This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
explicitly. The main purpose of this book is to eradicate false beliefs and erroneous views regarding the long-neglected doctrine of Divine Healing, by answering all possible questions and by clearing any doubts which may linger in the minds of the people. Hence this book presents the same doctrine in a more effective way, and endeavours to renew our faith and brighten our vision concerning this truth, encouraging us to fight against sickness and death which are our enemies and to claim our healing in the name of Jesus. This book is available in seven volumes, dealing with different aspects of Divine Healing. The reader is made to understand that far from being a mere teaching which promises healing to the body, Divine Healing demands the total surrender of our body, soul and spirit to God daily, helps us to live a disciplined life, led by His Spirit, attuned to hearing the voice of God and to walk with Him continually. Such a life will enable our body to be found worthy for the final redemption, when it shall be transformed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye into a body as glorious as that of Jesus, to meet Him in the air. I, therefore, desire that every child of God should read this book with prayer, dedicating their life to God, arming themselves with the truth revealed in this book, so that when the enemy comes to steal (their faith and health), and to kill (their body and soul) and to destroy them (Jn.10:10), they might be able to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. It cannot but be mentioned, that there is a major difference between the healing ministry in the world and in the Church. While the world at large is scrambling for the crumbs which fall from the Master's table, the Word of God clearly says that we are a privileged group of people who are called to eat of the bread called “Divine Healing”. May the Lord Who has promised saying, “my doctrine shall drop as the rain” grant us a mighty outpouring of the latter rain and a great revival which will enhance our faith in Divine Healing and help us all to live for God's glory. PASTOR JACOB RATNASINGAM Chief Pastor. ******* Chapter 1 IS SICKNESS FROM GOD? ARE you sick, suffering for days on end? This message is being sent to strengthen your faith, and also that of those who are continually being tormented in both mind and body by some incurable sickness or disease, and are without hope in the eyes of earthly physicians. There is yet hope for complete healing and restoration of faith, as long as your trust and confidence is in our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, Who is alive for evermore. He can heal every one of us. Praise His holy name! It is our duty to stand firm for the truth of divine healing, claim it and fight for it. Nothing is impossible with God. There is still hope for complete healing for you. All we have to do is to build up our faith in His Word and claim the healing power for ourselves and for our Church. God has not changed nor has His Word. The Word of God is absolutely infallible and supremely powerful. What He has promised, He is able and willing to perform (Rom.4:21). The gospel of Christ is the power of God (Rom.1:16). Every doctrine, which we preach from salvation to the rapture of the Church, contains power in itself. It is not the “word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess.2:13). God is in His Word, and He is faithful in fulfilling it, if we fulfil the conditions and cling to Him and His promises. Another fact which is equally important is that God demands that we be faithful
to every truth which He has revealed to us, and that we hold the beginning of our confidence (in them) steadfast unto the end (Heb.3:14). “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev.2:10). Whether it was the truth of salvation, water baptism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, holy living, separation, sanctification, etc, the saints in the early days remained faithful unto death; St. Paul tells us that this is what he did, “both in (his) bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel”(Phil.1:7). It is so with the truth of divine healing. It is our birthright, possession and inheritance; let us fight for it, claim it and possess it. Let us rest assured that no child of God, who dies of sickness, goes to hell. Undoubtedly, he or she will go to the place appointed and prepared for him or her. Lazarus, for example, who died of incurable sores all over his body, was carried to Abraham's bosom immediately after his death. There is no doubt, therefore, that our dear saints, who died, not cured, after having fought the good fight of faith, are safe in heaven with the Lord. However, it is not God's desire that every believer should die in sickness as proof that he was faithful unto death for the truth of divine healing. On the other hand, He has made provision for our healing and health. We need to know where sickness comes from — from God or from Satan? For example, Satan wanted to destroy Job's faith by bringing distressing boils, from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head (Job 2:7). But that dear saint lacked knowledge. He thought that he had received that evil disease from the good hand of God (Job 2:10). Consequently, he began to doubt the love of God and to lose faith in Him for healing. He developed a mixed feeling of love and fear for God. Finally, fear gripped him and he thought that he was in the hands of an angry God. So he confessed, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). Then he began to desire death. “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past” (Job 14:13). How many sincere saints are in this state today due to lack of discernment ! They would like to remain faithful to the doctrine of divine healing, but have allowed unbelief and fear to take hold of them, so that they are in a state of terror. Instead of claiming divine healing, they look for divine death. They have more confidence to expect death than healing, because many have passed away with the same sickness and with the same symptoms. So let us think over this matter again, and renew and refresh our minds with the reality of the truth of divine healing, so that the Lord may once again find pleasure in healing our body, as He continues to sanctify our soul. John says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III Jn.2). This scripture suggests that the beloved disciple John was in perfect health, by the power of God, in spite of all the persecution and privation which he had to endure in his life and ministry. Praise the Lord Who cares for our healing and our health! Furthermore, God has commanded us to love and serve Him, with all our heart, soul and might (Deut.6:5), and He has promised, that if we obey Him, He will not only heal us, but will also prolong our days. “That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged” (Deut.6:2). To love, serve and obey Him, we need a strong and healthy body. Let us, therefore, renew our covenant with the Lord, and claim a healthy body. §§§§§§ Chapter 2 GOD’S HEALING COVENANT
“AND (He) said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statues, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exo.15:26). Let us who love the Lord and desire to please Him in all things, take hold of the healing covenant mentioned in Exodus 15:26, and claim complete healing and health, and decide to love and serve Him all the days of our life. If we renew our personal covenants with the Lord, He has promised to renew the healing covenant with us. Let us note the following points in the covenant mentioned in Exodus 15:26: (a) This promise is not merely for those who are whole, healthy and active in the kingdom of God. It is primarily for ailing saints, who are not healed by their own faith or by that of their ministers. The Lord Himself steps in and says,“I will put none of these diseases upon thee” (or, in other words, “I am not the cause of your sickness”) rather “... I am the Lord that healeth thee”. (b) God wants us to live a disciplined life, led by His Spirit, Who will write His law in our hearts and put it in our minds so that we may be obedient children (Rom.8:14; Heb.8:10). Healing is promised for His disciplined children. (c) God sent plagues and diseases on the hard-hearted Egyptians, who continued to be rebellious and disobedient to the voice of God. But the children of Israel were fully preserved from all these plagues. “And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be” (Exo.8:22,23). God wants to preserve His children from sickness and disease. (d) Whenever Pharaoh and his people repented and desired Moses to pray for them, He healed their plagues (Exo.8:8-13,28-31, etc.). How much more will He certainly heal us, who are His own children, bought by His own blood, if we truly repent and turn to Him (I Cor.6:20; I Pet.1:18-20). (e) In Deuteronomy 7:15, He promises to take away from us all sicknesses, and to put on us none of the evil diseases of Egypt, if we revert to being His obedient children. Note the phrase “evil diseases of Egypt”. Evil diseases are meant to chasten the disobedient heathen that they might turn to God. Let us thank God that we are delivered from this power of darkness and are translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col.1:13). (f) Remember, healing does not come merely by the laying on of hands of an experienced, sanctified pastor, or of a renowned evangelist with a gift of healing, or with a few drops of anointing oil sprinkled on the head of the afflicted, or by repeating some healing scriptures from memory. Healing begins in our spirit and heart when we earnestly repent of our shortcomings, and renew our covenant with the Lord. (g) God sent plagues upon the Egyptians and death upon the firstborn of Egypt, that He might reveal His “power” and that His name might be declared throughout all the world (Exo.9:16). But in the case of His children, it is not sickness, plague and death, but healing that glorifies God's name. Concerning the healing and the raising of Lazarus, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (Jn.11:4). Let us give God an opportunity to glorify His Son through our healing. Let us renew our covenants and faith, and claim our healing, and decide to love Him, obey Him and serve Him all the days of our life. §§§§§§ Chapter 3
DISCERNING SICKNESS “HEREBY know ye the Spirit of God: Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (I Jn.4:2). Growing children of God need to grow in discernment, especially when they go through a period of physical affliction, such as severe sickness or disease. Let them not believe that their sickness is an affliction from God: for if they do so, they will not be able to build up faith to claim healing from God and resist the devil. When God appeared to Solomon, immediately after he had ascended the throne of his father, He said to him “Ask what I shall give thee”. Solomon was wise enough to ask for discernment, that he might discern between good and bad, instead of any other earthly blessings. God was so pleased with his request that He gave him what he desired and added both riches and honour (I Kgs.3:5-15). Is He not equally desirous of giving us the gift of discernment, to discern the spirits, and to know where all our evils come from, and how to overcome them? (I Cor.12:10). The Preacher says that a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment (Eccl.8:5). God has promised, as we have already seen, that He will “take away from (us) all sickness, and will put (on us) none of the evil diseases of Egypt” (Deut.7:15). Let us be sure in our mind that it is not a pleasure for God to see His children suffering from any form of sickness or disease: because He says that He will take away all sickness from His people so that they may prosper and be in health, even as their soul prospers (III Jn.2). In fact, Jesus took our infirmities and sicknesses and diseases upon Himself when He died upon the cross. Both Isaiah and Matthew confirm this fact. “Himself (Jesus Christ) took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Isa.53:4,5; Matt. 8:16,17). In order to fulfil and establish the healing prophecy for the generations to come, Jesus healed “all that were sick”. If it is God's desire to take away all sicknesses, it is the obvious conclusion that He wants to heal all manner of sickness and disease even today. Nevertheless Satan would do all that is in his power to afflict us with sickness. That is why we should not condemn ourselves with the thought that it is God Who is afflicting us. Jesus “cast out the spirits with his word” and then “healed all that were sick” (Matt.8:16). This proves that incurable sicknesses come from Satan. Again we read that He healed “all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts10:38). Let us not forget that we, the Spirit-baptized children of God, have constant warfare with Satan and his angels, whose desperate desire is to destroy our body, soul and spirit — “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph.6:12). Satan can have access to our body through sin, unbelief and fear and afflict us with sickness or disease, as in the case of Job, but let us be vigilant, and let us not be ignorant of his devices (II Cor.2:11). CHRIST'S VICTORY ON THE CROSS Christ Himself was challenged by Satan in the days of His earthly ministry. Satan desired Christ to worship him (Matt.4:9), but Christ overcame Satan by the Word of God and by the power and the authority of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Lk.4:18). At Calvary, Christ gained a unique victory over Satan. We Christians should not forget at least three important things which Christ accomplished on the cross for us. 1. Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan, including sickness and subsequent death. “... For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn.3:8). “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who
hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim.1:10). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb.2:14). 2. Jesus came to destroy Satan's kingdom and to deliver us from his captivity and to bring us into the kingdom of His dear Son. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col.1:12,13). 3. Jesus came to take away all our sicknesses and diseases on the cross, in fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53:4,5. “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:16,17). Has Christ lost His power? Has He changed His word? Has He made His covenant null and void? Is He not the same yesterday, today and forever? Has He removed His healing power and compassion from His Church? No, dear child of God, He is still willing and able to heal the broken-hearted, to set the captives free, to heal all the sick and to deliver us from the power of the enemy. Let us renew our faith in His faithful promises, trust Him and remain faithful to the light that He has given us. He will definitely heal our body, soul and spirit. §§§§§§ Chapter 4 HEALING POWER IN BAPTISM SINNERS, and people who are not baptized, carry about with them a body called the body of sin (Rom.6:6). St. Paul also calls this body of sin ‘the body of death’ (Rom.7:24). In water baptism, the body is delivered from both the power of sin and the power of death. It is sin that brought death, for, “... the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23) and the “sting of death is sin ...” (I Cor.15:56). Romans 5:12 tells us that “... by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin”. Death thus reigned over man since the fall (Rom.5:14) both in his soul and in his body. That is why St. Paul says that in times past, we were dead (in the soul) in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1) and also that, “... the body is dead because of sin ...”(Rom.8:10). It is Satan who is behind sin. He uses sin to kill the soul, and sin and sickness to kill the body little by little. This is why he is said to have ‘the power of death’ (Heb.2:14). In baptism, by sharing the death of Christ, we are delivered from sin. That is why St. Paul says,“How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom.6:2). He goes on to emphasize that, “sin shall not have dominion over (us) (in the soul)” (Rom.6:14) and that sin should not reign over our mortal body either (Rom.6:12). This is concerning sin. What about death? St. Paul says, in Romans 6:8,9 that “if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:(because) Christ (is now) raised from the dead, (and) dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” He means that death no longer has dominion over us either. In the 13th verse he says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” As long as we consecrate our body to God, death will not have dominion over us, through either sin or sickness, for Christ by His death destroyed him (the devil), that
had the power of death (Heb.2:14) and is now alive for evermore (Rev.1:18) having abolished death (II Tim.1:10). Our body is therefore raised up to live with Him and to do the whole will of God. Sin, sickness and death (which come from the devil), therefore, can have no power over our body which has been baptized. This does not, however, mean that we shall not die at all. The Bible does not teach that. There is a natural physical death that comes to all men at the appointed time. In Hebrews 9:27 we read, “... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” This death is appointed by God, but it need not be due to sin or sickness, for Christ took our sins and sicknesses upon Himself and He tasted death for every man (Heb.2:9). St. Paul says “... though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (II Cor.4:16). This perishing of the outward man is not due to sin or sickness, for if that be so, how can the inner man be renewed day by day? A fruit can perish as a result of being spoiled by insects, birds, microbes etc. It can also die in the course of nature, becoming riper day by day, and then fall from the tree. The perishing of the outer man is as in the second case, when the fruit dies a natural death. Most of the saints both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, died natural deaths. Some died as martyrs but most of them died of old age. They also knew that they were going to die. They did not die afflicted by sickness. God can therefore prepare us and take us away in the natural course of events without sickness. Martyrdom, however, is something different. It is dying for the truth. Some saints may be called of God to die as martyrs for the truth of divine healing but it is by no means ordained for all. In baptism, therefore, we are given two promises: firstly, that sin shall not have dominion over us (Rom.6:14) and secondly, that death shall not have dominion over us. However, there is a warfare after baptism. We are always delivered unto death as we have already seen. By the promise of God and by the power of Christ Who strengthens us and by the resurrection power we must fight sin and death. We must understand clearly the message of verses 13 and 19 of the 6th chapter in the epistle to the Romans. In these two verses we are told to consecrate our body as an instrument of righteousness unto God. The word “instrument” in Greek is “weapon”. When we consecrate our body entirely to God, God makes every part of our body a weapon or instrument of warfare, for we are to live as those alive from the dead, resisting sin, sickness and death. This is how we are to live an overcoming life. We do not find fault with those who die in sickness; but saints must have the right attitude to these matters and they must claim the power of resurrection and the power over sin and death through the truth of baptism. We shall consider the experience of Abraham who exercised faith to receive strength from God. God protected his body from sickness and the conditions of old age because God had told him that He would give him a son. It is written, that Abraham “considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old” (Rom.4:19). He did not either consider the state of his own wife, whose womb was now dead; he held on to the promise of God; He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief (vs.20). He built up his faith on the strength of the promise of God and began to glorify God. He thus became strong in faith and God honoured his faith in His word. If God could preserve the body of Abraham and Sarah in their old age, and also quicken their bodies by His power through faith, how much more is He able to do the same for His children who believe, in the New Testament period. It was for our bodies that Jesus gave His body and it was for our sins that He poured out His soul unto death. St. Paul clearly states that everyone in the New Testament period may exercise the same faith as that of Abraham (Rom.4:23-25). For, he says, that “it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone... But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; (He) was (therefore) delivered for our offences (including sickness and death), and was raised again for our justification.”
Perhaps it is necessary to emphasize here that St. Paul is by no means teaching that, by exercising faith, natural death can be avoided. If everybody from Adam onwards had continued to live until today, the earth would be too small to accommodate them all. It is therefore clear that natural death is appointed by God. However, God should totally eliminate sickness from our mortal body, so that Christ may be manifest in us, whether it be by life or by death (Phil.1:20; II Cor.4:10,11). §§§§§§ Chapter 5 IS SICKNESS A CURSE FROM GOD? SOME children of God condemn others saying that God has cursed them with an incurable sickness. It can never be so in this, the Dispensation of Grace. Under the Old Testament, people suffered from many curses including sicknesses such as consumption, fever, inflammation, scab, madness, blindness and many other maladies, as written in Deuteronomy 28:15,22,27,28: “But it shall come to pass ... these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (vs.15) ... The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, ...fever, ... inflammation, ...(vs.22), botch of Egypt, ... emerods, ... scab, ...itch, ...(vs. 27), madness, blindness and astonishment of heart (vs.28). These were incurable sicknesses, because He says, “... thou canst not be healed” (vs.27). They inherited these curses by the mere sin of disobedience, just as Adam and Eve inherited death by disobeying the commandment of God. St. Paul says, “... as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death (including sickness) by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom.5:12). But, dear child of God, the word of grace says, “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). Jesus came to redeem us (you and me) “from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal.3:13). If you believe that Christ came to redeem you from the curse of sin and judgment, why will you not believe that He has also delivered you from the curse of sickness? Matthew says, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” The curse of sickness is taken away from you and me (Matt. 8:17). The law showed no mercy to its victims. It demanded “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exo.21:24,25). You can see the physical afflictions they had to endure in the Old Testament for transgressing the law. Bound by sin, they had no inner strength to obey the commandments of God. They were “sold under sin” (Rom.7:14). Satan had power over them and had kept them under “the law of sin and death” (Rom.7:23,24; 8:2). But Jesus came to take away our sins and sicknesses and to deliver us from the curse of the law. Jesus was made sin for us, that we might be delivered from the dominion of sin and the wages of sin (II Cor.5:21; Rom.6:23). Let us learn to have absolute confidence in the finished work of Jesus Who died for us in our place to bring us the following blessings. Meditate on these scriptures and fill your heart, spirit and mind with them. By His death, He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim.1:10). By His death, He “spoiled principalities and powers” that is, all the diabolical forces of Satan, and “made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it ” (Col.2:15). By His death, He “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt.8:17) and hence “by (His) stripes ye were healed” (I Pet.2:24). By His death, we are redeemed “from the curse of the law” (Gal.3:13) that we
might be justified by faith in Him (Gal.3:24). By His death, He has “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (that is, He took away the punishment or chastisement that was pronounced against us by the law) (Col.2:14). By His death, “we were reconciled to God” (Rom.5:10). By His death, “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ” (Heb.10:10) and reckoned as perfect. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb.10:14). By His death, and resurrection, we are able to bring forth much fruit and hence the Father is glorified (Jn.12:24; 15:8). If Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law, and from its punishments or chastisements and if He has destroyed Satan and his works on the cross, taking upon Himself our sins and sicknesses, will He chastise us with sicknesses? WILFUL SINS When we sin wilfully against God, we fall from grace, and bring upon ourselves the curse of the law. We allow sin and its curse to reign over us again. Hence St. Paul says, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” If we choose to continue in sin, we cease to be the sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Further, St.Paul says, “ ... if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins (and sicknesses), But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb.10:26,27). But you are not a wilful sinner who wants to “continue in sin, that grace may abound” (Rom.6:1). “Ye are bought with a price” (I Cor.6:20). You are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18,19). You are His “purchased possession ” (Eph. 1:14). So do not let Satan reign over your body either by sin or sickness or death (Rom.6:9,12). Furthermore, you are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul reminds us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Cor.6:19,20). Your body belongs neither to you nor to Satan. Your body is God's. You are His property. Therefore you have the right to challenge Satan, pluck it from his hands and reconsecrate it to God the Father Who created it, to Jesus Christ Who redeemed it, and to the Holy Spirit Who can quicken it, recreate it and preserve it. If God healed the Old Testament saints who were under the curse of the law, whenever they sincerely repented and turned to God, how much more gladly will He heal you if you repent and turn to God! You are no longer under the curse of the law, but under the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ Who is our “merciful and faithful high priest ... (whose purpose is) to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb.2:17). Can you find even one place in the New Testament when Jesus cursed or chastised a man or woman with sickness; even one place where He refused to heal someone because his sin was too great to be pardoned; even one place where He needed Satan or sickness to improve the life of His convert; even one place where He found any sickness too hard to heal; even one place He had to say “I am sorry, it is not My Father's will to heal you” or even one place where He said to His disciples or to the saints, that the curse of sickness was absolutely essential for their sanctification? He loves you, dear child of God! He “was made a curse” for you and for me that we may be partakers of all spiritual and physical blessings. Further, it is clear that “the chastisement (stripes) of our peace was upon him” that “with his stripes” we may be completely healed (Isa.53:5).
Just see how much He was cursed and chastised for our iniquities in order that we might be completely liberated from sin and sickness. He was ‘despised’, ‘stricken’, ‘smitten’, ‘afflicted’, ‘‘wounded’ (margin — tormented), ‘bruised, ‘chastised’ (that is, flogged with deep ‘stripes’) on His already wounded body (Isa.53:3-5). He was ‘oppressed’, and finally slaughtered (crucified) (Isa. 53:7) for our sins on the cross. Is this not enough to prove that He bore all our curses, sin and sickness? Is it not His love that made Him lay down His life for us that we may be redeemed from the curse of the law and from the hands of the destroyer who wanted to destroy our soul and body with sickness and sin? How then can you blame God by saying that He has cursed you or chastised you with sickness? Arise, dear child of God, repent and ask pardon for any sins by which you may have grieved Him and for your utter unbelief and lack of confidence in His sacrifice and redemption. Renew your covenant with Him to love Him and serve Him faithfully. Then you will receive a deep conviction that He wants to heal you completely. Fight your sickness and its subtle author, the devil, who is behind it, in the name of Jesus, and claim your healing right now. He will surely heal you, for the praise of His glory. §§§§§§ Chapter 6 CURSE – WHAT IS IT? THE word “curse” simply means the withdrawal of all God's goodness and blessings from one who has turned away from God. In other words, it points to the repercussions or ill-effects of breaking one's covenant with God. God's presence and His fulness leave the victim gradually from the time he ceases to abide in Him and transgresses the spiritual law or principles whereby he was able to draw life, strength, power, grace etc. from the infinite resources of God. Saints always count upon God's help and abide in Him; for without Him they can do nothing. Jesus said, “ I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (Jn.15:5). The psalmist says “... all my springs are in thee” (Psa.87:7). For an abiding Christian, Christ is his fulness and He is the head. He draws all his physical and spiritual blessings from Christ, the head (Col.1:18; 2:19). From the moment he severs himself from Christ, he is like a withered branch. “He is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned”. Further, if we abide in Him, our life is hid in Christ; we are preserved from all evils including sick- ness, fears, anguish, worries, cares etc.(Col.3:1-3; Phil.4:6,7). BACKSLIDDEN ISRAEL When the children of Israel turned away from God and forsook Him Who brought them out of the land of their captivity, that they might possess Canaan, the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, many evils befell them. 1. God left them alone and hid His face from them. He said “... I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them” (Deut.31:17). Severed from God, the source of life, they were not only deprived of all His blessings, care and protection, but were also exposed to all manner of evils, dangers and hardships. 2. Further, God gave them up to walk in the imaginations of their heart and to fulfil the desires of their hearts (Deut.29:19). The psalmist gives the reason why God gave them over to their own lustful desires. “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust; and they walked in their own counsels” (Psa.81:11,12). 3. Because they forsook God and broke their covenant with God, Satan got the
better of them. He enticed them to worship ‘strange gods’ and commit “abominations”. “They sacrificed unto devils, not to GOD; to gods whom they knew not...” (Deut.32:16,17). St. Paul explains how idolatry came into existence: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things” (Rom.1:21-23). We Christians can be condemned as idolators if we idolize the things of the world, or cleave to anything that takes the place of God in the throne of our heart. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas.4:4). BLESSING AND CURSE Hence it is clear that both blessing and curse function on the same principle as cause and effect. When it rains, the ground which is well prepared for a harvest receives a blessing and produces precious fruits; but an uncultivated waste-field produces briers and wild plants. St. Paul uses this illustration to show how some children of God receive rich blessings from God, because they keep their hearts pure and humble, enriched with His precious Word and His presence, while others bring upon themselves curses due to their own faults of pride, carelessnesss, indifference and disobedience. “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Heb.6:7,8). God sets both blessing and curse before man and leaves the choice to him. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut.30:19). WHERE DOES CURSE COME FROM? Curse does not come from God. Be sure about it. As we have just discovered, curse is a counteracting result of forsaking God, disobeying His commandments and wilfully neglecting fellowship with Him Who is our life, strength, power and protection. Unwittingly abandoning ourselves to some strange gods or devils, walking in the imagination of our hearts or the lustful desires of our flesh and mind and satisfying our carnal nature, we reap corruption. St. Paul warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal.6:7,8). Death and all that it can offer become the wages of sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:23). So it is absolutely wrong to say that God chastened us or cursed us with a disease or incurable sickness. All sicknesses proceed directly or indirectly from Satan, who is the father of lies and the author of sin and death. Sometimes, you may remain sick due to your own ignorance, but your sickness does not come from God. On the other hand, God the Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to take upon Himself all our sins, curses, chastisements, judgment, sicknesses and diseases and to deliver you and me from all the onslaughts of the enemy. It is clearly written in His Word that Jesus tasted “death for every man” (Heb.2:9). “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (Matt.8:17). “Who (Jesus) his own self bare our sins ... by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Pet.2:24). Jesus did not go about distributing curses or sicknesses during His ministry; but rather He “went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38). You are His child. You want to be pure even as He is pure. You want to grow in
your spiritual life. You want to love Him, serve Him and be ready at His coming. Will God then afflict you with a cursed sickness? No, never! Your sickness is from Satan. You have power to heal yourself and to heal others in Jesus' name! “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk.16:16-18). NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING ABOUT BLESSING AND CURSE Jesus had taught us that even if men reviled us, persecuted us and would “say all manner of evil against us falsely” it would become a blessing, as we are already blessed by Him and by the Father “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (Matt.5:3-11; Eph.1:3). We can rest assured, that none can curse us under the sun, neither man nor devil. Further, all the curses that are pronounced against us will be turned into a blessing by our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. All the curses pronounced in the Old Testament against the offenders of the law, including us, have been cancelled and made null and void, because Jesus took the curse upon Himself to redeem us from the curse of the law so that the blessings of Abraham might come upon us. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal.3:13,14). If the ‘blessing of Abraham’ means receiving ‘the promise of the Spirit’ it includes then the promise of divine healing and health also through the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith...” (Rom.4:20). Abraham “died in a good old age ... full of years” (Gen.25:8); Sarah, his wife, also through faith received strength “when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised” (Heb.11:11). We are partakers of the blessings of Abraham and Sarah through Jesus Christ because “if (we) be Christ's, then are (we) Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:29). Let us therefore, claim all the blessings of Abraham, including divine healing and health in order to love Him and serve Him all the days of our life. Further, Jesus has taught us, saying, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt.5:44,45). These verses clearly reveal that none can curse us, because there is heavenly Father Who preserves us from all evil. Besides, He does not curse even the wicked, but maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Hence we also are commanded to bless them that curse us. It is clear in this passage that neither the Father in heaven, nor His Son Jesus Christ, curse their children with any curse. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph.1:3). Another fact which we should know is that blessings and curses cannot exist together. All curses come from Satan and all blessings come from God the Father. If we read anywhere that God has pronounced a curse on any, it simply means that they had already chosen the curse by rejecting God, His commandments, promises and love. “ I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut.30:19). By choosing life we have chosen Jesus Christ Who is the Author of eternal life and the Prince of life. But cursed are those who have chosen the ruler of
darkness instead of the Father of lights and His Son Jesus Christ. “Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas.1:16,17). Only good and perfect gifts come down from our beloved Father in heaven, not sin, sickness, curse and evil. We children of God are therefore exhorted not to use our tongues to curse but to bless even our enemies, like our Father in heaven does. James, therefore, says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (Jas.3:8-12). Writing to the Roman church, St. Paul exhorts, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not” (Rom.12:14). Therefore, be confident and of good courage that you are not cursed by your heavenly Father with a deadly sickness. Jesus has borne all your curse on the cross, including your sickness and disease. Your sickness is from Satan who is the author of death and curses. You have power in the name of Jesus to bind Satan and cast him out and to resist him and all his devices; you have divine authority in Jesus' name to resist Satan and cast your sickness out of your body and be healed. So arise and be healed in Jesus' name! §§§§§§ Chapter 7 CHASTISED TO DEATH? THE main theme of this passage is to prove that God does not chastise anyone to death by incurable sickness, and that it is no part of His desire that the devil should kill us by incurable disease. Jesus came down into the world in order to destroy Satan, who is the author of death, and to deliver us from the fear of death (Heb.2:14,15). Secondly, by His death, He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim.1:10). Thirdly, He came to redeem our body and make it the temple of the Holy Ghost so that God might be glorified in it (I Cor.6:19,20). Fourthly, He came not to destroy our body, but to heal it. It is clearly revealed that He healed all who were sick (Acts 10:38; Matt.8:16). Fifthly, Jesus “was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” including sickness (I Jn.3:8). Sixthly, He gave His body in order to buy our body with His precious blood so that it might become a member of the Body of Christ (ICor.6:15). “We are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph.5:30). Will He then destroy our body which is now His, by an incurable sickness? The psalmist says, “The Lord hath chastened me sore; but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord” (Psa.118:18,19). St. Paul says that he was “chastened, and not killed” (II Cor.6:9). We cannot say that ‘chastisement’ points only to sickness. It may mean hunger, poverty, lack of material needs, persecution and affliction from enemies, withdrawal of God's grace and presence from us for a season, unanswered prayers, etc. ‘Chastisement’ simply means ‘correction’ or ‘instruction’ (Heb.‘YASAR’), and not fatal punishment. Let us cite a few Scriptures where “yasar”, meaning ‘correction’ or ‘instruction’, is used. “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth (correcteth) his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee”(Deut.8:5). “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest (correcteth),O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law” (Psa.94:12). “Chasten (correct) thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Prov.19:18).
The corresponding word for chastisement in Greek is “perideuo”. “But when we are judged, we are chastened (corrected) of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Cor.11:32). “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten (correct) : be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev.3:19). “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (correcteth), and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb.12:6). In all these Scriptures the predominant feature that is connected with chastisement is love. As a father corrects his son, so does God correct His people in love that they may become His disciplined, faithful children. Let us see what St. Paul has to say about chastisement. Writing to the Hebrews, he exhorts the believers to endure chastening, for “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Heb.12:6). Some hold the view that when St. Paul spoke of ‘chastisement’ he meant ‘disease’ or ‘sickness’. It is incorrect to think so. As we have already seen, God has many ways of chastening us. Let us quote St. Paul, substituting ‘sickness’ for ‘chastisement’ and see how it sounds. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of (sickness from) the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (maketh sick), and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening (sickness), God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not (maketh not sick)? But if ye be without chastisement (sickness), whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us (made us sick) after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening (sickness) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Heb. 12:3-13). Does it not seem strange to think that whom He loves, He plagues with a sickness: and that if we are without sickness, we are “bastards and not sons”? It sounds as if bastards and those whom He does not love are exempted from sickness and disease, but on the other hand, all His faithful, beloved children should be tormented by some ailment so that by the virtue of such diseases they are made “partakers of his holiness”. If the interpretation is correct, the conclusion should be that every saint should have some incurable sickness without which he cannot be considered holy or sanctified. Then, the whole Church will soon become an abode for the sick with the diseased and the incurable, and without the gifts of healing and the power of resurrection. Let us note the following points from the exhortation found in the quotation of St. Paul :1. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (or instructs, trains or corrects) (Heb.12:6). God the Father instructs us or corrects us in love and not in His “hot displeasure” (Psa.6:1). Even if He permits a sickness to correct us, His love and compassion are there to heal us. God led the children of Israel patiently in the wilderness and corrected them in love like a father so that they might walk in His ways: “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart that, as a man chasteneth (correcteth) his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God to walk in his ways, and to fear him” (Deut.8:5,6). God's chastisement teaches us to walk in His ways in the fear of God. 2. Another pupose of permitting such a chastisement (correction) is to protect us
from becoming “bastards” or backsliders and that we may love Him as “sons” and serve Him faithfully. He does not permit any such trials or afflictions to torment us continually with a view to killing us, but with a view to delivering us from grave errors and from an undisciplined life (Heb.12:8). 3. We are exhorted not to become weary in our minds or faint-hearted (Heb.12:3), or get discouraged when we are chastised (corrected), but to return to Him as faithful sons, so that He may perform in our lives that which He has purposed and planned for us. 4. If we think that death is the ultimate purpose of any chastisement, we can neither appreciate His love, nor understand the purpose of chastisement. The main purpose of chastisement is to bring us closer to Him so that we may learn to live a fruitbearing life. Though at first the chastisement may seem to be “grievous”, yet it “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb.12:11). Saints know that they are called to bring forth the fruit of righteousness and become “partakers of his holiness” (Heb.12:10) while they are still alive and not after death. Death brings an end to all our Christian activities and to the work of sanctification. So it is evident that any chastisement has a beginning and an end; that end is not death, but the restoration of health, both physical and spiritual, so that we become fruit-bearing Christians. 5. When we fall ill, we must know that our sickness is from Satan and that it is because of fear or lack of faith or some fault on our part. Let us, therefore, return to God and make a fresh start in our life. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Heb.12:12,13). Let us claim our healing and be healed both physically and spiritually, so that the Lord may be glorified in our lives. 6. By the blessing and healing which we receive from our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ after a period of chastisement, we “make straight paths” for our feet that those who are “lame” may not be “turned out of the way” but be healed (Heb.12:13). In other words, chastisement is meant to help us “make straight paths” for ourselves so that we may be of help to those who have lost their faith in the possibility of personal healing. Our testimony and example will stir their faith to turn to the Lord in full assurance that He will heal them. They will also begin to yield “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb.12:11) and become “partakers of his holiness”. If you think that your sickness is due to any sin or fault on your part, remember that there is forgiveness and healing awaiting you the moment you rectify your spiritual life and return to the Lord. He will surely heal you. The psalmist says,“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psa.119:71). Here is another promise: “For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem” (Psa.102:19-21). The Lord hears the groaning of His ailing saints for it is His purpose “to loose those that are appointed to death”. Psalm 118, verses 17-19 read, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord”. Make sure that you will live for the glory of God, to declare His righteousness and His praise after God has healed you. Jesus never turned away any sick unhealed. He healed “all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38). “He healed all that were sick” (Matt.8:16). He went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and “healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt.9:35). “As many as touched were made perfectly whole” (Matt.14:36). “There went virtue out of him and healed them all” (Lk.6:19). The same Jesus is able to
heal you completely and perfectly. He is the same yesterday, and today and for ever. He knows perfectly well all about the sickness you are suffering from or any other trial you are going through. Commit yourself to Him afresh, stir up your faith in Him, and your love for Him. He will surely forgive you, cleanse you, empower you to resist the devil, and help you overcome him and the disease he (Satan) has placed upon your body. §§§§§§ Chapter 8 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHASTISEMENT AND JUDGMENT THERE are some who, quoting Deuteronomy 32:39, “I kill, and I make alive”, assert that God is the author of death and is responsible for all manner of deaths. But to do this is to distort the position of Scripture on this subject. Below, we will consider some incidents quoted by those who hold this view and then explain why this attitude is incorrect. Among the incidents quoted are : (i) the slaughter of the firstborn males of Egypt (Exo.11:4,5); (ii) the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea (Exo.14:2328); (iii) the annihilation of the seven nations in the Promised Land (Deut.20:16-18); (iv) the seven plagues and seven vials reserved for the destruction of the people of the Antichrist during the second half of the Tribulation Period (Rev.ch.16). These are examples of judgments meted out to the heathen. There are also instances where we read of judgment meted out to the children of Israel: (i) three thousand were slain by the sword when they had worshipped the golden calf (Exo.32:27,28); (ii) when they lusted after the food of Egypt, God gave them quails and then visited them with a great plague for their greed, in which many died (Num.11:32-34); (iii) for their rebellion, Korah and his family were swallowed up by the earth (Num.16:28-33); (iv) all those who left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, perished in the wilderness as punishment for their unbelief (Num. 14:22,23; 32:11,12). If we do not spend some time in reflection, considering the reason why these judgments were inflicted, it would be all too easy to question the statement made earlier that God does not chastise anyone to the point of death by means of incurable sickness. There is a world of difference between chastisement and judgment. God may chastise someone in the hope of bringing that person to repentance, but if that person wilfully persists in sin, then in the end God ministers His judgment. But, if we consider the incidents mentioned above, we will see that in the overwhelming majority of cases, capital judgment was meted out to those who had persisted in sin in spite of earlier warnings and chastisements. In the remaining cases, judgment was meted out to some of the children of Israel to serve as an object lesson to those who remained. Another reason why death was inflicted upon people in the Old Testament was that men lived under the code of the Mosaic Law. For some sins, the propitiatory death of an animal was considered sufficient to redeem the sinner. But for others, especially for wilful rebellion against God, the death penalty was required. Among the latter were witchcraft (Lev.20:27), false prophecy (Deut.18:20), stubbornness and rebellion in children who would not respond to chastisement (Deut.21:18-21), murder (Num. 35:3032), adultery (Deut.22:22), rape (Deut.22:25), desecration of the sanctuary (Exo.30:21; Lev.10:2) and idolatry (Deut.13:6-11). Furthermore, during this period, even those who did not commit the so-called ‘mortal sins’ were under the sentence of death. Though physically alive, they had all sinned, and come short of the glory of God, thereby reaping spiritual death as the wages of their sins. It is written, “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas.2:10). In the sight of God, they were just as guilty as those they stoned to death. Though they desired to live good lives, yet, because of the nature
of sin which was in them, they were unable to keep the whole law, and thus they fell under the curse of the law, and were subject to death. Yet even in the Old Testament God showed the desire of His heart when He said that He had no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he should turn from his sin and live (Ezek.18:23). It was to enable man to turn from his sin that God sent His only begotten Son, to be made sin and to take upon Himself our sin and our death — both spiritual and physical — by which we were held in bondage to the prince of this world. While speaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God told Adam and Eve, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”, He was speaking of both physical and spiritual death. When they ate of the fruit, spiritual death occurred immediately, and initiated the process of decay which was to cause physical death. The process was delayed because God wanted to give them a chance to rectify their lives. But when man continued in sin, his life span was curtailed to 120 years (Gen.6:3). Later, the life span of man was reduced again to seventy or eighty years (Psa.90:10). Today, as sin is on the increase, in spite of the great advance made by medicine, many do not even live as long as seventy years. Thus, it is not God Who is the author of death. Death is the inevitable effect of a precise cause — sin. In the Old Testament God precipitated the death of certain people who wilfully and persistently sinned. In the New Testament, though He has provided a way for us to escape sickness and death which are caused by sin, through the sacrifice of Jesus, we must be careful to shun wilful sins which will grieve the heart of God. Wilful sins harden our hearts and leave no room for mercy or grace. Those who commit them are in the grip of Satan. St. John says, “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (I Jn.5:16). This verse tells us that there is a death caused by wilful sins, even in the New Testament. St. Paul admits that he was formerly a great sinner, “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” but he says that he was not a wilful sinner, because he did it “ignorantly in unbelief”. Therefore, he “obtained mercy” and was freely pardoned when he repented of all his sins. On the other hand, Judas, one of the twelve apostles, who had seen Jesus, heard the gospel of the kingdom from His very lips, received the power to perform healings and miracles and to cast out devils from the afflicted, ultimately became a slave of Satan, drawn by covetousness. Satan entered into him (Lk.22:3). Jesus pleaded with him to repent until the last moment; but hardened by sin, and by Satan, he “hanged himself” (Matt.27:5). This death cannot be called the direct judgment of God. Similarly, there is another incident recorded in Acts 5:1-11—the death of Ananias and Sapphira. They had been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. But Satan filled their hearts with the desire to lie against the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land; the Holy Spirit Who was in them must have warned them continually against practising deception and lying. It is said that Satan ‘FILLED’ their hearts with this wilful sin, with the result that there was no room for the Holy Spirit to dwell in them. It seems that sin and Satan played their role promptly, and death overtook them immediately. God could have delayed their deaths, as He is a God of patience, as is shown by His patience with many similarly minded Christians today. But in His wisdom He saw fit to permit this judgment, so that “great fear” might come “upon all the church” and that they might learn to obey the Holy Spirit and thus avoid sinning wilfully (Acts 5:11). Paul warns us to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb.12:28,29). Wilful sins cannot be covered by the blood of Jesus. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb.10:26,27). Those who are guilty of wilful sins will be judged at any time; immediately, as in the case of Ananias
and Sapphira or later. “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” (I Tim.5:24). The Scripture clearly teaches us that Christ died for both our sins and our sicknesses (Isa.53:4,5). For the most part we are able easily to accept that Christ died for our sins. We are less able to accept that He also bore our sicknesses. Isaiah 53:4, translated literally from the Hebrew, reads as follows: “Surely he has borne our sicknesses (Heb. CHOLI - sickness, weakness) and carried our pains” (Heb. MAKOB pain). The word is rendered as “sicknesses” by Matthew, when he quotes it in his Gospel, explaining how Jesus was able to heal (Matt.8:16,17). Christ not only bore our sin, but He also bore its effects and consequences viz. sickness and death. For one who has trusted in the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, the power of sin, sickness and death has been annulled. As has already been said, this does not mean that we will not die a natural death, which is the lot of every man (Heb.9:27), but for the true Christian, death is no longer death, but rather a rest or a sleep. Christ partook of flesh and blood so that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb.2:14,15). God, far from being the author of death, was prepared to offer His only begotten and beloved Son as a sacrifice in order to deliver us from the power of death. What is happening today is that Satan is trying to bring on us again what Christ destroyed on Calvary, when He nailed the handwriting of ordinances (the Law, which condemned us) on to the cross, and spoiled principalities and powers. As Christians, we should stand fast in the position of faith, that sin, sickness and death have been abolished through the cross, and resist any attempts Satan may make in our lives, to put these things on us again. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we can claim deliverance from these things and fulness of life for our soul and body. §§§§§§ Chapter 9
PAUL’S THORN IN THE FLESH
IN II Corinthians 12:7-10, St. Paul states, “... lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong”. Some people argue that the “thorn in the flesh” and the “messenger of Satan,” mentioned in these Scriptures, refer to affliction imposed upon St. Paul through some human agency, by those who withstood his ministry. They quote God's words to the children of Israel when they were to occupy the land of Canaan: “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell” (Num.33:55). This argument is, however, incorrect as St.Paul had just a thorn in the flesh and a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him, and if this therefore referred to a single person who was resisting his ministry it would not have been too difficult for Paul to withstand him, because, during his lifetime he had confronted a large number of enemies. For example, in the fourteenth chapter of Acts we read of a mob expelling him from Iconium. Again he was stoned and thought to be dead but God gave him life and raised him up. In chapter 16 we read of his being beaten and jailed at Philippi. He was troubled on every side, he was perplexed, persecuted, cast down and always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake (II Cor.4:8-11). On these occasions, however, he never sought deliverance nor did he
pray, “Lord, set me free from these messengers of Satan”. On the other hand he encouraged the others, exhorting them to continue in the faith, saying that it was through much tribulation that they were to enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Again, St.Paul, speaking of his bonds as part of his afflictions at the hands of the enemies of Christ, writes, “My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places: And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (’Phil.1:13,14). From his words we understand that he readily accepted any tribulation which came from human messengers of Satan. If that be so, who is this messenger of Satan that he refers to in II Corinthians 12: 7-10? Who afflicted him so much and from whom, did he pray that he should be delivered? From all the Scriptures on this subject we are led to the conclusion that this “messenger of Satan” was an evil spirit of infirmity which had brought some sickness upon his body. As against this, there are some who affirm that St. Paul was never sick and that servants of God should never be sick. This also is not true as in the Bible itself we clearly read of servants of God like Trophimus (II Tim.4:20), Epaphroditus (Phil.2:27) and Timothy (I Tim.5:23), who were ill. There are still some others who agree that the “thorn in the flesh” was a sickness that Paul had; but they go to the other extreme to say that he was never healed of it. This is not true either, as the Word of God clearly states that Jesus took all our infirmities and bore our sicknesses (Matt.8:17), and that He went about healing all those who were oppressed by the devil, from which we understand that it is the will of God to heal the sick. St. Paul, referring to his own sickness, writes, “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first” (i.e. in time past), and he goes on to say, “And my temptation which was in my flesh” (not ‘is’ but ‘was’), which obviously means that whereas he once suffered from a certain malady, now he was entirely free from it (Gal.4:13,14). In the fifteenth verse of the same chapter we have information as to the specific nature of the malady. He says to his brethren in Galatia, “I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me”. So we understand that his “thorn in the flesh” could have been some sickness affecting his eyes and that God very definitely healed him of it. However, God did not heal him instantly. Instead He told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee”. By this God meant that by His grace wanted to impart two more things to Paul, that is, His strength and power. If God had granted him instant deliverance as he desired, St. Paul would not have been able to learn the spiritual lessons that God wanted to teach him concerning (i) His grace that was sufficient for him (ii) His strength that was made perfect in weakness and (iii) His power that would help him overcome all things and which would eventually heal his sickness. GRACE “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jas.4:6). St. Paul knew this and to the best of his knowledge and ability, he tried to humble himself. He said that he was less than the least of all saints (Eph.3:8) and again that he was the least of the apostles (I Cor.15:9) and in times past, the chiefest of all sinners (I Tim.1:15). It was on this basis that God gave him a ministry and great revelations. The abundance of revelations he received however, was making him proud and when pride entered him he began to lose the grace of God and that is why God permitted this affliction from Satan. As St. Paul himself says, “lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me”. It is then that God tells him, “My grace is sufficient for thee”, that is to say, “Humble yourself and My grace, which saved you, is also sufficient to heal you of your sickness.” Grace is God's unmerited favour to the most unworthy sinner. In Ephesians 1:7,
we read of the riches of His grace, by which a sinner is forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Again St.Paul, speaking of himself, relates how he, who was a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious, obtained mercy, and how the grace of God was sufficiently abundant in his life to be able to reveal the Son of God in him, and show forth all manner of suffering as a pattern to others, who would thereafter believe on Christ (Gal.1:15,16; I Tim.1:13-16). We start our spiritual life being freely justified by grace (Rom.3:24), and thereafter we reign in life through Christ Jesus by the abundance of grace in Him. Again, St. Paul says that he was able to labour more abundantly than the other apostles because of the grace that was bestowed upon him (I Cor.15:10). It is because of the grace of God that we are able to enjoy all of God's blessings. So Paul had to learn to humble himself to receive this grace for his life and ministry. In I Peter 5:10, we read, “... the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you”. So when God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee”, He meant that the grace which had saved him, and which helped him to labour more than others and to reveal Christ in his life, was also going to perfect him, strengthen him and stablish him, and it was furthermore going to heal him, when he learned to remain humble. How this takes place is a point which needs to be explained. We read in Romans 3:20, “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin”. Those, therefore, who depend on the law for their justification stand condemned before God. When we are condemned by the law, the devil also condemns us, and he takes advantage of the opening which he has obtained and afflicts us with sickness. This is why God has made available to us His grace, which freely justifies us through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus, in taking our condemnation upon Himself, and justifying us, also took all our sicknesses and bore our infirmities when He died on the cross. Therefore, even without our knowledge, the healing power flows through us who believe in Christ Jesus. This is what God meant when He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee”. STRENGTH The second lesson which St. Paul learnt was that God's strength was made perfect in his weakness, and, as recorded in Philippians 4:13, he learned to do all things through Christ Who strengthened him. When he was pressed out of measure, beyond his strength, it was the Lord Who strengthened him (II Cor.1:8). Writing to Timothy, he says, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me” (II Tim.4:16). He felt weak when everybody left him. In verse 17, we read, “notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion”. So he had thus learnt to be strengthened to bear all afflictions of the devil, including sickness. St. Paul also laboured very hard and God wanted to teach him that His strength was sufficient to replenish even the strength dissipated through hard labour. POWER The third lesson concerned the power of Christ. In Luke 9:1, we read that Jesus called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. So servants of God need power not only to resist the devil but also to overcome him. In Luke 10:17-19, we read that when the disciples returned from their ministry they rejoiced saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (that is, through the power of His name). Jesus then went on to say, “I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. Again, after the resurrection, Jesus spoke to His disciples and said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt.28:18). This is better explained by St. Paul in Philippians 2:9-11 where we read that after His
death, Jesus was exalted by the Father and given a “name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. St. Paul says, “I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power” (Eph.3:7). So this power was also part of God's grace in Paul's life and Jesus wanted to manifest His power in him when he was being afflicted by the messenger of Satan, to help him overcome Satan and the sickness. Now all these works of grace, strength and power could not have been realized by Paul, if God had granted him his request for deliverance. Instant deliverance is for the unconverted and the spiritually immature, but God wants us to receive of His grace, strength, and power daily, so that we may overcome all things, including sickness: it is not just a matter of receiving deliverance. We need to come to His throne through prayer, that we may obtain mercy and find sufficient grace, strength and power to help in time of need (Heb.4:16). “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb.4:15). Again, He is a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God and in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted (Heb.2:17,18). Therefore when we come to God's presence, let us learn, in the first place, to humble ourselves, so that any pride in us or anything we have done to grieve God or any other cause for condemnation may be removed, and that we may be cleansed. This we must do constantly, for God can impart to us His grace, strength and power only when we cleanse ourselves. As given in Hebrews 10:21, having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. In Galatians 6:17, St.Paul says “from henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”. What does, “marks of the Lord Jesus” mean? St. Paul is referring to the many afflictions he endured, the effects of which were clearly visible on his physical body. When the Lord healed him he was left with the marks or the scars. He was beaten, his body was torn but the Lord healed him over and over again. Therefore we see that this “thorn in the flesh” had been permitted by God but instead of healing him straightaway, God gave him three promises (grace, strength and power) to sustain him. St. Paul learnt that even when he was sick, the grace, strength and power of God made available to him were sufficient to enable him to fulfil his ministry. He was so thrilled with this new revelation that he even came to a place where he actually rejoiced and glorified God because he was afflicted physically in one way or the other. He said, “I take pleasure in infirmities” (II Cor.12:10). The Bible says that Abraham also staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God (Rom.4:20). Therefore, let us humble ourselves and continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, thereby glorifying Him and receive of His grace, strength and power in abundance to fulfil our ministry and to overcome sin, sickness and Satan. §§§§§§ Chapter 10
SICKNESS OF EPAPHRODITUS
IT is time to awake, to see clearly, and know for certain that all the ailing servants of God who have given themselves to serve Him with all their heart, DO POSSESS power to heal themselves and others IN THE NAME OF JESUS. Jesus ordained His disciples “that they should be with him, and that he might
send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mk.3:14,15). In Colossians 1:28,29 St. Paul says, “we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working (power), which worketh in me mightily”. If God has given His servants the power to preach and teach, He has also given them power to heal. Otherwise the preaching will be powerless, faithless and aimless, for “... the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”. Jesus knew that His disciples needed the very same power which He had, to set the captives free from the kingdom of Satan. It meant their coming into grips with the devil, binding him and setting the captives free. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “... how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?” (Matt.12:29). Furthermore He fully realized that Satan would try to assault, afflict, oppose and fight His servants. That is why He affirmed, “Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”(Lk.10:19). Faithful to His commission He accomplished His promises to His disciples wherever they went to preach and to heal, “confirming the word with signs following” (Mk. 16:20). Sickness and disease have multiplied in these last days and therefore healing ministry needs to be carried out extensively. Jesus is the same and His promises are unchanging; therefore, as ministers of Christ, let us boldly claim His presence and power in our ministry. When Jesus gives His servants the ministry to preach the gospel and to visit the sick and to heal them, He will, with the ministry, give them a healthy body to fulfil that ministry. It is incongruous therefore to say, “God has made me sick and He is sanctifying me through the sickness”. Can Jesus be happy to see His servants sick and sickly? The voice of Jesus to His servants is: “(I give you) power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases (including your sickness)” (Lk.9:1). If servants of God do not have the faith to heal themselves in Jesus' name how can they promise healing to others? Similarly, if servants of God do not know the way to sanctify themselves, how can they confidently preach sanctification to others and labour to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus? (Col.1:28). The Word of God says, that it is “... the very God of peace (who will) sanctify you wholly” (I Thess.5:23), but the devil will force us to believe that it is sickness that sanctifies us. Jesus says, ‘Without me ye can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5), but Satan will say, ‘Without sickness you can do nothing’. God's Word says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (in Christ)” (Heb.10:22), but the devil says, ‘It is impossible to draw near without a serious sickness. Wait till you are really sick to get close to God’. Jesus says ‘Heal the sick’ (Lk.10:9), but the subtle voice says ‘Stay sick; this sickness is incurable; you suffer from a sickness unto death’. Sickness and disease were hardly known among the saints of the first century, compared to the mounting toll of all manner of sicknesses in the Church today. Some who fall ill today, lose no time in justifying themselves saying that they are suffering exactly like Epaphroditus and that it is God's will for them to be sick, nigh unto death, that they have suffered enough for Jesus and that they are prepared to be called to their eternal rest. With this frame of mind they hardly pray for their own recovery. If they do pray, it is only a nominal or traditional prayer of unbelief; if, by any chance, someone approaches them to offer ‘an effectual fervent prayer’ of faith (Jas. 5: 15,16), they will piously brush aside the offer with a hardened smile saying, ‘So many gifted pastors saints have already prayed for me. I was not healed, because my sickness is unto death. God has shown me that He is doing something deep in me. After He has done the work of grace in me, He will take me Home’. Such saints lack knowledge of the mind of God. God says, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos.4:6). St. Paul says they are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"
(II Tim.3:7). They think that they are so spiritual that they cannot go wrong in their revelation. But are they right in their judgment and understanding? Others say, ‘Only God knows what a deep work He has done in my life through this sickness and drawn me closer to Him as never before’. That may be true. But is an incurable disease needed to perform a work of grace? If so, all who live close to God must suffer from one disease or another to be drawn still closer to the Lord, and the whole Church should eventually become a hosptial of incurable sick folk. We need not therefore pray for healing or for the manifestation of healing gifts. Others think that the sacrifice of Jesus is insufficient to sanctify them and to bring them to perfection, and hence they need the help of Satan to keep them always sick so that they might remain close to Jesus and become partakers of His holiness. On the other hand we know that it was the love of Christ, His grace and power which constrained the saints to live close to Him and that they were willing to deny anything which was a gain to them, counting it as loss "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" and even as ‘dung’ that they might win Christ (Phil.3:7,8). If without sickness, we are prone to backslide and to disobey God, and being sick is the only way to live closer to Him, then there is something really wrong with us. We lack real love and obedience in our life. WHAT WAS EPAPHRODITUS' SICKNESS AND WHY WAS HE SICK? Did God make him sick to sanctify him? Was he punished by God for any wilful sin on his part? Was his sickness incurable? Was his ailment the messenger of God to call him to his Home above? Did he carry in his bloodstream some deadly virus or microbe which ate up his lungs, liver or any other vital organ of his body? What was his sickness? Cancer? Diabetes? Tuberculosis? Or, was it one of the sicknesses mentioned as a curse in Deuteronomy chapter 28? No. It is clear from the statement of St. Paul that his sickness was due to overwork. Because of the work of Christ (not because of a microbe or a deadly disease) he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life (Phil. 2:30). He was burning his candle at both ends. As "companion in labour, and fellow soldier" he had to work hard for Paul; at the same time, he had to labour for the Philippian church day after day. His spirit was strong but his body was becoming weak. Furthermore he had many things to accomplish, both physically and spiritually, but he lacked the time. Caught between the pressure of work and lack of time, he was crushed nearly to death. All he needed was complete rest, which continually evaded him. When he was forced to rest, without any more strength to continue his service, God quickened both his body and spirit and restored him to the ministry which he loved. Perhaps that may be your case. Your are weak and without strength. Do not despair. The Lord is with you to quicken your body and strengthen you and to use you once again in His service. As you rest in Him, wait upon Him, come close to Him and build up your faith, He will speak to you. The voice of His Word and the power of the Holy Ghost will revive you and raise you up. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fail: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa.40:2831). DID ERAPHRODITUS DIE IN HIS SICKNESS? During time of his sickness did he plead with God to take him to Zion? Or did he pray like Elijah, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” He must have had a
steadfast faith. Like St. Paul he must have had the faith that he possessed in his own body, “the excellency of the power” of God which raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead (II Cor.4:7,14). He must have counted on God's faithfulness to revive him again so that he might continue his ministry with joy. God therefore honoured his faith and restored his life and health. St. Paul sent him back to Philippi to help the saints who wanted him to continue ministering there. He himself ‘longed’ to serve God and carried a continual burden, “full of heaviness” in his heart for the work of God. He had a living message for the churches and a spirit of service (Phil.2:25,26). Will God remove such a man from the Church before he has accomplished the ministry he has been called for? St. Paul tells Archippus: “take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (Col.4:17). Dear servants of God, let us unite our hearts and spirits together to claim divine healing and health, for both body and soul, so that we may live for the praise of His glory and for the preparation of the Church for His coming. §§§§§§ Chapter 11
BEWARE OF DEATH (Part I)
THERE are some who believe that all sickness is due to sin; therefore, all who die from sickness do so because of sin in their lives. There are some who become sick because of sin, as we see in the case of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda; Jesus healed him, and later on found him, and said to him : “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (Jn.5:14). However, sin is not always the cause. Not all sickness is due to sin nor are all deaths due to sickness. There are other causes such as overwork, as we see in the case of Epaphroditus, who, “for the work of Christ, ... was nigh unto death” (Phil.2:30). Death is called an enemy (I Cor.15:26). In Revelation 6:8, the wicked spirit who rides on the pale horse during the first half of the Tribulation Period is called Death, and Hell follows him. That is why we believe that ‘death’ is an evil spirit, otherwise known as the angel of death, whom we must resist. Accidents, all manner of deadly sick- nesses, massacres and bloodshed caused by ungodly men are initiated by the angel of death, and he must be resisted and overcome in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by His blood. This does not mean that saints who die in sickness or as martyrs are not to be reckoned among the overcomers. Stephen, the first martyr, was a man full of the Holy Ghost and approved by God; yet God permitted his martyrdom at the hands of ungodly men. Every truth needs its martyrs, but these martyrs are exceptions; the rule is different, as we have already seen. God is our ‘secret place’, our ‘refuge’ , and our ‘fortress’. He shelters us from the snares of the fowler (the devil) and from the ‘noisome pestilence’ (Psa.91:1-3). We should not be moved by those who have passed away from this world because of some dreadful sickness. Some may have to go through the trial of sickness, but there is no sickness unto death for a child of God. Mary, Martha and others thought that Lazarus was sick unto death but Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death” and raised him up. Jesus proved that all sickness was curable by healing “all that were sick” (Matt.8:16; 9:35). Jesus tasted death for every man (Heb.2:9), and, “through death” He destroyed “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb.2:14). We have seen in Chapter 8 how God's judgment was meted out to kingdoms and nations, and also to wilful sinners, disobedient nations and kingdoms, including the disobedient Spirit-baptized Christians of the New Testament. God's judgment is righteous. Those judgments were executed on the principle “the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). Sin, death and judgment go together. God has given man a choice. In
Deuteronomy 30:15,19 He says, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil ... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing”. He advises man, “Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”. When man decides to obey God's commandments, he receives God's blessings (Deut. 28:1,2,5). But the first man chose sin and death, and so he came under the law of sin and death. Sickness is the result of the fall of man. But Jesus came to deliver us from the captivity of sin and sickness, and to grant us the free gift of eternal life (Rom. 5:15,18,21). By bringing eternal life, Jesus has abolished death (II Tim.1:10). When we truly repent of our sins, then we must surrender our life (spirit, soul and body) to Christ as a living sacrifice (Rom.12:1). Once we begin to do this, sin and sickness lose their hold on us; they cease to reign over us, and we begin to reign over them. Romans 6:9 says, “death hath no more dominion over him (Christ)”. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:11). So when we take the proper baptism through immersion and constantly surrender our life to Christ, then like Christ, we also gain dominion over sin and sickness which are the causes of death (Rom.6:13,14). It is very important for us to realize the power that lies in these verses for us. This is something which we must practise daily and live out daily. “For ... faith without works is dead ...” (Jas.2:26). Our Christian life is a constant warfare. St. Paul tells us, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (II Cor.10:4). When we yield our “members as instruments of righteousness unto God” we are fully armed by His power to wage war against sin, sickness and death. “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Rom.6:14). If you are a true child of God, learn to believe that Jesus has abolished death (both physical and spiritual) by dying for you. You are passed from (the sentence of) death unto life (Jn.5:24). Jesus did not come to “kill and to destroy” our body or soul, but to save them, heal them, and to give them life and more abundant life (Jn.10:10). Jesus Who gave “everlasting life” to the Samaritan woman, that her soul might live forever is the same Who told Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again ... I am the resurrection, and the life” (Jn.11:23,25). So in the “eternal life” which flows from Jesus, provision is made for physical healing also. This, of course, does not mean that we will never die physically. In Hebrews 9:27, St. Paul says, “It is appointed unto men once to die”. So every man has a time, appointed by God, for physical death. If this were not so, there would not be enough space on the earth for everyone. When you are faced with a fearful sickness, never believe that it is from God, or that the time of your departure is at hand. Sickness does not come from God. James says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (Jas.1:13). Never think that it is the ideal moment prepared by God to sanctify you and take you to New Jerusalem or Mount Zion. We are called to practise sanctification every day, all the days of our life, and grow continually to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. St. Paul says that we are “delivered unto death” and that we should overcome both sickness and death by the in-dwelling presence of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit (II Cor.1:8-10). Some interpret the phrase “though our outward man perish” (II Cor.4:16) to mean that our body should perish in sickness before death. It is not always the case. We can compare our body to a fruit which can perish before becoming fully ripe, because it has been attacked and eaten away by worms or insects, or pecked by birds. It can also perish by gradually becoming ripe, over-ripe and then dried up. The perishing of the outer man is because of the process of physical aging, at the end of which the time of the Lord comes. He takes away the breath and man dies: “... thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psa.104:29). Declining strength, diminishing sight, greying hair, etc., should not be counted as sickness. God promises to keep us till
old age. “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isa.46:3,4). Beware of death! Death is your enemy; “the last enemy to be destroyed” (I Cor.15:26). Let it not become your “first enemy”. You must reign as Jesus did till you put all your enemies under your feet; sin, the old man with all his deeds, sickness and all the onslaughts of Satan, who will rise against our life or ministry. They are our enemies. Let us fight them. Remember this! You are born with a purpose; you have a task to fulfil, a promise to claim, a covenant to keep, a battle to fight, a race to run, a prize to win and a fulness of growth to reach in Christ Jesus. He knows the exact time to call you Home to be with Him. David says, “My times are in thy hand” (Psa.31:15). Till then, run your race, fight the good fight, serve Him with all your heart. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen” (Rom.16:20). §§§§§§ Chapter 12 BEWARE OF DEATH (Part II) WE have seen that (i) Jesus came to abolish all causes of death, such as sin unto death or death caused by sin, and sickness unto death; (ii) a Spirit-led life delivers us from the law of sin and death; (iii) sin and death cease to have dominion over us once we have taken the correct baptism by immersion in water; (iv) physical death need not necessarily happen through some incurable sickness; (v) a Christian can continue to live overcoming sin, sickness and death through Christ, and serve Him until he is called Home. When death came their way to put a halt to their spiritual life and ministry, saints did not accept it always as a Home-call but sought God for deliverance and extension of life to live and glorify His name. When enemies desired the death of the psalmist, he prayed, “O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come” (Psa.71:18). David was sick many times and was at the point of death. There was a time when his loins were filled with a loathsome disease: there was no soundness in his flesh, his wounds were stinking, his heart was failing and his eyes were losing their sight (Psa.38:5,7,10). His enemies said, “An evil disease ... cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more” (Psa.41:8). Under such circumstances he prayed, “O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me” (Psa.41:10,11). Saints were sometimes ‘chastened sore’ but they claimed healing and deliverance from death that they might proclaim His name and manifest His power. The Psalmist says, “The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death” (Psa.118:16-18). God has a plan in the life of every child of God. They are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that (they) should walk in them” (Eph.2:10). Sin, sickness, death and other trials, may wage war against them, attempting to thwart the plan of God concerning them. If they would only discern the presence of Satan, the destroyer, behind their trials, they would never allow him to cut short their lives, but would claim deliverance and length of days to grow to perfection, and to finish the ministry to which they have been called. Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Paul and the apostles, all had a work to accomplish for God, and God preserved them to the end. We read that Abraham died “in a good old age ... full of years” (Gen.25:8) and that Isaac died when he was 180, old and full of years (Gen.35:28,29). Jacob lived till he was very old (Gen.47:9; 49:33) and Moses died at the age of 120 years, and even at that age “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut.34:7). Joshua died when he was 110 years old, “stricken in age” (Josh. 23:1;24:29). David, as we have already seen, died in a good old age, “full of days” (I Chron. 29:28). Job was suffering from a “wasting sickness”, so loathsome that he preferred “strangling and death” to life (7:15). But God healed him completely and granted him long life (42:17). We read of the prophetess Anna (84 years old) who had a clear vision and who knew that she would not die before seeing the birth of Jesus Christ. She, therefore, served God with fastings and prayers night and day, not departing from the temple (Lk. 2:36,37). She was strong for her age, to fast and pray continually. All the apostles toiled hard but no mention is made of them being sick unto death. St.Paul lived long enough to be able to call himself, “Paul the aged” (Philem. vs.9). Though he had a ‘thorn in the flesh’, a physical ailment, buffeting him, he was healed and was able to labour more abundantly than the other apostles (I Cor.15:10). The apostles would have lived longer had they not been martyred for Christ and His Word. When God created Adam and Eve, He had in mind the rapture or physical translation of their bodies to heaven, and not death. In fact He wanted them to live for ever. However, God knew that this planet was too small to accomodate them and their generation for ever. Having completed their course on earth they would therefore have been translated to their eternal home in heaven without tasting death, like Enoch (Heb.11:5) had they not sinned. Adam and Eve, before they transgressed the commandment of God, possessed eternal life, the very breath of God, pure, without any element of sin, corruption or death. Jesus came to restore that eternal life to man and to abolish death. This eternal life, is in the Son (I Jn.5:11,12), and therefore, if the Son of God is reigning in our life we are passed from death to life (I Jn.3:14). Though it is appointed for men once to die, the death of a child of God is quite different from that of others. For him, it is no more death, but a ‘departure’ from this life to his eternal abode (Phil.1:23). It is a ‘sleep’ (I Thess. 4:13,14) or it is ‘putting off’ his garment or tabernacle (II Cor.5:1-4; II Pet.1:14). If sickness or disease were really necessary to end our life's journey, Jesus would not have commanded His disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead (Matt.10:8). He Himself would not have raised Lazarus from the grave, claiming “ I am the resurrection and the life”,nor would He have brought back to life Jairus' daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. All these victims were young people who were deprived of the privilege of living a longer life for the glory of God. Death which is called our enemy, came to snatch them away. But Jesus restored their lives to them. Young people need to learn to live a consecrated life, pure and obedient, to fulfil the plan of God in their life. God has promised to grant us length of life, preserving us from sickness and death, if we serve Him faithfully (Exo.23:25,26), keep His commandments and statutes (Deut.11:8,9; 32:46,47), fear the Lord all the days of our life (Prov.10:27), and walk in all humility without being lifted up (Deut.17:19,20), are kind to our fellow creatures (Deut.22:6,7), love the Lord, obey His voice and cleave unto Him Who is our life and length of days (Deut.30:19,20); also, we must learn to order our conversation and behaviour aright (Psa.34:12-15). There are many such promises given in the Bible. God wants us to love Him, obey Him and serve Him with all our hearts that He may preserve us from the path of the destroyer who comes to steal, kill and destroy us (Jn.10:10). Saints may sometimes be tried by sickness and death but we should not be too hasty in deciding that these two evils are sent by the Lord to remove us to our eternal
abode. There is a death which is from the Lord, and this is really precious and blessed, for it is written, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psa.116:15). But Satan's desire is to see that we die an agonising death, which will have the effect of deceiving us at the last moment. The death that comes from Satan is clearly marked in the Bible so that we may discern the “last enemy” and fight him courageously and overcome him whenever he attempts to frighten us, or to deceive us with the impression that he has come to take us to Zion and New Jerusalem. The death proceeding from Satan is associated with terms such as “bitterness of death” (I Sam.15:32), “sorrows of death” (Psa.18:4), “snares of death” (Psa.18:5), “destruction and death” (Job 28:22), “instruments of death” (Psa.7:13), “terrors of death” (Psa.55:4), “chambers of death” (Prov.7:27), “messengers of death” (Prov.16:14), “shadow of death” (Psa.44:19), “valley of the shadow of death” (Psa.23:4), “darkness and the shadow of death” (Psa.107:10), “grievous deaths” (Jer.16:4), “gates of death” (Psa.9:13) etc. We must therefore be fully armed to resist both sickness and death, and to claim the victory which is in Christ Jesus, Who “through death (destroyed) him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb.2:14). By this means, He abolished death, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel (II Tim.1:10). Our body was once enslaved by sin. The “motions of sins ... did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death” (Rom.7:5); hence it was a “body of death” (Rom.7:24) and Satan did have a claim over it. But praise be to God; it is now fully redeemed, together with our soul, bought by the precious blood of Jesus, that it may be fully transformed “like unto his glorious body” (Phil.3:21). By the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are delivered from the law of sin and death. Jesus has therefore given us power in His name to claim victory over sin, sickness and death, so that we may live a perfect life, both spiritually and physically, overcoming every trial by the faith of the Son of God. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal.2:20). §§§§§§ Chapter 13 POWER OF YOUR FAITH (Part I) FOR a definite miracle of healing, God demands your steadfast faith. When the disciples cried, saying, “Master, master, we perish” Jesus said, “Where is your faith?” (Lk.8:24,25). He asked the two blind men, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” When they said, “Yea, Lord”, He healed them saying, “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matt.9:27-29). When the woman who had been suffering from the issue of blood was healed by touching the hem of His garment, Jesus said, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Lk.8:48). When the woman of Canaan came all the way to Jesus, humbled herself and patiently waited for the healing of her daughter, Jesus marvelled at her persistent faith and said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt.15:28). And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. When the blind man who was begging by the way-side near Jericho, cried saying, “Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy on me”, He answered, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” The beggar replied, “Lord, that I might receive my sight”. Jesus said, “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee”. He was healed instantly. These cases are sufficient to establish the truth that God demands your personal faith for your healing. It is your faith in Jesus that saved you. When the sinner-woman broke the
alabaster box of ointment and washed the feet of Jesus, weeping, repenting of her sins, Jesus told Simon, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven” and He told the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee” (Lk.7:47-50). As we have seen before, Jesus told the blind man “Thy faith hath saved thee” when He healed his eyes; He made the same statement “thy faith hath saved thee” to this woman when He forgave her sins. We understand from these two cases, that it is faith that saves and heals. Some have learnt to build their faith for the welfare and spiritual growth of their inner man, but have neglected to foster their faith for the healing and health of their body. There are those who have cultivated sound faith in divine healing to maintain their body in sound health, free from any trace of illness, but alas, they have neglected to build their faith, in order to preserve their inner man from sin and the wiles of the devil. God desires the prosperity of the body as well as of the soul, because the soul cannot live in this world without the body (III Jn. 2). WHAT IS FAITH? In St. Paul's own words “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). Faith is a spiritual “substance” similar to love, peace, joy, etc., which belongs not to the intellect, or to physical feelings, but to the spirit of man. Every man has an indwelling spirit, and it is there that faith dwells as the inward motivating power behind all his activities. Faith is the driving force that helps man to seek, to study and to strive hard to accomplish his work. The natural man has natural faith to accomplish whatever he decides to do in this world. It is that faith which enables the scientists to spend time, day and night, to discover the things they hope for. This natural faith has its own limits. When a man is born again and becomes spiritual, his faith becomes spiritual too, and becomes transformed, as does any other part of his life. His faith finds new dimensions in Christ Jesus and His kingdom. He finds the ability, to reach beyond his limitations, to areas not perceptible to natural senses. Christ and His Word become his field of research as he discovers supernatural power and abundant life so that he is able to live free from sin, sickness, depression, anguish, fear of death, etc., and to cultivate divine characteristic such as love, kindness, endurance, peace, holiness etc. He discovers unlimited possibilities in Christ and His Word. Therefore He begins to rest firm and steadfast in the Word of God, paying no heed to other voices that rise from fear, unbelief, discouragement etc. He realizes that Satan is behind such disturbing thoughts. Further, he does not consult his own natural feelings and senses, which militate against faith. He is steadfast and sure in his spirit that whatever God has promised for him, He is able to accomplish. Though he does not see God's presence with the naked eye, he possesses a strong conviction that God, Who is true and faithful, dwells in His Word, accomplishing what He has promised. It is this faith that gave Abraham such an unshakeable conviction that God would surely bless him with a son in his old age. By the indwelling power of his faith, in spite of his body being as good as dead, he “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith” knowing for certain “that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform”. God honoured his faith and gave him a son, when he was about a hundred years old (Rom.4:20,21). St. Paul says that we also should cultivate our faith like Abraham to believe on Him (God the Father) that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead (Rom.4:24). God Who honoured the faith of Abraham will honour our faith also. Further we read that all the “blessings of Abraham” (spiritual, physical, material and financial blessings) become ours through Jesus Christ and also that we become the “children of Abraham” through Jesus Christ. “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that
God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham ... And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:6-9,29). FAITH WITHOUT A DOUBT In Mark 9:14-27, we read of a boy who was afflicted by “a dumb spirit” which caused him to foam and gnash his teeth and throw himself into fire and water etc. The disciples of Jesus could not cast the demon out of that boy. Finding Jesus suddenly on the scene, the father of the boy ran to Him and cried, “If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”. Let us examine the emotional state of the father of this child. It was the unfortunate lot of the father to see, almost every day, his son being tormented, torn, and cast first into water and then into fire by the demon. He would have sought healing for his son from able physicians, and spent all his money on medicine; to his utter disappointment, none could heal him. His confidence in doctors and medicine vanished. There was still a little hope in his heart that God could heal his son. It was then that he heard of Jesus and His disciples performing miracles, healing incurables, and casting out demons. Taking courage and strengthening his feeble faith by the help of those who spoke to him words of faith, he came to meet Jesus. He found the disciples but not Christ; he requested them to cast the demon out of his son and heal him. But they could not. We can understand the depressed state of this man. His little faith was getting dashed once again to the ground and his unbelief was mounting. It was at this moment, that Jesus appeared and said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”. Then he replied, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”. Jesus wants to build up our faith and to remove every trace of unbelief before He steps in to heal us. First of all, He wants to set our faith right so that we may think correctly according to the Word of God. Sometimes, our eyes are entirely on doctors and medicine, on gifted servants of God or on our Pastors as we wait for healing. Then our faith is divided and curbed; and it is unable to reach out beyond these human agents to touch the power of God. Others realize that God is able to heal them, but they are not sure whether it is His will to heal them. Tormented by the power of unbelief they pray, “If thou wilt” or “if thou canst do something ... help us”. Their faith is mixed with unbelief. There are yet others who think that they are good believers and they have abandoned their confidence in medicine and physicians; they claim that their faith is only in Jesus for healing; they certainly know that Jesus died not only to take away their sins but also to remove sicknesses and diseases. They hold on for some time, but if they are not healed, their faith is shaken. They watch others who suffer in the same manner, or even more than they do and they begin to stagger. When our little faith begins to waver through unbelief, Satan gets the better of us. But God wants us to build up our faith only on Him and on His Word in order to manifest His power. The Bible speaks of “little faith”, “great faith”, etc. We need to do something to banish unbelief and doubt which destroy our faith. We shall learn in the next chapter how to overcome unbelief, fear and doubt in order to build our faith, that we may please God and receive our healing. §§§§§§ Chapter 14 POWER OF FAITH (Part II)
IN the previous chapter we learnt how Jesus demanded steadfast faith from those who expected healings and supernatural miracles from Him. He appreciated their faith, and used this faith to accomplish the miracles they desired of Him. We also saw that faith is an inner substance or characteristic, like joy, peace, love, etc. and that it is something that should be built up. Now let us meditate on how to build up our faith. Faith is compared to a building. Jesus says, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matt.7:24,25). ‘These sayings of mine’ are the words and doctrines of Christ, which are given in our hearts as foundation stones upon which we can build our spiritual lives. These words should dwell richly in our hearts, and should become a part of us (Col.3:16). It is in Christ and His words that St. Paul tells us to be “rooted and built up ... and stablished in the faith” (Col.2:7). We should not only hear, but also obey these words, or do them. Hearing the words of Christ is like having at our disposal the materials and foundation stones for building a house. But obeying His words and putting them into practice exactly as He commands is like using the material and foundation stones to lay a solid rock-like foundation for our personal lives. Some know and understand the doctrine of divine healing intellectually, therefore they have only an intellectual faith. But that sort of faith does not bring the desired results, because it does not comply with the conditions that Christ sets out, of obeying and doing His words. An Old Testament example of this is to be found in the healing covenant in Exodus 15:26. The Lord lays down certain conditions for healing in this verse. We are asked to “diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord”, to “do that which is right in his sight”, and to “give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes”. Many are not careful to comply with these principles by which they can lay a proper foundation in order to build their faith for healing. Instead they build their faith for divine healing on the ‘sinking sands’ of intellectual knowledge of healing by faith rather than on the ‘rock’ of hearing and doing according to the words of Christ. People, when they build houses, do the construction work during the warm summer, and finish the work before the rainy season sets in or before the winter overtakes them. But there are some who delay the work, and only start to build in earnest only after the rains have already come. But if they try to build in the face of a downpour of rain, a flood or a tempest, they will only lose all their materials in the flood, and the house will never come up. Similarly, some servants of God and believers do not take time to study the truth of divine healing, nor do they bother to abide by its conditions (as found in Exodus 15:26) before facing the trial of sickness which comes to try their faith. When the trial comes, they attempt to face it with an intellectual faith, and though they may depend exclusively on God for healing, they do not get healed. This is another reason why many are not healed. Sickness does not sanctify us; we are called to sanctify ourselves whether we are sick or healthy. And whether sick or healthy, we are called to build ourselves on our most holy faith (Jude 20). So let us not wait till we fall sick to sanctify ourselves. Let us be among those who ardently wait for His coming, who delight themselvs in Him, and who purify themselves even as He is pure, because of the hope of His coming (I Jn.3:2,3). Before starting to build your faith for healing, see that your heart is purified from an “evil conscience”, and that your body is “washed with pure water” (Heb.10:22). Ask the Lord to forgive you for any sin you are still continuing in, and get reconciled with Him.
Secondly, if you have offended anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, get reconciled with that person (Matt.5:22-25). Thirdly, if you have broken any consecrations, renew them before the Lord (Eccl.5:4; Psa.76:11). Fourthly, if you have grieved the Holy Spirit and spurned His guidance, return, to the right path. Finally, study the truth of divine healing from all angles till you are convinced that God wants to heal you. HOW TO MAKE A NEW START 1. Believe what is recorded in the Bible concerning your healing. The Bible is not a product of man's intelligence: it is truly the Word of God. Make a new start with the decision to read it with deep reverence, trusting in God and acting on what He says. St. Paul says, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17). God has made a covenant “by an oath” that He will keep His word (Heb.6:17), and His word is truth (Jn.17:17); His word is pure (Prov.30:5). Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn.6:63). He also said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt.24:35). Jesus Himself is called the Word of God (Jn.1:1). It is by His word that He created the sun, moon and the stars. The whole universe is upheld by the word of His power (Heb.1:3). It is by His word that Jesus cast out evil spirits and healed the sick (Matt.8:16). When He spoke, His word possessed power and authority (Lk.4:36). In the Psalms it is written, “He sent his word, and healed them” (Psa.107:20). Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4). The Psalmist says, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psa.119:89). Isaiah says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isa.40:8). His word cleanses us (Jn.15:3). The Thessalonians received the word of God “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in (them) that believe” (I Thess.2:13). Again, St. Paul says that the Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” which destroys the power of Satan (Eph.6:17). St. Paul exhorts the Colossians to “continue in the faith” or (word of God) “grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col.1:23). The first thing to do, therefore, is to believe the Word of God whole-heartedly, confess it, and claim what it promises. 2. Believe the testimony of the saints who have found His promises to be faithful and reliable. Solomon says, “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (I Kgs.8:56). The Psalmist says, “For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people” (Psa.105:42-44). St. Paul says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (II Cor.1:20). Joshua says, “... ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh.23:14). St. Paul says that we have access to all the promises in the Bible through Jesus Christ, because Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law, so that we might have access to all the blessings promised in the Old Testament and the New Testament; “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal.3:13,14). 3. Believe the faithfulness of God. Moses says, “... The Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth
covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut.7:9). St. Paul says, “God is faithful” (I Cor.1:9). Later in the same epistle he repeats “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it”(I Cor.10:13). “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thess.5:24). “The Lord is faithful, Who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (II Thess.3:3). “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (II Tim.2:13). We are exhorted to hold fast the profession of our faith, “For he is faithful that promised” (Heb.10:23). Sarah “judged him faithful who had promised” and because of this she “received strength to conceive seed” (Heb.11:11). John saw Jesus seated upon a white horse: “he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True” (Rev.19:11). The psalmist says, “Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Psa.36:5). Isaiah says, “Faithfulness (is) the girdle of his reins” (Isa.11:5). Jeremiah says, “Great is thy faithfulness” (Lam.3:23). God Himself says, “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving- kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord” (Hos.2:19,20). So we can safely trust in His faithful word and promises, because He is faithful. §§§§§§ Chapter 15 POWER OF YOUR FAITH (Part III) IN the previous chapter, we considered the fact that in order to build up our faith, we must believe that the Word of God is infallible and true, and that saints like Joshua and Paul bore testimony that His promises were faithful, and absolutely reliable, because He is faithful. In this chapter we shall study more facts on how to build up our faith in order to claim our healing. 1. Believe that it is His will to heal you and that He is able to heal you. Christ has not changed. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Heb.13:8). While He lived as a man on this earth “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all ” (Matt.12:15). “As many as touched (Him) were made perfectly whole” (Matt.14:36). “The whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (Lk.6:19). “He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matt.8:16). “He laid his hands on everyone of them, and healed them” (Lk.4:40). “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38). 2. Claim Calvary's victory and confess it. By confessing the Word of God and His faithful promises, we openly declare that we implicitly trust Him and expect Him to perform what He has promised. Confess what the Word of God says about our deliverance from sin, sickness and bondage. St. Paul says, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom.10:8-10). (i) Confess that God the Father laid on Him all your iniquities and sins to grant you forgiveness of sins, and healing and health (Isa.53:6). (ii) Confess that Jesus took the judgment that was pronounced against you by yielding Himself to be ‘despised’, ‘rejected’, ‘stricken’, ‘smitten’, ‘wounded’, ‘bruised’, ‘chastened’, ‘oppressed’, ‘afflicted’, ‘cut off’, and ‘put to grief’. Thus did He pour out His soul unto death for you (Isa.53:3-12). (iii) Confess that Jesus came in the form of man (in flesh and blood) into the world that “he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”, through His own death (Heb.2:14). Satan was judged on the principle “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword”; “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Rev.13:10; Gen.9:6;Matt.26:52). (iv) Confess that Jesus by His death has blotted out “the handwriting of ordinances” (or the judgment of God pronounced against you) by nailing it to His cross (Col.2:14). More than this, He has reconciled you to God by the blood of the cross and “in the body of his flesh through death” (Col.1:20-22). (v) Confess that Jesus has already borne your sickness and carried your pain, and therefore provision is already made for your healing. It is up to you to claim it by faith. This is what Isaiah says in chapter 53 verses 4 and 5: “Surely he hath borne our griefs (sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (pains): ... he (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions ... and with his stripes we are healed”. When we were saved we believed that Jesus took our sins upon Himself, and we thus claimed forgiveness. In like manner, Jesus also earned your healing two thousand years ago; claim it; just as you claimed your forgiveness and salvation from sin, claim your healing. You are sure to be healed. Although your symptoms may say that you are still sick, stand on the Word of God firmly without wavering, and praise God for healing you. God's Word says, “With his stripes you are healed”. What His Word says, God will surely confirm. Keep praising God for your healing, until He accomplishes what He has promised you. 3. Beware of the enemies of your faith. There are certain enemies who will try to attack you in order to destroy your faith. Listed below are some enemies of which you must beware. (i) Lack of fear of God: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb.4:1; Read also II Cor.7:1; Psa.19:9; Prov.1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 16:6; Isa.33:6). (ii) Hardness of heart: When a heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, it is also called an erring heart (Heb.3:10,13). “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest” (Heb.3:8-11). (iii) Not holding fast His promises with “confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end”: “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb.3:6,14). (iv) Inward backsliding, or departing from the faith (I Tim.4:1): Satan will do all he can to destroy your faith. But we are exhorted to “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (which will help us to) Fight the good fight of faith, (and) lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim.6:11,12). (v) Not preserving a good conscience: When we fail to maintain a good conscience with both God and man, we make a shipwreck of our faith, and we will be unable to find the grace to hold fast to His promises to the end. St. Paul tells Timothy to “war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put
away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (I Tim.1:18,19). (vi) Departing from the living God through unbelief: This may occur when we neglect fellowship with God in personal prayer. The warning of St. Paul is clear: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Heb.3:12). (vii) Lack of patience and diligence: If your healing delays, add patience and diligence to preserve your faith, lest you should doubt His promise. “And we desire that everyone of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb.6:11,12). (viii) Not rejoicing in the Lord and not giving glory to God; not praising Him for everything: David was a man who faced many afflictions. In all his afflictions he praised God, knowing that God was with him and that He would set him free. So he says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psa.34:1). By praising God, he kept his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile (Psa.34:13). God cannot help those who murmur and doubt. He cannot preserve their tongue from vain words and words of unbelief. Praising God and rejoicing in Him, kills unbelief and doubt, and destroys the power of Satan. In the next chapter, we will consider how Abraham built up his faith in order to obtain what God had promised him. §§§§§§ Chapter 16 SEVEN STEPS OF ABRAHAM’S FAITH “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, so shalt thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (Rom.4:17-22). These things were not written for Abraham's sake alone, “but for us also” (Rom.4:23,24). God promises to accomplish His promises to those “who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Rom.4:12). We will now consider seven steps of faith taken by Abraham. STEP 1: He believed in God Who quickeneth the dead. If we do not believe that God can and will heal us, how can we believe in the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of the saints? Jesus had to convince Mary and Martha that He was the resurrection and the life, before He raised the dead Lazarus. Jesus does the same thing with us. Unless we are sure that He is our resurrection, and that He is able to quicken and heal us, we cannot even begin to build our faith to receive our healing. To receive this faith, we need to be convinced by the Word of God, just as the words of Christ convinced Martha and Mary. St.Paul tells the Romans, “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom.8:11). He prays for the Ephesians that, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they may know, “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Eph.1:19,20). St. Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, speaks of some of
his many trials. He says that the sentence of death was upon him, but that God delivered him (II Cor. 1:8-10). He was prepared to suffer any affliction, knowing that the power of Christ would raise him up. He bore in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in (his) body ... knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise (him) up also by Jesus” (II Cor.4:10,14). STEP 2: He believed in God Who calleth those things which be not as though they were. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb.11:3). This speaks of God's creative power which operates through His spoken word, by which He calls “those things which be not as though they were”. When the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep, God by His word, commanded the light to shine out of darkness, gave form to the earth and filled the void. He still continues to operate in the natural realm through His word (Psa.147:15-18). However, even the greatest inventions of man in science and technology are only out of things which already exist, or “do appear”: for example, he makes medicine from chemicals, and tools and machinery out of iron. God's promise to Abraham was only by word, when He said, “I have made thee a father of many nations”, and pointing to the stars in heaven, “So shall thy seed be”. Abraham believed the word of God and continued to build his faith on it. Finally, when he was an hundred years old and Sarah's womb was dead, he waxed strong in faith, believing in God Who “calleth those things which be not as though they were”. Like Abraham, the second step for us is, therefore, to build our faith on the Word of God which is quick and powerful and creative. Even in the wilderness, when the children of Israel had sinned and then repented, He sent His word and healed them (Psa.107:20). Jesus cast out evil spirits by His word and healed all that were sick (Matt.8:16,17; Jn. 4:50-54). However, God has a set time or season for His word to be fulfilled and we have to wait for it. This brings us to the next step of building up hope with faith. STEP 3: Against hope he believed in hope. There is a difference between faith and hope. Faith is something we can use to claim immediate results from God. Hope, on the other hand, sees the promise through faith and patiently waits for the set time appointed for the fulfilment of the promise. For example we are now saved by faith (Rom.10:9; Eph.2:8), but it is with hope that we look for our final salvation at the Rapture. So we need faith for the present to be able to walk with Christ and we need hope to go on to perfection. It is for this reason that St. Peter says that our faith and hope should be in God (I Pet.1:21). If we use only faith but have no hope we may soon get discouraged and lose our faith. When we have a genuine hope, we will not lose faith in getting it, even if we have to wait a long time for it. St.Paul says, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom.8:24,25). God told Abraham, “Sarah shall bear unto thee (Isaac) at this set time in the next year ... At the appointed time I will return unto thee ... and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen.17:21; 18:14). Abraham against hope believed in hope. Though all physical and natural circumstances and evidence were contrary to or “against hope” yet he believed in hope through the word of God; as the Psalmist says, “I will wait for the Lord; my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope” (Psa.130:5), and “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said ... for Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him” (Gen.21:1,2). Thus trusting in His word and living it out, we need to build faith and hope together to reach God's appointed time for healing. STEP 4: He considered not his own body now dead neither yet the deadness of
Sarah's womb. When we consider something, we look at it attentively, and meditate carefully on it, filling our mind with it. But Abraham did not do this with the symptoms which he and Sarah had according to the laws of nature. Such symptoms are real when there are only natural laws working, and no spiritual laws. Doctors deal with symptoms and according to these symptoms apply their remedies. They do not deal with the real spiritual cause of the sickness. When Lazarus fell sick, the thoughts of Mary and Martha might have been preoccupied with all the dreadful symptoms of his illness. He was finally overcome by death. When Jesus arrived, and wanted to bring him back to life, Martha said, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (Jn.11:39). Jesus was not concerned about the symptoms of the sickness and death, but in building up the faith of Mary and Martha in order to do a miracle for them. Many lose faith by comparing their sickness with others whose condition is worse than theirs. Fear drives them to believe that their condition may become more serious and that they may eventually die. Others depend on the ability of their doctor for their healing, while at the same time, they want God to heal them. But they do not realize that doctors base their analysis on what they have gathered from the symptoms they have studied. If we consider symptoms, or medical reports based on the symp- toms, we will destroy our faith, the faith we have so carefully built upon the Word of God. Therefore, never talk about the seriousness of your sickness, or allow someone to exaggerate its gravity. Above all, never revel in self-pity thinking that no one cares for you in your illness. Dwell on the promises of God and each moment expects Him to quicken and revive you. Think of the words of St. Paul who said, “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor.12:10); “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil.4:13). When he was buffeted by the messenger of Satan, by a “thorn in the flesh” and the healing was delayed, he realized that three supernatural blessings rested upon him: (i) the abundant grace of God, which was all sufficient; (ii) the strength of God, which made him strong when he was weak; (iii) God's power to resist and crush the power of the messenger of Satan (II Cor.12:7-9). So never go by the symptoms of your sickness. STEP 5: He staggered not at the promise of God. Those who doubt the promises of God limit the way in which God can work in their lives. St. Paul says, “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb.11:6). When doubts come, the following three points will help us to resist and overcome them: (i) All the promises of God are perfect and infallible. Even in the Old Testament, the testimony of Solomon concerning the word spoken through Moses was, “There hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (I Kgs.8:56). How much more then, are His promises “yea” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus (II Cor.1:20)! (ii) God is faithful to fulfil His promises. Because “she judged him faithful who had promised”, Sarah received strength to conceive and bear Isaac (Heb.11:11). Even Balaam, a heathen prophet, said, “God is not a man, that he shoud lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num.23:19). When we fully realize that when God speaks something, He cannot but accomplish it, then all our doubts will leave us. (iii) The above being true, He will accomplish His promise in due time. We have already seen how there was a set time appointed by God for Abraham to receive the promise. We also read of Joseph, that God permitted him to suffer “until the time that
his word came”. He was then set free and elevated to high office (Psa.105:17-20). There is a set time for us, and therefore while we wait, let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering. For He is faithful that promised (Heb.10:23), and we will surely see God accomplishing His word in our lives. STEP 6: He was strong in faith giving glory to God. Till the “set time” arrived, Abraham praised and glorified God. Those who praise God for His faith- fulness, for His faithful promises, for His love, for His compassion and for His power, will find no time to murmur, to doubt, or to fear their trial of sickness. They will spend their time either in prayer or in praising God. In his hour of trial, David says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psa.34:1). Those who continually express their doubt and fear, and complain of the symptoms of their sickness, not only lose their faith, but without their knowledge, praise and glorify the devil. St. Paul exhorts us to give “thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph.5:20). Again, he says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col.3:17). When we steadfastly praise God, a glory comes upon us and the enemy is defeated. At the dedication of the temple of Solomon, when they made “one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord ... the house was filled with a cloud ... (and) the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (II Chron.5:13,14). Again when the singers before the army of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, began to praise the beauty of God's holiness, saying, “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever”, fear and confusion took hold of their enemies, and “every one helped to destroy another” (II Chron.20:20-23). Praise destroys the power of Satan who is the author of sickness; at the same time it glorifies God. We are therefore exhorted, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb.13:15). Praise pleases God, destroys Satan's power, and makes us strong in faith. STEP 7: Fully persuaded, he confessed his faith, that what God had promised, He was able to perform. He praised God until there was no more doubt left in his heart, mind or feeling. He reached the perfection of a faith fully persuaded, a faith without doubt, a faith which nothing could dissuade, disturb or destroy. It was then that the Lord stepped in to accomplish what He had been promising twenty-five years. Having started as a child, he learnt to walk with God in faith and obedience, and thus grew to the stature of “father of faith”. We also should confess that, what God has promised, He is fully able to do. Let us finish our course saying that the God of Abraham is our God, and that through Jesus we are all the sons of Abraham, and thus all the promises of Abraham are ours (Gal.3:14,29). Fully persuaded of the goodness of God and of His power, we will become partakers of the faith and of the blessings of Abraham. God is not only able to heal; He is also willing to heal, and that is why Jesus, while on this earth, healed all who came to Him (Matt.12:15). Jesus has not changed, neither are you an exception. He can and will heal you. §§§§§§ Chapter 17 SET TIME FOR HEALING PERHAPS you have been sick for a long time. Many have prayed for you. You too have been praying day and night that God might heal you and raise you up. Perhaps
you have failed to understand one important fact concerning divine healing, which is that God has set a fixed time for your complete recovery. Both Abraham and Sarah had to wait till the set time for the fulfilment of God's promise to them (Gen.17:21; 18:14; 21:1,2). Till the appointed time, they continued to build up their faith in God “(not staggering) at the promise of God through unbelief” (Rom.4:20,25). Till your set time is realized, you are expected to: 1. Build up yourselves on your most holy faith (Jude 20) in the truth of divine healing, studying it from every angle, so that you may grow in faith and become strong to overthrow your illness. 2. Pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). The Spirit Himself wants to “quicken your mortal body”, to help your infirmities and to make intercession for you (Rom.8:11,26). 3. Keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 21). Never doubt His love. Christ “saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matt.14:14). He is full of compassion for you and longs to heal you. He has already made provision for your complete healing on Calvary when He “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt.8:17). So do not doubt His love. Give Him your love in return for His love and compassion. 4. Look for His mercy (Jude 21). Healing is an act of mercy and grace. Sickness comes from Satan but healing comes from God; it comes by grace. Do not look for death or pray that God may sanctify you through your sickness and take you to heaven, but learn faith and see another aspect of His mercy. He said to the demoniac who was healed, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mk.5:19). 5. Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-17). We should pray that God would make us strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. He must teach us how to put on “the whole armour of God” and wrestle against “the rulers of darkness ... and spiritual wickedness in high places” who send their “fiery darts”, one of which is sickness or disease; thus we must fight unhesitatingly, knowing that Jesus Himself fought demons and spirits of infirmity before He healed the sick: “he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matt.8:16). Here are some weapons of “the whole armour of God”: (i) Truth: This refers to the truth of divine healing, in your case. Study the truth of divine healing constructively, and fill your mind and spirit with the faith that God will surely heal you. St. Peter says, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind (so that you may be undisturbed), be sober, and hope to the end” (I Pet.1:13) till you come forth victoriously. (ii) The breastplate of righteousness: His righteousness is our breastplate which is received by faith. All our righteousness is as filthy rags. They are fit only to be burnt or cast away. Christ is our righteousness (I Cor.1:30). We receive His righteousness as a gift, in exactly the same way as we received our salvation and forgiveness of sins by faith in Christ Jesus. By His gift of righteousness we are found right in His presence by His justification (Rom.5:17). So, do not be afraid. Let not fear or doubt torment you. You are justified and made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. Only make sure that your conscience is pure before God and man. God dwells in your conscience and puts His own faith and righteousness therein. Abraham believed God “and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (Rom.4:22). (iii) Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel: You are going to be healed completely on one condition— that you will use your feet to go and prepare the way of the Lord and to preach the gospel of peace. Tell God, ‘Lord, I refuse to die sick. I refuse to die till I have proclaimed the truth of salvation or healing to my generation and the generation to come’ (Psa.71:18). Shout at the sickness and the devil, and tell them that you have received power to overcome them in Jesus' name; resist them. Your
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the HEALER IS IN YOU to bind and cast out the “strong man” who wants to destroy your body, which by consecration has become His temple (Matt.12:28,29). Sickness and the spirits of infirmity are not our friends. They are our enemies, and God's too. Mere praying will not do. Rebuke these enemies, steadfast in your faith. Shout at them. Fight them in the name of Jesus. Jesus gives you power and authority RIGHT NOW to overthrow these enemies. (iv) The shield of faith: Every promise of God is our defence. They defend us from the onslaughts of our enemy, especially when we go through severe attacks physically or mentally or when symptoms show themselves, defying God's Word and attempting to destroy our faith. Do not pay heed to the fears which symptoms suggest or exaggerate. No matter what the experience of natural people or the verdict of doctors, let us not be moved. We are not natural people, governed by natural laws. We are governed by the law of the Spirit, the highest supernatural law, which brought Lazarus alive from the grave after four days of decomposition, and which raised up Christ from the grave on the third day. Use your shield of faith to protect yourself till you are fully delivered. His promises are as follows: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea; I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness, Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish” (Isa. 41:10,11). (v) The helmet of salvation: The helmet is worn on the head (Isa.59:17). It speaks of the defence of our thought realm. St.Paul deals with this subject clearly in II Corinthians 10:3-6. Satan wants to take over our thought realm with its persistent ‘imaginations’ or reasoning, thoughts which are full of self-exaltation, questioning “the knowledge of God” concerning divine healing, challenging His willingness and ability to heal, etc. By the complete surrender of our will to Christ, by our obedience to Him, God gives us power to “revenge” or overcome such thoughts, and to focus our thoughts and minds exclusively on Christ Jesus. God wants you to protect your thoughts with the hope of salvation, until you are saved to the uttermost or healed absolutely. That is why it is called the helmet of salvation. So repent of any reasoning, doubts or questions that come from Satan to build his stronghold in your thought realm. Give yourself to do God's perfect will, both now, and after you are healed. Perfect healing is His perfect will concerning you and me. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa.26:3). “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7). (vi) The sword of the Spirit: This is the word of God. When we are convinced that His word is pure, true, powerful and faithful, it begins to work mightily in our spirit. The Thessalonian Christians “received it (the word) not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God which effectually worketh also in (all) that believe” (I Thess.2:13). The moment our spirit accepts the Word of God as final, it begets faith in us and becomes a mighty sword in the hand of the Holy Spirit to destroy the power of Satan. When Jesus used the Word of God with the power of the Holy Spirit, Satan could not resist Jesus anymore: “... he departed from him...” (Lk.4:13). Use His Word boldly against Satan and rebuke him with all authority when he quotes irrelevant passages from the Scriptures to deceive you. See by faith the fixed time of your healing coming closer to you. See yourself healed completely by faith, through the eyes of God; see yourself by faith running about to preach His Word, testifying to multitudes about your healing, and glorifying God in your body and in your spirit. We wish you a speedy recovery. §§§§§§
Chapter 18 FORTY REASONS FRO CLAIMING DIVINE HEALING IN the same way that He permits any other trial God may permit sickness in our life, but this is only because we have to be tested and tried in every way. Job was a perfect man who eschewed evil, but he had to be tried, not by God, but by Satan. If an Old Testament saint had to be tried thus in the way of divine healing, how much more we, the New Testament saints who are called unto perfection! Though the trial of sickness may not be everyone's lot, physical sickness is a trial that we may have to go through and overcome. Job, when he was tried, overcame Satan and came forth as gold. God may not heal you instantly, lest you should miss the lesson He wants to teach you. As you begin to obey Him and learn to walk in the Spirit, you will be delivered from the law of sin and death which includes the law of sickness. SUBTLE DECEPTIONS OF SATAN: (i) “I come under the category of saints who died, not accepting deliverance” (Heb.11:35-38). Some indeed say that they should not claim healing but die in their sickness for this reason. But if we carefully examine the Scripture in question, we realize that the saints who died ‘not accepting deliverance’ were not afflicted by sickness, but were ‘tortured’ by human enemies, and not directly by Satan. They endured a ‘trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment ... ’ and not of sickness and disease. (ii) “Jesus died young: why not I also?” It is true that Jesus died young, but He did not die of sickness. As we have seen in the previous point, He was put to death by cruel men, and moreover, His death was in view of the eternal redemption of mankind. Our decision to die sick and young can in no way be based on the fact that Jesus died young. Can we, by a premature death, redeem anyone from sin? St. Paul did not pray like this. Though he could have chosen to die earlier, he voluntarily prolonged his life so as to be more useful to the Church. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith” (Phil.1:23-25). (iii) “My sickness is unto death: there is nothing more I can do: I am destined to die”. That is a dangerous statement, for, sickness unto death can have a connection with sin unto death, of which St. John speaks: “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (I Jn. 5:16). St. Paul also says, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). In Hebrews 6:4-6 we read that repentance is impossible to those who sin unto death. Then in Hebrews 10:26,27 we read of the punishment reserved for one who has trodden under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and done despite to the Spirit of grace: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation”. God forbid that we should be stricken with such a sickness. (iv) “It is better to die in sickness than to live and backslide like King Hezekiah”. This is false logic. God healed Hezekiah out of mercy, yet he did not mend his ways to do that which was right in the sight of God. The lesson we should learn from this incident is not that we should not claim divine healing, but that when we claim it, we must do so, having sincerely repented and taken the decision to live the rest of our life to the glory of God. (v) “I prefer to remain in sickness because through my sickness I am being
sanctified”. Sickness does not sanctify us. There are some who willingly continue to be sick, thinking that they are being sanctified by their sickness. It is not the sickness that sanctifies us. If it did, then all saints should inevitably fall sick, and the more they are sick, the better saints they will turn out to be. If by any chance they get healed they will cease to be saints, and may even become unholy and a reproach to God and His kingdom. If sickness sanctifies us, instead of praying to be healed, we should pray for more sickness that we may be made more holy. Do not be deceived by these subtleties of Satan. Your sickness and its symptoms may show that you are on the way to death but “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”, by His Word (Eph.4:23). Learn to think positively according to the Word of God and claim your healing. SOME GOOD REASONS FOR CLAIMING DIVINE HEALING 1. Sickness is an assault of the devil, especially when it develops into a disease. It is called an oppression (Acts 10:38), torment (Matt. 4:24), bondage (Lk.13:16), vexation (Matt.15:22), captivity (Job 42:10), temptation (Gal.4:14), infirmity (Lk.13:11). All these things come from Satan who is a thief, murderer and destroyer (Jn.10:10). 2. Sickness is Satan's weapon to destroy our faith, bind our spirit, separate us from God through doubt and fear, render our body unserviceable to God, and interfere with our prayer life and meditation. Through it, Satan desires to deprive us of our spiritual growth and also cut short our physical life-span and our service for our Master, Jesus Christ. 3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. These works include sickness and unnatural death caused by sickness and disease: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn.3:8); “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb.2:14). 4. Sickness is the oppression of the devil and healing is the judgment of God over the devil. Jesus cast out devils and healed the sick, and He told the disciples, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Lk.10:19). Therefore claim your healing and also the authority and power to tread Satan under your feet (Rom.16:20). Both servants of God and faithful believers in Christ have received divine power in the name of Jesus to cast out demons and heal others. This same power is sufficient to heal our sicknesses. “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases” (Lk.9:1). “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; ... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk.16:17,18). People were healed by the handkerchiefs and aprons of St. Paul (Acts 19:12). They were healed by the very shadow of St. Peter (Acts 5:15). Though Peter and John had no silver or gold, they had the power of healing in the name of Jesus, and this they gave to the lame man, with the result that he walked, leaped and glorified God (Acts 3:6-8). In Mark 16:17,18, we read that this same power accompanies all those who believe in the name of Jesus. 5. Jesus came to take away our sins and sicknesses by bearing them upon Himself: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt.8:16,17); “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” (I Pet.2:24). 6. Sickness is listed among the curses of the law in Deuteronomy chapter 28. But Jesus has delivered us from all curse by being made a curse for us: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal.3:13). 7. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh (rendered it powerless), which means that sickness is also condemned. Therefore neither sin, sickness, nor death shall have dominion over us. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom. 6:16,9). 8. Jesus is called the Testator, Mediator and Advocate of the New Testament (Heb.9:16,17). He died to make the testament valid. Now that He is alive for evermore, He is the Mediator and Advocate for this New Testament which grants us full redemption and salvation to the uttermost (Heb.7:25), including healing of the body and the final redemption of the body (I Pet.1:5), at the secret coming of the Lord. If He is able to save us to the uttermost, purging all sins, He is able also to heal us to the uttermost purging all our sicknesses from our body. 9. Jesus bought our bodies by His precious blood and made them “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (I Cor.6:15; Eph.5:30). He bought our body to sanctify it wholly, removing every trace of sin, and making it His holy temple. But Jesus died, bearing not only our sins, but also our sicknesses. Sanctifying our body therefore, includes removing sickness from our body. This does not mean that a saint who dies sick is not sanctified. Every truth demands some martyrs. But it is not the lot of every saint to die as a martyr for the truth, or there would be no living saints left. 10. Jesus was never sick, but He went about healing all those who were sick. We are called to be partakers of that Christ (Heb.3:14) and to be joint-heirs with Him (Rom.8:17). We are called to reveal the same Son of God in and through us (Gal.1:15), and to be a pattern of the works of Christ (I Tim.1:16). Jesus revealed Himself to be the Son of God by healing the sick, casting out devils, and by living a healthy, sinless, overcoming life. We are called to manifest the same works of Christ in us. 11. Christ is the Head of the Church. St. Paul tells of the false teachers that they are “not holding the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Col.2:19). Does the increase of God mean increase of sickness? Surely not. Rather, it means increase in divine health and divine nature. Speaking of the way in which His very life should flow into our lives and bring forth fruit for the kingdom of God, Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (Jn.15:5). If the very life of Christ is flowing into us, then sickness should not be having dominion over us. 12. If we believe in the power of God that will raise the dead from the grave and rapture the living saints, how much more should we believe that the same power can heal us today! At the coming of the Lord, we are going to receive a glorious, incorruptible, immortal, spiritual and powerful body as our inheritance. The power of the Holy Spirit now working in our bodies to sanctify us, the earnest of our inheritance, can also quicken and heal us. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom.8:11).
13. Jesus never sent anyone away saying, “You are too hard a case to heal”. He healed all who came to Him, without exception. Passsages to prove this abound, and we will quote a few. “Great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all” (Matt.12:15). “And as many as touched him were made perfectly whole” (Matt.14:36). “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all” (Lk.6:19). “And he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matt.8:16). “All they that had any sick with diverse diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on everyone of them, and healed them” (Lk.4:40). Jesus “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38). “Bless the Lord, O my soul ... who healeth all thy diseases” (Psa. 103:2,3). Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Heb.13:8), and you are no exception. 14. Healing is the Father's will. Jesus came down to the earth to do the will of the Father (Heb.10:5-7; Jn.6:38) and He went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed by the devil in fulfilment of the Father's will (Acts 10:38). Jesus, being the incarnation of God Himself, demonstrated God's will and character by forgiving sinners and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matt. 4:23), and as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole (Matt.14:36). When the leper asked Jesus, “Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” Jesus replied, “I will”, and healed him (Matt.8:2,3). The apostle John wrote to the elder, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III Jn.2). The same apostle wrote, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything 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” (I Jn.5:14,15). The knowledge that healing is the declared will of God for us gives us the assurance both to claim healing and to know that God will definitely grant us healing. 15. The Word of God in many places (Phil.2:13; Gal.2:20; Rom.8:11,etc.) shows that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are at work in us continually, to bring us total redemption from sin, sickness, unnatural death and Satan himself. So do not look at your symptoms, which will pass away; and do not stagger at the promises of God, but be “strong in faith, giving glory to God”, by praising Him for His faithfulness (Rom.4:19,20). Again St. Paul says, “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil.1:6). This verse applies to all parts of our life, including our body which needs healing. He has begun to heal you and He will complete the healing in you; for He is faithful that promised. 16. We are asked to hold fast to the promise, till it is fulfilled. One of God's promises for us is healing. We are exhorted to “show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises”. The example of Abraham is given, and we are told that “after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Heb.6:11,12,15). The birth of Isaac in his old age was a physical miracle. If we are sick, we should not be content or discouraged with our state, but we should hold on to His promises and claim divine healing in the same way that Abraham claimed the promise God made to him. 17. We are called to glorify God in our body and our spirit, which are God's (I Cor.6:20). Sickness does not glorify God. The sickness and death of Lazarus did not glorify God; but it was his resuscitation that glorified God. Similarly it was the healing of the blind man, and not his blindness, that was for the glory of God (Jn.9:3). Jesus said that he was blind so that the works of God (i.e. healing) might be made manifest in him. 18. Similarly, we are called to praise God and glorify Him by declaring His wonderful works while we are yet alive and healthy. Dead bodies cannot praise Him (Psa.88:11;6:5), neither can those who believe that their sickness is incurable, glorify
Him through their lives. 19. When we are sick, we become a burden to others, we need others to care for us, whereas our calling is to be strong and bear the burdens of others which includes ministering to the sick and disabled (Gal.6:2; Rom.15:1,2). 20. For some special reason, God may remove a person while still young but generally speaking, premature death is assigned to the “foolish”, the “wicked”, the “bloody” and the “deceitful” men. “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Eccl.7:17). “... Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee” (Psa.55:23). The Lord preserves His people from such a death. 21. Saints claimed length of days to be able to show God's strength to their generation, and His power to every one that was to come, and desired not to be taken away in the midst of their days (Psa.102:23,24). “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come” (Psa.71:17,18). “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord.” (Psa.118:17-19). 22. Moreover, God Himself granted long life to saints in the Old Testament period. For example, Abraham died “in a good old age ... full of years” (Gen.25:8), and Isaac died when he was 180 years, “old and full of days” (Gen. 35:28,29). Jacob lived till he was very old (Gen.47:9; 49:33) and Moses died at the age of 120 years, and at that age “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut.34:7). Job was suffering from a wasting sickness, so loathsome that he preferred “strangling and death to his life (Job 7:15). But God healed him completely and granted him a long life (Job 42:17). Therefore how certain it is that God desires our health and healing. 23. God has promised to grant length of days, and to take away sickness, if we serve Him (Exo. 23:25,26), if we keep His commandments (Deut. 4:40), if we honour our father and mother (Exo.20:12), if we keep away from idolatry (Deut.4:25,26), if we fear the Lord (Deut.6:2), if we are filled with His word (Deut.11:18-21), if we are humble in heart, not being lifted up (Deut.17:19,20), if we are kind to fellow creatures (Deut.22:6,7), if we love the Lord and obey His voice (Deut.30:19,20), if we walk in His ways (Deut.30:15,16), if we learn to control our tongue (Psa.39:1-5), if we hate covetousness (Prov.28:16). When we are in Christ, we become partakers of these promises (Eph.3:6). 24. We should not desire premature death, because each one is called to fulfil a particular ministry. As it was said to Archippus, so it is said to us: “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (Col.4:17). Therefore, those who desire to run their race to the end and to fulfil their ministry, must claim divine healing, for we need a healthy body to perform His ministry. 25. The priests of the Old Testament were to be men without blemish in the physical sense (Lev.21: 17-23). Both workers and believers of the New Testament are called a “holy priesthood” (I Pet.2:5). If the priests of the Old Covenant were to be without blemish physically, how much more does He desire to heal the priests of the new and better covenant and to preserve them in good health, provided they claim their healing. 26. St. Paul, writing to the New Testament saints says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom.12:1). Will the Lord not heal and sanctify our bodies if we truly offer them as a living sacrifice to do His will and to serve Him?
27. It is written: “And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee...” (Deut.7:15). Disease is here called ‘evil’. (Evil diseases were sent as punishment or judgment upon disobedient nations like Egypt). But God does not tempt His own obedient children with ‘evil’. He is the One Who gives us good and perfect gifts, including healing: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas.1:13-17). He is our Jehovah Ropheca - “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exo.15:26). 28. It is written: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor.5:17). ‘Old things’ include both sickness and sin, which had dominion over our lives in times past. We are therefore set free from their dominion by becoming a new creation in Christ. 29. It is written: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:23). Eternal life is pure, and it has no element of sin, sickness or death in it. It is the very life which is in the Son of God, which life is able to save, heal and sanctify you (I Jn.5:11,12). St. Paul says, “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus (Who is the Healer as well) might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (II Cor.4:11). If we have inherited eternal life, we should also claim good health. 30. We nourish ourselves with His Word which is ‘bread of life’ to maintain our eternal life. We take ‘strong food’ for our sanctification and to live an overcoming life. Similarly, for our healing, we are given ‘children's bread’, which is the doctrine of divine healing or the word of healing, which we must meditate, feed on and digest. It is written: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos.4:6). This speaks of the knowledge of the word, and in this case, it is the knowledge of the word of healing, which can give us the strength and faith to resist the destroyer. 31. From the ministry of Jesus and His apostles, we understand clearly that sickness is something which cannot be tolerated within the kingdom of God. The disciples healed the sick while preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt.10:7,8). Jesus Himself said, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt.12:28). Or, in other words, He cast out demons of infirmities out of His converts before ushering them into the kingdom of God. In the New Testament, when the kingdom of God came into the lives of men, sin, sickness and demons went out. It is not God's will, therefore, that sickness should remain in His kingdom. We must fight it, and put it where it belongs — outside the kingdom of God, and outside the Church of God. 32. God is faithful to perform what He has promised to His children, if we remain faithful to Him. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor.10:13). “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it ” (I Thess. 5:24). “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num.23:19). His promises are infallible: “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh.23:14). “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (II Cor.1:20). “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he
promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (I Kgs.8:56). He has promised saying, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exo.15:26). “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee” (Exo.23:25). “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal.4:2). “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psa. 103:3,4). But He expects us to be faithful and true to the covenants and promises we have made to Him. “O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful” (Psa.31:23). “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me” (Psa.101:6). “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” (Psa.50:5). 33. Your healing will stir up and increase the faith of those who have been sick for a long time, bound by fear, unbelief and discouragement. Without your knowledge, you will be engaged in the ministry of healing by your lively testimony. You will teach others how you were healed, and who healed you. The blind man who was miraculously healed began to testify to all about Jesus and boldly challenged the Pharisees, saying, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is , and yet he hath opened mine eyes” (Jn.9:30). 34. That passover night, when God brought out the children of Israel from Egypt, “there was not one feeble person among their tribes” (Psa.105:37). They were both saved from the hands of Pharaoh and healed of any sicknesses they had. They were healthy and strong to undertake their long journey in the wilderness. God, Who has saved our soul from sin, has made provision for the healing of our body as well, in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. 35. There was no sickness in the garden of Eden till Adam and Eve yielded themselves to Satan, transgressing the commandment of God, Who thereafter drove them out of Eden with a curse (Gen.3:16-19). There will be no sickness during the Millennium when Christ and His saints will reign over the inhabitants of the earth (Rev.20:4; Dan.7:18-27). “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (Isa.33:24). Satan, who is the author of all manner of sickness and disease, will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years (Rev.20:1-3). There will also be no sickness in heaven. All these things prove that God wants to heal us now, we who are in the kingdom of God, having been born again, born of water, and born of the Spirit. 36. Jesus delights to heal the sick, perform miracles signs and wonders. He started His ministry with setting the captives free. He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Lk.4:18). He wants us to perform the same miracles which He performed, and even greater works (Jn.14:12). Furthermore He wants us to be “signs and wonders” by revealing His power and life through our life. He says, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders” (Isa.8:18). 37. We are called to live an overcoming life, and overcoming sickness is part of it. If you are an ardent child of God, Satan will try to destroy your body by sickness or by some other means. More than once, Satan tried to destroy the disciples all at once,
by sending a tempest to beat against their ship and sink it (Mk.4:37; Matt.14:24-32). That is why you must learn to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim.6:12), while “holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (I Tim.3:9). Jesus overcame all things, including death. He is coming soon for the overcomers. “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us ” (Rom.8:37). If we have found grace and strength to overcome other trials and sin, we can surely overcome sickness as well through Christ Who loves us. 38. If you are not healed immediately, it does not mean that you will never be healed. God may teach you many precious lessons during the time of your illness. When St. Paul was going through deadly, physical affliction including a “thorn in the flesh” he began to humble himself, and learnt the following lesson (i) God's grace was sufficient for him. (ii) God's strength was revealed in his weakness, and thus he was able to accomplish his ministry by Christ Who strengthened him (iii) The power of Christ rested upon him to resist his ailments and Satan himself (II Cor.12:9). So know for certain that these virtues are continually flowing in you to resist and overcome your sickness and the author of you sickness — Satan. 39. Jesus came to abolish death and bring “life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim.1:10). Death is called “the last enemy” (I Cor.15:26). The Bible speaks of two-fold death — death due to sin and death due to sickness. Jesus by His death destroyed Satan who is the author of both these deaths. As much as we overcome spiritual death, that is caused by sin, we must be fully armed to face physical death which is caused by sickness. We must fight death in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of the Lord Who has swallowed up death in victory on Calvary (I Cor.15:54); “Death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom.6:9). Therefore, we also can say, “Oh death, where is thy sting?” (I Cor.15:55). St. Paul writes saying that he was “in deaths oft” (II Cor.11:23), that is, he was often nigh unto physical death. When he and his co-workers were labouring hard for the Lord in Asia, they were faced with the “sentence of death” from Satan. They were “pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that (they) despaired even of life”. But God delivered them from “so great a death” (II Cor.1:8-10). The Lord is able to preserve us from all manner of death, including sickness which can lead to death. So we must claim this deliverance, and not succumb to the onslaught of Satan. Let us not allow sickness or premature death to rob us of our life and ministry before the Lord's time. 40. Death was not in the mind of God, when He created man. Man was given a body which would have been “raptured” (without seeing death) if he had done the whole will of God and grown to perfection in the life of God. Sin, sickness and death were the direct consequences of the fall of man. Through Christ, Who has obtained eternal redemption for us, our bodies, once again, await the “rapture”, without seeing death, as St. Paul says — “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”. Therefore, how certain it is that He has also delivered us from sin, sickness and death. We have listed some of the reasons why we should claim our healing from God. It is our birthright, earned for us at Calvary by Christ. So let us arm ourselves with His precious promises, resist Satan and sickness, and through fervent prayers of faith, supplication and through real fellowship with Christ, get healed in order to glorify God, live for Him, and serve Him faithfully to the end. §§§§§§
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.