Most people don’t want to be sick. Everyone of us has a God-given aversion to sickness, disease, and dying, and when we are sick, we want to be well again. It isn’t God’s will for any of us to be sick. He doesn't inflict sickness on anyone, and although that wasn’t always the case, it certainly is now. Let’s look at this:
In Old Testament times, God promised that if the Israelites kept the Law of Moses, He wouldn’t take away all their sicknesses and not put diseases on them (Deut 7:9-11, 15). He also said if they didn’t keep the Law, curses would come upon them—and they did! One of these curses was sickness, disease and the plague (Deut 28:15, 59-61). When Jesus died on the cross for us, He took all of those curses away (Gal 3:13). It is very important for us to get that clear.
God is well aware that sickness is never a blessing. God Himself is never sick. Jesus was never sick—and when He ministered on earth, He treated sickness as an enemy. There are seventeen recorded instances in the gospel letters where Jesus healed every sick person present, and forty-seven other instances where Jesus healed one or two people. Jesus never refused to heal anyone, whatever the sickness and whatever the cause.
In the Book of Acts, Peter reported, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) Peter recognized it was the devil, not God oppressing every one of those people with sickness.
Jesus came to destroy the devil’s works (1 Jn 3:8), and one aspect of accomplishing that was to heal the sick. Ultimately, just as He dealt with sin once and for all, Jesus also dealt with sickness, disease and infirmity once and for all at the cross (Is 53:4-5; Mt 8:17; Psalm 103:2-3; 1 Pt 2:24).
That’s not to say that because Jesus dealt with sickness, we as Christians don’t get sick. Sometimes we do, just like we, who have been forgiven our sins, sometimes sin. However, it’s not because God wills it, and when we do get sick, God has provided the means for us to be healed. When we look in the New Testament, we find several ways in which we can receive healing. James tells us that if we are sick, we should call for the church elders to pray over us and anoint us with oil in the name of the Lord—and the prayer of faith shall save us (Jas 5:14-15). God also gives spiritual gifts of healing to the church (1 Cor 12:9), and just as Jesus empowered His disciples to preach the Gospel, cast out unclean spirits and eal the sick, He also empowers us today to do the same (Lk 9:1-2; Mt 10:1; Mk 16:15-15; Jn 14:12). If we are Christian believers, we are empowered to heal the sick too—but we need to know the right way to do it. As with most things, if we do them the wrong way, we don’t get the right results. Some of the main principles we need to apply are set out below.
Our beliefs about healing must be right. As we’ve already established, Jesus healed all sickness, disease and infirmity on the cross. So, if we were healed, then we need not ask God to heal us again—He’s already done it! All we need now is for that healing to manifest in our bodies. It’s like the difference between needing a million dollars and not having it and having a million dollars in the bank and simply needing to know how to draw it out!
As, in light of Scripture, we know we “were healed,” it isn’t right to believe that God sometimes heals and sometimes doesn’t . If we believe that, then we can’t have faith that God is going to heal a certain person—because this may be one of the times God doesn’t heal! If we don’t see the manifestation of a healing in a particular instance, it’s not because God hasn’t healed; it’s because we haven’t been able to achieve the manifestation of healing in the person’s body. We will see later some reasons this may happen.
If God has healed everyone through the cross, we shouldn’t pray, “If it be Thy will, Lord, please heal so-and-so.” It is always God’s will to heal—just as it is always His will to forgive everyone’s sins (1 Jn 2:1-2)
We must not be counterbalanced by unbelief. It is possible to have both faith and unbelief present at the same time (Mk 9:24), and if they are, a manifestation of healing will not take place. In the case of a young man with an unclean spirit (Mt 17:14-21; Mk 9:17-29; Lk 9:37-42) the disciples, who had faith for healing and had healed many people by this time, also had unbelief present (Mt 17:20) and could not cast out the unclean spirit. Unbelief—whether in the person praying, in the person who is being prayed for, or in those around—will hinder, or even stop, healing from manifesting. Even Jesus could not do many mighty works when unbelief was present (Mt 13:58; Mk 6:5-6; Lk 8:54; Mk 8:23). When He recognized that unbelieving people were around, He took steps to deal with the problem (Mt 9:24-25; Lk 8:52-54; Mk 8:23-26).
It is possible to get rid of unbelief. This can be achieved either by correct teaching or receiving the Truth (when the unbelief has entered because of wrong teaching or ignorance that Jesus has healed) or by prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21) (when the unbelief has entered as a result of information, received through our senses, that is contrary to the Word of God).
God’s Word is eternally True (Jn 6:68; 17:17), and when we truly believe it (“by whose stripes ye were healed”), rather than what our senses tell us (my arm is broken), the physical reality ultimately has to come into line with the eternal reality recorded in the Truth of God’s Word. This is the “mechanism” by which the spiritual reality that Jesus healed on Calvary is brought into the present physical domain. And the arm that was broken is instantaneously, or over a longer period, made whole through believing prayer.
Jesus taught His disciples to address the problem, not speak to God about it (Mt 17:20; Mk 11:22-24; Lk 17:6). This means we don’t pray, “Please, Father heal so-and-so’s broken arm.” We lay hands on the arm and address the problem directly, commanding, “Arm, be healed in Jesus’ name!” (or something similar). We can speak to our ailments, as well as those of others. This may seem a strange way to pray, but Jesus prayed this way (Mk 3:5; 9:25) and so did the apostles (Acts 3:6; 9:40). It will work for us too.
When we study the healings carried out by Jesus and the disciples, we find that both faith and works were present. (James tells us quite clearly that ‘Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)) So, we see Jesus telling the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth thine hand.” (Mt 12:13) and when the man stretched it forth, the hand was healed. The faith that is present for healing needs to be demonstrated through works in order for healing to manifest!
December 15, 2019