Does the Bible Promise too Much About Healing?

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5, NIV)

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”” (Matthew 8:16–17, NIV)

I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” (2 Timothy 4:20, NIV)

The Bible includes Divine Healing as a part of the gospel.  Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah as he healed the sick.  In Capernaum (Matthew 8:16-17), Jesus healed all the sick that were brought to him.  In other instances however he selected some to heal.  He healed one among the many at a pool.  He passed by the lame man that later Peter and John would pray for and he was healed.  We are not told why he selected some and did not heal others.  However, he knew what he was doing!

We also cannot exclude that there are times when God will allow or use an illness as part of his plan in our lives.  I think that is rare, but, He is sovereign and there are simply times that God in his wisdom chooses not to heal either immediately or not at all.  It is not a capricious choice but a choice of love and wisdom.  We can be assured that God wants what is best for us and rejoices over us.

Too often people are like Job’s accusing “friends” who blamed Job’s sickness and trouble on some supposed sin in his life.  Over the years I’ve noticed that people like this have never suffered with physical infirmities.  They wrongfully assume that is because of their righteousness.

I have a pastor friend whose beloved wife died of cancer and he was asked to leave the church because they supposed he lacked faith.  These people had fallen prey to a self righteousness that took a precious truth like healing and pushed it to the extreme.  They left no room for the sovereignty of God and his purposes.  In time their church died slowly from a cancer that was more deadly than the cancer that my wife’s friend died of.  She went to heaven.  Sadly the testimony of body of believers was lost in a community that needed their witness.  To sit in a local coffee shop and hear the angry stories that the locals told about those self righteous people was hard.  Yet they revealed a love and compassion that showed a greater understanding of God’s ways and love.

God is merciful.  He took our guilt, our punishment and by his wounds we are healed.  The doctrine of the atonement is made more precious to me as I consider that we are delivered from our sin but even the evil effects it has had upon our bodies.  Hallelujah.

Yet sometimes it is due to personal sin that we are chastised by sickness.  Habitual, unconfessed sin brings with it harm to our bodies. When we know that we have sinned, we should run to the Savior and confess it and not run from Him and hide it.  The sooner the better.

I’ve always loved the words that our church includes in its statement of faith that “Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.”  That phrase recognizes that not everyone is healed but it is a privilege that is available to all believers.

The Bible doesn’t promise to much.  It leaves us with a promise but an unexplained problem as well.  Trophimus, Timothy, Paul, Epaphroditus, all men of God in the New Testament suffered from some form of sickness.  Epaphroditus was eventually healed and Paul was healed from some illness but given an explanation for his thorn in the flesh.  I’m sure that these men were prayed for, anointed with oil and had great faith.  But their illness does not mean the Bible promises too much.  Their lives recognize what we must as well.  We cannot push to extremes what is a fact of life this side of heaven.  There will be sickness but there will healing as well.  There will be suffering but there will be deliverance as well.  Eventually, each of us will die but we will be resurrected as well.  None of this make me question the privilege of Divine Healing. Instead I am persuaded that I must prayerfully and faithfully lay hold of God’s promises, live for His glory, grow in faith, and leave the results in God’s hands.

As someone who has had over 30 major surgeries yet has experienced God’s divine healing.  I testify that he has never wasted a day of pain and suffering.  I certainly don’t understand it all.  But I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned and gained as a result.  He is faithful.  And by His stripes I am healed.

Next post, thank God for doctors and medicine but healing comes from God!


7 thoughts on “Does the Bible Promise too Much About Healing?

  1. Pastor. I truly enjoyed and believe every word you wrote here. Someone told me once that it wasn’t God not doing what he could to heal me, but what I was doing, that I had weak faith. Needless to say it was me who had to go to God to repent for every thought I had toward this person after those words came out of their mouth. As you wrote, I too choose to grow in faith and leave the results up to God! Reading this today gave me an extra dose of hope, energy,and smile to my heart and face. Once again showing me that the best medicine doesn’t always come in an injection or pill form, but from the Holy word of God!

  2. Hi Pastor, I think this posting is right on the money. When we can pray and ask God for our healing and believe He is going to do it, then He is able to bring about our healing. I also believe that if we don’t know enough about how God works and He has a Plan for us, then He is still going to bring healing into our lives just so He can prove to us that He is the same Yesterday, today, and forever. That is what he did for me in order to get my attention after I came back from the Service and was just starting to go to Church in Belleville in 1970. I had been suffering with a boil on my arm for 4 days that wouldn’t go away and Kathy’s Mom suggested that I should ask the Lord to heal me. I told her that I felt that I wasn’t good enough for Him to do that, So He had to make a liar of me and do just that. I had inflammation all around the boil. He took all the redness away while I was sitting in the pew. I was so overwhelmed at what He had done that I rushed to get out of the pew and go to the altar and fell on the floor to worship Him and thank Him for healing Me. I marvel at how He shows us that He cares for what we are going through but will also show that He is in control of all things by healing us of that which is causing stress and pain in our lives. Thanks for sharing this with us. Also, we enjoyed last night’s prayer service for Holy Week of Easter Vigil. I think I said that right, maybe. Thanks again for this post. God Bless you in this week and Strengthen you in all you do. See you soon. LeRoy

  3. Thank you, Brother for your willingness to share your insights and experience with us in this great matter of God’s healing virtue. This matter has long been, and continues in many ways to be a mystery to me; one in which I have learned that I must trust God in all things.

    As I have had the opportunity to observe the healing power of God, I believe there are two questions that need to be asked. The answers will, I believe, help us to better understand the blessing of physical healing. The first is: Does God save anyone who insists upon remaining an “unbeliever”? Does God save anyone against their will? I realize the theological “can of worms” that this question opens, but… IMHO, He does not. The second question is: Does God heal someone who is and who remains an unbeliever? The answer, of course, is, “Yes.”

    Some of the most fantastic physical healings that I’ve ever witnessed have happened in the lives of those who were both before and after the healing happened, unbelievers. Now, I know that some will say that a “believer” was praying, and that may be true. Indeed a “believer” may pray for an “unbeliever” to be healed, and that person as a result may very well be healed while remaining an “unbeliever”. However, we would never say that a “believer” could pray an “unbeliever” into a being a “believer” while the same continued in their unbelief.

    Can and/or does God heal those who are even unwilling recipients of this healing virtue? My direct observation would lead me to conclude that he does. And yet, I have never witnessed anyone being saved, unless they were willing to the benefactor of the Gospel of Grace. Belief is the prerequisite for being saved, but on the contrary, it is not required for physical healing.

    As you noted above, the prophetic promise of His healing ministry was “fulfilled” years before Calvary, when He healed Peter’s Mother-in-law; Matt. 8. The Cross was not necessary for his healing ministry to be fulfilled. However, the Cross is absolutely necessary for Salvation.

    Many persons, I believe, are confused because they try to make miraculous physical healing and spiritual salvation equivalent functions of God. Do we believe that “everyone” who sincerely asks to be saved will be? Yes. Do we believe that everyone who sincerely asks to be “healed” will be? As much as it bothers us to admit it, the answer has to be, “No.” Furthermore, how can it be that God would heal an unbeliever against their will, yet allow a sincere and willing believer to remain in sickness? This can only be answered as we consider the mystery of God’s preeminent power of “choice”.

    I recently preached a message on what I consider to be God’s most important “Omni” of all. I had to make up a new word for this “Omni” because, to the best of my knowledge, there isn’t an “Omni”, in the well known list of “Omni’s”, that identifies this superior power… the one to which ALL other “Omni’s” become subordinate.

    What is this supreme power? It is Omnioptio. It means he has unlimited choice… optio is the latin for choice / options. This power allows him to make choices that would seem illogical and contradictory, if it suits him to do so. Indeed, God is neither Omnipotent nor Omniscient except to the extent that these characteristics are subordinate to his Omnioptio. He can choose, if it suits his purposes to do so, to miraculously heal the vilest of sinners, even though he knows that they will remain in their spiritually lost condition. Additionally, it may seem to us that it is unfair for God to take such action. It may seem to us that God is indifferent toward the righteous while blessing the unrighteous. However, what things “seem” to us, and what they “seem” to God may very well be two very different things indeed. And herein, lays the mystery.

    God can give the worst of sinners an opportunity to be saved, and if they desire to respond to His amazing grace, they shall be afforded the great gift of eternal life. That seems unfair and contradictory. He can even choose to give a guy like me the opportunity to be saved… even though it makes no sense whatsoever. Likewise, God can heal the vilest of sinners against their will, yet permit a faithful saint to remain in sickness. This too, seems unfair and contradictory. And yet, God can and often times does baffle the mind of man in the exercise of His unlimited power of choice – I Cor. 1:20-25. All of this can only be explained by God’s “Omnioptio”. Furthermore, it can only be answered in that it gives believers the opportunity to trust Him and His choices concerning the circumstances of our lives; even when those circumstances include suffering.

  4. K.C. Great to hear from you. When I read your reply I thought of the doctrine of Common Grace. Jesus said the Father gives sunshine and rain to the just and unjust. You’re correct there are people that have been healed who were not believers. God is merciful!

    Your concept of God’s unlimited choice is rooted in God’s sovereignty, I believe. The Persian king, Cyrus, God called his shepherd. The bottom line for me is God is Sovereign. Is this what you mean by “Omniptio?’

    I once had a teacher who wasn’t a believer but bent over backwards to help me become a pastor. My Hebrew teacher was an Orthodox Jew, who was one of the finest men I’ve known. He helped me immensely. I worked for a psychiatrist who wasn’t a Christian. He took time to bring me into his practice and question me on my observations. Respectfully then we discuss faith and healing. I’m grateful that God brought these men into my life.

    I would not diminish the power of faith. In speaking of the miracles he did for non-Jewish people, Jesus said they had great faith. How I pray that my own faith grows and grows! I’m like the disciples in that respect, “Increase my faith!”


  5. Leroy, most of the miracles of healing in the Gospels and in the book of Acts were signs and wonders. What you are describing was one of those events that God used to get the attention of someone who wasn’t a Christ follower. Wonderful story!

    I really enjoyed the prayer time last night! Love ya much!


  6. Natalie, I grieve when I read stories like this one. Just so you know, I experienced the same thing. Isn’t odd that people want to place the blame on the sick for their illnesses. I never read that Jesus blamed the sick and suffering. He did however say to the disciples when a boy wasn’t healed it was because of their lack of faith! Too often critics fail to look in the mirror when looking for someone to blame.

    Your faith inspires me greatly!


  7. Yes, Brother, you are exactly right. My idea of Omnioptio is indeed an expression for his Sovereignty. Perhaps it is a personal issue that is uniquely mine, and it is probably based more upon my feeling than upon anything else… but, the word Sovereign bugs me. Maybe it is my American bias, but when I think of a “Sovereign”, I think of the King / Queen of England. I know that is silly… but, though I know it shouldn’t, it bugs me. I want God to have Unlimited Choice without be stuffy pompus Royalty. So…. I made up my new word: Omnioptio. Not to mention… when I preach on God’s Sovereignty, everyone’s eyes seem to glaze over. But… when I preach on Omnioptio, people set up and take notes! 🙂

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