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Although I firmly believe GOD WANTS TO DO and could do many more miracles than we see, and firmly believe that these many more miracles SHOULD be experienced by Christians, nevertheless I also believe some with an extreme teaching and doctrine about healing have lost full and balanced truth. Further when people teach something unbalanced and extreme it certainly can cause opponents to feel more secure in their imbalance on the other side of the spectrum. Thus when we teach something extreme we can actually end up strengthening and comforting the opposite extreme. The extreme healers claim that it is always God's real plan and will to fully and almost instantly heal, and thus if it does not happen we must admit somehow we are lacking and falling short of attaining God's full and real will for us. These in reality teach that if we were walking as close to God as we could or should in faith and power, we should ALWAYS BE INSTANTLY AND FULLY healed. The never should be sick doctrine, although desiring to provide a great blessing, rather can readily bring a shadow of condemnation, shame, and possibly fear upon anyone who is sick or suffers any physical ailments, as well as upon those who might call for healing miracles which do not occur.
I here by no means want to hinder any miracles as I believe in them and want MORE of them! Nevertheless I have a deep concern about numerous imbalances on the subject. To walk in truth with a pure heart and to seek and promote Christ's teachings regarding all subjects should be our first concern and emphasis, rather than miracles and healings. Miracles are God's witness of His hand and often given to confirm His Word and truths. If our focus is miracles rather than truth we have reason to fear lying signs and wonders.
One night soon after being in Haiti for some reason I was strongly impressed with how God ordained Jesus the captain of our salvation to be made perfect through suffering, and was made to wonder how people in the light of being made perfect through suffering, can conclude that God's will is so prescribed to heal He would never allow sickness or pain to come upon a faithful child of His to work a good work in their lives. The Bible also says that who the Lord loves He chastens and says what son is he who is not chastised. Below are various Scriptures related to this subject.
(Hebrews 2:10) "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
(1 Peter 4:1) "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;"
(Hebrews 12:6) "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
(Luke 4:23) Here Jesus in his own country where all knew Him from childhood said, "…Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself...". Therewith one certainly has reason to wonder why Jesus so strongly predicted these people who knew Him as He grew up would taunt Him with the old proverb "PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF", if Jesus while He dwelt among them never showed any sign of sickness, nor bore any wound or infirmity which needed healed. Remember the Scriptures say He also learned obedience by the things He suffered.
(2 Corinthians 12:7–9) "And 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. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 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."
(2 Timothy 4:20) "Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick."
(2 Kings 13:14) "Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."
(Genesis 48:1) "And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick...”. Quite soon after this Jacob died and although he died in possibly a quite unique manner, it is still very possible the above sickness had a part in his death. Genesis 49:33 speaking of Jacob's death reads, "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people."
I realize numerous ones have gone to great lengths to try to explain the above and all Scriptures as to fit in with their never should be sick theology. Although those writers certainly did mean well, they nevertheless with their, what I consider extreme rather than balanced and accurate doctrine bring an aspect of false condemnation upon any one that bears a sickness or infirmity.
The extreme healing doctrine also seems to tell people they must claim and believe they are healed regardless of how they feel or how contrary the evidence might be. This claim is significantly connected to or based on the Scripture that states that by His stripes we ARE healed (not get healed). Yes, certainly by His stripes we are healed from sin, and can often instantly be healed from sickness, and if not will certainly be healed in the next world. Further David stated a broad truth in his positive praise saying, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases". Yes God certainly can do and has done such in various manners. Nevertheless all this does not mean God's true children are promised they will never need to face physical ailments of any kind, and thus if we do we are living in some kind of lack and error. David also in this positive praise regarding God's blessing on the righteous spoke of no evil befalling them and declared, "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken", and declared God's angels will guard them lest they dash their foot against a stone. (Psalm 34:20, 91:12). Wow this is getting even better! Not only are the righteous promised to always be healed and thus never sick, but are promised to never break a bone and seemingly promised to not even stub their toes on a stone! Sorry this is not what David meant but was showing how God can protect and often does protect. No David did not mean we need to feel unrighteous if we break a bone, or stub our toe, or get sick!
Regarding all Scriptures we must follow the Spirit (general intent and tenor) of the Word rather than the letter which is very narrow and legalistic. I here am not simply negative, as I believe we should be positive and very hopeful, and therewith have the right to thank God for healing us before we are healed, as we can certainly know He will heal us in His way, be it slowly, instantly, or even in the next world. But to deny stark realities in our healing emphasis and claims is not of the Spirit of Truth. Regarding seasons with an increase of miracles, God often celebrates or confirms genuine revivals with many miracles, because that is His will, as well as because of faith being rekindled in the revival, and may we earnestly seek both revival and faith! Yes and He gives some a special gift of healing. But may we not push extreme teachings.
The never sick doctrine appears to me as possibly related to the modern day PROSPERITY DOCTRINE, and with both having an aspect of error about them. Jesus repeatedly warned the rich while blessing the poor, while James harmoniously speaks of God choosing the poor of this world but rich in faith. Being poorer because of taking on few earthly responsibilities and rather seeking heavenly treasures for ourselves and others, while being rich in faith and still having enough as God promised, is true prosperity! Yes that is prosperity. Regarding healing God certainly often desires to heal and would heal much more than we realize, to thereby give witness of His power and to further His Word, message, and messengers, but that gives no excuse to come up with and promote extreme healing doctrines. I can also readily believe that more miracles occur among them with extreme healing doctrines, and likely because they earnestly put so much into healing and faith. False signs and wonders are also a possibility as spoken of in the next paragraph.
Further the extreme miracle and healing teachers too often make it a matter of mere education and skill to heal rather than focusing on repentance, drawing near to God, and seeking balanced truth from the Spirit of Truth, and God then and therewith through miracles confirming His Word and truth. Too much focus on miracles, and too little on repentance, love, and truth might even result in lying signs and wonders which Jesus clearly warned about. These are my deep concerns on the subject. Although likely none of us appreciate the below verses we cannot overlook them as Jesus spoke them;
(Matthew 24:24) "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
(Matthew 7:22–23) "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
In healing miracles being filled with the Holy Spirit is most important, as then when we command a person to become well it is the unction of the Spirit of God within us acting and doing the work and it certainly will work. Without Him we can do nothing. Miracles without Him are certainly false signs and wonders and deceiving. At the best us humans are imperfect, and yes thank God He has mercy on us in our weaknesses. Interestingly sometimes God sees fit to do a miracle even when the people calling for the healing lack full faith, this being in those situations where people actually are surprised when the miracle they call for occurs. Other times people have faith for the miracle and are honestly surprised when the miracle they call for does not occur. I personally believe if their faith had really been Spirit inspired the miracle would have occurred, but their faith likely was more of a positive human faith. This certainly is not a death sin, but us imperfect humans seeking the best gifts and being hopeful, but nevertheless lacking the real unction and faith we desire. In those situations where God may not wish to fully heal at the moment, for whatever reason it may be, He will not give an inspired faith in the healing. I know some will firmly claim God always wills to fully and instantly heal, although that in reality reprimands many suffering people as somehow abiding outside of God's perfect will, as well significantly disallows God choosing to make us perfect through suffering and a time of death coming to us all. But I do believe it is God's will to heal much more than most realize and prayer and sanctification can bring about the healing!
Paul's Thorn In The Flesh
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Another issue pertains to an emphasis that Christians should always command the sickness to depart, rather than praying or asking God to heal. Certainly if one feels the inspiration to command the sickness to depart, such is very proper. Such is how the Apostles often practiced healing. Possibly the commanding manner is especially good and natural for those with a special gift of healing and who are experienced in such. Nevertheless when the Apostles commanded sickness to depart, who knows their prior petitions to God as not recorded, or petitions made in their hearts as they in the name of Christ commanded sickness to depart. Even Jesus when He raised Lazarus from the dead spoke of God hearing Him and thanked God for hearing Him. Jesus just before commanding Lazarus to resurrect said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always:" (John 11:41–42).
Apostle Paul said, "Be careful for nothing; but in EVERY THING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6). That request about EVERYTHING certainly includes our desires to be healed or that others be healed of physical ailments. Note how Paul certainly does not say we must be careful about saying just the right words in seeking that healing and should only boldly command, but here says to be careful for nothing and to freely request. The strong and legalistic emphasis teaching that we must command rather than ask or plead God to heal has confused me even with regards to me seeking for my own healing before God. Yes it has hindered me with regards to praying and asking God for my own healing on a personal level. Jesus richly blest the poor Syrophenician woman, as she plead for the healing of her daughter, and was willing to be counted as a dog. She was far to weak to command but certainly had faith to plead and ask.
Jesus in Luke 18 gives a vital parable encouraging us to draw near to God and to continue to pray and request if not answered immediately. Here Jesus said "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" (Luke 18:1–7). Although commanding healing certainly has a place, we nevertheless dare not allow all the examples of such take away our blessed opportunity to without ceasing plead and ask our heavenly Father to assist all our needs including our needs of healing! Interestingly Elijah when raising the widows son from the dead asked God to heal rather than commanding as follows. "And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived."(1 Kings 17:21–22). When Elijah later called fire down from heaven, he cried out saying "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God" (1 Kings 18:37). Apostle Paul speaks of asking God three times to remove a thorn in his flesh. Paul does not say He commanded the thorn to depart three times.
Please remember I here certainly am not rebuking commanding healing as the Apostles often did, but am rebuking the emphasis that disallows the act of asking God to heal us and others. How was the church praying for Peter in the prison? Was the church taken up with a legalism about commanding which did not allow the church to ask God to protect Peter and open Peter's prison doors, and thus all rather were boldly commanding the protection of Peter and the doors to be opened? May God deliver us from the many forms of legalism trying to attack the church in our day and with the letter rather than the tenor of the law and resulting in imbalanced teachings! King David wisely said "I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad." (Psalm 119:96). Man's perfection by following the letter rather than the tenor of the law and therewith legally emphasizing one side of an issue often has no good solution and is like a dead end street, while on the other hand the tenor of God's commandments and ways are exceedingly broad flowing with abundant solutions and give life!
I fear some of the emphasis about commanding rather than asking God to heal is related to the extreme identity teaching, which in reality can honor man rather than Christ. An imbalanced slogan which points at Christ's death for us in a misleading manner (and which possibly is connected to the extreme identity teaching) says "I am to be died for". Such certainly can make man feel like he is the great one rather than Christ, while the opposite is true. May Christians be careful not to get off balanced so easily!
Simple and solid little truths will cast out big and complicated errors if and when people want the truth.