"The Bible says that if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed that we would be able to move mountains and we are also told that by his stripes we are healed. Then why are so many of God's people sick and they are not healed when prayed for? My pastor said that having sickness produces patience even if a loved one dies of cancer. Well, I have had several loved ones die of cancer and the only thing it produced was heartache, financial ruin, destroyed families and a mockery of Christianity. Now either the Bible is wrong and we believe a lie, or something is wrong with us that needs to be corrected. I have fasted and prayed and claimed all the promise scriptures on health and healing. I went into such a depression that I was placed in a mental hospital because my family was afraid I was becoming suicidal, which I was. I need a real answer for the here and now and not just a promise of heaven when I die. If our faith can't help us in this life, then how can I trust it to help me in the next?"Now that's a great question. Great because it is real and honest and from the heart. This person wants to know if the God he has been reaching out to is a God with whom he can "do business" in the here and now. It's not pious or reverent or pretty. But relationships in community rarely are.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.Psalms 51:17The person wrote in the email "we are also told that by his stripes we are healed." This is true and this will be the focus of this article. Let's take a look at the scripture reference in context. Emphasis mine.
Isaiah 53:1 ¶Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?Isaiah 53 is an exquisite treatise on a future event from Isaiah's perspective - a prophecy which was fulfilled in shocking detail by Jesus. The entire account is an expose' of the punishment for the sins of humanity being poured out upon Him. Where a gaping rift existed, that broken link between God and men, a healing would occur, by His stripes. If the verse in question referred strictly to physical healing then God is truly incompetent. However when we accurately conflate all of the available information on this we can safely conclude that not only is God not incompetent but that this entire chapter was fulfilled with stunning accuracy by Jesus Himself.
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 ¶Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 ¶Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus, by yielding his back to the whip, took our punishment for our sins and healed that wounded relationship between the Father and humanity. It is this broken, wounded relationship which was healed so that we could once again enter into relationship with Him and no longer rely on prophets and Levitical priests to speak to God on our behalf. We can now enter into His presence - because of Jesus and the stripes He bore for us.
Again, if the words "by his stripes we are healed" refer strictly to physical healing then God is incompetent in light of the fact that Christians still get sick, we still go to their funerals, and Creflo Dollar still needs glasses to read a menu. Additionally, there are many other verses in the Bible which make no sense at all if, as many preachers declare, all of our sicknesses were eliminated when Jesus submitted to the whip.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 John 1:2
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:
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.If all disease was dealt a final blow when Jesus was whipped then why write the above at all? The truth is, since Jesus healed that unsightly rift between the Father and us we can enter into relationship with Him and have our souls renewed, addictions obliterated, relationships restored, and this is from whence physical healing flows. Our bodies were designed to function within the confines of relationship with Him.
1 Timothy 5:23
Peter confirms this interpretation with the following (emphasis mine).
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:The word "stripes" appears seventeen times in the KJV of the Bible. In all of those cases it directly refers to punishment for wrong-doing. Jesus took our punishment so that we could freely enter in to the presence of the Father and petition Him for guidance in this life. God, our Father, is an ever present help in time of need but alas many, if not most believers have failed to access this place wherein God is "doing business" with His children. All too often Christians are all about the systems and the politics of religion. They force the adherence of rules rather than seeking that place of rest secured by the stripes borne by Jesus. It is only in this place of rest, the Sabbath rest of God, wherein God is meeting His people - that place of trust no matter what storms are brewing in the distance or near.
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.It is in this place of trust and rest wherein we find prosperity for our souls, the byproducts of which are real answers and real deliverance, in this life and the next.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 ¶Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Our current residence, the body, will not make the trip to the next realm. We are going to be giving it up one way or another. We will all be given a new body without all the aches and pains and brokenness. For now, we have a choice to make while we remain in this body: enter into that place of rest wherein God meets with His children and wherein healing power resides, or live in a place of stress and doubt and worry which only serves to make one sicker. It's your choice.
“If our hearing were sufficiently acute to catch every note of pain, we would be deafened by one continuous scream.” - T.H. HuxleyHuxley was correct. The amount of suffering in this world is immense and, for most westerners, unimaginable. Yet the Bible paints this exact scenario for the world following the fall of humanity. Because of the viral disease and corruption brought on by disobedience, a choice made by man, not God, we are in this state of devolution and biological and societal decay. Darwin jettisoned the final vestiges of faith when his daughter died - thinking how could this supposed "loving" God make such terrible decisions regarding the welfare of his daughter? But alas this state of affairs would have bolstered the faith of the thinking man unencumbered by the emotional baggage of a dying daughter. It is rather more historically accurate to assume Darwin shook his fist at God who appeared to lack sufficient concern for his child to interrupt the repercussions of our bio-father Adam's unintended decision to doom us all. And doomed we would be, if not for Jesus.
Since Jesus was doing plenty of healing before the whippings and subsequent crucifixion on the cross it would seem rather superfluous then to go through all of that torture for the sake of healing. Jesus was (and still is) more than able to heal... both before and following the sacrificial payment for the sins of the world.
Does God still heal the sick? Of course! Sometimes He even sends in a helicopter and air-lifts us out of certain situations. But at the end of the day He is most concerned with the genuine you. And He has provided a place for you and Him to meet. Fall into His embrace today. He is waiting for you. Do it now, In Jesus' name.
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