I believe divine healing is ordained by God for the church today. In the Bible I don’t find the slightest hint that it should be otherwise. This precious gift that God has given to the church has been misunderstood or misused by so many, that much of the church today shuns its practice. Might we now seek truth, build faith, and dispel fear concerning God’s healing.
Sickness and disease do not always relate to our spiritual condition. Some causes are natural (contagious diseases), some accidental (infections entering in skin breaks, etc.), and some emotional (psychosomatic – depression, worry, fear, rage, jealousy, and resentments all cause alterations in our organic function). Natural, accidental and sometimes emotional causes of sickness or disease strike Christians. When such happens what should the Christian do? It is always right, if the particular situation warrants such, to take immediate action such as stopping bleeding, lowering a high temperature, etc. But the primary move towards healing should be prayer. Prayer by the individual is often all that is needed for healing; but if the sickness or disease persists the elders of the church (Titus 1:5-9) should be called (James 5:14). They–anointing the sick with oil in the name of the Lord and praying the prayer of faith–should initiate healing in the Christian.
Often as a result of natural sickness or accident, bodies are left crippled (blind, deaf, lame, etc.). These are not sicknesses and therefore are not to be prayed for by the elders as such. These are afflictions (hardships) and are to be prayed for by the individual (James 5:13). Even so, with Gods leading, a person may minister with the gift of miracles or gift of faith and pray for an afflicted person. THEY WILL BE HEALED. When a man is following the leading of GOD’S Spirit there is no failure. Gifts operate in the individual ministering and do not depend on the person being prayed for, as with Peter and the lame man in Acts 3.
Another cause of sickness, disease and afflictions is supernatural. Satan, as God allows, imposes such (Luke 13:16) and God at times does also (Acts 13:11, II Kings 5:27, I Corinthians 11:30).
Some say that sickness is never “for the glory of God”, but Jesus taught differently, saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God” (John 11:4). In scriptures there do seem to be times when it is not God’s will to heal at that time, but later on, after His purposes have been fulfilled, and sometimes never. Examine these passages: John 11:4, John 9:3, II Kings 13:14, II Timothy 4:20, I Timothy 5:23. Not always knowing God’s plan for the individual’s life, we should pray for his healing if it be God’s will. This “if” does not negate our faith in God to heal but is the expression of our desire for God’s perfect will in the individual’s life (Matthew 8:1-5).
Contrary to the scriptures just cited and contrary to my experience, it is often taught that healing is available at all times to every Christian. Verses often used to try to prove this are, “by whose stripes you were healed” (I Peter 2:24), and “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17).
Let’s look at each of these passages:
I PETER 2:24-25: “Who Himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
There are two types of healing that we should consider here-spiritual and physical. From the context the healing appears to be spiritual – being healed from the guilt and power of sin. But if it is physical healing it indicates that men are healed because of Jesus’ stripes, giving no hint of the absolute availability of healing to all Christians at all times. If the healing is physical then when Christians are supernaturally healed it is because of the stripes Jesus bore for their healing. Healing is not taught to be available to all Christians at all times without regard for God’s will.
MATTHEW 8:16-17: “And he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all who were sick: that it might be FULFILLED which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
Matthew attributed Jesus’ healing the sick at Capernaum, to the FULFILLMENT of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:4. If this prophesy is fulfilled it doesn’t hold a promise for us.
If a person doesn’t receive his healing he should consider why. Some hindrances may be:
1) WRONG MOTIVES: James 4:3, “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust.” When we pray and ask God to heal us we should desire that God be glorified. It should be our intention if God heals us to use the renewed health and strength for His service.
2) LACK OF PERSEVERANCE: The apostle Paul prayed three times concerning the thorn in his flesh before he got an answer (II Corinthians 12:8). Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and faint not.” (Luke 18:1). Persistence demonstrates our confidence in God to answer.
3) LACK OF FAITH: Some Christians are not sure that God will heal. Some feel their problem is too big or too small to carry to God. Have honest faith–even if it is not perfect. Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”
4) SIN: “He who confesses and forsakes his sin shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). In some cases, physical sickness is a chastisement by God for sin (I Corinthians 11:29-32). In that case, healing will not come until we judge that sin ourselves, confess it to God, and put it away. “Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16).
5) UNQUALIFIED ELDERS: The elders of the church in James 5:14 – ordained elders, bishops – must be qualified (Titus 1:5-9). If they are not and we know it, should we expect anything from God? Any church with qualified Elders can have a healing ministry.
If after looking for hindrances and finding none, a person is still not healed, that person should not be brought under condemnation.There is no condemnation to those in Jesus who are living after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). He should simply continue to live for God, trusting Him to bring about His perfect will for his life. I speak this not only in agreement with the scriptures but also from experience. I have been miraculously healed of sickness several times. Other times I’ve not been healed. I don’t know why, but I still follow Him trusting His will to be done.