Scripture speaks just as clearly about God’s will to heal as it speaks about the forgiveness of sins! Many may think this is a shocking statement, but it is true. Sometimes we don’t see this as clearly in modern translations, but an understanding of the original languages makes it even more clear. Here is an overview of several strong proofs that healing is part and parcel of salvation.
1. What Are God’s Benefits?
Psalm 103 says to bless the Lord and not forget any of his benefits. The first two benefits it names are that God forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases. Could it be any clearer?
2. Christ Redeemed Us From The Curse Of The Law
Deuteronomy 28 gives the blessing of the law under the Old Covenant for obedience, and the curse of the law for disobedience. The curse names many diseases specifically, and then it goes on to include “every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this book of the law.”
Galatians 3:31 says that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. The curse of the law included every sickness and disease imaginable, and Jesus redeemed us from these. Pretty simple, huh?
3. We Have A Better Covenant With Better Promises
The Old Covenant included healing. We see that in verses such as Exodus 15:26, where God promised that if the Israelites obeyed him he would not bring on them any of the diseases he brought on the Egyptians. In fact the record of scripture tells us that the Israelites enjoyed health for their 40 years in the desert, except for when they disobeyed God. Psalm 105:37 says there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Yet scripture tells us that we have a superior covenant with better promises. It’s not based on our obedience which often falls short, but on Christ’s sacrifice.
Moses beheld God’s glory so that when he died at the age of 120 he had perfect eyesight and was strong like a young man. Yet the glory Moses beheld pales in comparison to the surpassing glory we have access to in Jesus.
4. Old Testament Types Of Jesus’ Atonement Provided Physical Healing
One example of this is found in Numbers 21, where the Israelites sinned and were bitten by snakes. God told Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who was bitten would be healed and live if they looked at it.
Jesus made it clear that this story foreshadowed his death. In John 3:14 Jesus said that he would be lifted up (on the cross) just like Moses lifted up the snake, so that everyone who believes would have eternal life in him.
Another notable example is found in 2 Chronicles 30, where God healed the people as they celebrated the Passover. The Passover is clearly another type of Jesus and his atonement. These are not the only types of the atonement where we see physical healing, but are just two examples.
5. Jesus Considered Disease The Work Of The Devil
We see this in Acts 10:38, which says Jesus went about healing all who were under the power of the devil. We also see it in Luke 13, where Jesus said a crippled woman had been “bound by Satan for 18 long years.” 1 John 3:8 tells us that the reason Jesus appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
6. Jesus Considered Physical Healing Proof Of His Authority To Forgive Sins
This is found in Mark chapter 2. A paralyzed man’s four friends lowered into the house through the roof so they could get him to Jesus. Jesus told him “Your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees got mad and started whispering “who is this to forgive sins?” Jesus told them “Watch, and you’ll see my authority to forgive sins,” and then said to the paralytic “Pick up your bed and walk.” Jesus considered physical healing a demonstration of his authority to forgive sins.
Not only that, but Jesus passed on the authority to forgive sins to his disciples. See John 20:23.
7. Jesus Commanded All His Followers To Heal The Sick And Do The Works He Did
In the end of Matthew 9, we see Jesus traveling throughout all the towns and healing every sickness and disease. In Matthew 10, Jesus gave his disciples the authority to do the same and sent them to heal every sickness and disease. In Luke 10, we see Jesus sending out 72 others to do the same.
Then in the great commission, Jesus told these same disciples to teach all future disciples the same things he had taught them. Matthew 28:18-20 extends the commission to heal the sick to all Jesus followers. In the parallel passage in Mark 16, Jesus said the signs that would follow his disciples included “They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Jesus said in John 14:12 that those who believed in him would do the same works and greater. Anything we have a scriptural mandate to do is surely God’s will.
8. Healing Is Part Of God’s Unchanging Nature
A name in Hebrew is quite significant. It is a revelation of character. One of God’s names, which he spoke directly in Exodus 15:26, is “The Lord Who Heals You.” Healing is an integral part of God’s nature. Scripture repeatedly says that Jesus healed because he had compassion on the people. Jesus healed because it was his nature to do so. The primary motive that scripture gives us for Jesus’ healing miracles is not to prove his divinity, but his compassion. If Jesus only healed to prove his divinity, why would he have commissioned his disciples to heal the sick?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God’s nature does not change. Jesus has the same compassion today as the compassion that motivated him to heal everyone who touched him 200o years ago. He is the head, and we are his body, growing up in all things into Jesus until we reach the “full measure of the stature of Christ.” When we feel compassion, we are feeling God’s heart and it should motivate us to do the works of Christ.
9. A False Dichotomy Between The Spiritual And Physical Is Both Heretical And Unscientific
The Gnostics were an early religious group which denied that Jesus had come in the flesh. The basic reason they denied this fundamental Christian doctrine was that their belief system entailed a false dichotomy between the body and the spirit. They believed the physical world was evil and the spiritual was good. They believed a person is a spirit, and they saw the body as a burden to be freed from. The idea that Jesus came in the flesh offended them. If the physical was evil, a holy God could not have come in a human body.
The apostle John called such teaching “antichrist.” A person is not just a spirit. A person is a body, soul, and a spirit, and Jesus came to save people. Scripture reflects this. God cares about your body just as he cares about your spirit. He cares for the whole person and is able to “save completely” those who come to God through him.
Such a false dichotomy is also unscientific. The body, soul, and spirit affect each other closely. Science confirms this. Peace in the soul has a powerful effect on the body. On the other hand, many scientists believe that the primary causes of physical sickness are things like fear and anxiety. Scientists such as Dr. Carolyn Leaf have identified mechanisms in the neurological and endocrine systems by which soulish and spiritual issues cause a whole host of physical diseases.
Denying the scriptural doctrine of redemption for the body undermines the scriptural doctrines of redemption for the soul and the forgiveness of sins. It leads to a theoretical gospel that lacks power. Scripture warns against the doctrine of those who hold to a form of godliness but deny its power.
10. Jesus Carried Our Pains And Sicknesses Just As He Carried Our Sins
A literal translation of Isaiah 53 says that Jesus carried our pains and our sicknesses. It uses the very same language to say that Jesus carried our pains and sicknesses as it uses to say that Jesus carried our sins and bore our iniquities. It says that God bruised Jesus and made him sick for our redemption, and there is healing for us in Jesus’ bruises. Is this figurative language?
Look at where these words are used earlier in scripture. The Hebrew word “pain” is used many times earlier in the Old Testament and nearly always refers to physical pain. The book of Job uses the other word to talk about physical sickness, although it is sometimes used more figuratively. You can see this with Bible study software like the free program e-sword.
But what makes the physical nature of these sicknesses and pains indisputable is Matthew 8:16-17. Jesus was healing masses of people. Mathew 8:16 says he healed them all. Then Matthew 8:17 says this was to fulfill to words of Isaiah that Jesus carried our sicknesses and diseases. It is directly quoting Isaiah.
There’s no getting around it. Even translations that translate Isaiah 53 figuratively translate the quotation of Isaiah 53 in Matthew 8 literally. The context of physical healing is undeniable. Any attempts to get around this point are feeble and irrational. 1 Peter 2:24 also directly quotes Isaiah 53 saying “by his wounds you have been healed.” Again, even translations which treat Isaiah 53 figuratively translate the quotation of it in 1 Peter literally.
Why did some translators translate Isaiah 53 figuratively and not literally? The implications of a literal translation blew their minds and destroyed their religious traditions rooted in Gnosticism!
11. Jesus Is The Exact Revelation Of God’s Will And Nature
Jesus told his disciples that he didn’t withhold anything from them, but revealed to them everything the Father had made known to him. God has made known to us the mystery of his will by setting it forth in Christ. He has spoken to us through his Son Jesus. God’s will is not a mystery. If you want to know it, look at Jesus.
The perfect reflection of God’s character and nature can only be seen in Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God. To see Jesus is to see God and to know his will. And Jesus healed every single person who came to him or touched him. No exceptions. He went through ALL the towns and villages, healing EVERY sickness and disease. A great deal of what scripture tells us about Jesus is his healing ministry. Jesus revealed God’s nature and God’s will by what he said and did.
12. The Language Scripture Uses For Salvation Applies Equally To Physical Healing As It Does To Regeneration Of The Spirit
One of the two most common words translated “saved” in the New Testament is “sozo.” Scripture uses it in classic salvation verses, like Ephesians 2:8, which says that we are saved by grace through faith, and John 3:17, which says that Jesus came into the world not to condemn it but that the world might have eternal life through him.
You can see all the scriptural uses of “sozo” at this link. Notice how many of them, especially in the book of Mark, refer to physical healing. For example, Mark 6:56 says they laid sick people on the street, and all who even touched Jesus’ cloak were healed. The word “healed” here is actually the same word translated “saved” in many classic salvation verses like Ephesians 2:8. Why? This word is practical, not spiritualized. The scriptural view of salvation includes the whole being. You are not only a spirit. Hebrews says Jesus is able to “save completely” those who come to God through him. Not save them partially. The spiritualized view of salvation came through the Gnostic heresy and Greek philosophy, not from scripture.
When is the time of salvation? It’s always now. Now is the time of salvation and the day of God’s favor. God isn’t waiting to heal anybody any more than He’s waiting to forgive sins.
13. God’s Kingdom Is Always Expanding
Scripture shows God continually revealing himself until that revelation culminated when Jesus came as a man. Daniel prophesied of Jesus as a stone not cut by human hands which destroys the nations of the earth and then grows to become a mountain that fills the earth. Scripture says that the world will surely be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory as the waters cover the sea.
How does Jesus grow to become a mountain that fills the earth? Through the church, which is his body. The works of Jesus increase through his body. To deny that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the church is another way of denying the incarnation. For healing to cease God would have to fail in his purpose of placing his Spirit in men. For healing to cease, the rock would have to shrink and disappear instead of growing to become a mountain that filled the earth. If healing ceased, Jesus words “It’s better for you that I leave because I’m sending you the Holy Spirit” don’t make any sense at all. If healing ceased it would be worse for us that Jesus ascended, not better.
I don’t see how anybody can believe that the Bible is God’s word and reject these clear statements and teachings in scripture. Scripture is so clear, so why do we question it? One of the reasons is that some Christians who believe in healing have abusively blamed sick people for their lack of faith in not being healed. Satan twists truth that is really good news in order to make it painful for some people.
And if God’s will is really healing, why are so many people sick? Even people who believe in healing. We deal with these questions in the next blog post, If Jesus Redeemed Us From Sickness, Why Are So Many Christians Sick?