Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones, (Proverbs 3:7-8, NLT, emphasis mine).
Many churches and individuals have built a whole false theology of healing, based on the results of their prayers. Instead, they should go back to God’s Word and see where they have gone wrong. Because the thing is that Jesus took all sin and all sickness to the cross 2000 years ago, once and for all, forever. God’s answer for healing was decided at the cross. And that answer is a loud and resounding yes. If you haven’t already read it, go back and read yesterday’s post: God My Healer.
Because they don’t get spectacular healing miracles the first time they pray for someone, people give up. In fact, they fall into a rut of praying, but not seeing healing. They justify their failure, citing the following:
- Jesus’ hometown failure, Mark 6:1-6 – This was not a failure at all. Read the passage. It says, “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.” Offended people who don’t believe are not going to bring their sick to the person who offended them. Jesus couldn’t do miracles and did only a few healings because they didn’t come to Him for miracles or healing. But of those that came, He healed every single one of them. It’s not written in the text, but I know that God is more than able.
- Paul’s thorn, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 – This is not a physical illness. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it was a physical illness, and that Paul was being metaphorical when he called the “thorn in the flesh” a messenger of the defeated enemy. But Paul was being literal. It was a literal fallen angel, sent by the defeated enemy that was assigned to Paul to try and stop his ministry. Good hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) includes the law of first mention, which states that to understand a word’s true meaning, you must find the first time it appears in Scripture. The first time that the word thorn is used in a figurative sense is Ezekiel 28:24, where the contentious peoples around them are called a thorn “to prick and tear” at Israel. So in this case, the thorn was people. In fact, throughout the whole Bible, the word thorn is only used in either the literal sense or figuratively speaking about people.
A reading in the King James Version shows why they were led to believe that it was an illness:
I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong, (2 Corinthians 12:10, KJV, emphasis mine).
Almost all of the more modern translations render the word astheneiais (ἀσθενείαις) as weaknesses, which is more accurate. The word asthenō (ἀσθενῶ), meaning weak is used and correctly translated as weak in the final independent clause of the sentence, even in the KJV. So obviously, the word translated as infirmities would correctly be translated as weaknesses. Paul wasn’t weakened by illness or eyesight problems, he was weakened by a fallen angel buffeting him (literally hitting him).
- Timothy’s stomach issues, 1 Timothy 5:23 – The problem was the water. If Victorian England had such filthy water that people drank beer and gin instead, then it’s not such a stretch to believe that first century Turkey probably didn’t have very clean drinking water, either. The various commentaries note that Timothy was an Essene, which means that he didn’t drink alcohol at all. So Paul was encouraging Timothy to take some wine medicinally when the water plays havoc with his stomach.
- Paul left Trophimus behind because he was sick, 2 Timothy 4:20 – We know that this was not a chronic illness because Trophimus had accompanied Paul to other cities. No doubt, Paul prayed for him, but some healings are gradual rather than instantaneous. This could have been an issue of unclean water, like with Timothy, or a demonic attack.
- Epaphroditus was so sick that he almost died, Philippians 2:25-27 – Again, this was not a chronic illness, and Epaphroditis did recover, probably because Paul prayed for him. As I noted before, not all healing is instantly manifested. And this could also have been an issue of unclean water or a demonic attack.
- Job’s boils, Job 2:7 – Job wasn’t under the Covenant of Grace, as we are. So the cross makes this an invalid argument altogether.
The biggest lie that the church has taught is that healing, together with signs, wonders, and miracles ceased when the last apostle died. That is absolutely not true. To say this is to say that every miraculous healing since John’s death is either a spectacular coincidence or a false healing by demons (which is dangerously close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit). But think about it: false healing doesn’t even make sense. Healings build faith in God, so why would a demon want people having faith in God?
Curry R. Blake with John G. Lake Ministries trains God’s people to minister healing, and he says that God can minister healing through anyone that is in covenant with Him. Blake says that there are only two reasons why healing fails, and they can both be found in the Bible:
- Unbelief, Matthew 17:14-20:
At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.
Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
- Traditions of men, Mark 7:13:
And so you cancel the Word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.
The bullet points above are examples of the traditions of men that have canceled the Word of God. They cite all those instances of Biblical illnesses in order to justify their lack of results, rather than simply taking God at His Word. They pray for the sick because it’s commanded in the Scripture, but it’s obvious that they consider God capricious. They call it God’s sovereignty. Hog wash! God sovereignly ordained healing for us at the cross. That was where He made up His mind to heal.
Often when they pray for someone and they aren’t instantly healed, they give up. I believe that the healing of the blind man in Mark 8:23-25 is included to show us that we need to persist until we see the healing manifest.
One other thing that Blake pointed out is that Jesus didn’t pray for anyone to be healed. He simply commanded the sickness to go. He could do that by appropriating His Father’s authority. Then when He ascended to the Father, He was given authority:
Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth,” (Matthew 28:18).
So now it’s our turn to appropriate His authority and use it to heal people. Jesus gave the 72 authority (Luke 10:19) when He sent them out. Now, if you’re acting as God’s agent on earth, you can appropriate His authority.
And this brings me to the final reason why the people justify the lack of healing: they will lament that they made a mistake and given the defeated enemy authority to take their health. That is impossible. Jesus has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth. He has not passed it on to us, but we can appropriate it just like He did when He was on earth. I don’t know about you, but I find this very freeing because it means that healing doesn’t depend on me. It all depends on Him. And He has already said yes to healing—with no strings attached. God is good!