What about modern-day “faith healing?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Is God healing miraculously healing sick bodies today, as many televangelists assert? If we pray fervently enough, will God deliver us from all bodily illnesses? What does the Bible really say? Should we seek a minister’s help when physically sick? What about prayer cloths and miracle oils and waters? Rather than appealing to church tradition and faith healers, we appeal to the Scriptures, and we will see God’s answer about the matter.

Firstly, there is no doubt whatsoever that God can heal sick bodies because He did it dozens and dozens of times in Scripture.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). “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 5:14-15). Jesus Christ said, “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 16:18).

We do not question God’s ability to heal all manner of disease and sickness, for the Scriptures are very clear that He can do it. What we question is modern-day claims that He is still performing those healing miracles today. Just because Jesus Christ performed healing miracles in the past does not mean that He is still doing this today. Please note that Jesus Christ ministered to Israel during His earthly ministry (Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8) and James is writing to Israel (1:1)—the verses quoted above do not refer to us Gentiles. “The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Jesus Christ and His apostles performed healing miracles in order to teach Israel doctrine. Throughout Israel’s history, God used miraculous demonstrations to teach Israel that He was in their midst, what He could do for them, and what He would do with them.

Despite the Bible’s healing promises, the Apostle Paul wrote: “[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23). Not only do lost people suffer physical pain because of the curse of sin, but Christians suffer physical sicknesses, too. Paul admitted that he even suffered physical pain under the curse of sin!

There was no miraculous healing for ill Timothy, whom Paul instructed, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities(1 Timothy 5:23). One of the last verses Paul wrote was, “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick(2 Timothy 4:20). These were faithful Christian men serving in the ministry, and none of them were healed miraculously. In fact, Timothy was advised to use wine for medicinal purposes. Timothy was sick quite often.

Even Paul himself experienced various sicknesses and infirmities. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “[8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” (Galatians 4:13-14). Based on Galatians 6:11, Paul may have had vision problems.

Surely, there was no “healing in Jesus’ name” in these verses! Where is Paul’s apostolic gift of healing? Why did he, Timothy, or Trophimus not claim those healing passages like Exodus 15:26, or James 5:14-15, or Mark 16:18? They knew they did not apply to them, just like they do not apply to us. God is doing something different today. If today’s “faith healers” were really miraculously healing the sick, why are hospitals all around the world filled with the sick and dying? Why do we need health insurance? Why do the “faith healers” wear eyeglasses, visit doctors, and undergo operations at hospitals? Why do the “faith healers” eventually die, succumbing to the ultimate disease (death!)? Their duplicity is obvious. They are deceived and they are deceiving others. Whether they are deliberately or unwittingly misleading others makes no difference; it is still deception and dishonoring to God’s name and Word. It only leads to disappointment and apostasy.

Rather than temporary physical healing, as God promised Israel, today in the Dispensation of Grace, the Lord promises us everlasting spiritual healing. Notice what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Rather than God improving our physical bodies (which “perish” anyway), God is working in our inner man (which is “renewed day by day” by daily Bible study). Furthermore, He will give us new physical bodies one day regardless of what these physical bodies experience.

Read Romans 8:18-25: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Rather than being depressed about physical limitations and infirmities, we can be saved from despair. We need to let God renew our minds by reading, studying, and believing His Word to us regarding those troubles. Those troubles do not have to destroy us! Friend, God still loves you, even when you are sick, for God loved you so much that He sent Jesus Christ to Calvary’s cross to die for your sins (Romans 5:8). You can use this time of suffering to grow spiritually, to better appreciate who you are in Jesus Christ.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, which goes into greater detail about our glorified bodies: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Philippians 3:20-21 summarizes: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

The rapture is the day for our physical healing as members of the Body of Christ, and that healing will be permanent. For now, let us remember that we are already “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Everything God can give us, He did so the moment we trusted Christ as our personal Saviour. We did not work for those blessings; Jesus Christ did! We have forgiveness of sins in and through Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

At the rapture, we Christians will be eternally delivered from these bodies of sickness and death, and we will receive new glorified bodies. Until then, God expects us to seek medical help and take medication for our physical sicknesses.

Also see:
» Are the spiritual gifts in operation today? (UPCOMING)
» Should I be filled with the Holy Ghost? (UPCOMING)
» Should I “speak in tongues?”