The Healing Church
By Abraham Israel
The Church of Jesus Christ is a healing church because He has already provided healing and health for every member of it through the atonement on the cross. The atonement provides protection of the spirit, soul and body through the Blood that was shed and the healing of the spirit, soul and body through the Body that was broken [stripes] for us on the cross of Calvary (1 Thess 5:23-24).First and foremost of all, the most important truth for the sick person to get healed is that, He must believe that it is God’s will for Him to be healed. The church as a whole needs to understand that sickness is an oppression of the devil. As the word of God clearly points out in Acts 10:38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. As we see in this preceding verse Jesus went about doing good and healing because sickness is an evil oppression of the devil by which Satan steals, kills and destroys the life of people. If sickness is the will of God for some people, Jesus would have healed some and would have said to others that they should persevere with the sickness in faith so that God will be pleased with their life. Only a religious deceiving spirit will make people think like this. This is deceitful pride. Instead, the good news is Jesus healed all those who came to Him and all who still come to him in faith.
Sickness is a curse because in God’s original plan for this planet earth, there was no sickness in the Garden of Eden. Sickness is absolutely due to the curse that came upon mankind because of one man’s disobedience to God’s decree (Rom 5:12, 18-19). But Jesus came to rescue all mankind from death and restore all that was lost through the fall of man and the curses that came upon every human being as a result of it (Galatians 3:13).
Jesus said, “I am the life” (John 14:6) and also He said, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” When we have this life of Jesus in us by believing what He has done for us on the cross, it will repel the urge to sin and will give us the power to say no to sin and to the consequences of it which is sickness. Sin is the root cause of sickness in our life. Sickness and life don’t go together. Even the natural life that is in our body repels all kind of sickness and that is what we call it as immunity. Our body was not designed to be a “temple of sickness and devils”, but to be “the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16).
Jesus came only for this purpose that is “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3: . So only Jesus healed all that came to get healing and in several scriptures Jesus rebuked the sicknesses and healed the oppressed (Matthew 8:16-17; Luke 4:38, 39).Why should Jesus rebuke the sickness if it is a inanimate thing and not a person that is the cause behind it? Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea when He knew that Satan was behind it to kill all of them in the sea (John 10:10; Matthew 8:23-27). It is the same with the sickness that people experience that eventually makes them die slowly. This clearly points to the devil and his evil co-workers as the root cause of all sickness.
It is God’s will to be healthy and prosperous in all areas of our life (3 John 2). Hence the one and only hope for mankind to receive all these God’s blessings is through Jesus Christ who was sent by God for this purpose of saving all mankind from Satan’s evil oppressive curses (John 3:17). For this reason He came to this planet earth and died for the whole human race to be blessed by God. The removal of disease is included in Christ’s redemptive work, along with the removal of sins (Isaiah 53:4; Matt 8:16-17). Here the word ‘bore’ means substitution and not sympathy. In that way He took our weaknesses and was substituted for our sickness [curses]. What makes the fact that He achieved for us to be manifested in our life is the faith that we have in Him and His substitutionary work.
Salvation and healing are for every one who believes. So faith in the heart plays an important role for those who pray for the sick and also for the one who receives the healing from God. As believers in Jesus Christ, Jesus has given us the power to cast out devils and heal diseases (Luke 9:1-2). And Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18, “15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who [what?] believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they [here the Bible does not say ‘they may recover’ but] will recover.”
This is the promise that is given to every believer. So we need to keep our eyes on the promises of Jesus and should lay hands on the sick believing Jesus will heal them. Then in the succeeding verses in Mark 16:19-20 the Bible says, “19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Here we see how Jesus faithfully confirmed the word of His promise to these people who took Jesus at His word and did what he told them to do. Jesus did not leave them alone, but He worked with them confirming what He had promised to them. We also will see the Lord working with us and confirm the same promise through the accompanying signs, if we believe Him now and preach the healing Gospel every where expecting the same thing to happen now. It will happen because Jesus is still on the throne sitting at the right hand of the Father.
So preaching the gospel in obedience to His command is very important for us to see healings and signs to take place when we minister the word. God expects us to do this in obedience to His command. It is not an option to consider but a command to all of us personally because we are believers.
The word of God is the personification of Jesus Christ (John 5:39, 46-47; Luke 24:27, 32). Hence we need to preach Jesus who is in its pages (John 1:1; Acts 8:1, 4-8, 35). As the Bible says, “He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps 107:20). God delivers people from sickness, disease, sin and death only through the word of God. Once people receive His word, healing and deliverance will follow. So speak the word! The word will deliver you and those who hear you speak, because the Bible says it is a double edged sword and will separate the spirit and soulish thoughts and will help you to receive the Word of God from the throne room of Heaven in your spirit (2 Tim 4:2; 1 Tim 4:16; Heb 4:12).
So God Himself expects both the message of forgiveness and healing to be preached in Jesus Name. So preaching only forgiveness of sins with out God’s power to heal is to make the word powerless by unbelief. So only even the disciples of Jesus prayed to God, “29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).
And also in the above verse we can see that only the genuine touch of God’s hand can heal somebody who needs healing. In the Bible God’s hand always represents the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Only when we are constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Spirit again and again like the apostles, then only we can bring this healing power of God in to the natural physical realm. He [the Holy Spirit] will make us speak in the Name of Jesus and will speak through us to bring deliverance to the multitudes (Acts 1:16; Luke 1:70; Mark 13:11; Acts 13:9-12). Speaking the word of God by being filled with the Spirit will only bring true healing and deliverance to the multitudes.
When we obey His Great commission (Matt 28:16-20) and step out to preach the full Gospel [not just the half] and proclaim His word [i.e. the message of forgiveness and healing] then it is God’s responsibility to confirm His word through sign accompanying it and He is faithful and will surely confirm His word. This Healing manifestation of God’s power is for all [i.e. irrespective of whether someone is a believer or an unbeliever] through the proclamation of the preaching of God’s word or in other words Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then a question may arise, what about the believers in the church? Is it for them too? We must understand that it is God’s nature to heal that gives us healing not our goodness or our faith only. It is not about the methods that we use but about the God whose very Name is the Healer. God says about Himself in His Word, “…For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). The Word of God says and asks the question “Is any one among you sick (James 5:13)? Among whom if we ask ourselves, he is speaking to the church and the Believers.
“14 Is anyone among you sick? 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. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses [Therefore confess your sins] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:14-16). So in the church if a believer is sick, the first thing the believer must do is to call for the elders of the church and request him to anoint him with oil and pray against the sickness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The oil is used as a tangible symbolic substance to indicate the releasing of the power of the Holy Spirit by faith in the broken body of Jesus that brings the healing power in manifestation and the Lord will raise him up. And also with the healing, [only] if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. What a wonderful package Jesus has given to us to receive through His atonement on the cross and through the church. This is the reason the church is essentially a healing church! Hallelujah!
Some people say this verse speaks for sickness that comes as the result of sin only. So they reason out that the promise is for sicknesses that come as the result of sin and not for every other sickness. But the word says, “[only] …if he had committed sins”. This tells us that with the healing, forgiveness of sins is only an option, if it is the result of sins.
It conveys the idea that no matter what is the reason for sickness, God promises to raise them [the sick persons] up if only the church will believe His healing power and will move in faith towards its manifestation. It is the wonderful privilege of the church to receive healing from the Lord who has promised His church that He will heal and raise people from their sickness no matter what reason it has come.
And the elders who pray for the sick must pray the prayer of faith. If it is done by the church in obedience to His word the Lord will once again manifest His power as usual in His church. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God has given healing for every believer as a package with the forgiveness of sins. The church needs faith to flow in the healing power of the Lord! Are you ready for it! Amen!