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Healing (08/27/2006)
From: Jamie Smith

We are often told that "the healing of the body is in the atonement." That is, the healing of believers in answer to prayer without other means is a reality in the present era.

Indeed, Scripture teaches that not only the healing of disease and injury but also the resurrection and vivification of the body is included in the work of Christ on the cross.

Yet the resurrection has not yet taken place even though it is ours in Him. In fact all blessing of every kind is latent in Christ, but waits for God's fitting time and place.

Referring to Judah and Jerusalem, Isaiah wrote: "Surely He bears our illnesses, and was burdened with our pains" (Isa. 53:4). We know that this refers to bodily infirmity since for Jews "He cast out the spirits with a word, and all who are ill He cures" (Matt. 8:16). Soon after, in Christ's first kingdom commission, again for the Jews He told His twelve apostles to "be curing the infirm, be rousing the dead, be cleansing lepers""

The book of Acts gives us many cases of healing. Peter heals the lame man, the paralytic Aeneas and restores Dorcas to life. Paul heals the Lystrian, casts out the spirit of Python and restores Eutychus to life. Handkerchiefs sent from him drew disease from the sick.

Soon Christ revealed previously unknown things to Paul (Gal. 1:11,12) and the new gospel Paul preached (1 Tim. 4:9-11 and 2:3-7; Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor 15:20-28; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-20) was different than that preached by Christ or the twelve. Along with that, his ability to heal vanished. He became burdened with infirmities. For in this gospel, whenever he was weak, then he was powerful (2 Cor. 12:10, 11). God's grace became his only sufficiency.

His dear Timothy was afflicted with frequent infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23). Epaphroditis, while with Paul, was near death. He left Trophimus sick. Why did he not heal them? The fact that these cases occurred in the final and culminating ministry of Paul with the complete absence of any healing at that time rings loud and true for those that have ears to hear.

As long as Paul proclaimed Christ according to the flesh there were no superiors to him in healing. When Paul began to preach the gospel given him by the risen Christ, not preached by Peter or the others, he and his closest friends suffered illness and disability.

Why weakness and infirmity instead of strength and robust health? The reason is that Paul's gospel of spiritual blessing, rather than physical blessing promised in the Abrahamic covenant, is best emptied into broken vessels whose boast is humbled by weakness. Read that sentence again. Consider "well healed" TV preachers in this light.

In time, Israel will be blessed with every physical blessing and some nations will share in that. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing often requiring infirmity for its manifestation.

If this truth can be grasped, then miracle healing of the body will be seen as earthly, soulish and pertaining to an earthly kingdom. It falls on believers and unbelievers alike. We can be thankful when God graces us with it, but our blessings include a spiritual body in the resurrection fitted for heavenly spheres without need of any healing ever again - in due time. 

 

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