Is it always Godís will for physical healing to take place in our bodies? By Tom Bushnell - (Deut. 6:6-9 - All scripture taken from the NIV)
God heals because of who He is (Ex. 15:26) ..."for I am the LORD who heals you." God heals because He promised,....if the request is in accordance with His will. (Mt. 21:22; 14:13-14; 16:24; and I John 5:14) ĖI John 5:14 reads..."This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
But is it always Godís will to heal? Or put another way, does the atonement guarantee healing for every sickness here and now?
I have experienced first hand the pain, confusion and guilt that comes from misinterpreting I Peter 2:24. When those of us who have children that are not "perfect" or "normal" live under this assumption (that it is always Godís will to heal) we feel guilt. I have heard it said to me, "It is your fault your child has this physical limitation because you do not have enough faith!" Or "Brother, could this terrible thing have happened to you because you possibly have some hidden sin in your life?"
Letís take a look at I Peter 2:24. This is the scripture that is most often used in support of the position that physical healing in the present age is guaranteed as part of the atonement. It states: "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." Before proceeding to take a closer look at this important scripture, letís define two general principles of scripture interpretation.
The grammatical principle is simply following the established rules of grammar. The synthetic principle can best be described as: scripture interprets scripture. Vague passages should be understood in light of passages that are clearer in meaning. If our interpretation of a vague passage contradicts another scripture where the meaning is clear, then our interpretation of the vague one is wrong.
Letís read I Peter 2:24 closely again. "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."
Using the grammatical principle of scripture interpretation, what is the meaning of "healed" in context? Is physical healing the subject of this passage? No. Christ bearing our sins is. Physical healing is not the subject of this verse or any surrounding verses. (Donít take my word for it, read it for yourself!) This verse says, "He himself bore our sins in his body" not our sickness. He "bore our sins" so that we might "live unto righteousness", not unto health! This last sentence clause says, "by his wounds you were healed." The past tense of the scripture points back to the cross where the believerís sin sick soul was healed. It does not say "by his wounds your physical bodies are (present tense) healed."
Let us now look at passages that are clearer in meaning on this subject using the Synthetic principle of Bible interpretation. As we read the scriptures, we see that our souls have been redeemed, but our bodies have not yet been glorified. If total physical healing on all occasions is meant in I Peter 2:24, then Romans 8:23 would be meaningless. Romans 8:23 reads..."We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Why should we eagerly wait for our bodies to be redeemed if they already have been?
The phrase "by whose wounds we are healed" is a quote from Isaiah 53:5. Is the subject in Isaiah 53:5 (or in the entire 53rd chapter) physical healing or spiritual? Letís read closer. Isaiah 53:4, 5 and 6
(4)Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (This verse was specifically fulfilled during Jesusí earthly ministry. Cross reference Matthew 8:17)
(5)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.
(6)We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way: and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The subject of this passage is how Jesus has taken our iniquity (sins) upon himself, hereby we now have spritual healing.
God provides for healing but does not guarantee it at this present time. All believers will be healed. Not now, but when (Revelation 21:4) "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
God does heal. He heals who He chooses, when He chooses and the way He chooses. How is it that our faith can command God?!
He is the sovereign of the universe, not us. He can and will teach us many things through difficult times.
Oh that we can say with Job, "Tho He slay me, yet I will TRUST IN HIM."
Now that is faith!