach unbelief when it comes to divine healing.  The Christians who listen to them or read their words cannot have faith for healing because they don’t believe in it.

Another problem of course is that some learn it intellectually but it never touches the spirit.  They use positive thinking of the mind instead of believing in the heart.

So, is this miracle working power still available today or is that just wishful thinking?

In Acts ch3, when the crippled man, who sat at the temple gate, was healed, all the people ran to Peter and John to find out how it had happened. Peter told them that it wasn't their power or holiness (godliness, piety) that had caused this man to walk but rather faith in the Name of Jesus, that is, he say's, "the faith that is through Jesus". So, the power, the holiness, the faith, are all of Jesus.

When Jesus came, John the Baptist witnessed of Him that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.  Why was it necessary to baptize in the Holy Spirit?   Jesus said to the disciples in Acts 1 v 8, “But you shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me ---.“

So here we have it.  The Holy Spirit has the power and has come upon us so that we might be the Lord's witnesses and do the works that He did.   In John 14 v 12 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say to you, he that believes on me, the works which I do shall he do also, and he shall do greater than these, because I go to the Father.”

In Acts 2 v 37 – 38, Peter tells all who are listening that if they repent and are baptized they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Only believe, all things are possible.
 
In Psalm 119 the psalmist makes a request of God that He would quicken him (revive, make alive) "according to thy Word".

1John ch5 shows us that our request to God, need to be 'according to his will'. Verses 14-15 say "and this is the boldness which we have towards Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him".

John chapter 6 v 38 tells us that Jesus came from heaven; not to do His own will but the Fathers will.  John 10 v 37 tells us that the works that He does are the works of His Father.

In 1John 3 v 8, we are told that Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.  How did He destroy (undo) the works of the devil?  Acts 10 v 38 says that He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil”.  In John 10 v 10 Jesus tells us that, “the thief comes not but to steal, to kill, and to destroy”, and then He says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.

Even as Christians we can fall short of this abundant life, especially when we are sick.  How do we receive this abundant life now?  John 6 v 63 tells us, “it is the Spirit that quickens the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  So, His words are spirit and life to us.  Now that doesn’t mean we can dip into the word of God for a magic cure all, but we are halfway there.  We have the word of God.  However, 2Corinthians 3 v 6 tells us that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.  John 4 v 23 tells us that “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth’

The Spirit speaking the word into our spirit gives us life.      

This is an important aspect when we are acting on the word of God.  If we take a promise of scripture and stand on it, unless the Spirit has witnessed it to our spirit then our faith will be of the flesh and our trust will be in our ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of all contradiction.  God’s word is the Truth, however that Truth has to be received into our spirit for it to bear fruit.  It is received into our spirit as God quickens us.  Our prayer then should first of all be for a personal revival that we might be in a place with God where He can touch us by His Spirit to quicken us to receive the word.  If we are standing by our ‘flesh’ then it will profit nothing.   Truth has to be received from the Lord for it to have an effect on our lives.  Only that which God gives to us as a gift can possibly change us and not our own efforts where the source of our works is self.

Proverbs 4 v 20 – 22 says, “My son, attend to my words; incline your ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

So far we have the Spirit and the word, now we have something else, “keep them in the midst of your heart.”  We need to meditate on Gods word that it might dwell in our hearts.  We need to keep it there.

John 15 v 7 tells us, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.”

As the Holy Sprit quickens the word of God to us, faith is produced to believe the word and see the fruit of it.

Romans 10 v 8 – 10 says, “But what says it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is the word of faith, which we preach;  That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God have raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

When we have the Spirit and the word of God dwelling in our heart, they produce within us the faith to ask God according to His will.  However, in these days of modern technology, where ‘simple faith’ has been buried under unbelief, then it is not so much healing we should be asking for but rather the gift of faith to see the manifestation of the works of God in our lives.  (More on that later).   

In Romans 3 v 23 we read, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Everyone of us has sinned either by thought or word or deed.  When we sin we bring ourselves under a curse, the curse of the broken law.  Part of the consequence of this curse is that we will suffer all manner of sicknesses and diseases.  The good news is of course, that we are no longer under the law but rather under grace, therefore we need to receive from the Lord the blessings that are ours now, which God has given to all those who are ‘in Christ’ and under the rule of grace.

If we read on to verse 24 we read, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”  We are justified by the redemptive work of Christ Jesus.  Sickness has no legal right to us.

Galatians 3 v 13-14 tells us that Christ has redeemed us, (by His precious blood), from the curse of the law that the blessings of Abraham might come to the nations.   He has redeemed us by being our propitiation through faith in His blood.  The shed blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin 1John 1 v 7.  The blood also redeems us from the consequence of sin, Galatians 3 v 13.  The emphasis should be on the remission of sins, but it is wrong to deny that sickness and disease were dealt with as a consequence of the finished work of Christ on the cross.     

Although sickness is a consequence of sin it does not always follow that it is due to a sick persons specific sin.  The fact that we are all affected by sin means that we are all open to be affected by sickness.   In John 9 v 3 Jesus healed a blind man who's blindness was not related to his own or his parents sin but rather 'that the works of God might be made manifest in him'. 

Jesus came to do the will of God which He did by performing the works of God, now we know what the works of God are, so we know what the will of God is.

We can pray that the works of God might be manifested in our bodies and that God will be glorified according to His word.

The finished work of Jesus on the cross means that 'by his stripes we were healed' (1Peter 2 v 24).  It's a done thing; therefore we need to receive it by thanksgiving, asking Him to manifest it in our bodies that we might glorify Him. Our resting should be in what he has done for us on the cross and not in what we hope He will do.

Is healing according to His word?  Yes, Psalm 103 v 2-3 says " -- forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases--- “.  

The redemptive work of Christ is all-inclusive i.e., the redemption of our spirits right through to the redemption of our bodies where death cannot touch us. Jesus did it all when He came, suffered, bled and died for us. The price was paid in full; He has bought us back. The only thing left for him to do is to come and collect what He has paid for or redeemed. When He comes to 'collect' us, that's when our bodies are redeemed from death, but the price was paid on the cross.

What's our position now while waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to return? Well, praise God we can reckon (consider) ourselves dead to sin and alive unto God because we are in Christ Jesus and have been crucified with Christ.  We have been buried with Him in baptism and now we are risen with him and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are also overcomers through faith. The trouble is we don't normally feel any of it. Still we know it's true because God’s word declares it.

The question is, is healing part of the atoning work of Christ when He fulfilled the whole law, suffered and died on a tree for us?   I believe it is.

1Peter 2 v 24 says, “who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, in order that, being dead to sins, we may live to righteousness: by His stripes you were healed.”  I don’t believe we are taking this scripture out of context, when we apply it to physical healing, unless of course we are denying it means spiritual healing as well. The word 'healed' actually means, physician, cure, heal, and make whole. To 'make whole', means to be spiritually and physically complete.

This same Greek word is used in other passages in the New Testament where it relates to physical healing.  Matthew 8 v 8 & 13 also Luke 7 v 7 where the centurion is asking Jesus to speak the word that his servant might be 'healed', and his servant was 'healed' that selfsame hour. Mark 5 v 29 and Luke 8 v 34 when talking of the woman who touched the hem of His garment says that she was 'healed' of that plague immediately. Luke 9 v 42 says He 'healed ' the child. Luke 6 v 19 says "there went out virtue from him and 'healed' them all". It is the same word as used in 1Peter 2 v 24 where it says, “by whose stripes you were healed”.

The context of Isaiah 53, which is the passage that Peter is quoting from, is that Christ has taken our sins and diseases and by His stripes we are healed.  However, some people believe that where it says, “by His stripes we are healed” it refers to sin only and it is similar to saying ‘by His stripes we are forgiven’. But, I’m sure you will agree, that we cannot actually say that because the word used for healed in both the old and new testament passages cannot be translated forgiven but rather (as I have said), ‘physician, healed, cured or made whole’.  I think ‘made whole’ sums it up as I don’t think the original intention was to split it up into three possible alternate meanings, i.e., spiritual healing, soul healing or physical healing. I think rather, the writers would have seen man as a whole person, spirit, soul and body. If we believe it means the whole person then the Holy Spirit can quicken it to us giving us the faith to receive healing. To say ‘by His stripes you are absolutely and completely forgiven’ means that sickness and disease has got no legal right to us, so, even if it was the correct translation, it would still mean ‘by His stripes you are healed’ meaning the whole man. Which I think describes it better than ‘by His stripes you are forgiven’. That’s probably why the Holy Spirit inspired it to be written as it was.

To say that Isaiah 53 only means spiritual healing is more ambiguous than saying it includes physical healing.
The whole issue seems to be that, when our sins were laid on Jesus, was our sickness laid on Him as well? The scripture that I believe says that they were, Isaiah 53 v 4, uses the words griefs and sorrows in the KJV. The Hebrew meaning for griefs, (Strongs concordance), is anxiety, calamity, disease, grief and sicknesses. The Hebrew word for sorrows also means, anguish, affliction, grief, pain and sorrow. Many other scriptures in the Old Testament have these same words translated as sickness and pain, i.e., Deuteronomy 7 v 15, this is part of God’s blessing, “And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness”.  If we are under the law and we are disobedient we have Deuteronomy 28 v 61, which says, “Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee”.   Praise God, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.  The word for sickness here is the same as that found in Isaiah 53 v 4.  The same words for sickness and disease can also be found in 1Kings 17v17, 2Kings 8 v 8, 2Chron.16 v 12, and also Job 33 v 19, etc.

The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to quote these words. In Matthew 8 v 17 he wrote, 'himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses'. I think it is correct to say that Isaiah 53 v 4 is not only saying, 'He took our sins' but also 'He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses'.

Matthew Henry says, concerning Matthew 8 v 17, "--- our sins make our sicknesses our griefs and we may say, that He bore our sicknesses then, when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree for sin is both the cause and sting of sickness."

Andrew Murray says "--- bearing our sicknesses as well as our sins forms an integral part of the redeemers work.  Although he was without sin, he has born our sins and He has done the same with our sicknesses".

So, I believe that where it said 'He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows' it is not just talking about spiritual healing but also includes physical healing. By having our sins laid on Him He automatically took the consequences of our sin, i.e., sickness and disease.

When Adam opened the door for sin, sickness and disease came rushing in after it, attacking everyone, because 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God'. Christ atonement for our sins stops the plague of sickness and disease.

Jesus Christ has taken our sicknesses; it is now the work of the Holy Spirit to produce the results in our body. The Holy Spirit works within us according to our faith.

So, does this mean that if I die of some sickness or disease I am a worse Christian than others are?  No, of course not. Does it mean I have less faith than others?  NO, in fact probably many that have suffered in pain or disease have exercised more faith than some that are well and physically fit.

We certainly cannot judge anyone as not having enough faith because they didn't manifest healing after prayer. We only need to read the book of Job to see what a mistake that would be.

If we still see sin and sickness in our lives does this then mean that our faith has to be in what we receive when Christ returns? No, because 'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. If I have faith I have received His promise now, they are mine now. The manifestation of them isn't my problem; mine is to receive them now.

I was talking to a man who told me that after going to a church, he spent the night on his knees asking God to save him, yet in the morning, he was still the same, nothing had happened, God had not answered his prayer. He eventually became a Jehovah’s Witness. The reason he never got saved was because he never received it, if he had received by faith then he would be saved. He needed to believe and start giving thanks for what Jesus Christ had done for him.

We cannot understand the reason for many things. Why do some Christians die from their sickness? Is it that God has taken them out of their sickness to be with Him? There is no doubting they have gone to a better place, Paul said "for me to live is Christ, to die is gain". God chastises those He loves. Perhaps those who suffer most are the ones He can trust the most. He may use sickness to chastise us, when we are chastised we are not condemned with the world but instead mature into a better person.

A further work of Christ dying on the cross was also to redeem us from the curse of the law. In Galatians chapter 3, Paul is talking about, law, faith and receiving the Holy Spirit, when he brings in this beautiful passage that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.  The curse of the law includes every sickness and disease we can think of plus every sickness and disease we have never heard of. The devil has to convince us that sickness isn’t a curse that needs breaking but just part of normal life that we must accept, in order to undermine our faith in this area.

How do we break the curse of sickness?  We cannot unless we believe that the redemptive work of Christ on the cross redeems us from the curse of the law.  Because we are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, when sickness attacks us we appropriate the sprinkling of the Blood by acknowledging and confessing that we are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.   If the devil can convince us that healing isn’t for now then he can attack us with sickness without much resistance from us. (Resist the devil and he will flee from you).

Jesus came from heaven to do the Fathers will and healed all those who came to him. Jesus told us to pray that the Father’s will, be done on earth as it is in heaven. I think we all agree that no one is sick in heaven so it is easy to see that God’s perfect will is that all those born from above are whole, spirit, soul and body, so yes we can pray for this. He may show us some things that need dealing with first, He may withhold it for a purpose or season, but His perfect will is for us to be healed.  This is the starting point; to know that God’s will for our bodies is that they are whole. The thief (devil) comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10 v 10). He is the one that tries to destroy us with sickness.  He is the one that steals our health and kills the body. Jesus came to do the will of the Father and destroy the works of the devil. The devil sows the doubt, his favorite question is, “yes, but has God said”, well yes God has said. Even in the Old Testament His name is Jehovah-Rapha (the Lord that healeth thee). In Exodus 15 v 26 He says”---I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians for I am the Lord that healeth thee". The brazen serpent upon the pole shows God in the Old Testament forgiving and healing. Psalm 103 v 3 says ‘who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases’. Has God said? Yes, Hallelujah, He has not only said it; He has done it in Christ Jesus. Praise God, His word is yea and amen in Christ, it’s all in Christ, glory to God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

What Christ has revealed about God in the New Testament was no different from who He was in the Old Testament. Also scripture tells us that God has allocated us three score years and ten, so yes we will die, divine healing is subject to the whole word of God.  In Exodus 23 v 23-26 we are told “I will take sickness from among you ---- I will give you a full life span”. So, the promise is not that one will cancel out the other but rather that it will supplement the other.

Let me waffle on a bit more by painting an imaginary scene from the olden days at school.

Here we have a boy who we will call Ken. He commits a crime; in fact it’s so bad that the law will have to be involved. The first person he comes before is his headmaster. He is an evil man who just loves caning whoever he can. So before Ken goes before the judge the evil headmaster is going to cane him, but along comes Chris and takes the blame for it all (He bears Ken’s sins). So, because he has now taken Ken’s sin he must also bear the consequences of the sin. Chris gets a good beating from the headmaster (he gives him all he has got). He then stands before the judge and gets the full wrath of the judge upon him.

Now the sin and the punishment are two different things but by Chris taking the blame, or bearing the sin, he also had to bear the punishment.

Now, along comes Ken, still feeling guilty and terrible about what he had done. The headmaster rubs it in, “ah, Chris bore your sin but you still have to take the punishment”, (he always was a liar), whack, whack, whack etc. Poor old Ken, now he is really hurting but he knows he deserves it. The headmaster regularly beats Ken because of this for every small offence, reminding him that he deserves to be punished because of his crime until one day it dawns on Ken, if Chris took his sin then he automatically took his punishment, you can’t separate them in that sense. Next time the evil headmaster went to cane him, Ken stood up to him and told him he had no right as Chris had redeemed him from any punishment. The headmaster went berserk!!! Well, we will leave the story there.

Because Christ took our sins, He automatically bore the consequences of our sins.  That is all part of the context of healing, i.e., spirit, soul and body.  He made us whole. If we believe that it only means He made us whole spiritually then we are losing the context of the finished work of Christ, which is, that because He bore our sins, it therefore follows that He took the punishment of our sins. He justifies the ungodly, if I’m justified and made righteous why should I have to suffer for my sins and if I’m born again and a new creature why should I have to suffer for Adams sin.

Sickness is a consequence of sin and had a legal right to us. When Christ bore our sins He automatically freed us from the consequence of sin by suffering the full wrath of God so that now the devil has no right to inflict us with sickness.

The atonement was made, by the shedding of the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is the propitiation of our sins. In other words the wrath of God upon our sins (and by implication us) is on Jesus. He bore our sins and therefore the consequences of our sins. His sacrifice is our atonement to God. The devil has no legal right to inflict us with sickness and disease.

Isaiah 53 v 10 says, “Yes, it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He has subjected Him to suffering”.

Why did Jehovah bruise Him and subject Him to suffering?

Verse 4 tells us, “Surely He has borne our griefs (suffering, sickness, infirmity) and carried our sorrows; and we, we did regard Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Verse 5 tells us why it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him and put Him to grief, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”   

When Jesus was dealing with sickness He viewed the whole man and when he ministered healing it was to the whole man. When ministering to the paralytic man who had come for healing He said, “your sins are forgiven you”. When the teachers of the law questioned this, He said, “which is easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘get up and walk’”.  Shouldn’t someone tell Him they are two separate things?  When James wrote about praying for the sick, in James chapter 5, he included sins being forgiven at the same time, because Christ has dealt with the core of the problem as well as the effect.

Now our attitude to sickness is important. Because Christ has already dealt with sin and sickness, then, even if I am still sick after prayer I cannot say that God has not healed me. I could say that I am still sick because that would be true however it is not the truth that sets me free. I can pray that my body will manifest healing or I could rather thank Him for healing me and ask that I might glorify Him in my body.

There are many reasons why we may stay sick after prayer. The Bible talks of, unbelief, a lack of faith, or a lack of knowledge of the Truth.  Also, not discerning the Lords body, God’s discipline or chastisement, being under the law, abusing our bodies, unforgiveness, unconfessed sin, not sprinkling the Blood, and labeling others with derogatory names. The time factor is important, there may be a long time lapse between prayer and the physical manifestation of healing in the body.   I think the time factor is linked with the proving of our faith which Peter talks about in 1 Peter 1 v 7, of which he says ‘is more precious than gold’.   Even though God’s promises are for us, God first wants to develop our character so that our attitude might resemble that of a son of God

Lets face it, if we had what we were hoping for then we wouldn’t need faith and our faith couldn’t be proved.  While ever we don’t see the physical manifestation of our hope then we can still have it by faith, because, ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’. If we have our healing we don’t need faith, however if we are still sick we can live in faith. Our faith is proved, not by the hope being realized, but by our trust in Christ and His finished work without the manifestation of our hope, at the same time we learn to be ‘content in all things’.  If we keep our trust, even unto death, then our faith is proved.  To say, “I had faith but God didn’t heal me”, is a contradiction in itself.

I believe there are two types of faith, our faith, and Gods faith that He gives to us for ministry of the gifts.  Mans faith has to be in, and can only be in, Jesus Christ and the word of God.  Man has ‘great faith’, if out of humility he looks to and trust in Jesus as the one who can bring to pass His word to us.  This is the faith we function in until God gives us His faith. However the smallest piece of God’s faith can move mountains.  When God gives us His faith for a specific request, then we know that we have what we desired of Him and we will respond with a heart rejoicing in thanksgiving.  

So, unless God gives us the gift of faith for a specific request (and I believe we should ask God for this gift), then we should look to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and stand on the promises of God.  God’s promises are for those who are in Christ Jesus and we can give God thanks for them while we look to Him to give us His assurance of faith.

  Let me try and explain further.

The disciples asked Jesus for more faith and He replied that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed they could say to this sycamine tree, be rooted up and cast into the sea and it would obey them, Luke 17 v 5-6.

They are asking Him for more faith and he explains that if they already had the tiniest bit of faith, in and of itself, then they could do great things.  The faith they possessed of themselves was so small it wasn’t worth mentioning.  The faith that we need to do mighty signs and wonders, is God’s faith.

God puts the gift of faith in our hearts in proportion to our need and ministry.

Romans 12 v 3-6 says; “For I say, through the grace that has been given to me, to every man that is among you, not to have high thoughts above what he should think; but to think so as to be wise, as God has dealt to each a measure of faith.  For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; thus we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one members one of the other.  But having different gifts, according to the grace which has been given to us, whether it be prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.”

So, although God gives us faith for ministry, we should remain humble, recognizing that we are unworthy and don’t deserve anything, but even so, God has still given to us His grace. 

For faith to work in our lives we must recognize that at the end of the day we are unworthy, unprofitable servants just doing our duty and anything God gives us, is out of His goodness and mercy towards us (Luke 17 v 10).

Faith that works is faith that is a revelation in the heart.  Without this faith we can only persist in knocking on God’s door (in faith that He will answer), until He responds with a gift of faith to meet our need.

People often mistake positive thinking and having a positive confession, for faith.  Positive thinking and a positive confession can be a good thing in itself, but it is not faith and it cannot produce miracles.  Many times people put faith in their faith and then act on this faith only to find it cannot produce the results they hoped for. 

Not all the early disciples were able to do special miracles.  These were mostly given to the apostles by the hand of God (Acts 2 v 43, Acts 5 v 12, Acts 19 v 11, 2Corinthians 12 v 12,)

However it wasn’t just the apostles that God used to heal and do miracles but many others, especially, deacons, evangelist, and elders. 

What if we don’t feel that God has given us the faith to do special miracles?

Well, we can pray that God will do signs and wonders in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4 v 30).  Also our faith should be in the one, who can do miracles and wonders, Jesus Christ.  As we study God’s word and begin to know and trust Jesus, we can ask in faith (James 1 v 6), because now our faith is in a person who can do what we ask and will do what we ask according to His will.

Many times Jesus told people that their faith had saved them or made them whole.  How had they expressed that faith?  They had come to Jesus believing that He could heal them.  In two places He mentions their great faith.  One was the centurion who came on behalf of his servant (Matthew 8 v 10), and the other was the Canaanitish woman (Matthew 15 v 28), both these felt they were unworthy and also recognized the Lord’s authority.  They humbled themselves and persisted, and the Lord said they had great faith. 

Some of the most beautiful, humble, faithful Christians have spent their last days suffering with sickness or disease. I don’t know why but they are an example to us all in their faithfulness and thankfulness to God.

Why do some Christians die before their full life span?  I don’t know, but Isaiah 57 v 1-2 says that God takes the righteous and merciful away from the evil to come and gives them rest.

May His name be praised.

In conclusion, I believe God desires His children to benefit from forgiveness for their sins and healing for their sicknesses.

The Christian must stand by faith in the word of God.  Ephesians 6 v 13 tells us that having done all to stand.

But he has not left it up to our own faith only, but He has also put in the church gifts of healing (1 Corinthians 12 v 9).  So often, because the gifts of the Spirit have been abused and copied either by works in the flesh or by others under another spirit, we find that these gifts of the Spirit are neglected and not sought after.  Our priority of course should be loving God the giver of the gifts and as we love God we will also love our brethren, if we love our brethren then we should be grieved when they are sick and desire to minister healing to their bodies.  1 Corinthians 14 v 1 tells us to follow after love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.  If we are not seeing the sick in the church healed then it is time to earnestly desire the gifts of healing.  If that isn’t enough He has also given the elders of each church, authority to pray for the sick with the promise that He will respond to the prayer of faith and raise up the sick person.

I believe also that God would have us to take care of our bodies that we may glorify God with them.  I think we need to seek wisdom from God in how He wants us to care for them. 

What about praying for non-Christians?

Mark 16 v 20 tells us that the disciples preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, confirming the word with signs following.

Miraculous works of healings bear witness of Jesus that the Father has sent Him (John 5 v 36).  The works are given that men might believe on Him (John 10 v 38).

These works glorify God and should cause people to give God the glory.

They are given as signs, which might cause people to believe (Mark 16 v 17-18).

 

Mark Greenwood

May 2002  

 

Home Page