The fact that God heals miraculously has never been in question. Throughout Old and New Testament times, and right to the modern era, miracles of healing have taken place and even the dead are raised by the Power of God.
Divine Healing is one of the most precious truths taught in the Bible, and yet one of the most debated, as people seek an answer to this question: Why don’t we see these kind of miracles anymore in our normal daily experience?
Faith or formulas?
Some believe God has changed His tactics and like King Asa of old, resort first to the physicians. “And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians” 2 Chron 16:12-13.
Others treat God like a “bubble-gum machine” – put in the right coinage and the goods are automatically delivered! Their faith is based on assumption or, perhaps, presumption and they forget that the Lord is a Personal and Sovereign God who responds to faith and not formulas.
Is healing for all?
Is it wrong to pray for people on the basis of faith in God’s Word? The ministry of Jesus was characterised by great healing miracles. Christ the Healer commands us to “heal the sick” Matt 10:8.
The Gifts of the Spirit for use by believers to influence people for the Lord include “Gifts of Healing” 1 Cor 12:7-11. Believers are told plainly that “they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” Mark 16:18. James tells us that the “Prayer of Faith” will save the sick (James 5:15).
Healing is very obviously part of the Christian message, but we need to be clear about the personal Will of God for each individual. Problems arise when we presume to tell people they are healed without a clear word from God.
The Apostle Paul wrote that he was buffeted by a messenger of satan and he prayed earnestly for deliverance. He never assumed his healing on the basis of his prayer. He waited until God spoke to Him. The Lord told him of His higher purposes in that instance. No prayer or casting out of devils can cancel out the sovereignty of God in the life of an individual. Paul heard from Heaven before he
accepted his problem as God’s Will for him at that time (2 Cor 12:7-10).
Submission to God’s will is key
When we wait on the Lord until we are sure of His revealed Will, we will easily receive from His Hand. Israel walked into the Red Sea on the strength of God’s personal word to them. The Egyptians tried the same thing with disastrous results. One man’s faith is often another man’s presumption. We must be led by the Spirit of God at all times (Romans 8:14).
A balanced approach and understanding in these matters will result in the Name of the Lord being glorified at all times, His power and compassion revealed, and His Will submitted to.
Is Healing in the Atonement of Christ?
The Bible teaches clearly that healing is most definitely provided for in the Atonement of Christ. The Gospel of Matthew records an instance when Jesus prayed for Peter’s mother-in-law, who was instantly healed. News spread like wildfire and soon crowds of sick people were clamouring to get into the house.
Matthew 8:17 records that He healed every one of them and Matthew goes on to state that this was in fulfilment of a prophecy contained in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
Jesus bares our sickness
Isaiah wrote of the Coming Messiah and said: “Surely He hath borne our grief, and carried out sorrows” Isa 53:4. The word translated as ‘grief’ by the Authorised King James Version is the Hebrew word ‘Kholee’. It refers to ‘sickness’ (Chalah – to be weak, sick, or afflicted.) Compare Deuteronomy 7:15, 28:61, 1 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 1:2 and 8:8 where the same word is used.
The word translated as ‘sorrows’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘Makob’, which refers to physical suffering and is translated as ‘pain’ in Job 33:19 and 51:8. Matthew quoted that verse literally from the original Hebrew: “...Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” Matt 8:17.
Our health is guaranteed
1860 Revivalist Andrew Murray (Divine Healing, pages 99 and 119) put it this way: “It is not said only that the Lord’s Righteous Servant had borne our sins, but also that He has borne our sicknesses. Thus His bearing our sicknesses forms an integral part of the Redeemer’s work, as well as bearing our sins. The body, soul and spirit have been created to serve together as a habitation of God...the sickly condition of the body is – as well as that of the soul/spirit – a consequence of sin, and that is what Jesus is come to bear, to expiate, and to conquer.”
Our healing was definitely secured by Christ the Healer. While we do not always experience physical healing in this life, we may be absolutely sure that we will finally be completely healed when we receive our resurrection body.
SEVEN REASONS PEOPLE FAIL TO RECEIVE HEALING
While we understand from the Bible that Christ paid the full price for our sin and our sicknesses, we also know that not everybody receives Divine Healing in this lifetime.
There are many reasons some are not healed. Here are just seven:
- Failure to exercise genuine faith. Some mistake their own ability to believe with God-given faith. Faith embraces far more than mental assent. There is a vast difference between ‘Faith Healing’ and ‘Divine Healing’ – they are poles apart.
- Wrong teaching. Many have been taught that sickness is “the chastening of the Lord” and that is their lot in life. Strangely, those same teachers do everything in their power to regain their health via doctors, medicine, operations, etc. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and meditating on Scriptures, such as James 5:14, Matthew 8:2-3, 1 John 5:14, Mark 11:22.
- Unforgiven sin. If sickness comes our way, we need to search our hearts first to make sure we are not harbouring unforgiveness or other sin. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” James 5:16.
- Broken health laws. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, it is true, but we need to recognise that our physical bodies and minds have limitations. Abuse in any area will lead to problems.
- Unknown reasons. Unexplained suffering in our bodies may have a variety of causes and earnest seeking of the mind and will of God is required. Compare the experiences of Trophemus (2 Tim 4:20), Epaphroditus (Phi 2:25-30), Timothy (1 Tim 5:23), Paul (2 Cor 12:7-10), Early Christian Martyrs (Heb 11:35) and Elisha (2 Kings 13:14,21).
- Unbelief and stubborn refusal to believe God. The Bible notes that Christ the Healer could not do many miracles in His home town because of the stubborn unbelief of the people of Nazareth.
- The sovereignty of God. He has provided forgiveness for the sinner and healing for the body as a blessing resulting from the Atonement of Christ. However, He chooses at times to supersede (or transcend) both natural and spiritual laws, and act in His sovereign right to accomplish His Will.
God’s Will is sovereign
God’s sovereign will must be taken into consideration in our approach to the Lord for anything, including healing of the body. But we must never forget that exceptions do not alter the rule expressed in the prayer found in 3 John 1:2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
SEVEN WAYS TO RECEIVE DIVINE HEALING
There are many means and methods of ministering healing to the sick and suffering so it is important to be led always by the Spirit of God.
Here are seven ways to receiving healing as taught in the Scriptures:
- Prayer. James 5:13,16 says if anyone is afflicted, let him pray. The continual fervent prayer of a righteous person is very effective. It is good to seek the Lord first before turning to other means for help. Prayer accompanied by fasting is very powerful.
- Laying on of hands. Scripture encourages the laying on of hands. The Bible says every believer has the “Life of God” in him or her and we may impart healing to others by this means. The quickening, life-giving power of God may be transmitted when hands are laid on the sick. Jesus felt “virtue” go out of Him when a woman touched the hem of His garment (Mark 5:29-30). Consider Hebrews 6:2, Mark 16:18, Mark 6:5, Luke 4:40, Luke 13:13, Acts 5:28.
- Anointing with Oil. This method is explained in James 5:13-16. It is the duty of the sick to call for the Elders to anoint them with oil and it is the duty of the Elders to obey this Scriptural injunction. Compare Mark 6:13. Oil in the Scriptures is always symbolic of the Holy Spirit and clearly signifies the work of the Spirit in healing (Acts 10:38).
- A Point of Contact. Mention is made in Acts 19:11-12 of special miracles being wrought by Paul through the use of handkerchiefs and other items of clothing. God has used simple means to inspire faith for healing. In one instance Peter’s shadow was the point of contact (Acts 5:15). The woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment received healing. The dead man who touched Elisha’s bones sprung back to life (2 Kings 13:14,20,21). The Communion Service is yet another example – 1 Corinthians 11:29-32.
- The Written Word (the Bible). There is power in the Word of God, both written and spoken. It is a supernatural Book with a supernatural anointing and when we speak His Word in faith, mighty things happen. Compare Psalm 107:20, John 6:63, Jeremiah 1:12, 1 Kings 8:56, Matthew 21:33, Mark 11:22-24.
- Praise. The importance of praise can never be over-stressed. “God inhabits the praises of His people” Ps 22:3. This is a most powerful way of expressing your faith and trust in His Written Word and His faithful character. Praise the Lord for your healing, purchased two thousand years ago on Calvary. Appropriate the accomplished work and receive your healing.
- Confess Your Healing. We must learn to take God at His Word. In the same way we “confess” our salvation and faith follows (Romans 10:9), so the truth of God’s Holy Word works in us as we believe and confess it. Our confession, of course, must be subject to the sovereign Will of God for our lives. Faith to confess only comes when we know what God’s Will is.
DIVINE HEALING IS FOR TODAY!
Can we expect to experience healing in this life? Yes, but always subject to the perfect Will of God for our individual lives. Some believe it is only the Will of God to heal us if He makes it known to us. I believe it is always the Will of God to heal us...unless He reveals otherwise. The Lord’s sovereignty and our human responsibility to receive and apply the Word of God by faith are both important as we consider the question of healing.
Val Waldeck is an author, Bible teacher and Kindle Publisher: www.valwadeck.com. For more information on this topic, read the book Christ The Healer by F.F. Bosworth. Look for it in your local bookstore or find it on Amazon.