My discussion today stands on a doctrinal foundation; otherwise, someone might wonder how else should we die of natural causes aside accidents, violence and natural disasters if not die due to sicknesses and diseases? I will therefore in today’s article lay a foundation before I begin to probe into why it ought not to be the norm that believers die young. Not everyone believes in divine healing.
The divergent theological positions are determined by perceived ramifications of the redemptive finished work of Christ. Many Bible scholars believe it solved the sin problem and secured eternal life for mankind. Some others believe beyond that, it catered to consequences of sin like sickness, poverty and demonic influences. Among those who believe it extended to dealing with consequences of sin are those who believe the benefits apart from forgivenesses of sin and obtaining eternal life are postponed till the rapture of church. Of course, Pentecostals and charismatics believe redemption provides freedom from sickness and disease apart from others. If that is true, Christian’s ought to live in divine health and even if they fall sick, should be able to get healed supernaturally (James 5:14). I agree with Pentecostals on several premises.
1. In a typology of the emancipation of the church from the world in Exodus 13, the word of God tell us in Psalm 105:37 that God brought Israel out with silver and gold and there was none feeble among their tribes. Sick and diseased people are feeble. It is implied here that all Israel were healed when they applied the blood of lamb to their houses for protection and ate the roasted lamb with bitter herbs which symbolizes Christs bitter suffering on the cross for their healing.
2. In Numbers 21, God sent fiery serpents in judgement against a murmuring and rebellious Israelite nation. The healing solution was to look at a brazen serpent God commanded Moses to lift up. The Lord Jesus declared his own lifting up(on the cross) will be as that of the one Moses lifted up(John 3.14). Yes, it will cure us of sin but as it cured the Israelites of physical malady in the wilderness, so will it cure diseases in the New Testament.
3. Psalm 103 is a psalm of redemption. Enumerating the benefits of covenant with God, the first benefit of God in Psalm 103:3 is that ‘He forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases’. As the sins are forgiven, the diseases are healed. The reign of the death which began when sin came into the world, brought about sicknesses and diseases.
4. When Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law in Matthew 8, they brought all the sick to him in the evening and he healed them all. According to Matthew 8:16-17, He healed in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “he took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses”. While many evangelicals claim spiritual healing is in reference by Isaiah 53:4-5, it is attributed to physical healing by Matthew here. Peter would later quote Isaiah’s declaration of healing in redemption in the past tense: ‘”by whose stripes, you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
5. Paul and his company preached the gospel in Acts 14:7-10, and perceived a crippled man had faith to be healed. Faith comes by hearing according to Romans 10:17. The question is, what gospel did Paul preach that gave the man ‘Faith to be healed’? He must have included the provision of healing in the salvation message he preached. As a preacher, do sick people receive ‘Faith to be healed’ when you preach the gospel? If not, your gospel is either not a complete gospel or another one entirely.
I do not intend to teach healing extensively here. You can obtain a copy of my book ‘Rise and be healed’ from amazon.com or okadabooks.com. However, we have been given a scriptural guarantee of healing if we sick but even more so, divine health. If that is so, why then do Christian’s die young? The numbers are rising more than ever before and faith in divine healing is fast diminishing. Hope of answers to prayers is fading and many are becoming theologically confused. I have however identified several reasons why the development is becoming more preponderant; from the result of lack of revelation, fear, our unhealthy modern lifestyles, presumptions, bitterness and emotional distress to other things. I will delve into these matters in the next two articles.