[The following article is an edited transcription of our audio teaching, Healing: God’s Gift of Mercy and Grace by Dan Gallagher.]
This is going to be an exciting two-part teaching. This teaching will be on two tapes/CDs. The first teaching will be myself, and the second one will be John Schoenheit on Understanding Healing in its Biblical Context.
You may ask, “Why two tapes/CD’s?” Well, this is a very broad subject, so part one, which I am teaching, is going to be an overview of the entire subject of healing, and I am going to touch on many areas. In fact, I am going to touch on some things that may challenge you doctrinally. I hope that if you are challenged with what I say that it will be a good thing. I ask that you have patience and that you listen to this entire teaching.
Also, I ask that you take the time to go back and review it. That is why this is a two-part teaching. Because my overview will be touching upon some doctrinal areas, we felt that it would be a great benefit for John Schoenheit to then delve into the specifics of these doctrinal areas of which I will only touch on.
I am passionate about healing, and I have been passionate about this for many years. In fact, in 1972 for the first time in my life, I had the Bible opened to me and explained in a way that I had never before understood. I was raised a Roman Catholic; and of course, I was born again as a Christian and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord, but I had never understood that God’s power, His gift of holy spirit, resided in us, and that we could operate the power of God in our lives.
As I sat in a Bible class and learned for the first time many keys on how to appropriate this power and put it into effect. My heart was thrilled, for my mind would wander to my sister, Patty. You see, my sister, Patty is one of my five sisters. She is two years older than me and is the closest to me of my elder sisters. Patty was born a perfect child, but unfortunately through the mishaps of the wrong decisions of a couple of doctors, Patty’s brain was oxygen starved within a short time after her birth. The result was a condition called Cerebral Palsy, which is actually where a part of the brain dies. That caused Patty some crippling, some mental retardation, loss of hearing, and also an inability to speak. Not only was that bad enough but Patty as a young child was also hit with polio.
As I sat in this class and was learning for the first time that healing was available. My mind kept thinking about Patty. As I heard these things, I considered, “Wow, what a miracle it would be for me to return home and to minister to my sister—certainly a need was there for healing, and I certainly wanted it. I knew that my whole family, including my parents, wanted it. Yes, I did understand that parents have legal rights over children, but my sister was of an adult age. I was here, and I figured that I knew these keys. Certainly, God being all love, kind, and merciful would want my sister healed. I knew that God was not the author of sickness, sin, or death.
Within a short period of time after graduating from this class, I hopped into the car and headed north. I was in southern California going to college, and my family lived in northern California, which was a trip of about eight hours. I drove the whole time praising God, praying, and just seeking Him that He would intercede for my sister, and I knew that He would certainly heal her. Well, I walked into the house that day, and was able to get my sister and take her into my bedroom. I closed the door, and I got down on my knees and held Patty’s hand. She had no idea what was going on, but I knew God did. I sat there and closed my eyes, and I prayed for my sister. I prayed for her healing, and I prayed with all the authority that Jesus Christ had given to us. I knew in my heart that I felt that I had faith and that I believed that God would heal her.
Slowly I opened my eyes. What I saw was that, unfortunately nothing had happened. I was devastated. I asked God, “Why God? Why won’t you heal my sister?” As I said, healing is something that is very important to me. I know that it is important to all of us. I know that many of us have had the same impact of not seeing healing manifested in our lives. Myself, my children, and my spouse at times have been sick or injured and needed healing. We have all needed healing in one form or another, at one time or another. We have seen the pain and suffering of loved ones around us. Many of us, if not all of us, have prayed to God for relief, or a cure at one time or another. We all know of other people who have suffered the debilitating effects of injury, illness, and disease.
In this teaching, it is my prayer, my hope, my aim, and my intention that you be able to understand exactly what God has made available to us to the end that you receive healing in your life and that you are a more effective minister, so that you are able to administer healing to others that are around you.
We are going to look at a number of issues concerning healing. First, we are going to look and examine the arguments or positions of why we believe sickness is not part of God’s plan. Second, we will then look at what steps God has taken and also why we do not see more healing in the Church today. As we begin to understand these things, we will then look at what other factors impact our ability to receive and minister healing. I believe that as we do this, you will gain a better understanding to the end that you will be able to appropriate that power of God that I so much desired to manifest and to use to help Patty in that room many years ago.
As you read this transcription, I may read some things that challenge you on your doctrine. I ask you, have patience and please reread this teaching and the supporting hyperlinks not once but a few times. I will be covering a lot of material, and I think you will need to work through it a few times.
I ask that you read the transcription of John’s teaching, because I believe John will be able to expand areas and specific verses that you need to understand in a more thorough way. Also, he will cover a cultural paradigm that existed in the first century Church that is different from our western paradigm. This difference has a great impact on our ability to understand healing.
If you are like me, you have asked a lot of questions about healing. I have heard some Christians say that if a person is sick, then they just do not have enough faith because God would always heal them. Since he does not get healed, it obviously has to be a matter of their faith. I have also heard other people say that healing is not even available today. Many times people have even said that God is the one that sends sickness, and He does it to make us humble.
Section 1: What does the Bible really say about healing?
The best way to approach this subject about healing is to of course start in the beginning. I know that most of you already know or are familiar with this material, but we need to take the time to lay a proper foundation. Remember, this is an overview teaching. Before we address the question of “Is healing available?”, we should understand if sickness was even a part of God’s original plan. These are the first two questions:
Question 1: Where did sickness, disease, and death originate?
Question 2: Were these part of God’s plan?
There are four main reasons for why we believe that sickness and disease are not part of God’s plan.
The first reason is that in the opening verses of Genesis it clearly shows that God’s original intent was for a perfect people to live forever on a perfect earth. Everything that God made was “very good.”
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Neither sickness nor death, which is total sickness, was ever meant to be a part of that picture. Corruption in the Creation, which includes mankind, came only when Adam sinned. Adam and Eve were living in the garden, Adam first and then along comes Eve. This was a place without thorns and thistles, a wonderful paradise. The definition of paradise is “a perfect place.”
No corruption existed. The corruption of the Creation, which included mankind, came through Adam’s sin. Not only did mankind suffer as a result of Adam’s sin, but Romans 8:21 tells us that the entire world has since been held “in bondage to decay.” Even plants and animals get sick and die prematurely.
that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The second reason we believe the Bible indicates that sickness and disease were not part of God’s plan is that the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8). Now think about that. We are all loving at times, but God is love, which means that by His very nature and unchanging character, it is impossible for Him to think, say, or do anything that is not totally loving. Making people sick to humble them is not my idea of being loving, and I am sure that it is not yours either.
The third reason that we believe sickness and disease were not part of God’s plan is that God created the human body with an amazing, if not even a miraculous, ability to heal itself. Now, why would He do that if He were also the author of sickness and death? Why would He want to make people sick if their bodies would keep healing themselves? It would seem like He would then be working against Himself, and that is ludicrous.
There are many difficult verses in the Old Testament that seem to say that God sent diseases, plagues, etc., but we believe that this can be understood as people bringing upon themselves the consequences of their own sin and unbelief. For a thorough biblical answer to the problem of evil, sin, suffering, and answers to these questions raised by Old Testament verses, I would highly recommend that you read our book Don’t Blame God. It will explain this in a more systematic way than I am attempting to do today.
Again, the third point I am trying to raise here for why we believe sickness and disease are not part of God’s original plan is God even made the body with a miraculous ability to heal itself.
The fourth reason is that Jesus always did the will of God. Wherever Jesus went, he never made people sick. To the contrary, he healed all that he could heal. In fact, Acts 10:38 is a very good record that sums up Jesus’ life and mission.
(34) Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
(35) but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
(36) You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
(37) You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
(38) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he [Jesus] went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Who is the one who is causing sickness and disease? Well, I believe that it infers right there. It is the Devil, because Jesus was doing the healing. God’s will is that people be healed.
This leads us to the second point of this teaching. What steps, if any, has God taken to bring about healing for mankind? Is healing even available?
He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
The first thing that God has done is to give His Word, which heals when it is received, understood, and believed. The second thing that God has done to bring about healing to mankind is sending the “living word—Jesus Christ” in whom is complete healing. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus declared when opening his ministry the following:
Luke 4:18 and 19 [NKJ]
(18) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
(19) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
I believe it very specifically says here that God sent Jesus to heal the broken hearted and the recovery of sight for the blind. Healing is there in Jesus Christ, and his life demonstrated that. That is the second point of what we can see that God has done to bring about healing. He has sent us His Written Word, and His Living Word. The third thing that God did was not only that Jesus healed those who came to him with faith, but he also empowered his disciples and instructed them to do the same thing.
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
The steps God did to bring about healing were first, God sent His Word. Second, He sent the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Third, Jesus empowered his disciples to heal. Fourth, God anointed Jesus with holy spirit for his mission on earth, and since Jesus’ exaltation as Lord, he has anointed each person who believes on him with that very same holy spirit. The Lord Jesus is still highly invested in energizing signs, miracles, and wonders because they are, if you will, God’s advertising campaign. Whenever and wherever we see miracles occurring, we can see the power of God manifest. It declares the glory of God, His magnificent ability, and His love for mankind. Every Christian now has that very same power and authority to heal that Jesus had, and those in the first century Church knew it and they believed it.
Acts 28:8 and 9 [NKJ]
(8) And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.
(9) So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.
That is what I call an advertising campaign. When God wants to make His moves known, He moves out and He demonstrates with His power. Paul was also invested with the same power that Jesus Christ had because Jesus had anointed him. And, Jesus has given to each of us (Christians) that very same ability. When Paul reached out to minister and healed Publius, all the islanders saw that, recognized it, and they came.
One of the manifestations of the spirit that Christians can utilize is even called gifts of healing.
1 Corinthians 12:9
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
Some are even called as “workers of miracles,” which we believe, at times, includes miraculous healing. Clearly, God has provided many ways for healing, which brings me to my third question.
Question 3: Why don’t we see more healing occurring in the Church today?
I do believe that a number of factors can be found for this. The simple and most basic answer is a lack of faith; however, there is a lot more to this. Occasionally, we do see miraculous healing, but a number of factors exist that affect healing, and we need to explore all of these.
Factor #1 Attitude:
The first factor that we need to examine is attitude. That is right, not faith but attitude. I believe that attitude can precede faith. Too often, people can approach the subject of healing with an attitude that limits their trust in God. A foundational distinction exists in the area of healing that we should all understand in order to adopt the right attitude. We need to know that health and wholeness is God’s will, and that He has empowered us to heal by way of holy spirit, but that does not mean that healing is a right.
In other words, it is not something that we demand or claim as I have heard some teach. That is a pretty popular teaching—name it and claim it, and if you just have enough faith, you can just command things, for it is already yours, and you can just claim it. I believe that is a wrong attitude. Just because God has made available to us healing and wholeness does not mean that it is a right. When properly understood, we believe Scripture reveals that healing is a gift, and is received by faith (trust).
By way of explanation, let me just remind you that in the United States we do have certain rights guaranteed to us by our constitution. We have the right to free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. These are rights, and they are something that we can demand; we can claim them. As sons of God we have many rights, but unlike a right, a gift is not something that one can demand. Instead, a gift is given voluntarily without payment. It is presented to the recipient to show favor. Redemption, salvation, and eternal life are some of the gifts that God has given to us because of His great mercy and His grace. Whenever a gift is given to us, it is always because of mercy and grace. God is merciful because He has withheld from us what we truly deserve for our sins, which is death. He demonstrates His unmerited favor towards us, that is, His grace. Healing is one of those precious gifts that God gives to us. We do not earn it, and we certainly do not deserve it. Whenever and wherever healing occurs, it is always because of God’s mercy and grace.
Look at how David associated healing with God’s mercy.
Psalm 41:3 and 4
(3) The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.
(4) I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
See, it says, “Have mercy on me.” It is a gift. The Apostle Paul also recognized that healing was the result of God’s mercy. We see this in Philippians when he was speaking of the beloved disciple Epaphroditus.
Philippians 2:26 and 27
(26) For he [Epaphroditus] longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.
(27) Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
God had mercy on Epaphroditus. It does not say, “We got around Epaphroditus and claimed his healing that God had made available; we demanded the right of healing that God had given to Epaphroditus.” No, it says that God had mercy on him. Mercy is a gift.
Let’s look at a number of verses that you will see say this same thing.
Matthew 17:14 and 15
(14) When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.
(15) “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
Matthew 20:30 and 31
(30) Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
(31) The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Mark 5:18 and 19
(18) As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
(19) Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Mark 10:46 and 47
(46) Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
(47) When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Hebrews 4:16 and 5:1
(16) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(1) Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
(6) “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
(7) Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
(8) Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
You should see in the above verses that healing is directly correlated and associated to mercy. Remember, we are on the subject of attitude, and attitude is something that will affect our faith. What is the importance of understanding healing as a gift and not a right? Well, it is a subtle distinction, but it is an important one. I believe that it affects our ability to receive healing. If you are invested in receiving healing, you will want to know and understand this.
Question 4: What is the distinction between a gift and a right?
The first distinction is the difference between truth and error, for only truth sets us free.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
To the degree that we have error, we also have bondage. Wrong teaching always produces wrong results. I believe that is the first distinction in the difference between a gift versus a right. Too much of what passes for Christian teaching today comes from tradition and culture rather than the Word of God. I am not invested in tradition; I am invested in truth because it is truth that sets us free. Healing is a gift and not a right. I believe that as you take the time to examine this, you will see it is an important distinction.
The second distinction is that we are not properly handling the Word of God if we rip it from the cultural context in which it was written. In the United States, we tend to think in terms of rights and entitlements, but in a biblical culture, people did not think that way. In the biblical culture, they thought in terms of what we call patronage. John Schoenheit in the second part of this teaching, will examine in detail the entire subject of patronage, and I know it will bless you. It will give you a depth of understanding, especially concerning your ability to approach God in faith (trust).
You have to understand, in a patronage system (which was what the biblical culture was), goods and services were seriously limited. If you were to get what you needed, you often had to depend upon the generosity of a patron, whether it was a landowner, wealthy person, or even the emperor. They were considered patrons. This is how people got goods; this is how people were able to rise up. A gap existed between the “haves” and “have-nots,” and the only way that the arts and many things could continue and be promoted, was through patrons. This was a model of the paradigm in which all of the first century saints lived. They thought of God as a generous patron. A patron was someone to whom they could confidently look to satisfy their needs, not by claiming rights. If you went to a patron and said, “I demand my right,” they would look at you and say, “Get out of here; you ungrateful fool!” They did not claim a right. They received the goodness from this patron by virtue of the patron’s generosity and goodness.
We believe that this is how the first century Christians viewed healing. In God and Jesus Christ we have a wonderful provision for physical healing, which was demonstrated by Jesus and all of his followers. We trust our heavenly Father and our risen Lord and Savior for healing, and we give them the glory, not because we demand the right, but because of the idea of their goodness and kindness towards us – their mercy and grace. This fits within the biblical culture of a patron model. If it were a right, then we could congratulate ourselves for asserting our right, but that is not true faith. That is not true trust.
The third distinction is that when we have a right to anything, then we can and should assert that right, but asserting or demanding something to which you do not have a right carries with it an element of arrogance. That is an attitude that God resists. Remember Proverbs 3 and 4, 15:25, and 21:4, God resists the proud. Well, arrogance is an attitude that God resists. When you approach healing as a right verses a gift by God’s mercy and grace because of His goodness, then you are bringing with you an element of arrogance. That is affecting your attitude, which definitely affects your trust and confidence in God. Your confidence is then in the right and not in the right Giver.
Consider for a minute that when the Old Testament saints came and offered a sacrifice to God that they had no absolute assurance that God was going to grant their request. In fact, to the contrary, the tension of not knowing if your sacrifice was acceptable actually produced an attitude of humility, which is something that God requires when He gives His grace. Though Christ’s atonement did make many things available to us, we receive these by trust and confident expectation in the generous one. Not by asserting our right, but by our humble submission and knowing with confidence of His goodness and His graciousness and His mercy towards us. The difference in attitude is subtle, but it is a difference between biblical faith and arrogant presumption. Remember, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble [James 4:6].
Speaking in terms of our attitude, I want to remind you that God is not a vending machine.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
The Israelites were approaching God with an attitude that they merely had to comply with the outward sacrificial requirements of the Law. They wrongly focused on sacrifice, not on the heart. God does not just want sacrifice; He wants a relationship with us. When I say that He is not a vending machine, I mean a couple of things. He is not merely transacting business with us. God is not prescriptive.
I believe a while back the Lord revealed that to me in prayer as I was seeking him on healing. I heard the word “prescriptive,” and as I prayed and meditated on that and thought and asked, “Lord what are you showing me?” I believe that he said that “God is not prescriptive.” God does not say, “Follow these steps and then you will get this result.” Why? Your focus is then on the steps and not the one that gave you the steps to follow in the first place. That is what the Jews were doing. They focused on the Law rather than the lawgiver. Remember in Romans, it tells us that they thought that their righteousness was of the Law. Their whole focus was on the Law, and they lost sight of the Lawgiver.
God gives us a whole range, a continuum, with which we can move. We need to be in relationship with Him so that we know what to do at any given time. God is not a vending machine (He is not prescriptive). He does not say do A, B, C, D, and E. Consider the Gospels, look at the whole range in which Jesus Christ moved, and look at all the different manners and methods in which he ministered healing. In one, Jesus is spitting and dabbing mud in a mans eyes, in another one, he says that “your sins are forgiven,” and in another one he says, “I will,” and the man was made whole. In the Old Testament, a man dipped himself into the river seven times and was healed on the seventh time, not on the first or on the sixth but on the seventh. That does not mean that every person who dips himself into the Jordan River will be healed on the seventh time. Why is this? I believe it is because God is not prescriptive. He does not give a set of steps to follow. God wants a relationship, and our attitude is what is most important in that relationship – an attitude of humility. It is an attitude of being able to look up to the goodness and graciousness of God. It is an attitude of submission. It is an attitude of knowing that God is all love and all kind, and He wants nothing but goodness for you. It is a distinction, but it is an important distinction because it is not a right that you come to Him and say, “I demand my healing!” That is arrogant and prideful, and God resists the proud. Our Father desires an intimate relationship with each of His children. He gives to us in order to bless us and to engender joy and thanksgiving and to engender more trust in return to Him.
Hebrews 4:16 [NKJ]
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I certainly would consider a time of sickness, disease, and even death a time of need. Well, we can come boldly to the throne, but it is a throne of grace, so that we can obtain mercy and find that grace.
You may be wondering, “But wait a minute, I was taught that it was a promise, and that I could claim that promise.” In fact, one of the verses that I was taught was 1 Peter 2:24.
1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
Specifically, I am referring to the section that says, “ by his [Jesus Christ’s] wounds you have been [past tense] healed.” Well, if you thought that, it’s a great question. Let us take a look at that for a second. Claiming something that we may not have an actual right to claim can cause us error and get us off in a wrong direction.
How do we explain 1 Peter 2:24? Is any other evidence there that healing is a gift and not a right as we are asserting? I want to remind you that in 1 Peter 2:24, Peter quotes Isaiah 53:5. Remember that these are Old Testament verses.
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.
In Isaiah 53:5 we see the past tense employed, “We are healed.” Remember that these are Old Testament Israelites who were reading this in the past tense. Were they actually healed? They were reading it in the past tense just as we would read it in the past tense. Obviously, their healing was not a literal reality at the time that they were reading it, so what is going on here?
Isaiah 53 is replete with both past and present tense verbs. They are describing the suffering of Jesus 700 years before his actual appearance. Isaiah was speaking of a future event. We can look at the past tense of that event just as they could look toward the future of that event, but yet, they were reading it as if it had actually occurred. That is because it is a figure of speech called the prophetic perfect. John will go into a lot greater detail on this verse because it is something that you will need to understand.
I want to remind you of something. When would this event actually occur? It is true that physical healing is a part of what has been made available in the atonement of Jesus for our sin and sins. This verse is specifically speaking of the ultimate and perfect healing that Jesus has guaranteed we will all receive in the Millennial Kingdom. It is not correct to say then that we can claim or demand something that is a future event. The wholeness in healing referred to by Isaiah and the transformation of our bodies is an event that we can all look forward to in the future Millennial Kingdom.
Perfect health in the absence of sickness or disease is not something that we can manifest today. That is obvious. If that were true, if what is normally taught, that healing is a right, then we should see it in a lot greater scale because I do not believe that it is strictly a matter of people “not believing.” When we see healing today, we see it in instances where God intercedes with His mercy and grace. Remember that the manifestation of holy spirit is called gifts of healing. It is not called your right to healing; it is called gifts of healing. It is very significant that this manifestation is called gifts. In fact it is called gifts of healing in three verses:
1 Corinthians 12:9
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:30
Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
The first recorded instance of healing in the first century Church was when Peter and John approached the cripple at the Temple gate called Beautiful.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Peter did not say, “Man, claim your healing and walk.” We need to understand the importance of having a proper attitude of humility. Remember, we were discussing factors that can effect healing. The first one was our attitude.
Factor #2 Faith:
“What are some of the factors that affect healing?” The simple answer was faith. Well, attitude is a precursor to faith. A number of factors affect healing, but Scripture shows that faith, your trust or confidence, is definitely the major variable.
a) The faith of the person seeking healing is the first way in which faith shows up.
Consider the following verse:
Then he [Jesus] said to her [the woman with the issue of blood], “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
What is faith? The word faith in the Bible is translated from the Greek word pistis, which means “trust, confidence, or assurance.” In much of the Christian Church and in society, people tend to think of faith as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. It is something mystical, almost something intangible. When religious people have no proof for what they believe, we often hear them say, “You just have to take it by faith”; in other words, it is kind of like foolish believing. This is not what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 9:22, when he said, “Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
Faith is merely trust, and trust is not a force that does anything in and of itself. In the scripture above, the word faith is put for the object of faith, which is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, whom she had touched in the act of trust, in the act of faith. She trusted by touching the hem of his garment that she would be healed. It was not that the garment or her faith healed her, but that the power of God resident in Jesus healed her because of her trust in Jesus. It was her faith that was the activator that enabled her to be able to appropriate the healing power of God that was resident in Jesus. Jesus very clearly indicated in numerous instances that it is a person’s faith that made possible healing.
Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Mark 10:51 and 52
(51) What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
(52) “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
It was not actually the faith that healed. Faith is the key that opened the door that allowed the power resident in Jesus to work and to be activated. The man had great confidence, trust, and assurance in Jesus Christ’s ability to do it.
(15) One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
(16) He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him– and he was a Samaritan.
(17) Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?
(18) Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
(19) Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
(40) Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,
(41) “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
(42) Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
b) The faith of the minister is the second way in which faith shows up.
In some instances, a minister is present who prays for or ministers healing to the individual seeking help. Remember, the first one is the person seeking to be healed must have faith or trust, and the second area is the minister (in those cases where a minister is there) must have faith. Faith is the single most important variable in God’s ability to move.
One of the primary responsibilities that a person has when they are ministering to another is to help the faith of the person who is seeking help. That is what Jesus did in the following record:
(21) Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.
(22) “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
(23) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus.
Big emphasis was on the word if. Jesus picked up on that language very quickly.
Mark 9:23 and 24
(23) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
(24) Immediately the boy’s fathers exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Jesus saw that the problem was not the power of God. God’s power, the gift of holy spirit resident in Jesus Christ, was not the problem. God’s power that resided through the gift of holy spirit in the disciples was also not a problem. It was the faith of the man who was seeking help. Jesus picked up on that very succinctly when he heard the word “if”, and that is what Jesus addressed.
Jesus’ disciples had been unable to help this man’s child, and when Jesus questioned the father, Jesus realized the problem was a lack of faith, belief, or trust on the father’s part. Jesus’ confrontation of the father in this area resulted in an increase in the father’s trust. When this happened, then Jesus was able to move and heal the son.
c) The manifestation of faith is the third way in which faith shows up.
This is one of the manifestations of holy spirit. In contrast to ordinary faith, the manifestation of faith is necessary to accomplish special tasks that God by revelation asks us to do. Jesus said that a person with faith could tell a mountain to be cast into the ocean and it would be done.
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
All of us know that we do not have the ability by our own human power to move a mountain, so doing that obviously requires the power of God. We need God to make that kind of miracle available to us first by giving us revelation to do it. When God gives us that revelation, then the faith that we must have in order to get the job done is called the manifestation of faith. Many times God gives the minister revelation in the form of a message of knowledge or wisdom. God reveals to the person doing the ministering information, insight, or knowledge about the person and then provides direction on how to apply that knowledge. The manifestation of faith is then you having the confidence or trust that what God or the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to you will come to pass at your command.
Commanding healing in the absence of revelation is just as ineffective as commanding a mountain to move when not told to do so. If you want to see how effective that is go outside and see a mountain—if no mountains are by you, then you can certainly see a building near by you, and command it to move. It will not move unless God has given revelation to do it. When God gives you the revelation by way of a message of knowledge or message of wisdom, He will also give you the manifestation of faith or the ability to carry that out at your command. It simply will not happen just because you command it or claim it. It only happens by the power of God that is made available when He gives revelation to proceed.
d) The community of faith is the fourth way in which faith shows up.
Remember faith is the single biggest factor or variable in seeing healing occur. Have you heard of some Christian ministers who draw large crowds and many healings occurred? Is something special happening there at these events? I believe that at times something special is happening there. Whenever a number of people gather, that group will demonstrate a type of group thinking. You may see more faith in one group and less in another, which can have a profound impact on the ability of God to move. This sociological effect is what we call the power of context, which says that behavior is a function of social context.
Jesus recognized that faith was contagious and that “group thinking” could cause it to either increase or decrease. Community faith is definitely a major variable in how faith shows up. A great example of community faith is recorded in Matthew 13. This is speaking of Jesus’ hometown in Nazareth where the community faith negatively impacted Jesus’ ability to demonstrate the power of God.
(54) Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.
(55) “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
(56) Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
(57) And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
(58) And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Group thinking is contagious. It can be powerful in a positive way and in a negative way. A positive example of this is what happened in the first century Church when they came together with “one accord.” That is to say where great unity or great faith was present in the community of believers mighty things happened.
Acts 5:12 [KJV]
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.)
Acts 5:15 and 16 [KJV]
(15) In so much that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
(16) There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
The phrase one accord in verse 12 is the Greek word homothumadon, which literally means to have one mind, one passion. It is a beautiful expression of unity and it is similar to the affect of an entire orchestra made up of many individual musical instruments all playing with perfect synchronization and harmony, playing as one voice.
Remember, faith is the major variable to healing, so anything that happens to increase a person’s faith, then increases the power of God being demonstrated. This is what happened when merely by the passing of Peter’s shadow people were healed. Does a shadow have anything that is powerful or miraculous? Of course not, a shadow has no power. It was their great community faith, their homothumadon, their unity, their one accord. People came up from villages all around Jerusalem. You see, faith is contagious, so when a miraculous healing occurs as a result of one person’s faith, that stimulates an increase in faith in others thereby resulting in more healing, which increases more faith.
When Jesus went to the house of Jairus to minister to his daughter, he put all the mourners and doubters out of the room.
(22) And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet
(23) and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
(24) So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
(25) Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years,
(26) and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.
(27) When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.
(28) For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
(29) Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
(30) And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
(31) But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
(32) And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.
(33) But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
(34) And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
(35) While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
(36) As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
(37) And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.
(38) Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.
(39) When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
(40) And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.
(41) Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
(42) Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
(43) But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
When Jesus went to see Jairus after he approached him about his daughter being sick, Jesus put all the mourners and doubters out. Why would he do that? He does this because the community faith was very negative just as it had been in Nazareth where they questioned who Jesus was.
Peter did the very same thing in Acts.
(36) At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
(37) But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
(38) And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
(39) Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
(40) But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
When Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, what did he do? He put the crowd out. The doubt and unbelief of the crowd could have had a negative impact on his faith.
When you are ministering to someone, you need to speak to the faith of the individual. God will show you that this person does not have the faith. He will show you what to say and what to speak to be able to help that person in their area of faith. You as a minister need to have that faith. What God reveals and shows to you, He will energize through the manifestation of faith. Also, it is a community of faith, the relationship between Himself and mankind, it’s reciprocal. That is to say that each person plays a part in making the connection by which God provides what we need. God wants a relationship. Faith and trust is the simplest thing. It is paramount; it is foundational to all relationships. Faith is the simplest thing that God could require of man. Scripture shows that once faith accesses the power of God, then faith puts you in a position to receive what God desires to give you.
The following verses show that faith is the primary human element in the healing equation:
Acts 14:9 and 10
(9) He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed
(10) and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
This man heard Paul speaking. Paul observing him intently saw that he had faith to be healed. Can you see faith? No, you cannot. Paul spiritually perceived it. God or the Lord Jesus Christ gave Paul the revelation. Paul spiritually perceived that he had the faith to be healed. The manifestation of faith on Paul’s part was that he spoke with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And, the man leaped and walked.
Neither God nor the Lord Jesus Christ has changed since the day this crippled man walked. Faith still is the primary requirement that we must have on our part to be able to receive the promises of God.
Besides faith what else affects our ability to be healed? Well, faith is the primary variable, but that is not the only variable. God has established many physical and spiritual laws, and He expects us to know them and to keep them. When we break them, we then receive the consequences just as sure as when we get hurt by ignoring the law of gravity. One of those factors is sowing and reaping.
Factor #3 Sowing and Reaping
We must take this principle into account. We know scientifically that when someone smokes multiple packs of cigarettes per day, a high probability exists that he will probably harm his heart, lungs, throat, in addition to many other serious effects and consequences. If a person is primarily living on a diet of junk food and drinks soda instead of good water, uses excessive caffeine or alcohol, and fails to get enough sleep, then he will leave himself open for some physical calamity. The fact is that they are reaping seeds of physical deterioration because that is what they are sowing.
This is a principle that God has established, and it cannot be ignored. Sowing in this way, in a negative way, and then calling out to God is mocking Him. Remember, God shall not be mocked (Gal. 6:7 – KJV). This is definitely a factor that you have to consider. God tells us what to do. We ignore it, and then we call on Him to fix it. We then wonder why the problem persists. It is because you are going against a principle of God.
I am not saying, “Be shamed, or feel guilty in this.” You see, we are all guilty of this to some degree. Even if we want to, it is impossible for us to avoid the corruption and pollution in our food supply. Our meats are filled with antibiotics or growth hormones. We have heard stories of mercury in fish, and fruits and vegetables being genetically altered. The fact is that a spiritual principle is there which God has established in the physical and spiritual realm called sowing and reaping. He has given dietary sanitation guidelines. He has laid many things out in Leviticus, but we mock God with disobedient behavior when we ignore these things, things that we know we should do for our health. Healing has to be by His mercy and grace in order for Him to overlook this type of mockery.
Factor #4 Stewardship
Another element to consider is the principle of stewardship. We are talking about variables that effect healing. Just like a steward who is responsible to care for his master’s goods, so to God requires that we take care of the things that He has provided to us. This not only applies to material possessions but certainly our bodies as well.
1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17
(16) Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
(17) If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
When we blatantly violate godly principles, we limit God’s ability to help us. Consider a person who overeats and makes his home on a couch. It is little wonder that they are over weight and have hypertension [high blood pressure], adult diabetes, and experience knee and joint pain from the excessive weight. How realistic is it then to call on God and ask for their knees to be made whole. Using wisdom is requisite to walking with God. He requires us to use wisdom or there will be consequences.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
It is not that God will not heal. It is not that God would not heal them. After all God is God, but how realistic is it seeing that the source of the problem, which is completely under our own control still exists. If you have been a slug or have been improperly taking care of your body and now you are reaping the consequences of that, then how realistic is it? The problem still exists. God can heal the knees, but the problem will just return because the lifestyle has not changed. I think here of the phrase, “Do your best, and then God will do the rest.” I think that this can apply in this type of example.
Do you have to be perfect to receive healing? Absolutely not! None of us are perfect nor will we ever be perfect. We do not have to be perfect to receive healing, but we do have an obligation and responsibility to be proper stewards and to do the best that we can. After all, if being perfect were the case, then no one would ever get healed. For God to heal a person who is reaping what he is sowing, who is violating the responsibilities of stewardship, and who is mocking God through his behavior, then God has got to deny Himself. Again, all healing is clearly by His mercy and His grace because we absolutely do not deserve it.
Section 2: What is healing?
This brings me to the next section of this teaching. What is healing? Healing by definition means to restore the body to a sound state. In this section, I want to look at four levels in which healing occurs. Many times healing involves one if not all four of these interrelated areas.
Level 1—Physical healing: This is very easy to understand because of course we all experience physical breakdown when we are sick and have disease. The simplest way to think of the physical is where an injury or trauma is present. When a bone is broken, healing is fairly simple in the sense that it merely requires mending the bone back together. Another type of physical breakdown is when an illness results from a malfunction of one of the many multiple systems in the body. A myriad of complex physiological systems are present in our bodies. A breakdown can occur from many organic or environmental reasons. For instance, malfunctioning in the circulatory, respiratory, lymphatic, nervous, or hormonal systems can set off serious sickness. This can happen because of nutritional deficiencies, bacterial/viral infections, genetic inherited, or environmental factors. An illness can be simply a result of physical conditions. In that case, healing is simple in the sense that you merely speak to the physical condition. By way of an example, one time Lori, my wife, and I were moving a large dresser upstairs. Through improper timing on my part, I pushed when her foot was in the way while on a step. I pushed really hard and pushed that dresser right into her ankle. She immediately cried out in pain, and she went down. I got the dresser out of the way, and she said, “Honey, my ankle is broken.” Without even a thought, I just spoke what I felt was inspired utterance. I said, “Ankle heal in the name of Jesus Christ.” Immediately something happened. She got up, and she was jumping around on her heel and said, “Honey, it’s healed; it’s healed!” Well, that was strictly speaking to a physical cause. Nothing else needed to be done. It happened; I just spoke, and she was healed.
Level 2—Emotional healing: This second area is what I call the area of emotions. Remember, these are interrelated levels. Our health is greatly influenced by our emotions. Modern science has long since corroborated psychosomatic mind and body connections. Solomon wrote thousands of years ago in Proverbs 14:30 the following:
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Envy is an emotion. See the relation there of an emotion to a physical breakdown. Marrow is in the bones and generates the red and white blood cells. That produces the whole life of the body and the defense mechanisms against invaders.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Your body is the living reality of everything that you are. Everything that you experience happens to all of you, not just your brain. The point that I am making here is that when sickness, disease, or breakdown in the body occurs, speaking strictly to the physical condition may not result in healing because an emotional barrier might be underneath it, causing the physical condition. What is a happy heart in Proverbs 15:13? That is joy and happiness.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
These are emotional interactions with the body.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
If these things can happen on a positive end, then we know they happen in a negative way.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Can you see the relationship of emotions with sickness here? The medical community has documented this mind-body connection with many diseases. For instance, unmediated long term stress has been linked to heart and vascular problems, gastro-intestinal breakdowns, headaches, skin conditions, lung and breathing problems, and on and on. If a person keeps on stuffing toxic emotions year after year, the day will come when those buried emotions will come pouring out in some form of sickness or illness. We were never designed to live in a state of unchecked stress, un-forgiveness, bitterness, shame, guilt, deep-rooted fears, rage, and hatred. These have debilitating consequences on the body. They have to be addressed, many times in a healing situation. We can see the body in physical breakdown, but what we do not see is that it is caused by a deleterious emotional state of mind. In many cases long term healing cannot occur until that emotional state is resolved.
I can think of one instance where an individual came to be ministered to and they were suffering from some serious back pain and had been for quite a while. They asked if I would pray for them. As I went to pray, I saw a sack sitting on their shoulders. It was a soft mental image in my mind. I knew that the Lord was saying that this person was carrying a weight. Obviously, no literal weight was on this person’s shoulders, but it was an emotional weight. As I began to minister and speak to the person, I just prayed; however, what I got was to pray for an emotional burden. I began to pray for the weight to be lifted off their shoulder, for the emotional weight to be gone. The individual began crying. I could just see the Lord was revealing to me the source of this problem. I asked the Lord to lift the weight off their shoulder and to help with the yoke and for this person to be able to trust and put these burdens upon the Lord because he certainly wanted to care for him in that way. As that happened, I just received revelation at that moment (which was just a knowing) and I spoke to the back and said, “Back be healed in the name of Jesus Christ.” I did not know it at the time that they were healed on the spot because this person didn’t tell me until months later when he said, “I never told you, but when you prayed for me, I was healed at that moment.”
Numerous instances are there where an individual asks to be healed and what really needs to be ministered to is an emotional state of mind before the physical can be put back in place. Instances occur where shame, guilt, self-hatred, and self-rejection resulted in autoimmune disease, intestinal problems, and anxiety. As I have said, emotional burdens can cause back and shoulder problems, and headaches. These are emotional problems. This is a level of healing that must be ministered to for the body to be able to be corrected.
Level 3—Spiritual healing: The third level that we have to address is spiritual healing. Times will occur where this needs to be addressed because of evil/demonic spirits being present. Many biblical accounts can be found where the physical infirmity was caused by demons. In such cases the demon must be cast out from the body before it can be made whole. That alone can do the job, or the person may also need restorative healing to repair the damage that the spirits have caused. We can see examples of this in Scripture where Jesus’ healing was very closely associated with his casting out of demonic spirits.
Matthew 4:23 and 24
(23) Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
(24) News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he [Jesus] healed them.
Right in the middle of these verses where it talks about various diseases, severe pain, and paralytics, it places the demonized. I believe in this section of Scripture that a direct connection is there between illness and those suffering the pain, seizures, paralysis, and the presence of these evil or demonic spirits. Many times, demonic spirits are behind blindness, deafness, muteness, and lameness. Spirits of infirmity also exist. Many different types of spirits exist. Arthritic spirits, spirits of pain, spirits of trauma, that can get in through rejection and cause the body to break down. Remember, self-hatred, unforgiveness, and bitterness all need to be addressed so that this person in their emotional state can be healed, and that the spirits can be cast out of them.
Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
The man here is blind and mute. It clearly says that he is demonized, and Jesus healed him. What did he do? It says that Jesus cast them out, so that he could both talk and see. Wait a minute he is blind and mute, and it is connected to being demonized, and Jesus does what? Jesus heals him. How would Jesus heal him? He has to address that demon. This third level that has to be understood is the area of the interference that demons can cause in healing.
Level 4—Moral healing: The fourth area is an area in which I call morality. We have to acknowledge the influence of morality on healing. What a person feeds his mind is critical to the state of that person’s body. Satan, the god of this age, is inundating our lives with a glut of violence, immorality, and godlessness in movies, music, radio, television, and magazines. Pornography is everywhere. A definite interrelatedness is there between these four areas: the physical, emotional/mental, spiritual, and the moral.
Consider the case of an alcoholic. The person has an excessive drinking problem, which is a sin. It is a breach of God’s moral admonition.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Well, this individual had originally started to turn to alcohol to numb out some type of emotional pain. Remember, an emotional barrier is here. Given to alcohol for a period of time could possibly open him up to a demonic spirit, some form of an addictive spirit, an alcoholic spirit. The person is now manifesting the physical results of a damaged liver and other consequences in their body. Healing in this instance could require repentance of sin, a release of deadly emotions, the eviction of an evil spirit and the restoration of the physical body, their organs etc. Amidst such relentless assault on our morality, we have a simple exhortation in the following verse:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
That is how one cultivates the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22 and 23
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(23) gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Having these qualities in our lives requires work, but it is vital to combating the never-ending assault that comes from society on our character.
Scripture testifies that God has healed people. Healing is always God’s will, but some things will have to wait until the Lord Jesus Christ comes and catches us out of this world, and gives us that brand new glorious body. God cannot, at least it is inconceivable to a great degree, go against the aging process that was brought about by the original sin.
A few months ago, a friend of mine called and asked me to minister to one of their parents. They loved their parent, and they were suffering from the effects of senility just brought about by the aging process. As I went to pray for the person, I saw a concrete bridge crossing the stream, and it was broken and collapsed into the stream. I knew immediately that the Lord revealed to me that this was a bridge that could not be crossed over again. Was it God’s will to heal? Of course it was God’s will to heal, but some of these things are just going to have to wait for the return of Jesus Christ.
My father who was 84 years old just passed away. I know that death was not God’s will, but it just was not possible to administer healing to him. He was elderly. He had lived a full life. That bridge could not be gone over again.
Scripture does testify that God has healed people who are not qualified. We have to recognize that God’s sovereignty allows Him to do that, but we must be careful not to let the exception write the rule. We dare not put God in a box, a box of our own human understanding. Neither do we dare to try to enlarge that box, which is of His own making.
Remember, faith is the single biggest variable, and that is what we need to emphasize here. We need to have the proper attitude. As we sow and as we reap, that will affect our faith too. We want to be stewards, and we want to be able to do the best that we can with what we have. I hope that you have been able to see that healing is not just something on the physical; it also involves the mental in the sense of the emotional, spiritual, and moral barriers that are present in the healing process. When I speak of morality, remember the verse where Jesus was speaking and said, “Is it easier to heal on the Sabbath or to forgive sins?” And Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus was speaking to the moral condition of the heart, and that released the emotional burden of the guilt and the shame of the person who had been sinning. Morality definitely has a barrier to healing.
In conclusion, I want to remind you that faith is absolutely the single biggest variable, but remember that a great continuum is there in which God moves. I have heard of instances where people have prayed for someone who has not even accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, and that person has been healed. They have gone on later to accept the Lord, but I do believe this will happen because of God’s plans and purposes, which is another one of the variables that we have to understand. These are God’s plans and purposes. This is His box of His making and many variables exist in which healing can occur. For one person, mud is dabbed in his eyes, and he is healed. Another person dips seven times in a river and then he is healed. Another person prays all by himself and is healed alone. Another person goes to a minister, and that minister prays and heals. At times, healing will occur by the casting out of an evil spirit, and another time healing occurs by speaking to an emotion. Other times, healing occurs by strictly speaking to the physical reality of a broken bone or something of that nature. Other times, healing has to occur on a moral level where sin has to be repented of, and that has to be confronted, and then the person can be healed.
God is love, and God desires healing. The other day a person who is a close friend of mine asked me, “Dan, are you saying that there is not a specific promise for healing?” I am saying that a promise for healing is there for us, but it is not a right and something that we can claim. It is an implied promise; it is not explicit. It is implied in the sense that God is love. God is good. God always wants to care for us. God is not a vending machine and He is not prescriptive. He does not want you to have a relationship with steps one, two, three, four, or a relationship with the Law, like the Israelites had.
God wants a relationship with us as a Father to His children, as a patron to His people, because of His love, His goodness, His greatness, His mercy, and His grace. May God be glorified, and that is always what happens when we approach healing with faith and with the right attitude.
God bless you!