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Chapter 9



If God still heals the sick today, why are so many good Christian people sick? Thousands of sick and suffering people in the world today would love to believe in divine healing, for it could mean deliverance from much suffering and sorrow. But they dare not rest their case in the hands of God and trust Him for deliverance until this question is answered.

Thousands more, who already believe in divine healing, ask almost the same question. They say, "Others are healed, so I know that God does heal today. But why do I not receive healing? Is God a respecter of persons?"

These questions cannot be ignored. God certainly has not ignored them, for the answers are in the Bible. There is no respect of persons with God (Romans 2:11).

If God's promises of healing apply to anyone, they apply to everyone.

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:14,15).

As explained earlier, divine healing is not provided or promised for the enemies of Christ, or for those who continue to live in sin. The purpose here is to discover why Christian people fail to receive healing. If you desire to be healed and are not a Christian, you must first find healing for your soul. Repent of your sins and seek God with your whole heart. When you repent of your sins, believe in the Lord Jesus (not just some things about Him, but believe Him and trust Him and what He says in His Word), and confess Him with your mouth, then you will be saved (see Romans 10: 9,10). When you are born again by the spirit of God and born into the family of God, you are eligible to ask in faith for any of His promised benefits.

The Christian and healing

If you are a Christian and still have not received healing, examine your life and attitudes in light of God's Word. God has not shown respect of persons in your case, for that is contrary to His divine nature. If you are still sick, there is a reason, and God's Word will reveal it to you if you will diligently seek His face. When you find the problem and correct it, God's healing touch will be yours. This is God's guarantee, and God cannot lie.

The reason that stands out above all others is lack of faith. You may say, "I have faith. I know God is able to heal me. But why does He not do it?"

Do you believe He will heal you...now?

You say, "I hope He will. I know God does heal today. I've been to Brother So-and-so's big meeting and seen hundreds healed. But when he laid his hands on me I didn't get healed."

What you have is not faith - it is hope. You hope to be healed. You have knowledge – you know God is able to heal and does heal. You believe what you have seen, but you do not have faith. Faith is believing what you have not seen, simply because God says it is so (see Hebrews 11:1). If you had faith, you would have already been healed.

A dear sister came to me with a deaf ear. She had been deaf in that ear for many years. She said, "I don't see why I don't get healed. I have as much faith as anyone. I have all the faith in the world." I carefully explained to her that if she had real, living faith to that extent, it would be impossible for her to remain deaf, because real faith works. Faith without works [faith that doesn't work] is dead (James 2:20). Real faith is guaranteed to bring results, for God is faithful to His promises. When she recognized that she was lacking in faith, she humbly asked God to forgive her for doubting Him and to help her unbelief. Immediately, her ear was unstopped.

This is a thoroughly scriptural approach to God in such a case. For Jesus once said to a man whose faith was weak, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23). The man replied, with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (verse 24). Immediately, Jesus helped his unbelief and his faith sprang up. He received the faith that God gives. And the thing he desired became not only a possibility, but also a reality - his son was delivered from Satan's power.

An honest confession of doubt, coupled with a sincere desire to learn how to believe, is far better than a loud profession of faith that does not work. It is hard to deceive yourself in this matter, and it is impossible to deceive God.

Real faith is not hoping that God will heal you, or knowing that He is able to heal you. It is the joyful assurance that the work is as good as done, because God, who cannot lie, has promised - yes, even guaranteed - to heal you!

The fruit of the Spirit

Many fail to receive healing because they have been taught that sickness and physical suffering is God's way of bringing out the best in them, or developing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They believe that they must be patient in affliction and wait until it is God's time to heal them. They believe that, perhaps, God is working out patience and long-suffering in them. Or perhaps God is chastening them for some unknown sin.

It is true that sin opens the door for sickness to enter, but all God asks is that the sin be confessed and forsaken. God does not say, "Is any sick among you? Let him patiently wait until God has finished chastening him." But rather, Confess your faults one to another [now, today], and pray one for another, that ye may be heated. The promise is, The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:16,15).

God is not glorified when Christians continue in sickness or in the sin that caused it. But He is glorified when they are delivered from both.

Long-suffering (patience) is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22,23), not a "fruit of sickness and suffering." They result directly from yielding to the indwelling spirit of God. If, in some individuals, the fruit seems to result from sickness, it is because the sickness has driven them to give more attention to their relationship with the spirit of God than when they were well. Many people will agree that, in most cases, sickness results in less patience, not more.

If God (who never changes) uses this method to teach patience and long-suffering, surely, at some time in His earthly ministry, Jesus would have said to someone seeking deliverance, "Go thy way. Remain sick until you have learned patience. Then you may seek Me again, and perhaps I will heal you." But not once did He give such an answer. Not once did He command any person who was well to become sick, or anyone who was sick to remain so.

Sin and sickness are works of the devil

God certainly has not ordained that the fruit of the Spirit should be developed by the works of the devil. This is the work of the Spirit! Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.

Some may say, "This may not be God's time to heal me. I will be faithful in my sickness and, in His own good time, God will heal me, should it be His will to do so."

This would be like a sinner saying, "This may not be God's time to save me. I will be faithful in my sin and disobedience and, if I am one God wills to save, surely He will save me in His own good time."

We know that it is the will of God to save everybody; for He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). However, none will escape except they repent, for Jesus said, Except ye repent, ye shall ALL likewise perish (Luke 13:5).

The moment a sinner repents, salvation is his. He need not wait and wonder if God will save him, for God says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins' and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

This is recognized as sound doctrine among all who call themselves fundamental believers. Yet many fail to recognize the fact that the same Bible says, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2). Health is God's will for His people, conditional on the well being of the soul.

God’s promises are conditional

Salvation is conditional on repentance. Healing is conditional on faith and spiritual health. But when God's conditions are known and met, heaven guarantees the answer. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). For he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).

Many fail to receive healing because they do not ask for the definite thing they desire from God. Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).

The Bible tells of two blind men who were sitting by the wayside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. Truly, they were addressing their plea to the right Person, but when their prayer is analyzed, they really hadn't asked Him for anything specific! Jesus asked them, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They replied, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. Then their prayer was definite and immediately their eyes received sight (see Matthew 20:30-34).

When you come to God for healing, state your specific need. God's promise says, Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do (John 14:13).

In one of my healing services, a man came who was deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, and had rheumatism in his knees. He asked for deliverance for his ear, which had been totally deaf for a number of years. As prayer was offered and Satan's power was broken, he immediately received his hearing. This so inspired his faith that he had courage to ask for healing of his eye. When this prayer was also answered, his faith was strengthened further, and he asked and received deliverance for his crippled knees. There was no new need in the man, or a new willingness on God's part to heal him. But as each need was specifically presented –definitely - God was true to His Word and did exactly what was asked in Jesus' name.

Often, the failure to make a specific request is because of a lack of faith. A beggar at your door may say, "Please give me something to eat." He isn't sure that he will get anything. And if he should get something, he doesn't know what it will be. So he doesn't make a specific request. But when we go to the grocery store with money in our purse, we don't say, "Give me something to eat." We say, "Give me a loaf of bread and a pound of butter." We give the grocer a very definite list of just the things we want and the quantity of each. We have no doubt that we will receive the things we ask for.

Likewise, the person who comes to God believing that whatsoever he asks he shall receive, will usually ask for the specific things he desires.

Many times, if we can persuade the person seeking healing to determine in his mind exactly what he needs and expects to receive, and get him to ask for that specific healing, the barrier to healing is immediately removed.

If it be Thy will

Many people believe that it is a sign of meekness or humility to add to their prayer, "If it be thy will." However, this may be a trick of the enemy to keep you from having the faith to be healed. As long as you are not sure that it is God's will to heal you, you cannot ask in faith. Never, in the history of answered prayer, has anyone persuaded God to do anything contrary to his will! The secret of answered prayer is praying in His will.

Those who pray this way are following the example of the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, when He cried out in agony, If thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42). However, He was not praying for something that God had promised. He was not praying with a desire to change the circumstance. And, although the Son of God himself prayed this prayer, it did not bring about the change suggested in the prayer! This was never intended to be a prayer to change things. It was simply the agonizing cry of a struggling soul.

How different was the triumphant prayer at the tomb of Lazarus. Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always...Lazarus, come forth! (John 11:41,42,43).

When we pray for healing, we are praying for that which God has already revealed to be His will. Why, then, should we say, "If it be thy will"?

It is good to seek the will of God and pray in accordance with His will. James 4:13,15 says, Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. In this case, God had not promised or revealed His will in the matter.

But God has promised and revealed His will in regard to the healing of His people. Therefore, we need not say, "If it be thy will." Rather, let us say, "I thank you, Father, that You have revealed Your will concerning this matter in Your Word, and I know I am asking in Your will."

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14,15).

The "if" in many prayers not only denotes doubt, but it is used as a loophole to escape any possible charge of unbelief or unconfessed sin. If healing fails to come, the seeker can always use the excuse, "It just wasn't God's will to heal me. He heals others but, although I am blameless, God has shown respect of persons and chooses not to heal me."

In light of God's own plain statement that He is not a respecter of persons (see Romans 2: 11), such a statement might well be considered slander against God, or "charging God foolishly."

Understand how God works

Many continue to suffer because they do not understand how God moves to bring about healing. They have their minds set about how God is going to do it. If the answer doesn't come according to their mental plan, they may lose confidence in God, or feel that their prayer was not heard and will not be answered. Since healing can only come by faith, it is important to understand how God works so that your faith won't be shaken.

Many people have remarked that, if God does the healing, it will be instantly complete. This is merely man's theory, for Jesus did not always heal this way. Although He did heal instantly and even today heals instantly and completely, it has not been a consistent pattern, for other patterns are also apparent in the ministry of Christ.

A certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum, met Jesus and said to Him, Come down ere my child die. Jesus said unto him: Go thy way; thy son liveth. According to the words of Jesus, the boy was healed - the work was done. The case was closed as far as Jesus was concerned. The nobleman's servants met him along the road before he reached home, bringing him the glad news, Thy son liveth. When the father inquired of them the hour when his boy began to mend, the servant replied, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. Then the father remembered that it was the same hour that Jesus had said, Thy son liveth (see John 4:49-5 1).

Note that the boy began to amend (verse 52). It would appear that, although this boy was truly healed, it was not an instant, full restoration to his former state of health and vigor. But rather, the fever left and he was on the road to recovery.

So it is today. In many cases, the cause of the disease is driven out, yet time is required before normal processes of growth or convalescence can bring about a state of full and normal well being. There are two dangers in failing to understand this truth.

First, you may lose confidence in the healing power of God, due to the disappointment of not being made perfectly whole as expected. This loss of confidence opens the door for Satan to return and again take possession of that which was taken from him (see Matthew 12:43-45). Then that which was gained is lost. This also accounts for those who testify of receiving a "partial healing," only to later be in a condition as bad or worse than they had before.

The second danger is that of accepting the partial deliverance as being all that God is going to do in your case. When this happens, you fail to continue standing against the devil, by faith, until the healing is complete. In this way, Satan hinders you from receiving all that God intended for you to have. God's plan is to bring complete healing, whether it be instant healing or a convalescent-type of deliverance.

If you do not receive instant healing, do not be discouraged. Keep praising God, by faith, for that which has already been done on your behalf - not just for the improvement in your condition, but for the stripes He bore at the whipping post in Jerusalem to pay the price for your deliverance! Keep right on looking to Jesus until the manifestation of your deliverance is complete.

As Jesus entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers stood afar off and lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priest (Luke 17:13,14).

Jesus did not tell them they were healed right there on the spot. But He did tell them to go shew themselves to the priest, which they knew they had no right to do unless they were healed. In obedience and by faith, they started to the priest. They were doing the thing they could not do unless they were healed, even though there was not as yet any outward manifestation of their healing. It came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed (verse 14).

This was not an immediate, visible healing, but was a genuine healing by the power of God. These men took God at His word, and His word did not fail. They acted on their faith, while the healing was not yet seen. And, as a result, they soon saw what they had faith to believe.

Act in faith

If you will do, by faith, that which you could not do before, God will meet you. Jesus frequently asked those who were bedfast to take up thy bed, and walk (John 5:8). And when they did, they were healed. At the beautiful gate of the temple, Peter said to the man who had been impotent in his feet from birth, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and anklebones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping (Acts 3:6,7,8). Many today are receiving deliverance in this exact same manner.

A young lady who had walked only on crutches for four years came seeking help in a healing line. As she came, the glow of faith was beaming upon her face. Before the minister could say one word to her, she handed him her crutches. She was fully persuaded, by faith, that she would need them no longer and, of course; she went away walking without them. God never fails to reward real living faith. Another came to the same healing line in a wheelchair. After prayer, she was commanded to rise and walk. Without making one effort to arise, she looked at the minister and said, "You know I can't do that." And she couldn't, because she did not believe. However, two nights later, after receiving more instruction on the promises of God, she did arise from the chair. She walked, ran, and climbed the steps to the platform. This type of healing was common in the healing ministry of Jesus, and it is still in effect today.

Obey God's commands

Faith in God is more than faith in His promises. It is also faith in His commands. They are not always a simple test of faith, as in the preceding cases, but may be a test of obedience, as well.

In John 9:1, Jesus met a man who was blind from birth. Jesus made clay and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. Then He gave him a command, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (verse 7). The blind man did exactly as he was told. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

The blind man's eyes were opened! When? When the man obeyed the command of Jesus and did what He told him to do. Thus we learn that healing may be down the road of obedience. Jesus can heal you in the same way today. It is important to recognize that this is scriptural.

I know of many cases where God dealt with certain individuals concerning obedience, and they were miraculously healed as soon as they obeyed God's voice. It is doubtful that any who stubbornly refuse to do God's bidding can have faith to receive healing.

In James 5:16, God gives this command to those who seek healing: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. There is a strong inference here that, if one is unwilling to confess his faults, these secret sins may destroy his faith and hinder him from being healed. It has been my experience, both as pastor and evangelist, that some who are prayed for do not receive healing until they have first confessed their faults. Many have wronged others and are unwilling to confess it. It is little wonder that, with such a rebellious spirit, they cannot have real faith for deliverance. But God promises that, if these faults are confessed, both the sin and the sickness shall be taken away.

One day, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it produced no fruit. Apparently there was no change in the appearance of the tree at the moment. But the next day when Jesus and His disciples passed that way again, Peter said to Jesus in amazement, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou is withered away. In this short time it had dried up from the roots, and was withered away (see Mark 11:12-2 1)

Some healings are gradual

Many diseases are healed in the same way. The "root" of the disease is cursed in the name of Jesus. If it is a cancer, tumor, goiter, or some other growth, it must either pass from the body or disintegrate into the blood stream and be carried away. It is easy to understand that the person could be truly healed and yet continue to suffer some discomfort during this process. For a short time, the suffering may be even more acute than before, as this dead foreign tissue is being separated and carried away.

At this point, many fail to recognize what is happening, and they cast away their confidence. They give open testimony to the, fact that they are not healed, that they are even worse, and fear they will die. All this fear, loss of faith, and acceptance of Satan's suggestions, opens the door for Satan to replace in their bodies the very thing, which had been cast out by the power of God. So the healing is lost before any of its benefits are even recognized.

Although many cases of cancer are healed in this way, I have also known of many instances when cancer disappeared instantly after prayer.

God has no set pattern whereby He heals. Those who need healing must accept it God's way. God usually heals in the way that will bring the most glory to His name. Accept it just as He gives it. If it is instantaneous, shout the praises of God and go on your way rejoicing. If it is gradual, thank God for your healing just the same, and look joyfully to the time when you will be fully restored to health. If God has cursed the root of your disease, as He did with the fig tree, don't let your faith waver. Hold steady, knowing that it is your faith that maketh you whole.

But if God has commanded you to go, do, or speak, do not think that time alone will mend the matter. Be obedient to God and victory will come.

Perhaps you have had prayer for your healing once - or even many times - but failed to believe God for your healing. You think that perhaps it would denote unbelief to come back for prayer again for the same disease. Consider Mark 8:23-25. Here, Jesus took a blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. When He had spit on his eyes and put His hands upon him. He asked him if he saw aught. The man looked up and said, I see men as trees, walking. It was only after Jesus had laid His hands upon him the second time that his sight was fully restored. Then he saw every man clearly.

If you have had prayer and not received healing, do not be discouraged. Just start over. Start reading the New Testament as though it were a new book. Read and study this book, just as though you knew nothing at all about divine healing. You have missed an important point somewhere along the line, so just go back and start at the beginning. Be very careful to follow God's instructions in every detail and, as you do, heaven guarantees the answer.

Death is yet unconquered

The Bible teaches that we shall prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper. Yet we have no promise in the Word of God that divine healing will give unlimited physical life to any person in this present age. It is still true that it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Some earnest teachers, preachers, and Christian people, in their great zeal to uphold the doctrine of healing, have left the strong inference that, if one should exercise sufficient faith, he might never die physically. But the Word of God makes it clear that death remains an unconquered enemy. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26). A careful study of this scripture and its context will show that, while death will eventually be destroyed, destruction awaits a future time. The sting of death is sin. To the person who is saved from sin, death has lost its sting. But death itself is yet unconquered. Until Jesus returns and puts all things under Him, death remains the normal end of all mankind.

Some quote Romans 5:12-14 as proof that physical health can be ours indefinitely to the extent that there should be no physical death, but rather spiritual death - spiritual separation from God. One can be alive physically, but dead spiritually. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth (1 Timothy 5:6). A careful study of Romans 5 (especially verses 17-19) will reveal that Paul was speaking of this spiritual death and not of physical death. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (verse 19). If the death spoken of in verses 12 and 14 is physical death, then verse 19 should read, "So by the obedience of one shall many be made immune from physical death."

It is true that physical health during our appointed lifetime has been provided in the atonement. But the Word does not teach that any person can have such outstanding faith as to never die physically. Only those whose normal life spans reach to the time when Jesus returns can escape a physical death. For those who are alive and remain shall be caught up...to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength Tabour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10).

After giving this general rule regarding the normal length of life, God gives us this prayer pattern. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12). According to this verse, even the most consecrated Christian should expect to come, at last, to the end of his days. This explains why some in advanced age fail to be raised from their beds. God's time may have come for them to go.

However, even if it should be the end of days for an individual, God's Word still does not indicate that it is His plan for that person to die in agony and disease. It is His desire that His servant should depart in peace (see Luke 2:29). Disease is not necessary to bring about death. God's pattern for death is found in Psalm 104:29: Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

Even when the time has come to die, there is scriptural basis for believing that, with unusual faith, a limited amount of time may be added to one's life. Hezekiah was informed that God had commanded him to set his house in order, for he should die and not live. Yet in answer to his leading, Hezekiah was granted an extension of life for fifteen years (see 2 Kings 20:1-5). Nevertheless, even though Hezekiah was healed and his life extended, when the fifteen years were over, he still had to die. Divine healing does not set aside the law of death. Real faith can only be based upon the Word of the One who is faithful. We can have faith for healing because God has promised healing. But God has not promised that this physical life shall continue indefinitely.

Accept your healing, God's way

Build your faith on the Word of God. Search the Word to find the reason you have not been healed. Get rid of the problem, and then accept your healing joyfully, in whatever way God sees fit to give it.

God may choose to heal you instantly, or He may choose to let the healing be gradual. He may choose to give a sudden manifestation of your healing, but at a little later time. Or, as in the case of one whose time has come to go, He may bring deliverance from pain and suffering by taking the person to his eternal rest.

Lay aside your own ideas of how God is going to heal you and accept the healing God's way. Believe God and take Him at His word. God says healing is for you. God, who cannot lie, says to believe that ye receive it and ye shall have it.

Do not cast away your confidence if recovery doesn't come immediately. Hold fast to your faith in the Word of God. Stand upon the promise and God guarantees that your healing shall come.