Question of the day…Is a Christian always healed?

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Thoughts on God

healingMany Christians have firmly believed that God would heal a loved one only to become discouraged because they remain sick. or pass away. . They prayed in faith. Some believed that they had confirmation from other believers or from other miracles. So they were genuinely surprised, even dumbfounded, when the loved one died. What they had believed with such certainty turned out not to be true. Their faith could not heal the person — only God could heal, and he chose not to, despite their prayers, their faith, God’s love and God’s promises.

When such disappointments happen, a new trial sets in. If faith in the healing turned out to be a mistake, what about faith in Christ? Was it also a mistake? That is one of the dangers of the “word of faith” teaching — it links faith in our Savior to faith in specific predictions.

Did Jesus promise to heal every disease? He did not heal Epaphroditus, as least not as fast as they wanted him to (Phil. 2:27). Even in his earthly ministry, Jesus did not heal everyone (John 5:3-9).

Didn’t Jesus die for us, forgiving our sins? Doesn’t that mean that we have no reason to suffer? Some say so, but we should test this line of reasoning with another fact: Jesus died for us. Does this mean that we should never die? We already have eternal life (John 5:24; 11:26). But the fact is, every Christian dies. There is something wrong with the line of reasoning. We do not yet experience everything Jesus accomplished for us.

There will come a time when we will be raised imperishable. There will come a time when we never experience pain. There will come a time when we receive the full benefits of Jesus’ redemption. But that time is not yet. Now, we share in Jesus’ sufferings (1 Pet. 2:20-21).

Jesus promised persecution, not freedom from pain and sorrow. When Paul was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned, he felt pain. Paul had great faith, but also many sufferings (2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10; 4:12). Although Jesus atoned for all sin, Christians still suffer despite their faith — and sometimes because of their faith.

We suffer from persecution, and we suffer the incidental pains of living in a world in which sin is still common. Sin hurts innocent people, and sometimes we are the innocent people who are hurt. Sometimes it results in early death, sometimes in slow and pain-filled death. We may suffer physical damage from a burning, a beating, a car accident or asbestos fibers. Our health may suffer from exposure to cold, from smoke in a house fire or chemicals in our food. We may suffer from wild animals, large or small, or even microorganisms. God has not guaranteed to protect all his people from all possible problems.

Is it always God’s will to heal people who have faith in Christ? The biblical evidence is that he sometimes does, and sometimes does not. Stephen was killed, James was killed. Eventually all the first Christians died of something. Yet, how many times did God save them out of danger before they eventually died? Perhaps many times.

Have you ever wondered about preachers who claim to heal all infirmities, yet they themselves wear eyeglasses? There is no reason why biblical promises would apply to one kind of ailment but not the other. The scriptures sometimes cited in support of a universal promise of healing do not make any exceptions for eyesight, age, accidents or anything else. But both Scripture and experience tell us that these verses were not intended as universal guarantees.

Yes, some have been healed, sometimes dramatically. These are examples of special favor, grace and mercy. We should not take these examples of exceptional grace and create universal promises out of them.

And we especially should not imply that people who aren’t healed do not have faith. Sometimes their faith is demonstrated through their suffering — they remain cheerfully confident that God will do what is best for them. Whether they live or whether they die, whether they have prosperity or poverty, they trust in God. There is nothing wrong with their faith. What is wrong is a teaching that implies that they are somehow not doing enough.

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  1. […] Question of the day…Is a Christian always healed? […]

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