God has given us the means of grace whereby we can develop faith to receive the healing that belongs to us:
The only record of anything hindering Jesus from accomplished the will of God in people’s lives concerning healing does not call into question God’s will to heal. It simply highlights that our will can hinder the Lord accomplishing His desire for us to be well:
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” (Mark 6:1-6 NKJV)
The unbelief of the people of Jesus hometown hindered the will of God.
“Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matt 13:58 NKJV)
Developing faith for healing
God has provided several means of grace whereby we can receive the healing provided for us in Jesus Christ.
First: A personal knowledge of His character through the Person of Jesus, the Word of God, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.
Many today in the Body of Christ are like the people of Nazareth. The prevailing atmosphere of unbelief in their lives, and a picture of Jesus that is less that Scriptural, hinders the will of God being accomplished in their lives in the area of healing.
Still others are like the leper in Mark chapter one. They believe that God can heal, but doubt that He will heal them. Gloria Copeland puts it this way: “Many believe in His ability but not His mercy.”
The remedy for both of these doctrinal afflictions is to become personally familiar with what the Word of God says about the Person and the will of God.
The Scriptures do not present God as a fickle unloving deity, disassociated from the suffering of His creation. The opposite is true. We are told that, “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” (Psalm 145:8 NKJV)
and that Jesus Christ, our High Priest and Advocate, is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:5).
Again and again Jesus in His earthly ministry was moved with the Father’s compassion to heal the sick:
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matt 14:14)
Compassion and mercy are translated from the same Greek word.
Compassion can be defined as ‘a moving or yearning desire in the inward parts, the heart or spirit, toward another’ (W E Vine, An Expository Dictionary)
God’s hand of mercy is extended to us; His hand is not short that it cannot heal (Isaiah 59:1). The Bible tells us plainly that God’s power is for us, not against us, toward us, not away from us:
“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Eph 1:19)
When we align ourselves in faith, both in the Word and character of our God, we are positioned to receive His bountiful mercy.
Second: The Word of God
The antidote to unbelief is the Word of God. The Bible says:
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17 NKJV)
As we hear and apply God’s Word to our lives in the area of healing, faith will ‘come’ to our heart for the promise of God to be manifest in our body.
T L Osborn says in his book “Healing the Sick”, “When believed and acted upon, any promise of God is transformed into the power of God”.
In this respect he continues in chapter four of the same book:
“FAITH COMES by hearing the word of God. Faith is never derived through sympathy. Faith never comes through discussing with people their pains and aches, weaknesses and sicknesses.
Faith is born when we hear the word of truth. Jesus said: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. He is the truth.
If we want to see people delivered from the bondage of disease, we must teach them the part of God’s word that sets them free from disease. The truth is: Christ wills every person (you) to be healed, or He would not have taken the stripes by which you were healed.
Then one may ask, “Why do not more get healed?” The answer: Because of the lack of teaching and preaching the Bible truth of healing.
Let us not stand by the bed of sick people to sympathize with their pains. Let us never insinuate that it must be God’s will to “take them”; or that “it will teach them patience”; or that perhaps, “they will be drawn closer to the Lord” through their sickness.
Let us rather declare war on every form of sickness, and take authority over every form of demon power through the name of Jesus Christ. Let us minister deliverance to those in need of healing.”
F. F. Bosworth begins his classic work on Healing with these words:
“Before you can have a steadfast faith for the healing of your body, you must be rid of all uncertainty concerning God’s will in the matter. Appropriating faith cannot go beyond your knowledge of the revealed will of God.
Before attempting to exercise faith for healing, you need to know what the scriptures plainly teach; that it is just as much God’s will to heal the body as it is God’s will to heal the spirit. It is only by knowing that God promises what you are seeking that all uncertainty can be removed and a steadfast faith can be possible.
His promises are each a revelation of what God is eager to do for us. Until we know what God’s will is, there is nothing on which to base our faith.
…Jesus said, The word is the seed. It is the seed of divine life. Until you are sure from God’s word that it is His will to heal you, you are trying to reap a harvest where no seed has been planted. It would be impossible for a farmer to have faith for a harvest before seed was planted.”
Freedom from sickness comes from knowing the truth. God does nothing without His word. If you are sick, knowledge that it is God’s will to heal you is the seed which is to be planted in your mind and heart.
The Word is a supernatural seed that produces after its own kind. The Word of healing planted and watered will produce healing:
“He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” (Psa 107:20 NKJV)
If we want to develop faith for healing we must know for certain what the Scriptures teach concerning healing. We can read other books and testimonies about God’s healing power, but it is the Scriptures themselves that carry the supernatural anointing to produce real faith in the heart of the hearer. Listed at the end of this session is a list of Scriptures to look up and underline or highlight in your own Bible. These are the seeds of your health and wellbeing, and the healing of those whom you minister to:
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV)
Through prayer we can appropriate the promise of God. Once we have planted the seed of God’s word in our heart, we can claim with confidence what belongs to us in Christ by simply asking in His name:
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13 NKJV)
““Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” (John 16:23 NKJV)
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”” (Matthew 21:22 NKJV)
“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. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:15-16 NKJV)
The Father withholds nothing from His children. In fact the Bible says that healing is like the children’s bread, and not even an earthly father would withhold necessary bread from a hungry child! (Matthew 15:26-28)
The Father withholds nothing from His children. In fact the Bible says that healing is like the children’s bread, and not even an earthly father would withhold necessary bread from a hungry child! (Matt 15:26-28)
Application of Faith for healing
In this section we will consider several avenues the Lord has provided for healing to be appropriated and ministered. These are:
- The Word (and confession)
- Laying on hands
- Anointing oil and the prayer of faith
- The ordinance of the Lord’s supper
- A Righteous and wise Lifestyle
a. The Word and confession
We discussed in the previous section the importance of the word. Here we reveal what many call “God’s Prescription For Health” or simply “God’s Medicine”. It is found in Proverbs 4:20-23:
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NKJV)
“Attend”: Give undivided attention to. Continually give the Word first place in your life and time.
“Incline your ear…”: Put your physical ears and the ears of your spirit where the Word of God is being spoken. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Mark 4:23-25 says in the Amplified Bible:
“If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force],”
Be careful what you are hearing. Shut your ears to doubt and unbelief. F F Bosworth says, “Don’t doubt your faith; doubt your doubts, for they are unreliable!”. We must be careful to be hearing what will feed our faith, not nourish our fears.
The measure of thought and study we give to the Word will determine the measure of virtue that comes back to us, and the virtue of God, when released, destroys sickness.
“And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” (Luke 6:19 KJV)
“Let them not depart from your eyes…”
Keep your eyes on the Word, not your circumstances or the symptoms in your body. The picture of health and strength painted by the Word must overshadow those signs that appear contrary to your healing. If we look at the sickness we empower it to develop, if we look at the Word we cause the sickness to diminish.
“Keep them in the midst of your heart…”
When the word is consistently attended to it begins to penetrate the heart. It goes beyond the mental level and begins to work in the spirit.
Romans 10:10 says that it is with the heart that man believes.
Matthew 12:34-35 tells that from the abundance (the overflow) of the heart the mouth speaks, releasing the creative power to ‘bring forth’. We will always bring forth from our heart what it is full of. If our heart is full of the force of faith for healing (the result of constant attendance to the Word of healing), it will bring forth faith.
2 Corinthians 4:13 reveals the same principle.
Again, Proverbs 20:21 declares the fact that our mouth will produce either life or death.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].” (Prov 18:21 AMP)
Our heart and mouth will either produce life or death. This is why the Scriptures declare that, applied correctly, the Word will be life to our spirit and health to our flesh.
The Scripture we are considering in Proverbs continues, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life”. The issues or the forces of life spring from the heart. A heart filled with the Word will issue forth life and health.
Concerning ‘diligence’ in the Word I quote now from Kenneth Copeland, VICTORY magazine, July 2005:
“How do we position ourselves for the release of all God’s blessings so that His glory floods the earth? Look again at Deuteronomy 28:1: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments …. “
Would you like to unlock the unlimited provision of God for this day? Be diligent about the voice of the Lord. Let His Word fill your eyes and your heart. Let it fill your lips.
I know diligence is not usually an exciting word, but when you see the power and provision that word will unlock in your life, you will literally run to attend consistently to the things of God’s Word.
Diligence is not dredging up some great reserve of soulish effort. It means choosing what we give our attention to. Diligence simply refers to that about which you are attentive and busy doing.
Let me add to that definition something you are not going to find until you get into the laws of the spirit:
You are being diligent about something all the time. That is the way you were created by God. You have an attention and you give it. The fact that you are alive means you are busy all the time.
It’s not hard to find what you are diligent about. Just ask: “What am I busy about most of the time? What has captured my attention?”
“But, Brother Copeland, I know some people who are not diligent about anything.”
Then they are diligent about nothing. If a person is doing nothing, then nothing has his attention. And we produce what we give our attention to. What does being diligent about nothing produce? Nothing. More nothing. Greater amounts of nothing. Nothing a hundredfold!
Have you said, “I just don’t have anything”?’ If it’s true, it’s because you’ve been diligent about nothing. You simply need to change what you’ve been giving your attention to.
…A generation of believers that gives its attention to the Word will soon start thinking, speaking and acting according to its authority. It will loose burdens and destroy yokes and start enforcing the devil’s defeat on every hand. No wonder he gets agitated over believers who begin to give attention to the Word of God! He knows the continual flow of blessings that will follow spells total defeat for him!”
b. Laying on hands
We consider in detail the foundational doctrine in Module 2, lesson 3. One of the key purposes for laying on hands is to release faith and ‘dunamis’ (power) to drive sickness and demons from people’s mind and body and spirit.
There are numerous instances in the Scriptures where Jesus and the disciples are witnessed placing their hands on the sick and seeing them recover.
“When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.” (Luke 4:40 NKJV)
“And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.” (Acts 28:8 NKJV)
Jesus further endorsed the continuance of this practice, with the same results, when He included it in His commission to believers:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”” (Mark 16:17-18 NKJV)
c. Anointing With Oil and The Prayer of Faith
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 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. 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. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:13-16 NKJV)
God has not limited the avenues available to the believer to obtain healing. James tells the church to pray, seek assistance from church leaders who can anoint the afflicted person with oil and pray the prayer of faith over them. This is simply a prayer or declaration of what the Bible says concerning healing, something we have been considering in this lesson.
The disciples practiced this in their ministry:
“And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:13 NKJV)
The process may also include a confession of any trespass or sin that may be hindering God’s power moving, knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
The verse in James also makes it clear that we can pray for one another. An elder or leader is not the key element in releasing and receiving healing, but a heart of repentance and the prayer of faith.
Note that James says “Is any sick among you?” That includes everyone. Healing is not for a select few. He then proclaims that “the prayer of faith will save the sick”. If we pray, they will be healed, not maybe or possibly, but will.
d. The Lord’s Supper
“For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1Cor 11:29-30 NKJV)
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance, instituted by Christ himself. We are instructed to take bread and wine in remembrance of Him. This is not a sentimental reminiscence, but rather an act of covenant. ‘Remembrance’ is a covenant term. We bring to mind the covenant brought into force by the body and the blood of Christ.
The blood was shed to redeem our soul from sin:
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt 26:28 NKJV)
His Body was broken to redeem our body from sickness:
“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”” (1Cor 11:24 NKJV)
In taking the communion with understanding, and discerning the broken body and its covenant significance, we can receive bodily healing through faith in the covenant Jesus has made with us.
He is our substitute. He took our sicknesses upon Himself, so we would not have to bear them. Sickness has no more place or authority in the life of the believer than sin has. Christ died for our sin. Christ died for our sickness. In the communion we remember this fact, and call upon our covenant rights. We also search our own hearts to determine whether we are living honestly before God, and fulfilling our part of the covenant, which is loving obedience.
e. Right Living
Our covenant rights, and faith in God’s Word are key elements to living in the privilege of divine health through Christ, but they cannot be effectively applied without consecration to God and plain common sense.
We can confess the word of healing until we are blue in the face, but if we continue to smoke 40 cigarettes a day, drink whiskey like water, and eat only McDonalds and pop tarts, and spend 6 hours a day on the couch watching soap operas, the natural and detrimental effects on the body will be manifest!
The teachings of the Scriptures are holistic. They consider mankind as a whole person, spirit, soul and body. We are told to worship God with our spirit, we are also told to worship Him with our physical body.
Consider the following Scriptures in this respect:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Rom 12:1 NIV)
“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.” (Eph 5:23 NKJV)
“Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” (1Cor 6:13 NKJV)
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” (1Cor 6:15 NKJV)
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1Cor 6:19 NKJV)
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor 6:20 NKJV)
We are called to live wisely, and this includes eating and drinking wisely, sleeping wisely, engaging in relationships wisely, exercising, and all that goes with taking care of this temple in which we live, and in which the Lord lives by His Spirit. Several good Christian Resources are available which address issues regarding physical health. Examples include resources by Dr Don Colbert, Marty Copeland, ‘The Maker’s Diet’ by Jordan Rubin, and ‘Your Total Health Handbook’ by Marilyn Hickey.