We Are Healed
©2004 by OAIM
In 1 Peter 2:24, we read, "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." This is Peter's reference back to Isaiah 53:5 that says, "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."
There are two questions we need to ask ourselves in regards to these two verses. The first is, what kind of healing is this referring to? And secondly, when is this healing to occur?
Let's deal with the second question first. If we look at these two passages, we can see that this healing was accomplished on the cross."By his wounds we are healed" indicates that what Jesus suffered on the cross was what made us already healed.
Now, here is where the confusion comes in. Are we talking about physical healing or spiritual healing? To answer this, we can look to Isaiah 53:6 for part of the answer. "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." Here we can see that what we were healed of in the previous verse is not physical ailments, but our sin of wanting to make ourselves the gods of our own lives. To clarify this even more, we must look at the significance of the cross. Why did Jesus have to die? Was it because of our physical illnesses or because of our spiritual illness (sin)? Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins (spiritual illness). Sickness is a RESULT of sin in our world, just as physical death is a RESULT of sin. If Jesus died so we would never be sick again, then He died so that we would never physically die. And also, all of nature would have been redeemed at that time as well.
However, 2000 years of history has made it VERY clear that nature has not been redeemed and physical death is still happening in this world. If these two things are still unchanged by Jesus' death, then logic cannot support that sickness has been abolished as well. Just because we become a Christian does not change our physical status. If Christians still physically die, then we still also get physically ill. If Jesus' death changed one, it would also have had to have changed the other too.
But let's go to the Bible to see. In Isaiah 35, we find an end time prophecy that shows what things will be like when the Lord returns and we see His glory.
"The desert and the parched land will be glad;
Strengthen the feeble hands,
say to those with fearful hearts,
Has God come with vengeance and divine retribution yet? No. This time has not yet come. When will it come? This is speaking of the Great Tribulation and Jesus' second coming. This cannot refer to Jesus first coming because He did not come with vengeance.
But let's go on.
"Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
The burning sand will become a pool,
And a highway will be there;
No lion will be there,
and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
Make no mistake: This passage places the timing of physical healing AFTER this second coming. How can there be physical healing at that time if it has already come when Jesus died on the cross? No, this is not talking about the healing of the unsaved, but of the redeemed.
If Jesus' death took healed all of our physical diseases, then why was Paul physically afflicted? 2 Corinthians 12 Did this mean Paul didn't understand this concept of being physically healed? No, in 2 Corinthians 12, we see that God INTENDED Paul to LIVE with this illness in order to show the world that God works through the weaknesses we have in our lives. If Christians are to be completely physically healed because of Jesus' death, why did God do this to Paul? Why would Paul say, "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."? Why would we still be groaning if we already have no more illness, no more pain?
To deny physical illnesses or to despise them is to really do ourselves a disservice. Paul says we should "commend" ourselves over these types of things. "Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
There are many out there who teach that Jesus' death healed us of all physical illnesses, but this is not true. The healing we received was like the very root of the original Hebrew word in Isaiah 53...mended. God has mended the tear between His holiness and our sinfulness by drawing the two sides together with the thread of Jesus' finished work on the cross. The riff has been mended. He has pulled us back to Himself, back to where we were intended to be, but this mending was a spiritual mending, not a physical one. God always deals with spiritual issues. Man tends to try to unspiritualize them and make the issues more centered around him.
In the recent years, this particular false teaching has been used to condemn many who struggle with physical illnesses. If you have a physical sickness, there is no need to feel as if you are not "spiritual enough" or that it's caused by sin (although sometimes the guilt from our sin can indeed make us ill). If you are sick, then consider yourself in good company. Epaphroditus was ill and almost died, yet Paul told the Philippians to honor men like him. Philippians 2:25-30
While sickness is never fun, God can give you a deep joy out of it, through the calm assurance that no matter what happens, our loving and good God is in control of what is going on with you. (Remember, happiness is not the same as joy. Joy is deep down peace and assurance in God's goodness. Happiness changes from moment to moment and is dependent on the situations around us.)
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
In His grace,
If you still believe that all Christians should be completely healthy, you need to read this about the health of some of the more popular teachers who promote this.
©1998-2008 by OAIM