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The Truth about Divine Healing

by David A. DePra

     Jesus Christ healed many people when He was on this earth.

After He ascended to heaven, the apostles also performed divine

healing. There is no reason to believe that divine healing is not

for today. It IS for today. God is just as capable and willing to heal

right now as He ever was.

     Divine healing is in the Bible. In fact, I Corinthians 12:9 tells us

that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the "gift of healing." That

pretty much seals it. If the Holy Spirit is in His people, then we

should expect the gift of healing to also be manifested through

those who have it. In other words, divine healings is as much for

today as the Holy Spirit is for today.

     Many Christians can point to a time when they believe God

healed them. But most of us cannot document it. That's ok. God

has a history, in his dealings with man, of being completely

uninterested in making sure we can prove to other people that He

exists, or that He worked a miracle. He just does what He does,

and leaves it at that.

     There are, however, many of us who have NOT received

healing. It hasn't mattered what we have done, or how hard we

have prayed. God has NOT answered us with a healing. The

question, therefore, becomes easy: WHY?

     This issue of divine healing is not a small issue because it has

been elevated to center stage on Christian television, and, in fact,

has become a highly visible aspect of the presentation of the

gospel to the world. We must be straight on it.

Are We Guaranteed Healing?

     There is a teaching today among Christians which states that it is

ALWAYS God's will for you to be healed. Sickness is said to be

of the Devil, and of the realm of sin, and can never be part of the will

of God. Thus, if you do the right things, and believe the right things,

your healing is guaranteed.

     The authority given for this claim is the redemption of Jesus

Christ. Since sickness is one of the results of the sin of Adam, and

Jesus died for all sin, then we are free, through Christ, of all disease.

Physical health, and freedom from sin, are therefore equal. If you

have the one, you should have the other.

     This is not really an exaggeration of this teaching. Those who

teach that we are to CLAIM our healing, and then perpetually

CONFESS that we are healed -- despite any continuing symtoms --

base this claim on the finality of the redemption. "If the redemption

is final," they say, "and Jesus won the victory over sin and death,

then it logically follows that Jesus died for all sickness." Then they

quote scriptures like, "By His stripes we are healed."

     If we were to believe this as stated, then we SHOULD believe

that sickness has NO place in the life of a Christian. We should treat

it like a lie of the enemy. We should claim that our healing is

total in the blood of Christ, and that anything which suggests to us

otherwise cannot be the Truth. And, as taught, we should refuse to

be moved from this stance.

     Now, all of this easily appeals to one who is chronically ill, and

seeking a way out. If you are in that kind of condition, you may be

quite encouraged by such claims. But what if healing is NOT

guaranteed through the Redemption -- but you believe it is? There

is where the problem arises. There are many people whose faith

has been shipwrecked, and whose health has been made worse,

because they have believed this false teaching.

What IS Redeemed?

     There are two facts which we must establish about this issue of

healing. First, Jesus DID die for sin -- and for all that sin caused.

This would include sickness and disease. By His stripes we ARE

healed. But secondly, this does NOT, by any stretch of the

imagination, mean that physical healing is a guarantee to anyone

who puts their faith in Christ.

     How can this be? If Jesus death and resurrection included

victory over all sickness, then how does faith in that death and

resurrection not guarantee perfect health?

     The answer is actually not all that difficult to discover. Salvation

through the Redemption of Jesus Christ does not guarantee perfect

health because in this life your physical body is not yet saved. You,

that is, your inward person, IS born again. But your body is NOT

yet born again.

     This is easily proven. If your physical body is born again -- if it

possesses eternal life -- then you will never have to die. But you

are going to die. All of us are.

     We must understand this. The physical body is NOT YET

redeemed. It is not yet born again. So even though it carries a

down-payment of the redemption -- eternal life within -- the physical

body has not yet experienced redemption.

     Why? Because there is NO eternal life in Christ unless there first

comes a death. The old must first die. Then there is a new creation.

That DOES happen to your inward self -- the real you -- when you

receive Christ. But has not yet happened to your physical body.

If you are reading this, your physical body has not yet died. It has

therefore NOT yet been raised from the dead and made brand

new. That is why you continue to age. It is why your body continues

to be subject to the fallen creation around you. It is why your body

is subject to death, and will eventually die.

     Not until your body dies, and then is raised up at the ressurection,

(or changed in a twinkling of an eye) will your physical body be free

from this old creation. Until then, you are a born again, eternal,

spiritual person, who is "incased" in a physical body which is NOT

born again or eternal. And because of that, you can get sick and will

eventually die.

     Unless we see that there is a distinction between the inward

person who IS born again and eternal, and the outward which is

NOT, we will never understand this issue of healing. In fact, we will

not understand much else about how we function. Note the clear

distinction Paul makes between the two:

Though our OUTWARD man perish, yet the INWARD man is

renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a

moment, works for us a greater eternal weight of glory. While we

look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are

not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the

things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our

earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a

building of God, an house not made with hands, but eternal in the

heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed

upon with our house which is from heaven, so that being clothed

we shall not be found naked. For we that live in this tabernacle do

groan, being burdened: not so that we would be unclothed, but

clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He

that has made us for this is God, who also hath given unto us the

downpayment of the Spirit.

     Paul clearly states that if we can SEE it, it isn't eternal. It is

temporal. That includes our body. Our body remains of the old

creation until it passes through death, and then is clothed upon

with the full victory which can come ONLY through death -- which

was won by Jesus Christ.

     In short, then, our body is NOT redeemed. It can certainly reflect

the fact that "the real us" -- our inward person -- IS redeemed. We

can "yield our members," as Paul says, "as instruments of

righteousness" as those who are alive from the dead. (see Rom.

6:13) But the redemption of our body is yet to come. As Paul says,

But ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we

ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the

redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

     It is precisely because we continue to live, as born again new

creatures in Christ, within a body which is NOT yet born again, that

we are subject to sickness and disease. Indeed, it is precisely for

this reason that we continue to have to contend with the pulls of the



     This brings up another point. Ask yourself: Did Jesus die for ALL

your sin? Yes, He did. And you HAVE accepted and embraced

His death. You ARE redeemed, saved, justified, and totally

forgiven. You ARE (the inward man) born again. Right now. But

wait. Do you ever sin? Sure you do. Why? Don't you believe?

Aren't you a real Christian?

     Sure you are. But how is it possible for a REAL Christian, if he is

set free from sin, TO SIN? For the same reason we can get sick.

We live IN a temporal body, which has come under the realm of

death and darkness. The body in which we live tends towards sin.

And we have a choice as to whether to yield to those tendency, or

to yield to God. Sometimes we yield to the flesh.

     Paul said this in Romans:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing. For

to will (to do good) is present with me; but how to perform that which

is good, I cannot discover. For the good that I will to do, I cannot do.

But the evil that I don't want to do, that I do. Now if I do what I don't

want to do, it is not ME (the real me) that does it, but sin that dwells

in my flesh. I find it to be a law that when I want to do good, evil is

present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my

mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my

members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this

body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then

with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law

of sin.

     Paul is here speaking of the fact that we have TWO dynamics

going on in us at all times. We have the born again, inward person

that we are in Christ. We want to obey God. We do not want to sin.

But we also have the continual presence of the "body of death."

That old creation body in which we continue to live. The two are

constantly clashing. We must choose which to obey.

     This is why works never prove whether we are Christian. It is

never what we do, but who we trust. Any Christian is capable of

sin. It is what we do with the sin that indicates whether our faith is

in Jesus Christ.

     Paul is telling us that the new creation will not want to sin. That

is because we have been redeemed and given a new nature. But

our flesh will often want to sin. It is still of the old. A Christian will

therefore sin. But in the overall scheme, we should be growing

to be more and more controlled by the new nature in Jesus Christ.

     Back to the point at hand: A real Christian has embraced full

forgiveness and freedom from sin. But a real Christian can, and

does sin! We are still living in a fallen creation. So if that is the

case with sin, how could it NOT be the case with sickness? How

how could we possibly think that a body which CAN sin CANNOT

get sick?

     We KNOW Christ died for all sin. And we KNOW it is never God's

will for us to sin. But we DO sin. So if we likewise believe Christ

died for all sickness, then why do we think we cannot get sick? If we

sin -- despite being set free from sin -- then it is certainly possible

for us to get sick.

     Sickness and disease are part of what it means to live in a

mortal, temporal body -- even if we are born again of incorruptible

seed. The Redemption of Jesus Christ DOES include the

redemption of our physical body, and DOES guarantee perfect

health. But not until our body passes through death and is raised

anew. Then, and only then, will perfect health be a guarantee.

God's Will

     What all of this means is this: God has not guaranteed you and I

perfect health -- NOW -- because of the Redemption. That may, at

first, sound like bad news. But there is good news. God HAS

guaranteed something just as good: HIS WILL. If you are a

Christian, surrendered to the will of God, you can surrender your

health to God. God will then show you His will -- whether it be health,

or whether it be to withhold healing from you.

     There is nothing wrong with praying for healing and continuing to

pray for it until God indicates His will. Paul did this. He said that he

besought the Lord three times about his affliction. (see II Cor. 12:8-9)

God gave him a "no" answer after the third time. Paul did not give

up after the first or second time, just because God was silent. He

did not assume that the answer was "no" until God said "no." But

notice that neither did Paul claim a "yes" answer! He sought the

Lord's answer -- something he would NOT have done if he knew

it was ALWAYS God's will to heal! Paul sought the will of the Lord,

and kept seeking it on this matter until he found it. Then, Paul

SURRENDERED to God. That ended the matter.

     Now note: When God said, "My grace is sufficient for you," that

was His will. It was God's will to leave Paul IN that afflication. God

said NO. Thus, it was God's will for Paul to be afflicted by that

"thorn in the flesh." This involved more than Paul's health. At it's

root, this thorn was spiritual in nature. But it was a thorn in Paul's

FLESH. It is therefore clear that this thorn touched his health. It

touched all parts of his "flesh" -- which included his body, mind,

temperment, emotions, and the root of his natural man. It was the

will of God that Paul be afflicted in this way -- "lest he be exalted" --

that is -- become proud. God knew what Paul needed.

     Some people cannot accept that it might be God's will for them

to be sick. But if it is never God's will for us to be sick, then it could

never be God's will for us to die. Most people, except those that

die in accidents, war, or are murdered, die of SOME illness. Are

all of these deaths out of God's will?

     The only sanity which can be brought to the situation is the

Truth that sickness is a natural part of living in a fallen world, within

a body subject to disease and death. And that within that context,

God uses sickness just as He uses everything else -- for His

purpose. We are to surrender our health to Him, and to seek His

will and purpose regarding it.

     Divine healing, therefore, is NOT a guarantee. But this does not

mean that God does not heal. No. He does. But He does it only IF

HE wants to do it. And actually, why would we want Him to do it any

other time? God is always right, and always knows best.

     Some of the greatest trials God allows come through sickness.

It is then that we realize our mortality and weakness. And through it,

if we surrender to God, we become conformed to the image of


Divine Healing and Miracles

     Today on Christian television, it is generally taught that it is

always God's will to heal us, and therefore, if we are not healed, we

are not doing the right thing. Indeed, we are constantly bombared

with healing services, testimonies of healing, and such teaching.

Many of these seem to validate the ministries of those who teach

God always wants to heal us and to make us financially prosperous.

     Upon watching many of these "healing and miracle services" on

television, one cannot help but ask a few questions about them. As

mentioned earlier, God does heal today. But these services, well,

let's examine them for a minute. Something about them isn't quite


     One of the first things you will notice about these highly publicized

healing services is that rarely does anyone get up to the platform

with a clearly visible illness -- an illness, which, if it were healed,

would be visibly verifiable. For example, we don't see people with

missing arms and legs, or those who are totally blind, coming up to

the platform. We don't see people with birth defects, or those who

have been totally crippled by disease. Instead, we see mostly

people with conditions which are not visible. The condition isn't

visible, and therefore any healing which might have occurred is

likewise not visible.

     The troubling thing about this is that none of these needy people

ever get to the platform to begin with unless they are first screened.

Get that: These people are screened and approved beforehand.

This means that none of this is an accident. The people without

visible conditions get up there because they are allowed to get up

there. Those with highly visible conditions don't get up there

because they are denied the chance. Someone is deliberately

deciding who gets up there in front of the crowd. This is calculated

and well planned. And it is consistant.

     Let's ask: If there were few healings going on, isn't this is exactly

what you would expect? You would expect that the whole situation

would be controlled. The needy would be screened ahead of

time. And there would be a consistant pattern of invisible healings.

You would rarely, if ever, see the kind of miracles which would

make headlines, or which would happen before your eyes.

     Now, don't misunderstand. God doesn't have to always heal by

performing some terrific miracle. He can heal any way He pleases.

But the pattern here is disturbing. It is difficult to believe that if God

is really healing all these people that He would not want SOME

with visible conditions to be healed in front of the cameras. Surely

there would be SOME with serious, discernable conditions, who

would make it to the platform. But there never are. You never see

them there.

     There are other disturbing things, too. For instance, there is the

pattern which has developed over the years which is used to go

from one person to another by the "faith healer." Being "slain in the

spirit" is often used. Many times when a person is prayed for, the

prayer ends, and they fall backwards to the floor, supposedly

because of the great power which has poured through them. But

this tends to provide a sort of "comfortable segway" away from that

person, onto the next person in need of healing. By the time the

person who fell down gets up, the camera, and the audience, has

moved on to the next. The "slain" person is then ushered off. We

rarely get to see what happened to the person who was "slain."

Were they healed, or not?

     Of course, if you take notice, many of those who come to the

platform are those who claim they were ALREADY healed. So

the miracle is done. We need not expect to see one.

     Really, the worst of all this is spiritual. There is a terrible pressure

which is put upon needy people to get them to cooperate with these

procedures. They are told that they must say they are healed if they

want to be healed. They are told they if they say they are not

healed, that this is "doubt" -- and this can cause them to LOSE their

healing. It is therefore not surprising that most of them say they are

healed. What else are they going to want to say?

     This manipulation is done in a pretty much fool-proof fashion.

Notice how it works. You are sick and desperate. You make it

through the screening process and actually get up to the platform.

You are on television, or at least standing before a sizeable group.

You sincerely believe God heals and you want to do everything

you can to cooperate with Him. You want to show God, and

everyone else, that you have faith. Therefore, when you are told

that you have been healed, you are going to believe it. You want

to believe it. And when you are touched on the head, you are

going to go down. Of course you are. That's what people who

have faith DO! And then later, if you find that you are NOT healed,

you are told you must DENY the symtoms and positively confess

that you ARE healed. Thus, there isn't much of a way for the faith

healer to ever be exposed as having failed. Just tell people that

they must SAY they are healed if they want to be healed! Just

tell them if they SAY they are not healed that they will LOSE their

healing! It is a fool proof system.

     There is absolutely no instance in the Bible where any of these

things were practiced. Jesus NEVER did things that way. Ever.

     There are many people out there who have been terribly damaged

and hurt by such practices. In some cases, this kind of error has

cost people their lives. And even more importantly, such practices

are bringing reproach to the name of Christ.

Discernable Healings

     In the gospels, there are twenty-five or so healings which Jesus

performed. Of the twenty-five, guess how many were done in a way

which the eye could see? Twenty-five. All of them. Every single

healing recorded in the gospels was of a person who had a

discernable illness, and who was immediately healed. There was

no doubt about it. The healing was permanent and immediate, and

completely evident! Jesus even told people to go and be

examined by the priest as a verification.

     Certainly this does not mean that there weren't many other

unrecorded healings Jesus performed which were of the less

evident variety. There likely were. And it doesn't mean that we

must insist that God heal through a fantastic miracle. But the point

is, if God heals through some of these popular faith healers the

way they claim, shouldn't we see SOME clear and open miracles?

     The fact is, if even once, a person was raised from the dead,

it would be on the network news. If even once, someone totally

blind were made to see, it would make headlines. But we NEVER

see this happen. It is only claimed. And curiously, most of the time

when these types of miracles are claimed, they are said to have

happened in some third-world country, where verification is not

possible one way or the other.

     There are other problems, too. There are many books which

have been written by Christian authors, and even secular authors,

which have called these healing services into question. These

authors almost always ask those who claim they have healed

people for some medical proof, or irrefutable testimony, as

evidence. Almost never do they get any. It is understandable that if

they healed many people, that there would be many cases where

proof would NOT be available. But it is also reasonable to expect

that with that many people being healed, that there would also be

MUCH available. Simply math. Simple numbers. Simple "odds."

But again and again, the lack of evidence is amazing.

     Is it wrong to want proof? Well, it is NEVER wrong to want the

Truth. If God heals me, I should praise Him for it. But if He has not

healed me, then I should NOT say He has healed me. It is never

a lack of faith to tell the Truth. And it is irrational to deny the facts or

think that you are pleasing God by saying He did something He

did NOT do.

     The Truth is, to confess you are healed when you are not is

WRONG. Your healing doesn't depend on your confession. It

depends upon God. Again, read the gospels. There were times

when Jesus healed people and said it was "according to their

faith." But there were other times when they had NO faith. Indeed,

they didn't even know who Jesus was -- even AFTER He healed

them. Yet He took the initiative and healed them. Such is the will

of God. He does what He pleases for His purposes and glory.

Healing "On Cue"

     One other problem with these miracle services is that they are not

spontaneous. They are generally advertised. Healing is promised.

Yet no where in the Bible do we find healing happening in this way.

     Someone once made the suggestion that if these faith healers were

able to "heal on cue," that they should be spending their time

walking through the hallways of hospitals. But they never do that.

This, in an of itself, should tell us something profound. Where would

Jesus heal today? ONLY at a "miracle service?" Or would He go

out and visit the sick and needy?

     One popular faith healer has an answer for this question. He has

said that an "atmosphere" must be created in which God can heal.

An "annointing" must be present. This is his justification for a

healing service being the only place where God heals through him.

Where is that in the Bible? Futhermore, what "atmosphere?" Is

there some kind of "atmosphere" created by ten thousand people

which cannot be created by ten people? The fact is, if a person has

the gift of healing, the so-called "atmosphere" is in THEM. It is of

the Holy Spirit. And there would be no rules or boundaries; no

controlled conditions. God would do as HE pleased, where He

wanted to do it, when He wanted to do it.

     When God moves, it does not have to be under the controlled

conditions of a miracle service. We do not have to "screen" the

sick, or determine ahead of time the scene of God's miracles. We

are simply at His disposal, and we let Him take the responsibility

for what He does. There is no glory for us in it. The glory goes to


Money and the Gospel

     Unfortunately, faith healing is big business. Many of those who

claim to have this gift are quite wealthy. And they have gotten that

wealth, in large part, from those who come to them in need.

     It used to be that those who practiced such things would deny that

it was necessary to give money to them. They didn't preach that

too much. But today, things have gotten so bad, that it is actually

preached that you MUST give money if you want to be healed; if

you want to prosper financially; if you want things to go right in your

life. Indeed, it is now commonly preached on Christian television

that if you give money to various ministries that God will respond by

saving your loved ones.

     In the Bible, we cannot find a single instance where God ever

creates a relationship between money and His grace. We never

once find Jesus mentioning money as a requirement for healing.

We never find Paul teaching that a gift of money will get God moving

on our behalf regarding any problem or condition. Instead we find

these scriptures -- among many -- to the contrary:

Freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt. 10:8)

Such are perverse disputings of men with corrupt minds, who are

destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness. From such

withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

(I Tim. 6:5-6)

     Note: What is the evidence of "corrupt mind?" What shows that

a person is "destitute of the Truth?" Answer: Supposing that "gain

is godliness." In other words, if I think that any GAIN -- money,

health, prestige, or otherwise -- is a sign of godliness, I have a

completely twisted concept of Jesus Christ.

     Yet this is precisely what is preached today. You are told that

God does not want you poor and God does not want you sick.

So if you are either, you are OUT of God's will, and therefore

UNGODLY. By contrast, if you are well and wealthy, you are IN

God's will and therefore GODLY. GAIN is made to be a sign of

godliness. The two are made to be as one. And the scripture is

totally ignored or redefined to fit our agenda.

     One statement which has become popular is this one: "If you

let go of what is in your hand, God will let go of what is in His." This

was formulated as back up to the popular "seed-faith" theology.

That is the teaching which states that you must "plant a seed" into

a ministry -- a financial seed -- if you wish to reap a harvest in the

form of wealth, health, or salvation for loved ones.

     Is this true? Does the God who said, "Freely you have received,

freely give," now say, "Give in order to get?"

     The Truth is, you cannot get God to let go of what is in His hand

by letting go of what is in yours. You cannot. God tells us that we

should not have anything in our hand to begin with -- precisely

because He has already let go of everything in His hand. He has

freely given us all things in Christ. If we "seek first" those things, of

His kingdom and His righteousness, then everything we need will

be freely provided.

     Read Matthew 6:24-34. If I can read that passage and come out

thinking that any of the "seed-faith" theology is the Truth, then I have

missed the point entirely.

     Money should have nothing to do with the gospel. Jesus said,

"You cannot serve God and mammon." But we don't believe Him.

We think we can. In fact, we don't even read His words. We THINK

He said, "You must serve God instead of mammon. He did not. He

said, "You cannot serve God AND serve mammon." In other words,

you CANNOT have both. It must be one or the other. But the church

has always tried to serve both. We have always tried to tie the

grace and gifts of God -- health included -- to money. To whether

we give. To what we do. And the condition of the church today, in

general, has suffered the spiritual consequences.

The Key to Health

     The key to good health is to belong to Jesus Christ. It is to be

surrendered to God, without conditions attached. But this will not

necessarily guarantee physical health NOW. It will guarantee

spiritual health. It will guarantee that you will receive nothing more,

and nothing less, than the will of God for your life.

     If there are two things which dominate our everyday life, it is these

two things: Health and money. They are conditions which are with

us every hour. They determine so much about what we are able to

do, or not do. That is why God deals with them so much, and why

it is so important that we surrender both to Him. It is also why the

enemy has built up error and heresy around them. He knows that

we can be greatly affected by them. They strike at the heart and

core of our survival and well-being.

     Imagine if one of your children were ill. Would you tell them that

they must give you money before you would give them medicine?

No. You would give them medicine or help without any conditions

attached. This is the Truth about God as our Father. He may not

always heal. Or He may heal. But He knows exactly what we need

even before we ask Him. And He does not ask us to pay Him. He

simply asks us to trust Him, and to surrender ourselves into His

hands. *

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