There are many unscriptural teachings, which seek to undermine the authority of God’s Word regarding healing, and to convince the believer that he or she must submit to the ungodly ravages of sickness and disease. We should be as aggressively unwilling to accept sickness in our body as we are to accept sin in our spirit.
False or incomplete teachings include:
- God uses sickness and disease to teach us
- Patient endurance under sickness and disease brings glory to God
- God makes people sick to punish and correct them
- God’s Word says that the believer must be prepared to suffer, and this includes sickness and disease
- Paul’s Thorn as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 was a terrible sickness (usually taught to be a tropical eye disease) and God refused to remove it to keep Paul humble.
- The fact that all are not healed indicates that it is not God’s will to heal everyone
We will not go into these arguments in great depth, because we have already established from the overwhelming evidence of Scripture that healing is in the atonement. Nevertheless, just as satan came with doubts to Eve in the garden, “Did God really say?”, so he seeks to come with perverted doctrines today to rob believers of their inheritance.
Firstly, let us establish that for God to actively place sickness or disease upon any human being would be a violation of His covenant. In the New Covenant His Son took sickness upon Himself on the cross, in accordance with the will of God. For God to then place it again upon the very ones Jesus bore the stripes for, would be unjust and violate the righteousness of God’s character. Such a thing would have consequences far more disastrous than a cancer or a tumour. The Bible says that the entire universe is held together by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3) and that all things consist (are held together) in the integrity of God’s own being (Colossians 1:17). For God to break His Word (His covenant) would cause the universe to unravel. Pretty serious stuff!
Does God send sickness to teach us?
The unscriptural teaching that God uses sickness and disease to teach us is entirely false. The Scriptures tell us that God has given us His Word, and His Spirit, as our teachers. It is His Spirit who leads us into truth through revelation of the Word of God, not sickness and disease.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV)
Secondly, nowhere in Scripture does it suggest that bearing the sicknesses that Christ died to free us from brings glory to God. The complete opposite is true. When Christ healed the sick, and cast out demons, the people glorified God:
“Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” (Matt 15:30-31)
To take such an argument against healing to its conclusion, bearing in mind that the same sacrifice made to deliver us from sin was the one that freed us from sickness, we would have to say that heroically continuing in sin brings glory to God also. Such a notion would sound like foolishness, as does the absurd idea that sickness can bring glory to God.
It would also mean that, if sickness really is God’s gracious will to reach and train us in righteousness, any effort on our part to rid ourselves of it, whether through doctors or medicine etc, would be a violation of His will, and constitute direct disobedience.
Similarly, to suggest that God places sickness and disease on His children to punish or correct them assassinates His character. How many parents do you know who would put a cancer in their child to teach them a lesson? There are situations in the Old Testament where, through rebellion and disobedience, the people of God stepped out from under the covering of the covenant, with all the requisite consequences, but upon repentance they returned to Jehovah-Rapha and were restored.
Again, we are told that God’s primary means of correction is His Word, not sickness:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2Tim 3:16 NKJV)
Certainly sickness is never God’s avenue of chastisement, and no such thing is even vaguely suggested in the New Testament. Sickness is an unnatural enemy of mankind, and God is not fighting against His own creation!
What about Paul’s thorn?
Some suggest that the Bible’s many mentions of ‘suffering’ for the gospel indicates sickness playing a part in God’s plan for our perfection. This supposes that suffering and sickness are synonymous, which is certainly not the case. Paul’s ‘thorn’ is often cited as proof of the aforementioned point, but again, nowhere is it even suggested that Paul’s ‘thorn’ was sickness and disease. Let’s look briefly at what the scriptures say concerning this:
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor 12:7-9)
Paul does not say that this thorn was sickness, rather he indicates that it was a demonic personality assigned to harass him. Neither does it say that the spirit was from God, but the opposite; it was a satanic agent sent to rob the word, and prevent Paul from preaching. His odious work can be seen in the many afflictions Paul suffered in his travels, some of which are listed in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. They include imprisonment, stonings, beatings and shipwrecks. Sickness is not mentioned on the list.
Furthermore, the messenger was sent to buffet Paul; to buffet means a heavy or repeated blow or stroke, to knock or strike against forcefully or repeatedly. Christ Himself was buffeted (struck, whipped and bore the strokes and stripes on His body) to free us from sickness and disease. For God to then engineer to strike Paul with the sicknesses Christ bore those stripes to eliminate would be unthinkable.
Indeed, just as God promised, His great grace was sufficient for all Paul’s needs, and despite satan’s best efforts, Paul’s testimony was as follows:
“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” (2Tim 3:10-11)
Paul suffered many afflictions (not sicknesses) but he was delivered from them all!
Why are all not healed?
Finally, the fact that not all are healed when they are prayed for cannot be construed to mean that it is not God’s will to heal all. Is it God’s will that all be saved? Certainly, He desires that none perish (1 Tim 2:4). Christ died for all men (2 Cor 5:15).
The same death that purchased our salvation, purchased our healing. Other factors can prevent the reception of salvation or healing (2 Cor 4:4), but never God’s will. Just as God always wants all men to be saved, so He always wants all men to be healed.