Sickness and the Need for Physical Health VS Health, Healing and Wholeness
The Gospel Truth:
Sickness and the Need for Physical Health
Health, Healing and Wholeness
Health vs. Christian Healing and Miracle Healing
It seems that so many people need healing today. They seek healing scriptures to live by, and of course divine healing. They want a healing touch or hands on healing. When someone is truly sick they seek healing prayer from anyone they can get it from. The bottom line is they want to be healed in any way they can get it. They don’t want to be sick.
Healing touch and healing prayers are of course very important. We all need these at times. We all need spiritual healing at various times of our lives. But as you will see, the gospel says that we should live in health. If we live in health, then we don’t need healing.
It is said if we don’t have our health, then nothing else really matters. So many don’t have their health, and need healing. People experience sickness because they don’t allow things in their lives that provide for health – whether spiritual, mental or physical. They just want to be healed, and seem to have a total disregard for the needs of their body. But then want God to respond with divine healing or spiritual healing when their body starts breaking down.
It seems they want to be healthy, but they don’t want to pay any price for being healthy. They just want to be healed. They don’t want to be sick, but they don’t want to be troubled by doing anything to produce physical health.
Do We Hinder Our Needed Healing?
Years ago I began asking the Lord why we see so few healings today, proportionate to the prayers and ministry that go exist for this result. The Lord revealed a few things, at least in the lives of people I pray for, that are often not conducive to receiving healing. Some things I began seeing from God were very general, but one was very specific.
As far as general things go, we hear doctors and medical journals talk about these things a lot. A report I saw said that people stay sick because of their negative turmoil that fight the process of being healthy, or if necessary, finding healing. Things like unforgiveness, and resentment topped the list, and then it was said that bitterness (that comes from these) is linked to physical arthritis. This doesn’t mean that everyone who has arthritis suffers from this. It’s not universal. But medical studies show that a very high percentage of people who do suffer from arthritis, also suffer from bitterness. It’s hard to be healed from arthritis in a state of bitterness.
We can’t live in a constant state of friction and lack of peace, and expect to be healthy. Other things like guilt, fear and depression were also mentioned. Doctors say that even something as common as constant stress can upset our body’s healthy apple cart. A renown physician was quoted as saying, “My surgeon’s knife cannot cut deeply enough to rid many people from what is really causing their sickness or cancer.”
Often, just the way we live causes our lack of health, and need for healing.
Jesus tells a parable about forgiveness, and indicates that if we don’t forgive, we are cast into a prison where we are captive and tormented. Sickness and disease are a type of prison, and they definitely torment a person who is captive to them.
You cannot be sick and experience success, and an overcoming, victorious life.
Mental Health Produces Physical Health
Paul says the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). In my way of thinking (as a Christian counselor who calls himself THE GOSPEL COACH), this is a picture of total mental health: (1) feeling right before God and others, (2) experiencing total inner peace, and then (3) the joy, gratitude and worship that follows closely behind.
If you listen to medical science, mental health usually produces physical health. Proverbs also says this. A sound mind (righteousness, peace and joy) produces healing to the bones.
The Old Testament was an outside-in experience. The picture of this is found in the Tabernacle, and then the Temple. First was the outer court, where anyone could be involved. Then there was the inner court, where only the Priests were allowed. Finally there was the Holy of Holies where only the Chief Priest went once a year. No one had personal access to God. It was all done through a ‘mediator,’ which began with Moses, but then continued down through the lines of the priesthood, which was temporary according to the book of Hebrews. You see, the priests were human too, and they sinned too. So they had to first cover themselves, and deal with their own sin, before they could cover the people of their sins. This is why Hebrews says there was a change in the priesthood as well as the law.
The New Testament is an inside-out experience. We are the temple of God, according to the Apostle Paul. We know the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn apart at the crucifixion of Jesus. This means that it was opened to ALL of us, not just the Chief Priest once a year. Thus Peter says we are ALL priests and kings. Paul says everything was changed by the cross of Jesus – all the old things passed away, which means they died (II Cor 5:17). This is why Paul says to only preach the New Testament, not the Old – which is the letter of the law (II Cor 3:6). This doesn’t mean to forget about the Old, because the Old is the foundation of the New. But it means not to live the Old. It means to only LIVE the New, and not try to incorporate the Old into the New. Thus Jesus told us not to pour New wine into Old wineskins.
Hold on to this thought. It will be important later.
What do we get from this practically? The Old was an outside in experience. The New is an inside out experience. By the term ‘inside’ we mean the depths of who we are. In the Old they saw everything as what was happening around them – the miracles, the Red Sea parting, the Jordan River drying up, the pillar or fire, the cloud by day in the hot sun, etc. This was all meant to control (or at least influence) their inner reality (what they believed and who they were). The experience dominated the experiential.
But with us God begins on the inside with what we believe, and then it is meant to move outward into what we say and do. The Old Testament demanded what it could not produce: righteousness before God. The New Testament produces what it does not demand: righteousness before God. The cross of Jesus, and his shed blood is what gives us our righteousness. In the NEW Testament we begin at a place where people of the OLD Testament couldn’t even perceive.
First Peter chapter 1 says all the Old Testament prophets, as well as even the angels, were perplexed because they couldn’t understand what God was going to do for us.
The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews lists many of the OLD Testament people of faith. But the last two verses close by saying God has provided something better for us. We try to live by something that isn’t ours to live by (THE OLD WAYS).
It’s hard to receive healing living in the OLD ways. Would you want to be healed by early 20th century medicine? Or do you want the NEW stuff? It’s obvious! The problem is that people today in the NEW Covenant seek healing in OLD Covenant ways. It doesn’t work!
Healing is Not God’s Best
Face this reality. It doesn’t matter if it’s physical healing, emotional healing, marriage healing, family healing, healing of past sins, parental abuse, healing of abuse, or abuse that is more passive (things withheld from us that we should have been given). It doesn’t matter if it’s some other type healing I didn’t mention. If we say we need healing, we begin on the negative end of the continuum, not on the positive end. If we say we need healing, we begin at the point beginning what is wrong in our life, instead of about what is right — or good about life.
He wants us to being with ABUNDANT life, not ABSENT life (John 10:10).
Our loving Abba Father wants us to live life in reality. He doesn’t want us to play games, or say\ things as a ‘faith confession’ that are not true. Faith confession isn’t always positive — or biblical. It can be manipulative and deceitful. I do not believe in ‘positive confession,’ but I do believe totally in gospel profession of faith (Heb 10:23). There is a BIG difference. One begins with us and what we want, — the other begins with God and what he says.
God Has Higher Goals Than We Do
Too often, we begin at a point of NEED. We experience sickness – a lack of health.
We often don’t think about God until we have a need we can’t deal with in the flesh, and then we ask for help. This is always true if we need healing. We’ve passed what we know to do, so now we seek help. We have reached a situation that is beyond our ability to control. Jesus says, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But we feel if we can control life without him, then we will. This is a disease or a poison we inherited from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We think it is all about us, and our control of good and evil, but it is not. We buy into Eve’s deception: “You shall be as God.”
God says in 3 John 2: “I wish above all things that may prosper, and be in HEALTH, even as your soul prospers.” Health carries with it much higher credentials than the need for healing. Healing is not God’s best. Health is God’s best, not healing. He wants something much more for you than healing. He wants total health: spirit, soul and body. This may need to begin with healing, if that is your immediate need, but healin alone is not the goal. See it right up front: if your need is healing, you are starting out wanting something LESS than what God wants for you! God will meet you at YOUR need for healing, but you must first be willing to meet him at HIS desire to lift you to higher ground.
If not, why not just let you die, take you to heaven, and be done with it?
God sees us as ‘THE WHOLE PERSON.’ He sees us as spirit, soul and body. If we hurt, we only see us as body. “Lord, fix my body.” In this line of thinking we have not yet come into gospel reality. We focus on what HURTS: on our sickness. God focuses on what MATTERS: on health that is produced by living in gospel truth.
If you’ve got a headache, or if your feet hurt, this is what matters to you. But is it what matters most to God? Our posture controls us. If our posture in life hurts, then that’s all we focus on. Of course God cares about what we care about, and what hurts in us. We’re his kids. But he is trying to lift us to higher levels. God sees us as a WHOLE. We see us as a PART – the part that hurts at the moment.
If we focus on what matters to God, he more readily responds to us.
We are a unity: spirit, soul and body (I Thes 5:23). We are not three individual parts. But if we hurt, and need healing, all we see is our body. We are one. Our body is not disconnected from our spirit. Our mind can’t say to our foot: “I don’t need you.” If ANY part of us hurts, then ALL of us hurts. God cares about our hurts. But he doesn’t just care about the one part of us that hurts. He wants us to be open to deal with all of us.
See Yourself as A ‘GodMan’
If we’re born again, we become a new species. Paul calls us ‘a new creation in Christ’ (II Cor 5:17). We need to start thinking of ourselves in this way, and not just as being ‘human.’ To keep this reality in mind, I refer to myself as a NCIC (a new creation in Christ). I pronounce it ‘Nick.’ This is being a GodMan.
We should start thinking of ourselves the way God does. One of the revelations of the gospel is our identity – who we are in Christ, and the fact that we are joined as ONE with God. This is what being a new creation means. When it comes to how we live life, and even in the need for healing, we must see ourselves this way. We are in God and he is in us. This is a NCIC.
Do You Truly Believe God?
You may think this is a strange question, but it really isn’t. Most Christians I talk to don’t really believe God. They believe IN God, of course – but when it comes to totally believing everything he says in his gospel word of truth, they often fall way short. Being willing to believe ALL that God says is not an overnight process. It took the Apostle Paul 17 years before he totally believed what God was showing him, and was ready to go to Jerusalem and confront the other apostles with their doctrinal error (Galatians 2). This has been a process I’ve been involved in since 1990 – over 20 years.
The Old Testament was so hard that no one could live it (Acts 15:10). The New Testament is so good, it us very hard to truly totally believe.
I John 4:17 says, “As Jesus is, so are we in this world.” Ephesians 2:6 says that spiritual reality is at this time we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We read in Philippians 2:5-6 that we should have the same mind that Jesus had, and think of ourselves as being made equal with God. We see statements like these, and many others, and think of them as fairy tales. We don’t know how to relate to them so we discount them. If we do, we don’t totally believe God. Again, we believe IN God, but we don’t really believe God. We tend to only want to believe God for the things we need the most, like health or physical healing.
We Are Meant to Live in the Faith of Christ
This is what Paul says in Galatians 2:17-2:20, and many other places, at least in the KJV. It seems that many modern Bible translators have a real problem with this concept themselves, so many modern translators have talked this reality out of their Bibles. Like everyone else, they believe IN God, but they don’t totally believe God either, so they change this to something they can more humanistically identify with, and translate this as being our human faith in Christ. Thus Jesus says to beware of the scribes, which means the Bible translators.
I’m sure you agree there is a difference between God’s faith and our faith.
But now apply this 10, 20 or more years down the road when you need healing. If all you have is your human faith to work with, you’re working in a deficit. By not believing God, you are now in a position where you come up short in the faith department. You should be living in Christ’s faith, not just your own faith. In essence, you’re in need of graduate school truth, but you’re still living in elementary school basics. Hebrews 6:1 says we need to mature, move on to perfection, and leave just our elementary human faith in God. We should live life at a higher level.
Again, this becomes very important if we need healing.
The Gospel Road vs. The Dirt Road
Let me put this another way. God expects us New Testament Christians to walk what I call THE GOSPEL ROAD. The first statement of Jesus when he came out of the desert having spent 40 days with Satan tempting him was, “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15). It was the most important thing on his mind and heart. This means to receive a spirit of repentance from God so that we can totally believe him and receive his truth (II Tim 2:25).
When we don’t do this, then we walk what I call THE DIRT ROAD. Even though this road will get you to heaven when you die, it is a much harder road to walk while here. On it you experience more sickness. It can make earth seem like a living hell at times. Because of the nature of this road, people need physical healing a lot more than they do on The Gospel Road.
The Dirt Road is not the most conducive to seeing that healing is manifested. It would be like having surgery in a tent out in the forest, with very limited supplies — as opposed to being in a well-staffed, and well-equipped hospital.
If you’re not walking The Gospel Road, being totally willing to repent of ALL other beliefs, and to believe anything God says in his gospel truth, then you’re only living in human faith. You’re not living in the faith of Christ. You’re on the wrong road. You’re still in elementary school. Paul says you’re still drinking milk, and not eating strong meat – you should be a teacher but you still need to be taught – you are unskilled in the word of righteousness and you are still a babe, spiritually speaking (Heb 5:12-13).
You are not living in prosperity and health that III John 2 describes, and this is especially true if you need healing. You’re just living life as a human being, and not as a GodMan. I don’t point this out to you to condemn you, but to try to lift you to higher ground. Even if you are in need of healing, you can still focus on THE WHOLE PERSON and align yourself to gospel truth. This is what produces health. This is what produces a healthy lifestyle.
Living in the gospel gives us a HOLISTIC, abundant life mentality (John 10:10).
Too often, our human, deductive reasoning gets in the way of health, prosperity and even healing. Deduction means subtraction. Too often we ‘deduct’ or ‘subtract’ from what the word of God is actually saying so that we can more readily believe it. This is not living as a believer, but as an unbeliever. Jesus says our work – our job as Christians is to believe (John 6:29). We think our job is to get healed, and that this should be God’s job too.
We try to bring God down to our worldly situation, when he’s trying to lift us up to see the reality of his Kingdom in us. If we’ll let him lift us up, then he can more readily impart his Kingdom benefits to us – and this includes healing. I believe this is what Romans 10:6-8 is talking about: we don’t believe God’s gospel word of truth, and so we try to bring Christ down to our level again. He wants us to come up to his
We live at a lower level than God wants us to, and this makes the spiritual life hard when we need healing, or something else of a major nature. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Most of us try to get what we want (healing, or anything else) by means of formulas.
We are instructed to do things that will earn us favor with God, so that he will answer our prayers. In our prayers, we try to counsel and instruct the Lord as to what he needs to do for us (Rom 11:34). We try to do good, and give God what we think he wants so that he’ll be good to us and reward us (Rom 11:35). Paul says this is totally ‘basackwards.’ This is only an elementary school approach to God: a ‘Sunday School 101’ approach.
All of Life is a Journey, not a Destination
We often view healing as a goal. We want a quick fix. We want this with everything in life. We want long suffering to be instant. We want patience, and we want it right now. We want someone to lay hands on us and to deliver us from a life-long addiction. We want to go to the Super Bowl the first year our team is franchised. This is all human nature. Join the club. We all want the quick fix. We are addicted to fast food.
This is also true of healing: “Lord, heal me now.”
We want God to get in step with us, when he wants us to get in step with him, and join him on his spiritual journey. God never causes our sickness, disease, cancer or suffering. But if it happens to us, he will always USE it to lift us up to his higher Kingdom ground. He will USE it to get us off The Dirt Road and on to The Gospel Road.
We think of healing as an immediately attainable goal. All we have to do is go to a healing line at our church (or at some other church if our church doesn’t offer physical healing). We want someone to lay hands on us, pray in the name of Jesus, so that we go home healed and whole. Too often this wish is only a fantasy. He’s not usually into quick fixes. CAN God do so? Absolutely! But most often this is not the way he works in us.
We Sometimes Drink Poisons
Do you know WHY God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree – The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? He wasn’t just playing God and trying to pull rank, and force Adam and Eve to obey him. God knew the tree was poison, and told them if they ate from it then they would die. They did die – not physically for hundreds of years because mankind lived much longer in those days because of the protective cloud cover around the earth. This wasn’t changed until the flood and Noah’s ark.
But they did die spiritually right away. They saw things through human eyes. They became fearful, competitive and critical – both of each other and of God. They began experiencing life from the perspective of The kingdom of SELF. Satan told Eve, “You shall be like God.” They were cut off from The Tree of Life, and all they could eat from was The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This took their eyes off God (who is life), and made them focus on themselves — the kingdom of self — doing good and refraining from doing bad.
We do the same thing today when we walk The Dirt Road. We still eat from the old forbidden tree, and assess all of life as either being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ We want to experience the good life, and flush away all the bad.
It doesn’t matter to us if we have been pouring poison into our bodies for years. It doesn’t matter that we have not been eating right. It doesn’t matter that we have not been exercising like we should. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t been taking our prescribed medicine. It doesn’t matter that we have a generational pattern for what it is we are combating. It doesn’t matter that we weigh 300 pounds — we want God to treat us as though we weighed 180. And we want him to do it for us right now. We want physical health.
We know this is absurd with regard to weight, but do we see it with regard to healing? No! “Lord, I want healing, and by faith I want it now!” We don’t want to know what the Bible says about sowing and reaping, or at least we want to discount it as applying to us if we have a need. We want to believe we can alter reality, and just pray in Jesus’ name and everything will change.
I had a man ask that I pray for his backache. He had a perpetual, chronic backache and it wouldn’t go away. As I looked at him, all I could see was that he was about 200 pounds overweight, and that most of this was in his stomach. His stomach was the size of an over-inflated basketball.
I did pray for him, as he asked, but he was actually offended when I suggested that his stomach might be part of his back problem. He was adamant that God could – and should heal him, even though he had been totally irresponsible for his health. He was one who couldn’t see reality: that we often pay the price for what we sow – or even eat.
I believe totally in spiritual healing and in hands on healing. I believe in the use of healing scriptures, and I believe God uses all of these for divine healing. As I said, I did pray for him, so I also believe in healing prayer. But I don’t think these things, and others, should be used as a substitute for doing things God’s way – living life in the process of his gospel.
The Gospel Greatly Increases Your Odds for Physical Health
My goal in this is to increase your odds of getting healed if that is your need. I want to put you on the journey of The Gospel Road – which is the road GOD walks. God doesn’t walk The Dirt Road. Only instructors in Christ and religious theologians walk that road. On The Gospel Road, we learn God’s ways. On The Dirt Road, we try to get God to learn our ways.
On The Gospel Road there are no formulas. There is no A + B = C, and 1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2. God says two become one flesh, so this means 1 + 1 = 1. He also says we are one with him. This also means that 1 + 1 = 1 (God plus me equal one). On The Dirt Road, instructors in Christ will always give you a formula to try. “Go and do thus-and-so, and God will respond by doing thus-and-so.” Most often they are wrong.
Paul says they don’t understand what they are saying, or the matters about which they make confident assertions (I Tim 1:7). Usually, what they say doesn’t work. It’s not gospel truth. What they say often sounds like The Second Tower of Babel. They preach a never-ending religious merry-go-round – walking a constant treadmill.
Paul compares ‘Instructors in Christ’ with ‘Fathers of the Gospel’ (I Cor 4:15). Instructors walk The Dirt Road, and fathers walk The Gospel Road. Fathers lead folks into the power of God (Rom 1:16), and the faith of Christ (Gal 2:17-20). Resting in God becomes of prime importance, where we get to know WHOM we believe (II Tim 1:12).
“As Your Soul Prospers”
Revisiting III John 2 it says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health – even as your soul prospers.” Our soul only prospers living life God’s way. “I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” – “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” In John 10:8 Jesus says, “All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers.” The gospel is the product of the New Testament. It is what provides physical health, and if it becomes necessary, physical healing.
Jesus came to bring a new way of life as Hebrews says. Recall again that our Lord’s first words were, “Repent and believe the gospel.” Our soul can really only prosper in the gospel. The gospel is God’s process — it’s the gospel of his Kingdom. For us to try to live life any other way than in the gospel that Jesus came to bring us, or in any other beliefs than the truth of the gospel, is really nothing less than spiritual suicide!
Most studies show most Christians do NOT live life this way. We live in law not in grace and truth. Our minds are more in tune with law, and indoctrinated to it, simply because it is easier to understand, and easier for preachers to preach. But it is our job to understand the gospel of the Kingdom (Mat 13:19), and how the gospel of the Kingdom works in us (Mk 4:13).
History proves that mankind cannot live by laws and rules, — precepts and principles, — at least to God’s satisfaction. In the Old Testament, they couldn’t live by The Ten Commandments even, let alone the hundreds of other laws and ordinances that existed. Everyone failed (Acts 15:10, Rom 3:10). We know that Adam and Eve only had ONE command and they failed.
So in the New Testament, God took away the commands and said, “Just live in me.” Thus Paul says we should only minister the New Testament as the means by which to live (II Cor 3:6). This leads us into the ministry of righteousness (II Cor 3:9) and the ministry of reconciliation, or atonement and oneness with God (II Cor 5:18).
If we live the way God says to live, then everything in life flows much easier – and this includes healing, if we are in need of it. If we are bucking God’s Kingdom, and trying to mix it with other theologies, ideologies and worldly wisdom, then things don’t flow easily. Our religious systems get gummed up. Jesus says don’t pour New wine into Old wineskins. But living in gospel unbelief, most people still do, and then wonder
why God doesn’t respond to them as they want.
Health and Healing Begin in Love
All things come through the love of God. The gospel is what reveals God’s love to us and in us. Paul says to stay ‘rooted and grounded’ in the love of God. Jude says to stay in the love of God. We see that divine love (1) conquers fear (I John 4:18) and (2) produces faith (Gal 5:16). Isn’t this exactly what we need if we have a sickness and are in need of healing?
But the problem is you can’t live in God’s LOVE if you are still trying to live in LAW.
Laws and rules and precepts and principles will always keep us from experiencing love. Why? Simply because we can’t live life good enough under any system of human performance. The Bible calls this ‘flesh,’ and Paul says the law works through our flesh (Rom 7:5, Heb 7:16). If we are living life in the flesh – in human works and performance – then we can’t know God’s love. Paul says it is God’s LOVE that constrains and directs us, not his LAW (II Cor 5:14). His law produces death, just like the forbidden Tree of Knowledge (II Cor 3:6).
You can’t believe how much God’s love has to do with healing. But most Christians live in a climate of LAW, not LOVE. Law and love are mutually exclusive, and they can’t be joint tenants. Where we let LAW reside, LOVE is evicted.
Law blocks healing. Love produces healing.
Law always makes we think that we lack something, or that we’re not qualified to receive something. If our need is healing, we feel there is something we lack, and something else we need to DO to be qualified to receive healing. This is the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus gave him an answer from the law, because that’s what the man asked for. After
he told him, the man asked, “What yet do I LACK?”
Paul says that the law makes our faith void. Wow! If the law destroys our faith, and if we live by law, how can we ever have the faith to be healed? It’s much more difficult to be healed living under law. Why? It’s because the law makes us feel like we are undeserving — we ‘lack’ something, and thus are disqualified from being healed. It may only be subconscious, but the thought is in there somewhere.
Law always produces a sense of lack. Love produces divine sufficiency. Fear always includes a fear of death, but God’s love removes this fear from us (Heb 2:15).
The Power of Our Inner Man
Paul talks about this in Ephesians 3:16. Psychology calls this the subconscious mind. It is a very powerful force. This is why we need to be separated to the gospel as Paul was (Rom 1:1). Our thoughts need to be transformed by the gospel, so our minds are renewed to think truth (Rom 12:1-2). This produces a powerful inner man: A NCIC — a GodMan. We’re a new species.
But, before this occurs, we have a problem: “Children live what they learn.” What we learn is buried in us — but it is buried alive, so it continually rises up from the dead, and controls our thoughts, feelings and emotions. We don’t know this is a problem because it just rules us without us knowing it is doing so. Psychology says the power of the subconscious mind can be our most powerful ally, or our most destructive enemy.
This is why we need to saturate and flood our inner man with gospel truth. If you sit under traditional Christian teaching, you are filled with laws, rules, precepts, principles, formulas, strategies, etc., but Jesus says we to REPENT from all this and only believe the gospel (Mk 1:15). When you do, you are not filled with God’s LOVE because repentance evicts living by LAW.
See all the power of II Timothy 2:25: “In meekness instruct those who oppose themselves, so God will give them repentance to acknowledge the truth.” The LAW opposes us. In Colossians 2:14 Paul says it is contrary to us and against us. Hebrews 8:8 says it finds fault with us – it condemns us and makes us feel guilty. Health and healing can’t exist in this climate.
But when we seek a spirit of repentance, then everything else falls away and only the gospel is left: “Repent and believe the gospel.” Here, health and healing more readily reign.
If you do not live the abundant life of the gospel, and if you are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, your first response is fear, not faith produced by love. Your initial reaction is not any form of confidence, but one of stress, worry and uncertainty: “Why me, Lord? How could this happen? What have I done? What must I do to get you to answer my prayers and give me physical healing? I want to enjoy physical health.”
Yet, even medical science says we would have a much greater chance of survival if we did approach such news in a positive way, not negatively. It says our first response often controls what happens to us, for the positive or for the negative. We are controlled by our fear or faith. When our response is one of fear, we look to us. We put ourselves in the spotlight, and try to figure out what we can do to move the
hand of God on our behalf.
If our response is in faith, we look to God. We put him in the spotlight, and ask him what we should do with this problem we have. We can’t consistently live, on the outside, differently from what we have on the inside. I said ‘consistently.’ Any of us can fake it for a time. It is only when our INNER MAN is saturated with the gospel that we are consistent in the faith of Christ, not just our human faith.
We’re dominated by our inner man. Is yours filled with the gospel of Christ’s faith?
The Power of Abba Father’s Love in Us
Recall Peter at the crucifixion of Jesus. He was filled with human faith and love for Jesus. He said he’d never deny Jesus, and would die with him. I think he believed what he said, but it was only a theological concept to him. His human faith needed testing. Jesus said Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed, and this is exactly what happened. Peter affirmed his love for Jesus and fell flat on his face.
Now recall John, “The apostle whom Jesus loved.” He wasn’t conceited or prideful – he just knew Jesus loved him totally. He experienced Christ’s love. John affirmed the love of God for him, and was the only apostle to stand by Jesus and witness the crucifixion.
You see, Jesus gave us a NEW command. He doesn’t even tell us to keep his Father’s commands, but instead says that he kept his Father’s commands. We are told to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ on our behalf, not to our obedience (II Cor 10:5).
But now we live under a new command. Jesus’ first command was to repent of all other beliefs, and believe the gospel. Then, just before the cross he says, “A NEW commandment I give to you: that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34, and also John 15:9). John got it, but Peter didn’t – at least not at the time of the crucifixion. Jesus says the Father loves US as much as he loves HIM (John 17:23). We stand before God in love (Eph 1:4).
Under the law, the command is that WE love God and that WE love others (Matt 22:38-40). But in the gospel, the command is that we first know the love of God in us, because his love empowers us to love others. In the law, everything begins with US. In the gospel, everything begins with GOD. When it comes to healing, if we live by law, then we feel that everything begins with us here too — we must get our faith zealous enough for God to give us healing. This is a totally wrong approach.
Living in God’s love causes divine, supernatural things to happen in us, including healing.
Properly Discerning the Lord’s Body
Why are so many sick, and why do so many die prematurely? Paul tells why this is true in First Corinthians 11. Here’s why he says so many are sick and die: because we don’t discern Christ’s body properly.
What does he mean by this? Because of our love affair with the LAW, we view everything in terms of SIN. We see life as, “Repent from sin” (the ministry of the Old Testament), instead of “Repent and believe the gospel” (the ministry of the New Testament). If we don’t do this, then sickness is more often the result than is health.
Outside the gospel, we are dominated with sin consciousness because we are filled to overflowing with laws and precepts — many of which we can’t begin to live by, or often even remember. We feel guilty and judged before we pray for healing. We begin in a state of condemnation. Only the gospel says we have NO condemnation in Christ. This is a truth that can’t be realized if our inner man is saturated with laws and precepts. Thus we begin from a state of spiritual sickness, not gospel well-being. This is not the only reason, but it is a BIG factor.
I Corinthians 11:23-34 is the communion passage. Jesus said do this in remembrance of HIM. Instead, most of us remember every rank thing WE did last week, — or last night. Our focus is on US, not on JESUS.
When our focus is on us, we eat and drink unworthily, drinking damnation to ourselves, because our faith is not in the Lord’s body that was broken for us, and in his blood that was shed for us.
This passage says the main reason we get sick is because our focus is on us, not Jesus. We do not take communion ‘in remembrance of him.’ Thus we take it unworthily. It does NOT say we are unworthy. It says we take it unworthily if we don’t take it the way the gospel prescribes. We must take medicine as it is prescribed, and this includes spiritual medicine. If we don’t, we become sick, and don’t experience physical health.
The Power of Gospel Belief
We underestimate the power of belief. “The just shall live by faith.” This is the battle-cry of the New Testament. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them, but the word preached did not PROFIT them because it was not mixed with FAITH in them who heard it” (Heb 4:2). “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If our focus is us, law, and sin, we can’t live in faith and belief.
But our faith must begin in knowing God. “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Faith is first of all in knowing WHOM we believe, but just WHAT we believe (II Tim 1:12). When we know the God that we believe in and trust, then our faith is joined with the faith of Christ and it is activated.
Our human faith is so often directed toward natural things — the WHATS of life rather than the WHOM. We tend to interpret spiritual things in light of natural things. In I Corinthians 2 Paul says DON’T do this. But undaunted, we still try to work our human faith zealously toward what we want – healing, prosperity, a new job, a promotion, a marriage, etc. When these things are the focus of our faith, we live in a type of boxing match with life, trying to get our way.
The fact is that in the gospel, our faith is meant to be directed to who we are in Christ – our identity in God – our imparted righteousness because of Jesus becoming sin for us. When this becomes the focus of our faith, then ALL things become ours (Luke 15:31, II Cor 3:21-22, Rom 8:32). The reality is that God’s entire Kingdom becomes ours (Luke 12:32). This is directing our faith toward WHOM we believe. The declaration of our faith should be, “Jesus Christ is Lord” — regardless of the circumstances of life that we face.
Living by law, we try to gain a promise from God (i.e., for healing). But living in the gospel we see that we have ALL of God’s promises (II Cor 1:20). The Old Testament law was ‘if and maybe.’ The New Testament gospel is ‘yes and amen.’ They are total opposites, and this is the reason they cannot be mixed: “Don’t pour New wine into Old wineskins.” This is the reason the New Testament replaced the Old as the means by which we live (Heb 9:9-10, 10:9).
If we try to live under the law, or in a mixture of Old and New, we are under a CURSE (Gal 3:10). Jesus came to take the curses away, but it appears he left this one curse, if we are so ignorant as to try to live by the Old ways, or mix them with the New.
It is often in this unspiritual state that most Christians find themselves in a time when they need healing. Again, Paul says, “For this reason many of you are weak and sick, and many die.”
The ancient Jews were disobedient to the covenant they were given. They had problems with sickness, died in the wilderness. Today we have a duty to live by the New Covenant gospel, just like the ancient Jews had a duty to live by the Old Covenant law. If we don’t live by the gospel, then there are consequences — just like there were consequences for the ancient Jews. We are responsible for our BELIEFS, and for living life in accordance with God’s purposes and ways: “Repent and believe the gospel.”
Why Don’t We See More Physical Healing Than We Do?
I see the answer to this as having root in the difference between the law and the gospel – the Old Testament ways vs. the better New Testament. Living by law produces sickness simply because we live in condemnation and guilt, which is not healthy. The purpose of the law was to declare us all guilty (Rom 3:19). If you’re sick, then you need physical healing. It is obvious that you don’t experience physical health.
Too many Christians live in ignorance when it comes to gospel righteousness (Rom 10:2). They are too busy trying to exert their own SELF righteousness by means of keeping laws, rules, principles and precepts (Phil 3:9). If God heals people who refuse to live in the abundant life that the gospel offers, and instead insist on living in Old Covenant religious, worldly ways, then they are going to be even MORE convinced that they are living right.
“Look what God did for me – he healed me because I______.”
Then they will persist in preaching, teaching and ministering a non-gospel theology of man that is totally absent of gospel truth. This is in defiance of Matthew 24:14: “THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” This gospel is actually so important that even angels will preach it from heaven to people on the earth during the end times (Rev 14:6).
God does provide physical healing outside of gospel truth, but I think it is the exception rather than the rule. I believe he sees a receptive heart in people who have just been deceived, and have been ‘bewitched’ (Gal 3:1), but they are open to repenting and acknowledging gospel truth. We cannot state anything as being totally true of God unless he states it to be so, but this is something he has led me into having strong suspicion about.
If a person is stuck in religious ways (the Old Testament calls them ‘stiff-necked’) then God runs the risk of perpetuating their false beliefs and wrong assumptions if he heals them. They will take credit where credit is not due, and they will perpetuate a LIE, not the TRUTH.
It Is Appointed To Man Once To Die
Sometimes we get so caught up in our desire for a better life, which includes being healed, that we fail to see this truth that we all die. James says our lives are but a vapor. The whole Old Testament is very, very repetitious: “So-and-so begat so-and-so, and then he died.”
I call this the Aunt Alma and Uncle Zeb theology. We tend to pray for Aunt Alma’s eyes to be healed, and Uncle Zeb to be cured of his cancer – even though they are both 101 years old. Life does have an end called physical death. All of life is not about physical health. There are times when all of us get sick. Sickness and death something none of us want to experience, but all of us must experience it in some form. It is God’s
transportation system into his presence. Kenny Chesney sings, “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” This often includes Aunt Alma and Uncle Zeb.
Why do children die of disease, sickness and cancer? Why are young mothers or dads taken from their children? Why doesn’t everyone live to say 70, and then die? My uncle Clarence is 94 years old, and wishes he could die. He spends much of his life sick. His positive life condition has vanished. Why doesn’t God take him? These are questions we cannot answer. Life becomes a living hell when we try to.
This Is Just the Beginning, Not the End
I’m going to have more to say about the subjects of sickness and physical health. I will talk more about healing, and better yet, being healthy. And being The Gospel Coach, I’ll of course have a lot more to say about the power of the gospel in our lives. We’ll specifically talk about healing prayer and hands on healing.
Miracle healing is more the result of living a powerful gospel life than it is anything else – as is being prosperous and living in health. The gospel reduces sickness.
But this is enough food for thought at the moment. Another Gospel Coaching Session will follow this – followed by another – followed by another. It is as these thoughts grow in us and as we live in them, that we experience true health, and thus less of a need for healing. Periodically, I will keep this subject open, and we’ll progress in these thoughts. So stay tuned.
Roger Himes, The Gospel Coach