Without question, one of the most difficult concepts to understand let alone apply in our lives, is that of the healing power of God.
In recent worship service at my home church, North Way Christian Community (Wexford Campus), our worship pastor led us through a very brief but powerful encounter with the Lord as response to our corporate praise and worship. (He used the reference of Psalm 22:3 which says “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel,” (KJV) or in any other translations “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
In other words, when God’s people wholeheartedly (even spontaneously) lift up their praise to God, the Lord promises to ‘inhabit’ or ‘to be enthroned’ in those moments!
Another very clear reference to the possibility of supernatural healing as related to a provision of Jesus dying on the cross is found in Isaiah 53:4-5
“Surely He took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we consider Him stricken by God,
smitten by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.”
This same scripture is referenced by Peter in his epistle when he writes:
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
One of the most common experiences of everyone we know is that they will, from time to time, confront sickness or disease in their physical bodies. For some people, this is a battle that they wage for months and even years, while others only do so periodically and sometimes even rarely.
When I’m teaching on this topic or just asked to pray by someone who is struggling with sickness there seems to be a widespread lack of clarity about divine healing and how we can access this provision that seems to be directly referenced in scripture and certainly demonstrated in the ministry of Jesus in the gospels.
In plain English, I’ll often get asked the question “Why doesn’t God heal me?” Another version of this is, “Why does God seem to heal some and not others?” And yet another version is “Why did God allow me to be afflicted with this disease or sickness?”
There’s only one primary point I want to make in today’s blog. Christian theologians and students of the Bible have disagreed for centuries about whether or not God heals today. Many believe that the miraculous powers of Jesus to heal our fleshly bodies left this earth when Jesus was resurrected. I want to be straightforward about my response to the position that healing ended when Jesus ascended back into heaven following His resurrection. There are so many scriptures that clearly state that healing is available to us in the form of a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:9) and specifically attributed to those in the office of “elders of the church,” which ends by saying “and the prayer offered in faith, will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-15)
Many believers hold the position that on the cross Jesus took all of our sins and sicknesses and that because of His atoning sacrifice, we can be free from all sin and sickness.
However, there are two things that are evident in every one of our lives. Despite the fact that we believe Jesus died for our sins and that we are forgiven of our sins, we find that even though we may not want to, we still sin; we still fail to walk in obedience to the Lord or perhaps even willfully engage in something that we know is not what God wants for us. Likewise, even though we may believe that Jesus died for our sicknesses, there are times that despite our best efforts and everything we might do to stay healthy, sickness can overtake us and cause considerable suffering and sorrow.
I’m making a point here that is fundamental to understanding the mystery of healing. Because almost everyone who has come into a relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus, believes that our sins have been forgiven; and yet, we still fall into the trap of sin from time to time. Likewise, many of us believe that physical healing was provided for our bodies through what Jesus did for us on the cross, and yet we still find ourselves afflicted by sickness or disease.
The resolution of this may not be fully satisfying if you’re going through a struggle with sickness right now, but if you lay hold of it I think you will discover that there is great hopefulness in this promise. The penalty for our sin has been paid, the price of our healing has been paid, and yet we do not continually experience the fullness of these two provisions in this earthly body.
We all believe that when the Kingdom of God is fully revealed, all sin, sickness and even death will be eliminated from our experience! However, up until that time, we will battle these two enemies because it is part of the fallen world in which we live. When Adam and Eve first sinned in Genesis, they opened the door to sin and sickness being an ongoing reality in this world. However, when Jesus gave His life for us and suffered innocently on the cross, He made a provision for the power of God over sin and sickness that can be fully experienced when we are ultimately in His presence for all of eternity!
In essence, what we need to understand is that we are living in this temporary condition, when the Kingdom of Heaven is already here, (Matthew 4:17) but not yet in it’s total fullness. When that day comes, the power of sin and sickness will be banished from our existence forever.
Consequently, our posture during this time of still living in this fallen world is to trust the promises of God for our forgiveness and our healing, and to always pray for the manifestation of both of those in our daily lives. As our faith grows stronger through communion with God in prayer, worship, the Word, and fellowship we will increasingly experience the fulfillment of these promises in tangible ways.
Because I do not see people healed every time I pray for them in no way diminishes the promise of God’s Word and the testimony of the scriptures and of untold numbers of current day believers who have experienced the joy of having sins forgiven and the full manifestation of healing here and now. When we pray for one another for healing, sometimes God will act immediately and other times we will just be setting into motion the healing process. Continuing to trust the Lord from when we pray our prayer to when the prayer is answered is the time that we demonstrate our faith in who Jesus was and what His Word declares very clearly that He accomplished for us.
There will always be an element of mystery around this matter of healing, but it in no way diminishes the truth of the promise that “By His wounds we are healed.” 1 Peter 2:25
We’ll look more at this topic in our next post.
Trusting with you,