Many are the times when I’ve heard objections raised against the doctrine of divine healing that go something along the lines of the following:
Brother/Sister So-and-so believed God for healing and it didn’t work. He/she stayed sick for months/died/whatever.
My aunt got prayed for by (famous healing evangelist’s name here) and she still died of cancer.
Many immature believers see faith and divine healing as some sort of formula that is supposed to work with the same ease of a baking recipe (aka add-water-and-stir Christianity), thinking that once someone is prayed for, the prayed-for individual is supposed to rise up miraculously in each and every case without exception or it’s a false doctrine. They operate by human intellect and reasoning, trying to put God into a box of their own creation that He effortlessly and successfully evades in every case.
Either that, or they think it’s about them doing some stupid, dead religious work to buy God’s favor or prove to Him that they indeed have “faith,” such as withholding medical treatment or medicine from themselves or their children. Such people are deluded into thinking that if God doesn’t supernaturally and miraculously perform the healing, then it isn’t Him, it’s from the world system/devil/human understanding or whatever other drivel they may have bought into without reading their Bible accurately.
And these sorts of incidents scare off many sincere believers who are otherwise eager and willing to do whatever God tells them, but are scared of being “weird” or some other excuse, again because they haven’t been reading their Bible accurately, having been brainwashed by the traditions of men.
While many have been truly healed through the laying on of hands by someone anointed by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of healings and miracles, there are also far more believers who have received their healing through simple faith in the promises in God’s Word.
This article is written to deal with that process.
Receiving divine healing is just like receiving salvation. It’s done by faith in God’s Word, period.
We receive our salvation through a revelation of God’s Word concerning His desire, willingness, and provision to save us from our sins through grace alone by our faith alone in the blood of Jesus Christ and the finished work of the cross. That revelation comes through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit Who opens the Scriptures to us so that we can receive Christ. Part of that revelation includes the “how” of receiving salvation, that we are to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10).
This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. We receive everything from God in the precisely same way: confessing with our mouths the Word of God and believing it in our hearts, asking God for our needs to be met through prayer.
Interestingly enough, at the time we receive salvation, we usually know next to nothing about God and His incredible love for each of us. I mean, seriously think of what it is we actually are believing when we get saved:
About 2000 years ago, a Jewish carpenter walked around a small area of the Middle East preaching, performing miracles, and living a life totally devoid of selfishness. He proclaimed Himself to be God and was tortured and executed for that claim by the local religious and government officials of the day. But He really was and is God-in-Sandals and He was resurrected from the dead 3 days after His execution. The blood He shed washes away all the guilt and penalties for our past, present, and future selfish acts and, upon our own deaths, allows us entrance into a place called Heaven where there are no tears, guilt, shame, or pain and we will live with Him there forever. He gives us all of this as a free gift once we swear total allegiance to Him, allowing Him to run our lives as Absolute Ruler.
No wonder Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:23 that this is foolishness to the Greeks (the humanistic intellectuals of the era)! To the natural, unenlightened-by-the-Holy-Spirit human mind, what we believe is preposterous!
Yet we Christians do believe this to the point that we are willing — and in certain areas of the modern world, do! — suffer torture and even go to our own deaths singing praises to God rather than deny it. We also order our thinking and behaviors according to His precepts, rather than those espoused by the cultures and societies we live in. In fact, the biggest miracle you will ever experience as a believer is your own salvation when, with minimal knowledge of God’s Word, you were raised from the dead spiritually and made alive in Christ!
I am personally convinced the primary roadblock preventing many believers from receiving divine healing is simply that they do not accept and receive it by faith with the same tenacity and vigor that they apply to their salvation.
Now some of you just read the previous paragraph and immediately assumed that I am accusing people of not having enough faith. To which I would respond, “Well, how much is “enough?” You see, the “having enough faith” question puts the onus back on us and our performance, rather than focusing our attention where it should be: the grace of God and the Person and finished work of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.
Once we get our eyes onto ourselves and our own performance, we immediately start thinking that we need to do something to “prove” to God that we have enough faith or are “worthy” enough to receive His blessings. This very mindset drives the scripturally ignorant and spiritually immature to deny medical treatment for themselves and/or their children or make pilgrimages to “holy sites,” such as the famous spring at Lourdes, France, or to attending evangelistic healing meeting after meeting, all the while trying to earn their healing from a God Who offers it as a free gift.
In other words, they operate on a healing-by-works basis, just as many try to operate on a salvation-by-works basis, neither of which gets them anywhere with God. The encroachment of man’s religion and God’s view of it (“our righteousness is like filthy rags” — Isaiah 64:6) is in play in both cases. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “filthy rags” in this verse literally translates as “a garment soiled from the waist down,” which means our attempts at earning God’s favor are about as valuable and useful as dirty diapers or skid-marked underwear!
Faith is the natural result of our receiving heart-knowledge of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit through His Word. So if we lack faith in some aspect of God’s Word, it’s because our revelation in that area is lacking or incorrect.
Returning to our previous comparison, when the Holy Spirit revealed to us that God has provided the means for our salvation through Jesus, we responded in faith to that new knowledge, submitted our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, and got saved. When the Holy Spirit reveals that God has also provided the means for our healing through Jesus, we respond in faith and get healed.
So the issue here is not one of us having “enough faith,” but is our level of revelation sufficient for the task at hand? Here is a fundamental truism of Christianity:
All “faith problems” are rooted in an insufficient or inaccurate revelation of God’s character, will, and/or ability.
Let’s break this down in a bit more detail.
God’s will is His Word, period. If He promises something in the Bible and all of the conditions, if any, attached to that promise are fulfilled, He will affirmatively answer a prayer based upon that promise every time without exception. There may be a time lag between the provision and the prayer, He may answer by a different means than we have preconceived with our puny human intellects, but God is faithful — He will deliver what He has promised.
God’s Character, Part 1
God is good and He does not visit evil upon His children, though He can and does allow us to experience the consequences of our bad choices or He will withhold earthly blessings when we are disobedient. If a human father were to physically injure his children or infect them with a sickness to teach them a lesson in humility, obedience, or whatever, we would be horrified at such behavior and justly put that demented father in jail for child abuse. Yet, somehow, Catholics and Calvinists believe that our Heavenly Father does precisely those sorts of things for precisely the same purposes, their escape clause being that God has thoughts higher than our thoughts and His plan will somehow come out for our good, though we cannot see it.
However, nowhere do we see this demonstrated in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Indeed, Jesus Himself touched on this issue in His Sermon on the Mount:
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! — Matthew 7:11
God’s Character, Part 2
The Scriptures repeat over and over that God is not a respecter of persons. That means He is totally impartial in dispensing both blessings and justice. In light of what we have discussed earlier about our total unworthiness to receive anything from God apart from His grace, there are no “superstars” in the Body of Christ. As the saying goes, “the ground is always level at the foot of the Cross” and there is no “high ground” — moral or otherwise — for any human to stake out, claiming special access to or favor with God.
The bottom line is that, if God will answer the prayers of Billy Graham, the Apostle Paul or some other mighty man or woman of God we admire, He will answer yours, too!
God is omnipotent, a ten-dollar theological term that means “all-powerful, infinitely capable, possessing limitless ability.” And when we speak His Word, it carries the same creative and miraculous power that it did when He originally spoke them. The same God who spun the universe into existence and keeps it running by His Word also has all the power, energy, means, whatever required for Him to deliver on any promise He has made to us. So whether He heals us by supernatural miraculous means or through human medicine is all the same to Him.
- If I have never even heard of the concept of God’s provision for salvation or healing in the Scriptures, I have insufficient revelation of God’s Word, so I will have no faith in either topic. Therefore I will remain unsaved/unhealed.
- If I have the erroneous impression that, by my own dead religious works, I can earn God’s favor and obtain salvation/healing/whatever from Him, I have an incorrect revelation of His Word regarding God’s abundant grace, that everything we receive from Him is a free gift offered through His boundless love despite our perpetual inability to meet His standards of perfection in thought and behavior.
- If I think that any of the problems I face are beyond God’s ability to overcome it, I have an insufficient revelation of His unlimited ability.
- If I believe that God will answer the prayers of my pastor or other person whom I admire and respect as a “holy man,” but not my own prayers, I have an incorrect revelation of God’s character. The One True God is not a respecter of persons and answers every believer’s prayers.
- And so on…
The Underlying Principles
The primary verses in play here are Romans 12:2 and 2 Peter 1:2-4:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. — Romans 12:2
Let’s unpack this verse:
- conformed (suschematizo)
- to conform one’s self (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to)
NOTE: It carries the connotation of being squeezed into a mold by pressure.
- world (aion)
- This is where we get the word “eon” to denote a period of time. In this verse, it carries the connotation of “the culture and mores of this age.”
- transformed” (metamorphoo)
- to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure
NOTE: This is the same term used in the Gospel accounts of the Mount of Transfiguration when it says that Jesus was “transfigured.” It’s also the Greek word where we derive the English terms “metamorphosis” and “metamorphic.” The dictionary defines “metamorphosis” as “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” Thus, a hideous caterpillar spins a cocoon around itself and, through metamorphosis, turns into a gorgeous butterfly. By metamorphosis, an ugly lump of soft coal, though a combination of heat and pressure, is transformed into the hardest rock in the world as well as one of the most stunningly beautiful and valuable, a diamond.
- renewing (anakainosis)
- a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better”
- prove (dokimazo)
- to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
So a fuller translation would read like this:
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. — Romans 12:2 AMP
So if I want to test and see what the good, true, and perfect will of God is, I must allow God to renew my mind so that I am transformed from someone who does not believe some aspect of the Word of God into someone who not only grasps it intellectually, but has tested and proven it by experience.
Now, we’ll deal with the passage in 2 Peter:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. — 2 Peter 1:2-4
The verse clearly states that grace and peace are multiplied to us through the knowledge of God and that “all things that pertain to life and godliness” come through that same knowledge. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us look at that phrase “the knowledge of God” and re-translate it in our heads to “our knowledge about God.”
The difference here is crucial! The Holy Spirit speaking through Peter here is saying that grace, peace and all things that pertain to life and godliness come through knowing God, not knowing information about Him.
This is borne out in the Greek. The word for “knowledge” used in both places is the word epignosis whose literal translation is “precise and correct knowledge.” But there is a connotation to this word that carries an even deeper meaning and that is the idea that this knowledge is experiential in nature. That means that we know God with absolute certainty based upon our relationship with Him, as opposed to our intellectual acceptance of theological principles read in a book or taught from a pulpit.
So it’s by our accurately and experientially knowing God that He has given us His “great and precious promises” so that we “may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Let’s delve into that last phrase a bit further:
- partakers (kiononos)
- a partner, associate, comrade, companion in something.
- corruption (phthora)
- corruption, destruction, perishing”
- lust (epithumia)
- desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust
So this phrase literally means that we can become partners, associates and companions in the very character of God and escape the destruction and perishing that is in this world, a world filled with — and ruled by — selfish desires (aka sin).
Since we know that there was no evil — including sickness — in the Garden of Eden, we can also conclude that disease entered this world through Adam and Eve’s desire for what was forbidden. We also know that sickness and disease corrupt and destroys our bodies. So even though divine healing is not specifically called out in this passage, its inclusion is implied.
So the goal of what I’m about to share is mind renewal. That means that we are not to allow ourselves to be squeezed into the thinking patterns of this world system or religious traditions penned by long-dead theologians, but allow our minds to be changed in conformity to the good and true and perfect will of God for us, His Word. That experiential and accurate knowledge will enable us to escape not only sin, but sickness and disease through God’s precious promises, also found in His Word.
I’m going to present this process as a list, specifically targeted on the subject of healing, though the principles can be applied to any other matter over which you desire to discover God’s will and develop faith in it. The danger in my doing this in list form is that you might take it as some sort of recipe of dead religious works necessary to please God.
Nothing of the sort is intended! Indeed, my goal is precisely the opposite: that your thinking will be transformed to agree with God’s, a position of incredible spiritual strength and that, in the process, you come to know Jesus more fully and accurately. From there, you will be able to avail yourself of God’s promises and receive your healing.
First and foremost, pray and ask the same Holy Spirit Who authored the Bible to reveal whatever truth He feels is necessary for you to have a working revelation of God’s character, will, and ability concerning healing. This whole process is not about completing a recipe, but an exercise in positioning yourself to allow God to reveal Himself to you in a deeper way concerning divine healing.
Study the Word
Use whatever study aids you have available (computer-based Bible study applications such as Online Bible or reputable Bible websites such as those listed below to perform word searches on various terms concerning healing (e.g., healing, healed, made whole, etc.) in both the OT and NT. After you make your lists of verses, look up each of them in their context, reading whatever verses led up to the one listed and the ones after.
Read the verses concerning healing aloud to yourself. Some of you might scoff at the “aloud” portion of this, questioning its value and validity. But scientific studies have proven that when we speak, we have no choice but to believe whatever we say. We can and do filter out what other people say verbally and in print because of our own preconceptions, assumptions, prejudices, and emotional strongholds, but when we speak to ourselves aloud, we bypass those filters and accept without question whatever it is we say.
If we speak aloud thoughts and ideas contrary to the Word of God, that’s what we will accept and believe. If we speak aloud God’s Word, that’s what we will accept and believe.
Receive Revelation & Pray
As you are doing this, the Holy Spirit usually makes one or more passages you are reading come alive (“jump out at you”). Whenever that happens, that’s a verse He wants you to stand in faith upon. Ask God for your healing based upon that scripture verse, thanking Him that your healing is an accomplished fact. For example, if God quickens Isaiah 53:4-5 to you, you can pray, “Lord, I believe that Jesus has borne my sicknesses and carried my pains, and by His stripes I was healed, so based upon your Word, I ask You to heal my _________.”
After the initial prayer, regularly and, especially if your symptoms continue to escalate, thank God for healing your body based upon the verse you initially prayed. If the doctors tell you bad news concerning your situation, say something along the lines of “I’m not moved by what I see or hear, but by the Word of God which says…” and quote the verse again.
Continue to thank God for Him healing you. Apart from the obvious reasons of why we should be grateful to God for anything and everything, why is this important? Here’s why: maintaining an attitude of thankfulness helps keep your faith on track. If you, a rational person, are going to thank someone for a future delivery on a promise given you today, you must be convinced that the person who made it has the character and ability to deliver the goods. So by thanking God, we are putting ourselves into a mindset that His promise is true and that we will indeed receive whatever He has promised.
Faith Becomes Knowledge
Somewhere along the way, you are going to experience your verse as “heart knowledge.” That means that you become fully persuaded in your belief that the verse God has shown you is indeed the Truth. When this happens concerning our getting saved, we call this “assurance of salvation” which means that we no longer have any doubts whatsoever that we are indeed saved and going to heaven — we just know in our “knower” and no one and nothing thereafter can talk us out of that heart knowledge.
Receiving heart knowledge that you are healed based upon the verse(s) God has revealed to you is no different. Thereafter, you will respond instantly in your faith in God’s Word regarding healing to any and all attacks of sickness upon your body.
Denial is our refusing to deal with reality, saying, “I’m not sick, I’m not sick, I’m not sick!” whereas genuine faith is our proclamation of the superior, spiritual reality, saying, “By His stripes I’m healed!” for example.
If God tells you to do something, obey Him, period. If He tells you that you need to forgive someone or restore a broken relationship, stop making excuses and do it! If you are doing something that is detrimental to your health and He tells you to stop, then stop!
His grace is more than enough to equip and empower you to obey Him!
Continue doing these things until either: 1) the symptoms go away, and/or; 2) the doctors confirm that you are healed and require no further treatment.
An Ounce of Prevention…
The best time to get this process rolling is before you get sick, not after! Many believers wait until they have Stage 4 cancer before they dive into God’s Truth about divine healing and, while some do get healed miraculously, most of them die and receive their healing in heaven as a result. Doing so is like a Little Leaguer coming up to bat at a major league baseball game, needing to hit a home run with 2 strikes already against him, and facing “The Big Unit” on the pitcher’s mound — the odds of success are not on that child’s side.
PLEASE NOTE: Nowhere in this process, or in any other article I’ve written, have I advocated or even suggested that you refuse either medical treatment or to follow sound medical advice! God uses medicine and medical professionals regularly to effect healing in our bodies. Refusing treatment is a sign of spiritual ignorance and/or immaturity — how God chooses to heal us is His choice, never ours. All I have portrayed throughout my writings is that it is ALWAYS in ALL TIMES and in ALL PLACES, God’s will to heal us. Medical professionals serve a divine calling placed within them at birth by their Creator, Jehovah-Rapha, and are operating under His healing anointing, even though they may not be Christian believers or even acknowledge that God exists.
Thanks for reading!