Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wrestling with Faith and Healing

This is a topic that has had a long gestation period. It’s time for conception. These are questions, and do I have questions. It’s about healing and faith.
First, I do not believe God asks us to have faith in something He has either not revealed or explicitly stated. For me faith always has a basis. There is no such thing as blind faith in my theology. O for sure, what I am asked to have faith in may seem far-fetched, but it is still “something.” A simple example to buttress my point.  In Acts 16:31 Paul and Silas give the method by which one receives salvation (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν, Πίστευσον ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν, καὶ σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου [And they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household {NASB}])). Πίστευσον is the imperative mood, the mood of command. The verb is in the aorist tense meaning that an action is to be commenced, and is correctly translated as “start to believe in the Lord Jesus.”
OK, so the word “faith” is not used there, but πιστεύω (believe) is the verb for the noun πίστις (faith). And Ephesians 2:8 is pretty clear how we are saved, τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως (for by grace you have been saved through faith [NASB]). To believe and to have faith are synonymous actions.
My point is this: the NT gives very clear instruction how to be saved. And the wonderful thing is that everyone who follows these instructions will be saved! Faith/belief are always based on something concrete that God has revealed, and never are faith/belief to be placed in something God has not revealed.
How about an example of this? Nowhere in the Bible anywhere will I find a command for a person to specifically go to Thompson, MB to be a missionary. It’s just not there. There is a general principle in the NT that Christians are to be missionaries everywhere. But if this person were to tell me that God told her to go to Thompson to be a missionary in that community, I would say to her, “How do you know? You can’t prove it!” Everything of faith can be proven by Scripture. Yes, she sure can prove from Scripture that she is to be His ambassador, but to use Acts 13:2 as her missionary verse for proof that God is commanding her to go to Thompson, please, and pardon my chuckle, that’s just not correct.
I am not trying to be funny, sarcastic or arrogant. I really am attempting to deal with what is for me a serious issue of faith and Biblical teaching, and an issue that I think is inappropriately dealt with by many pious Christians.
Likewise, I can’t prove from Scripture that God told me to specifically marry Julia. Marriage to her lines up with everything that Scripture teaches, but it never says I must marry Julia.
What does this have to do with healing?
Here it is; here is my issue, and I plead for your careful attention. Where in Scripture can I drop my anchor of hope, confidence, trust and absolute certainty that God will heal me of cancer?
Ok, I imagine some readers came up with some verses. Fine. At this point I am not interested in what they say. And here is why.
Are all saved who believe in Jesus? Yes! Why?
Are all healed who believe in God’s healing? No! Why not?
Before anyone goes there, let me go there. Well, if only those who were not healed had believed more! Ok, what does more belief look like? And how does one apply more belief in terms of salvation? Do we ever say, “If only he/she had believed more they would have been saved?” We never say that of Christians. I know of a person would believed God could heal him/her till the day the person died. How could this person believe more?
I was so relieved when at the Springs Church Healing Class this Monday the instructor said nobody should ever say to someone “If only they had believed more they would not have died.”
If both dynamics, salvation and healing, are based on faith or believing, then why does one dynamic- salvation- always result in its intent when faith is applied while the other situation- healing- does not always result in the intended action even though faith is also exercised?
Of course, this is a terribly simplistic treatment of salvation. I realize faith/believing includes obedience. John 3:36 says, πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον: ὁ δὲ ἀπειθῶν τῷ υἱῷ οὐκ ὄψεται ζωήν, ἀλλ' ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἐπ' αὐτόν. (The one who continually believes in the son continually has life eternal but the one who does not continually obey the son will not see life but the wrath of God continually abides on this person [my translation]) It is rather obvious that ὁ πιστεύων [believes] and ὁ…ἀπειθῶν [obeys] are synonyms. The NT also gives clear guidelines how to exercise our faith/belief/obedience in the outworking of our salvation.
Again, my point is this- everyone who believes is saved- no questions asked, and we have been given clear guidelines on how to live in obedience.
Alright, back to my question about healing. Does everyone get healed who believes God can and will heal? And how much belief is required? And how do I enact this belief? Does the NT give me clear guidelines how I can exercise obedience in this belief that I will be healed? No, it does not! There is no “healing formula” in the NT as there is a “salvation equation” in the NT. The formulas for healing are all unique. One person got mud applied to his eyes, the woman touched the edge of Jesus’ garment, the blind man asked for his sight to restored and Jesus did it without any props, the centurion was told to go home and his son would be healed and in many cases we are not told how healing specifically was given; there does not seem to be a repeating method of how people were healed.
Do you see my frustration?
Healing is a hope everyone has but it is not a hope that is certain. One simply cannot go to a verse and say that verse says that Chuck will be healed of cancer!
The Faith of Salvation is different than the belief for healing. It’s not the same. If it was, then either not all who believed are saved just as not all who believe are healed, or else all who believe are healed just as all who believe are saved. I just don’t see there being the same proof of my healing taking place as there is of my salvation having assurance and absolute certainty.
Do you understand what I am saying?
Does anyone hope in healing with the same hope as that saint hopes in spending eternity in heaven?
And we are right back to the Thompson, MB missionary candidate. She is operating in the same realm of “belief” that the ill person “believing” for healing is functioning at.


  1. But what if we are speaking of seeing the results at a time that is yet to come. So we say we "are saved", but the fact remains that while we are "in the flesh" we still struggle against sin and are "being saved" and "awaiting our salvation from heaven". In other words, is there room for still understanding the notion of salvation and healing as that which is yet to be revealed at the glorious appearing of Christ? The very notion of "salvation" does not in fact only speak of sin, but of all of its resultant consequences including sickness and death...which though defeated at the cross and emptied grave of Christ has yet to be cast into the "Lake of Fire" (if I may be permitted such a metaphorical use for what has gripped us, but has been removed by Christ). We are awaiting the Day of His Coming when the salvation of our bodies will be made as His glorious body is...and we shall be like Him and know him as we are known by Him. I guess I'm just saying I would not jettison the glories of healing so quickly, but note that we do not always see what will be while we are here (but God by His abundant mercies does allow that we should from time to time be healed from those maladies that afflict us...and all of the while we are being kept from our destruction and even the second death by His almighty hand).

    How do I know I am saved? Because I have been told this and I confess that Jesus is Lord by God's Spirit, but I am never one who tells God that I am saved. It always rests in His gracious hands. How do I know I am healed? Because I have been told this and I confess that Jesus is Lord by God's Spirit, but I am never one who tells God that I am healed (as if to demand anything of Him). It always rests in His gracious hands. The thing is...if he were to heal my body would be only a temporary fix anyways and this body will break down another day and I WILL die unless He comes again before that day. So the healing and salvation I look for are not for today only (which would be something so negligible in the wider scope of God's purpose), but for the final healing and salvation that is yet to be revealed.

    Does that make sense?

  2. When on the cross, Jesus said :"it is finished" did that not mean He had done all He would ever do? So it is all ours to receive. All, salvation, healing, prosperity. Isaiah 53; The gospel is much simpler then we make it to be.

  3. Thanks for your reply, Anonymous. So how does one receive healing? We are given very clear directions in Scripture on how to receive salvation: by repenting of our sins and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. And would you not agree that all who "receive" this salvation are saved? That is, do they who believe in Jesus not have eternal life NOW?
    So how can I receive healing? How can I receive prosperity? And why stop at healing and prosperity? Give me more! I want a life of ease, happiness, success in everything I do. I want to win the lottery, I want to win the car on the Tim Horton's roll up the rim to win. I want everything in my life to just be a nice easy cruise down the road of life. I want more than just prosperity and health. I WANT PEACE, HOPE, JOY and HEAVEN!
    Now if you say that I received my healing when I received Christ as my Savior, then why am I still not healed? And is everyone healed who receives Christ? Is everyone prosperous who receives Christ? The answer is no. But is everyone saved and in possession of eternal life who "receives" (I don't like that word first of all- I think it's to "simplistic.", or rather, who repents and believes in Jesus? Yes, we know they are saved. I just translated 1 John 5:13. Literally it says, "These things I have written to you so that you may know that you have life eternal, to the ones who continually believe in the name of the son of God."
    Show me a verse in Scripture that says that about healing, prosperity or whatever else you are being taught.
    When I focus on getting healed, I fall into despair because I have searched the Word for 100% assurance that I will be healed of cancer in this life. That teaching I have not yet found. When I concentrate on the 100% assurance that I will enter heaven's glories after this life, I find peace, because the Bible is pregnant with passages giving me such assurance. And yes, I know the verses you will show me saying that you believe we can expect God to heal us in this life, but those verses are either totally taken out of context or totally misinterpreted by the use of horrific hermeneutics.
    Thanks again Anonymous for your reply.