Scripture Reading: Acts 19:11,12; I Timothy 5:23
"Do you believe God heals today?" We have been asked this question countless times, and our answer is always the- same. "Yes, God heals today but not through the so-called divine healers." We also like to point out that while God is fully capable of providing instantaneous, miraculous cures, .these are the exception rather than the rule in this dispensation.
One of the promises God made to Israel was that if she would obey the covenant He made with them, the Lord would "take away from thee all sickness" (Deuteronomy TIS). When Christ came to earth as "a minister of the circumcision (Jews)" (Romans Is:8a), He performed many healings to demonstrate His power and authority in Israel. All of this was done "to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Romans IS:8b).
When Israel rejected her Messiah, and refused the offer of the kingdom made through the twelve apostles (Acts 3:19-21), God raised up the apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). Paul was given the "signs of an apostle" (II Corinthians 2:12) to confirm that he was divinely sanctioned.
As God began phasing out Israel's covenant, Paul was able to work "special miracles ... so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them" (Acts 19:11, 12). Yet only a few years later, Paul wrote to Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities" (I Timothy 5:23). When God brought down the final curta-in on Israel's stage (Acts 28:27, 28), Paul's gift to heal was withdrawn.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:17 and I Peter 2:24
It is often claimed by "faith healers" that "there is healing in the atonement." This is supposedly based on Isaiah's prophecy where we read, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows... and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4, 5). Let us test this doctrine by the Scriptures.
Isaiah 53:4 is quoted by Matthew. After the Lord healed Peter's mother-in-law and many other sick folks, we are told this was done ''That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, [He] Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17). Notice carefully it says this portion ofIsaiah's prophecy was fulfilled right there, not two years later when He died on the cross.
But what about the second part of Isaiah's prophecy, which says "with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5b)? "His stripes" definitely point to the suffering He bore at the time of the cross. Again, Scripture interprets Scripture. Peter quotes this verse not in a context of physical healing but of spiritual healing. "Who [Jesus] his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24).
Physical health was never guaranteed to the believer of this dispensation. Indeed, "we ourselves groan within our- selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23b). If we should be called to suffer physically, let us claim the promise of II Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
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