Notes on the “The Big Issue” – Does God Heal today? 11 January 2011
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We will divide today’s session into three separate questions:
What’s the problem?
What’s the solution?
Where do we go from here?
Healing occurs throughout the New Testament as a significant ministry of Jesus and of the early church. What does the Bible have to say to us about it?
1. What’s the Problem?
“…and it was very good” (Genesis 1 v 31 ). God’s creation of the world, was very good with no disease, sickness or death .
So what went wrong?
In God’s command to Adam (“ when you eat of…you shall surely die”) (Genesis 2 v 17) we can clearly see the warning of what would follow an act of disobedience. And following Adam’s sin, those consequences are realised in an awful way. “Sin entered the world and death through sin” (Romans 5 v12). Decay, disease, sin death and judgement all follow as a result of Adam’s sin. That’s why we have sickness today. The fact is, the earth we see today is a corruption of what God created.
2.What’s the solution?
1 John tells us that “God is Love”. (1 John 4 v.16)
Following Adam’s sin God could have left us to face forever the consequences of our folly. But he formulated a plan for his Son to come into the world to take on himself the consequences of our sin. (1 Peter 2 v 24; Isaiah 53 v 5). And we have the promise of future glory when Jesus returns and those who have trusted him receive resurrection bodies that will be in heaven forever (Romans 8 v 22-23) In the meantime we live between the “now” and “the not yet” – struggling with the effects of sin, but with a hope of eternal glory.
¢ The Atonement (Romans 3 v.25). In the atonement Jesus purchased our complete freedom. He brought us:
Election (Ephesians 1 v.11)
Redemption (Ephesians 1 v 7)
Justification (Romans 5 v.1)
Sanctification (I Corinthians 6 v.11)
Healing (Philippians 3 v 21)
Glorification (Romans 8 v 28-31)
It is foolish to pretend that we possess each and every one of the above aspects in their fullness right now. Yes – they are available legally and as far as our status is concerned, but our glorification will not become reality until we are in heaven. Our sanctification will not be complete until we see the Lord face to face. And our healing, full total glorious wonderful health, is only available and guaranteed in its totality when we stand before the Lord with our resurrection bodies. What a day that will be!
So ..Is there relief for sickness today? – yes, there is:
The Record of Healing
Jesus (Mark 1 v.29-33)
The apostles (Acts 5 v. 12-16)
The church down the ages (John 14 v.11-12)
The Reality of Healing
Out of compassion (Mark 1 v.41)
As a sign of the now and coming kingdom of God
As a “down payment” of future glory
The Restriction on Healing
A “temporary” miracle (you will still die, unless the Lord returns first!)
A limited miracle (Jesus didn’t heal everyone, on every occasion)
Job completed in heaven (Revelation 21 v.3 – 4) – no sickness in heaven!
There are two unsatisfactory and unbiblical positions that are taken:
Firstly, it is said, that God does not heal today. This is the cessationist position. This is unbiblical, and ironically, is the view held by those who often regard themselves as thoroughly biblical. There is no clear statement (or even an unclear statement) in the word of God that the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are not for today. Biblically it is clear that the word of God teaches that all the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, including healing, are for today.
Secondly, it is said that God’s desire is always to heal today, and if our faith was strong enough we would see it. Again, there is no biblical mandate for this. There were certainly times when Jesus healed everyone, and there times when he didn’t because he only did what he saw the Father doing. Likewise with the apostles and the early church. There were times of great healing and evangelism, and there were times when only individuals were healed.
Both the above positions are unbiblical – the first is a statement of unbelief, the second a statement of unreality.
Surely the truth lies between these two positions. God has purchased healing for us, it will be available in it fullness in eternity, but it is available, as God gives us “flashes” of the coming kingdom of God, right now.
3. Where do we go from here?
• Ask God for healing (John 14 v.13-14; John 15 v 7)
• Ask Believers to lay hands on you (Mark 16 v 15-18)
• Recognise and release gifts of Healing within the church (1 Corinthians 12 v.27-28
• Church Elders (James 5 v. 13-15) – more than any other, this passage tells what believers in the church should do when they are ill.
Possible outcomes of reaching out to God for healing:
Extraordinary Grace (cf Paul and his “thorn)
Delayed healing – maybe in this life, maybe not until eternity.
The Bible clearly shows that God can and does heal today. As with all God’s mercies it is according to his Sovereign will and our faith. Are we prepared to reach out to God for healing?