DIVINE HEALING INCLUDED IN THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
God has made provision for the needs of His people through the sacrifice on Calvary.
GOD’S great economy has made provision for all the needs of His people. The world in its sinful career has substituted much for the blessings and benefits that God’s people who profess to be followers of God get mixed up in this matter of what God has provided, and what they should lean on the world for. As we read the Bible, we are convinced that God has made provision for every need of every soul who is born into His Kingdom and is a member of His triumphant Church.
The more we trust God, the better it pleases Him; and the more we lean upon the arm of flesh, the more grieved He becomes with us. It is a good thing to keep this thought before us as we are seeking the Lord. Every time we turn away from the great provision that is made by God in His plan of salvation, and turn to the world for support and deliverance in some emergency, the more we grieve God and the less we become possessors of that faith which was once delivered to the saints. That is what we are contending for. The business of the church of God is to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. That faith included everything which God provided for His people.
God’s Power Inexhaustible
People with strong, healthy bodies might not think the teaching of Divine Healing is so important to them; and others who have slight infirmities of the flesh for which they can find some little homeopathic cure, might think it does not concern them much. There are other persons who have exhausted the medical skill of the world, the knowledge of physicians and surgeons, and as a last resort, through the painful process of elimination, turn to God for help – because there is no other place to turn – they might be interested in the teaching of Divine Healing.
I am persuaded that, according to the Word, every child of God is to make it his business to trust God for the healing of his body, whether he has a pain in the back of his neck, or a cancer in his stomach. It is just as easy for God to heal one as the other; and God’s skill is never exhausted. If our faith is weak for cancer or consumption or something of that kind, our faith is weak for anything else: but if we can take hold of God’s promises and say, like Job of old, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” we are going to see results. God will not slay you; He will honor your faith. He may take you home to Glory, but that will be all the better.
Where Sickness Originated
In the third chapter of Genesis we read where disease, pain and death came from, and how they came upon the human race.
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou hath cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3: 14, 15).
This promise of God was given right after the Fall. It is the first promise of the Messiah to be found in the Bible. What a marvelous thing it is that God undertook to redeem the race the minute the race needed redemption! The seed of the woman should bruise the head of Satan.
The curse of God came as a result of disobedience. Disobedience to God is sin. If we think of God’s commandment as being harsh, cruel, and tyrannical, we have the wrong conception entirely. There is not one of God’s commandments that we cannot obey, and obey with joy and gladness – if we get a change of nature. When David said. “I delight to do thy will, O my God,” it was because he had had a change of heart and a change of nature. He willingly did that which was pleasing in the sight of God; and it was not hard for him to obey the commandments, statutes, and ordinances of God.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3: 17 -19).
Disobedience to God brought the curse; and pain and disease and death were the results of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There was nothing like that known before the Fall. There was no pain, no sickness, no death. But oh, we have a glorious promise here! And it follows right down through the Bible to the Book of Revelation – what we lost through the first Adam we gained back through the victory of the second Adam. Glory to God!
If our body is diseased and racked with pain, and we undergo the tortures of the devil’s doing, thank God, through the Blood of Christ’s Cross, through the second Adam we can be delivered – delivered! The testimonies we hear from time to time confirm that. Just today, and yesterday, and the day before, God answered prayer. And then some people say it is fanatical to believe in divine healing! If we do not believe in divine healing, we are failing God.
In Deuteronomy, chapter 28, are enumerated the blessings that shall come upon the children of God who observe and do all of his commandments. God has pronounced a definite blessing upon those who observe His commandments, and a curse upon all who disobey.
“The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish” (Deuteronomy 28:22).
If we consider this verse, we find included in these few words all the diseases known to medical science. We say science - although an eminent physician said, at a conference of prominent medics in Chicago some months ago, that, aside from some of the commonly known diseases and ills of the human race that everyone knows the symptoms of a large percent of the diagnoses is guesswork. Do you want to trust someone who is guessing? I would rather trust a Physician who knows all about me.
God has promised to heal all our diseases. He said to the Children of Israel:
“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee”(Exodus 15: 26).
If we analyze the matter, we shall find, in all probability, that the people who are trusting in the arm of flesh to get healing for their bodies are those who are not trusting God or who are under condemnation for sin and cannot trust God. The primary reason for all sickness and disease is sin.
You ask: Do you mean that everybody who gets sick has sinned? No, we do not mean to say that, but we do know that before sin ever came into this world there never was such a thing as disease, pain, or death. God has His own plans and purposes.
The Trial of Faith
It might be good to look into the second chapter of the Book of Job. The righteous are sometimes afflicted. Maybe it is for a corrective purpose; maybe God has a good reason for it; or maybe it is to prove their integrity to God before a gainsaying world. Let God be sovereign in all His dealings with us.
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
“And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life” (Job 2: 3,4).
That may be a maxim of this world, but that does not designate a Christian; for it is not true of a Christian – “all that a man hath will he give for his life.” Many a Christian has gladly forfeited his life for the principles God has put in his soul; and has retained his integrity to God, even though it cost him his life. So Satan is a liar, and the father of lies.
“But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
“So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2: 5-7).
That was a trial of faith but not because Job had sinned. They very likely pointed the finger of scorn at Job, and said: “You have sinned or this terrible calamity would not have come upon you.” He proved his integrity to God. He stood true through the loss of every tangible thing in his life. He proved his faith in God. He stood fearless, firm, and faithful in spite of enemies from without and enemies from within. Even his own wife told him to curse God and die, but he had this testimony: “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” He fell on his face and worshiped God. In all these things not once did Job charge God foolishly.
When we have experiences that are hard to understand, when we cannot see through all that God is permitting to come our way, think of Job in that same predicament. The Apostle said, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” Would not those words have been a comfort to Job? He stood alone, not only bereft of all his children and everything he once possessed, but afflicted with painful boils; and still he retained his integrity.
We do not have to read the rest of it; we know what Job did – he stood true. He was not living in our time under the Christian dispensation; he was living in days when those men of God had to have naked faith in God. They did not have these promises that you and I can turn to in the hour of severe trial. They had to stand for God, and stand alone, without any fellowship or support or comfort or common understanding from anyone about them; but they stood the test.
A Burden of Prayer
There is another sickness spoken of by Daniel. Christians are sometimes burdened so severely that they literally become sick. I know from experience that if one has a real burden for something upon his heart, he literally becomes sick. That kind of sickness is not from the devil. Daniel had it.
“And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it”(Daniel 8:27).
God gave Daniel a vision of the terrifying judgements that were coming upon this world – maybe those very judgements that shall fall in your day and mine – and those visions had such an effect upon him that he fainted and was sick certain days.
Sometimes it is good for God’s saints to have such a burden that they get that kind of sickness. Prayer prayed when a burden like that comes upon you are more effectual. There is more wrestling with God, there is more gripping of the horns of the altar, when a burden comes upon your soul; and God blesses the soul that has a burden for prayer with groanings which cannot be uttered. There is suffering in the deepest regions of your soul, and you do not always know what it is. Yet it grips you until you almost faint and are sick, as Daniel was. That kind of “sickness” is of God.
Daniel realized the imminence of coming judgment. Sometimes when we look out over the world and see conditions as they are today, it fairly turns us sick because we know that just as surely as these things continue and intensify, the judgement of God is going to fall in all its fury upon the human race.
Divine Healing Promised
In Isaiah, chapter 53, we find a promise, not only of a Messiah, a Redeemer, a Savior, but also a promise of a Healer Divine.
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:1-5).
That means spiritual healing and it also means physical healing. When God said, “I am the LORD that healeth thee,” He meant physically. If we lean on the arm of flesh, and turn to man for help, it is hard for God to do anything for us; and that is why it is hard for God to get some people into the place where He can heal them. God does not heal us against our will; God heals us because we trust Him, wait upon Him, believe Him, and renounce every earthly refuge. That is the kind of people who receive healing from God.
The Healing Touch
“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
“And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them” (Matthew 8 : 14, 15).
This was one kind of sickness that was spoken of by God back in Deuteronomy. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with fever. I do not know whether that fever registered 105, 106 or even 107 degrees but it was a fever. She was sick, and in bed. Jesus came and touched her hands and the fever left her; and she arose and ministered unto them.
“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8: 16, 17).
The business of every child of God is to turn to the Lord as his Physician. It is no wonder that people perish when, under the blazing light of God’s truth, they turn to the arm of flesh. The Word of God says: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” I think the Scripture bears out, beyond question, the fact that bodily healing, as well as salvation for the soul, is provided in the Atonement.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17, 18).
That was the commission of Jesus to the disciples. They were specifically commanded to lay hands on the sick, in the name of the Lord, and to preach the Gospel in its entirety.
True Faith Not Fanaticism
We know there are people who have gone wild and have done a lot of foolish things. You read about the would-be “snake-charmers” in Virginia and in some of the southern states doing all sorts of wild things. You hear of them holding their hands in the flames, drinking deadly poisons, playing with rattlesnakes and copperheads, and doing things of that kind. But because some people do that which is unscriptural and fanatical is no reason we should not observe and obey the plain truths of God’s eternal Word.
Some say: “Why don’t you take up serpents? Why don’t you drink deadly poisons?” I say the Bible gives us to understand clearly enough that if by accident or through ignorance one should come in contact with anything deadly, the Lord will be there to protect him as in the experience of Paul the Apostle. But the Bible does not teach the willful handling of snakes. That is presumptuous sin.
The saints of God have been bitten by deadly insects; they have accidently swallowed glass and poison; and God has marvelously healed them. God says: “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Faith that wavers and falters is not faith at all. Faith that stands firm is the faith which brings the results and the reward. God will honor it.
To the Believer
In the Epistle of James we read:
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5: 13-15).
That is God’s message to the believer, not mine. It is for every true believer. Will we believe it? Will we accept it? Will we take it for what it is worth? Our help comes from God – and not from the arm of flesh. If you are sick in body call for the elders of the church to pray for you for the healing of your body; and if the faith channels are clear, your conscience clear, and there is no condemnation upon your heart, you have every reason to believe God for the perfect healing of your body.
James said: “Call for the elders.” The first thing some people do when they are sick or become afflicted is to call a doctor or someone who knows about disease, sickness, and infirmities. That is not according to the Word. The first thing they should do is to pray and get in touch with God’s ministers who will pray for them. (State and local laws frequently make it necessary to call a physician in case of serious illness; and a true Christian can obey the civil laws without hindering his faith.)
We read: “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.” This shows us there is something to be done by the afflicted one himself. He should first get into a condition where he can get his own prayer through before sending for the elders. Many times, if this were done, it would not be necessary for the ministry to be called - except when help was needed in a desperate way. God will honor and bless those who follow His Word.
“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vow unto the most High:
“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50: 14,15).
Broken vows are often the cause of prayers going unanswered. Broken vows! You have disappointed God. You have fallen down somewhere in your allegiance to God and you wonder why you cannot get your prayers through. Pay thy vows to the Most High, call upon Him, and He will deliver thee. Yes, there are conditions to meet, many times, in order to receive healing from God. As we said before, God has to get people to the place where He can heal them.
God wants us where He can be pleased to pour His blessing out upon us. And if we are walking contrary to the will of God, violating the known will of God, breaking His commandments, ordinances, and precepts, the best prayer under those conditions is: “O God, forgive me; restore me to thy fellowship and confidence; restore my faith; and I will prove true. I will stand by the Word.” Then your prayers will go through and God will answer.
In II Chronicles we find an account of one who turned to the arm of flesh.
“And, behold the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
“And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians” (II Chronicles 16: 11,21).
Asa was a man who had trusted God and had been faithful to Him. God had honored him in his zeal to purify Israel, separate the people from their idolatry, and help them get back to God. In the last days of his reign he was diseased in his feet until his disease was “exceeding great.” Yet the Word says he sought not the Lord for his healing, but turned to physicians. Could anything be more definite than this as to what the man of God should do when he is diseased?
The next verse reads:
“And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.”
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me.” God help us to take counsel from the Lord! God will honor the man or woman who will take counsel from God’s Word, and let all other counsel go by the board if it is not according to His Word and in harmony with the teaching of His word.
You may do as you choose about your future welfare from a physical standpoint. Every man is going to answer for himself to the Word of God. He must stand or fall before God alone – and it is not what I say or do not say. Don’t come to me and say, “I have a pain and I think it is appendicitis. What should I do?” If you have a pain in your side, and you think it is appendicitis, take counsel of God. But do not try to involve your preacher in your unbelief. Take your stand for God, believe His Word, and see God answer.
I know a young woman in the Gospel who some years ago, had a pain in her side; and her mother, becoming alarmed, induced her to go to the doctor and have an operation. This young woman said that she suffered for two years after the operation. She said, “I thought I never would get back my faith that I lost when I failed to trust God.”
Another woman here today was marvelously healed of a terrible tumor. Years ago in a backslidden state, she had appendicitis. She had lost her faith; she had lost her grip on God, and in the time of trial she turned to the arm of flesh. She went to the doctors and had an operation. God in His mercy spared her life and she came back to God and was restored. Then she was again brought face to face with the same sort of test. A serious condition set in from the tumor. The doctor said she would have to have an operation immediately. She chose to trust God, and God healed her. She went back to the same doctor and he said there was not a trace of the tumor to be found.
There is many a person in the “slough of despond” because he should have trusted God and did not; and he lost his faith and grip on God. Today he has nothing substantial to stand upon; and then he wonders what is the matter. It means something to stand for God and to trust Him! It pays!
Trusting God Profitable
It pays to trust God. We trust God in our existence in this world; we trust God for other things. Why should it be harder for us to trust God for health than for happiness? God’s blessings are beyond our understanding and our finding out. We can well afford to trust Him; He will honor us if we do. We shall suffer if we do not trust Him.
Let us get a new grip on the Lord and on His Word of promise, and stand as we never have stood before on the Word of God for the healing of our body, no matter what the conditions may be. – R. R. C.