I’ve often heard preachers invite people to receive prayer for a disease or sickness, saying “God may want to heal someone today!” It saddens me when those appointed shepherds over sheep are so unfamiliar with the Word of God as to make such a statement. In many instances they are made in ignorance by those who attended bible schools and seminaries promoting a heresy that spiritual gifts such as divine healing no longer operate in this age. Such persons have been bewitched by the father of lies Satan.
Years ago, Holy Spirit began to manifest gifts of healing for people with a wide variety of diseases in my medical practice. Some were incurable using any current treatment such as advanced cancer, traumatic brain injury resulting in prolonged coma, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Yet complete healings took place in a short time after I received baptism in the Holy Spirit (see Lessons on Holy Spirit). At the time, certain verses of scripture became vibrant in the depth of my soul like that of the psalmist: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction” (Psalm 103:2-4).
This verse was a spiritual lightning bolt! God was listing so many benefits for His people: forgiveness of sins, healing of disease, and restoration of relationship as well as eternal life. Using a Hebrew dictionary, I found the meaning of the Hebrew kol translated “all” indicated nothing less than everyone, everything, completely, and the totality of a matter. In short, the word kol did not allow for a multitude of exceptions to a general rule.
The church I attended in those years had no difficulty teaching the blood of Jesus as full payment for all my sins. That portion of Psalm 103 was never contested by anyone who occupied the pulpit. Neither was one having redemption from a pit of despair contested. It was only that part about the LORD who “heals all your diseases” which elicited a wide range of excuses if not unbelief from those given the privilege of spiritual leadership. And eventually I came to realize the same unbelief was true of most in the business of ordained ministry across the breadth of America.
Other passages were found consistent with the healing provisions of God in Psalm 103. Speaking of a coming Messiah, the prophet prophesied, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten ofd God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4,5). Centuries later, Peter would write, “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pe 2:24).
One can scarcely avoid noting that dying to sins and living for righteousness are closely associated with healing in many passages. The Greek translated “healed” is the same word used by James in writing by inspiration of the Spirit of the sick going to elders to receive anointing with oil and prayer. Regarding the latter, however, I’ve found repentance of sins as a condition for healing is nearly always ignored when anointing with oil and praying for healing as instructed by James: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed” (James 5:14-16). There is little awareness that the cause for disease might well be failure to repent of unrighteousness. And I believe it fait to say that the majority of those professing Christ do not usually appreciate having the spiritual condition of their hearts challenged very deeply.
Speaking by a prophet, God tells us, “My people are destroyed [or die] for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). This happens not only spiritually but physically if the Church fails to teach the desire of God to heal. Yet one must be careful to not forget there are conditions for healing: “My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-22).
Both OT and NT bear clear witness to the compassion of God for those who are afflicted with physical suffering. A prominent aspect of Jesus’ ministry passed to the Church is that of healing, and He made provision for healing to continue by empowering with the Holy Spirit as first experienced at Pentecost. The testimony of the early church recorded in Acts should certainly be a testimony to the Church today. “These signs shall follow those who believe: In My name shall they cast out devils…they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18). Note Jesus says they “shall recover,” not that they might ‘possibly’ recover or have some ‘chance’ of recovering!
Many do not believe the words of Jesus apply today when He speaks of miracles and the healing of sickness, and saying those who believe shall do the same works He has done (John 14:12). Even if confronted by examples of divine healing, the minds of some are so blinded by Satan as to not recognize the existence of healing gifts placed in the church. Leaders are frequently groomed in seminaries and bible schools which have fallen under influence of “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” as Paul prophesied would take place in these latter days two thousand years ago (1 Timothy 4:1).
The same denominations that fail to recognize God’s desire to heal today through “gifts of healing” (1 Corinthians 12:9) are the same which deny possibility of demonic influence on those born again. They are the same who also teach a doctrine of Balaam known as eternal security which claims absence of eternal consequences for sin for which there has not been repentance, an error which first appeared early in Church history as is described by Jude. The latter spoke of ungodly men who had entered the Church without notice and were trying to change the grace of God into a covering for sin.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, un godly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness…..Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” Jude 4,11
Another cause for not witnessing healing is ignorance of scripture concerning the manner in which prayers are said. Often prayers are made to Jesus even though Jesus tells us that such is not to be done. Jesus told the disciples that on His return to the Father in heaven, “you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say to you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you” (John 16: 23). The reason Jesus is telling us to ask the Father in His name rather than asking Himself is that the Father is the One who does the works through the power of the Holy Spirit, not Jesus Himself.
When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus answered that he who had seen Him had seen the Father. Then He added, “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwells in Me. He does the works“ (John 14:10). Peter addresses the very same issue in speaking to the multitude of onlookers at Pentecost:
“You men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you your-selves know.” Acts 2:22
Shortly thereafter, Peter and John were briefly imprisoned after healing a man lame from birth. On release, they reported to others what was said by the chief priests and elders and then they prayed: “Now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching forth Your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Your holy child Jesus“ (Acts 4:29-30). They did not ask Jesus to do signs and wonders or heal, but asked the Father to stretch forth His hand to heal by the name of His Son Jesus.
These scriptures explain how gifts of healing and miracles are manifested today through a believer. God is within believers by indwelling of the Spirit, and manifests gifts of healing and miracles through those anointed with power through baptism in the Holy Spirit (see Lessons on Holy Spirit). It was not through Jesus, the Son of God, that signs and wonders took place, but through a man Jesus of Nazareth that the Father did the works. And it is by men today God the Father does healing by the name of Jesus in the power of Holy Spirit.
Little did I so deeply appreciate keeping words of God in my heart so they might be health to my flesh as in Proverbs above until I was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in late 1991. God’s words are truly life to those who find them and health to a man’s body. I cherish promises that allow me to continue sharing the gospel and to be a testimony of God’s healing power over these many years. As described in Hooked on Hope (available to read on this website), pain developed in my back shortly after initial treatment and cancer spread to the spine was diagnosed on scans. Yet without treatment, pain resolved by faith in prayer and since that time, repeat scans have shown no recurrence.
The apostles realized preaching with wise and persuasive words was insufficient and that a demonstration of God’s power was needed to advance the gospel in the early days of the church (Acts 8:5-7,12; 1 Corinthians 2:4,5). They prayed for God to manifest His power in their midst by signs and wonders in the name of Jesus and such took place (Acts 4:30). In the next lesson we’ll see what I call Principles from the Farm regarding divine healing. Each principle is based on scripture and consists of simple steps, namely (a) killing weeds of unbelief and doubt, (b) plowing up polluted soil in the heart, and (c) using the right kind of seed when planting. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will implant truth regarding divine healing deeply within your heart.as you study these principles.