Healing theology: Why it ticks people off.

images-1

I’m not sure I know a doctrine in the North American church that manages to offend and tick more people off than the doctrine of healing.  (Wait, I do know another one:  Wealth. Combine the two, and you’re in even more trouble.  But that’s a touchy subject for another day…!)

Here are the 4 top reasons I believe it is always God’s will to heal:

  1. Because it says in His Word that He came to heal us and make us whole (Psalm 103 and many others).  He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10) and to destroy the works of the enemy (1 John 3:8).  We know from Scripture that sickness is a work of the enemy, not from God.  How do we know this?  Because only good can come from God.  He is not suffering from multiple personalities – He is either Jehovah Rapha (our healer), or He is the giver of sickness.  He can’t be both, and He only says He’s one of those things.  We know which one if we read His Word.  (Also, why would he put sickness on people, just to have Jesus come and take it away from them?  Jesus wasn’t able to work against the Father, so if sickness was the Father’s work, Jesus would have been working against Him if he healed.)
  2. Because Jesus came and healed ALL he came in contact with.   There is not one place in the New Testament where Jesus left someone unhealed and told them it was God’s will that they remain the way they were.  (The thorn in Paul’s flesh doesn’t count, because it states it was a “messenger of satan” – not sickness  – and it was eventually removed once Paul learned to lean on God’s grace and not himself.)
  3. Because the Greek word for “saved” (SOZO – my favourite topic that I will scream from the mountaintop to free people from religious bondage – and the subject of my recent tattoo!) also means “physically healed”.  In fact, there are many places in the NT where the word “sozo” was used when someone received a physical healing:  The woman with the issue of blood and the ten lepers, just to name a couple.   Healing is part of the same package that salvation is part of.
  4. Jesus told us repeatedly in the Gospels that we are to go out and heal the sick, free people of demons, and raise the dead.  Mark 16 says that healing is actually a sign that will follow those who believe.  Luke 9 says that he sent out the disciples to heal ALL diseases.  He wouldn’t tell us to do something we’re not capable of (with him).  And it wasn’t just the disciples, so don’t let yourself off the hook.  The apostles did it too.  It wasn’t just for them, any more than any of the message of the Bible was solely for those who walked with Jesus.  It was for us too.

Here are the top 4 reasons people don’t believe this is true and it downright ticks some people off:

  1. “Because Uncle John died of cancer and lots of people were praying for him.”  Praying for a sick person is actually something Jesus never did.  (I know, right?!)  And just because he wasn’t healed, why does that change what God’s will was and is?  God’s will is that NONE should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet people still perish and fail to repent. There is a big gap between what God desires for us and what actually happens, because we have free will.
  2. Circumstance theology:  this is the fancy word for #1.  It’s when people take our earthly circumstances (ie: the healing didn’t or hasn’t happened), and then determine God’s will based on that.  Uncle John died of cancer so that must mean that it’s not always God’s will that people are healed.  A good rule of thumb that I’ve learned, is that NOT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS LINES UP WITH THE WILL OF GOD.  There are things that have happened in my day already today that were not the will of God.  Yet they still happened, because there are two forces that work against God’s will:  1. The enemy; and 2. My own flesh.  Now, the great news is that both of those things can be overcome.  But if you maintain your belief that whatever happens – even if you activated the church prayer chain about it – is God’s will, you will never get to the point of overcoming those things, because you are missing their involvement completely.
  3. Christians love to spiritualize suffering.  For some reason, we think we are to suffer for Jesus.  Yes, trials will come.  Yes, we are told to take part in Christ’s suffering.  But if you look at the original Greek, we are to “simpatiko” with Christ – to identify with, to have compassion, and to be of one mind with – not physically suffer.  Jesus was called to suffering so that we might be saved through him; my suffering does not accomplish that.  Yes, God will use the hard things I go through to refine me, but He doesn’t author them.  He would much rather I learn through seeking Him and heeding His Word, just like I would rather my children learn not to run in the road because I tell them, and not because they got hit by a car and got paralyzed.
  4. Because we don’t see it happening.  (P.S. You should go somewhere where it is.  It’s way more exciting!)  Just because we don’t see it, again, doesn’t mean it’s NOT God’s will.  It just means we’re missing something.  Remember again how Jesus said, “These miraculous signs WILL accompany those who believe (not just disciples): They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.  They will be able to handles snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.  They WILL BE ABLE TO PLACE THEIR HANDS ON THE SICK, AND THEY WILL BE HEALED.”  (Mark 16: 17-18)  Jesus said that, not me!

Part of my journey with this, is that I had to get to the point where I asked myself, “Do I believe the Bible, or do I believe my experiences?”  “Do I believe what God said, or do I believe what I see or don’t see?”

Why can we have faith for salvation, but not for healing?  “Sozo” says they’re part of the same package, so why is one part easy to believe and another isn’t?  I believe part of it is because we never see “failed salvations”.  We don’t know if someone actually went to heaven or not.  But we’ve seen people sick with cancer, or lose a baby, or live with diabetes (or perhaps we ourselves have been the person).  So those experiences taint our ability to accept God’s word about healing (but not salvation), and we eventually decide healing must not always be God’s will.

Friend, God is good.  If you’re not experiencing these things in your life, it’s not because God doesn’t want them for you.  It just means you’re like everyone else and you’re on a journey of faith.  There’s no judgement, no condemnation no matter what you believe.  There is no one waiting to wave a finger at you if you don’t believe these things or even if it makes you downright ticked off.  But I encourage you – do your own study.  Dig into it.  Ask God to show you more of Him and what His desire for you is and what His character is.  I need to do this daily, as I grow and change and realize areas where I’ve missed it.  (And there’s lots!)  But regardless, His love for you is great.  And that’s a doctrine that we can all agree on.  🙂

So maybe your answer to my title question is different than mine.  Perhaps your answer to why this theology ticks people off is because you think it’s wrong, faulty theology.  You’re entitled to that opinion, and I am open to hearing where in Scripture it says that sickness and disease come from God, or that He won’t heal us.  I am always open to some good discussion!

I’ll leave this on this note:  I heard a quote once that really resonated with me, and it said something along the lines of:

The truth that has the most chains around it 

is the one that has the most ability to set you free.

So maybe – just maybe? – has the enemy put enormous amounts of chains around the doctrine of healing in our church, because it is that very truth that has the MOST ability to set people free?  Why does God being SO good anger people the way it does, instead of excite and spur them on to walk in more of His goodness?  I guess that is for each of us to ponder and decide for ourselves.

Peace and blessings.  Thanks for hearing my heart.

 

Drink the Whole Cup

imgres.jpg

Yesterday at church, we went up for communion as a family.  Our little Josie sipped the juice out of the cup she was handed, and started to return her used cup back to the tray, when she hesitated.  She had realized that she had only managed to slurp out about half of her juice.  She quickly took it back, excitedly drank up the remainder of what was hers, and we all headed back to our seats.

As we walked back, that picture really made me think.  I used to not get all of what Jesus had done for me on the cross.  I sipped the top, and then blindly handed it back, believing I had gotten it all without double checking.  I was wasting what had been given to me, because I did not even know that more existed.

I leaned over to Kris once we got back to our seats, and told him how I thought that scene was really a picture of our journey out of religion.  Once, we were just skimming the surface of our cup, of what Jesus did for us, but we were leaving a whole pile of it in there to be wasted.  And once we found out there was more in there, we had a choice whether or not we would hand it back half full, or grab it back enthusiastically like my girl had done, and get ALL of what was ours.  We all have a choice.  Are we all being as thorough as Josie, getting in that last sip of what Jesus has done for us?  Are we getting the full picture?

Salvation is an amazing gift.  The forgiveness of all of our sins is baffling and hard to even imagine.  But those things are just part of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  If you’re going to drink any part of what Jesus has for you, that is a great place to start.  But there are promises in there that have to do with this life on earth, that enable us to have victory over the works of the enemy, and that help us have the abundant life He wanted for us (John 10:10).  There is more in that cup than a promise about what happens to us when we die.

So what else is in there?

In the original Greek, the word that was translated into our English language as “saved” or “salvation”  was one word: SOZO.  The Strong’s Concordance tells us that “sozo” means “to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively), heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.”  It was used in places where salvation was being discussed, but also for deliverance, and healings as well.  So “salvation” is really more than just about our eternal destiny.  To accept Jesus only for salvation is better than not, but that would be equal to slurping up only the top portion of that communion cup.  “Sozo” tells us that the cup is also made up of physical healing (the fact that it’s mentioned separately from salvation and forgiveness in the Bible tells us it’s not just a “spiritual” healing; not to mention, many times that a person was physically healed in the Bible, the word “sozo” was used), deliverance (which means complete freedom from oppression), protection, the ability to do well, and the promise to be made whole.

It is a package deal.  It all goes together when you drink the whole cup.  Those elements of “sozo” are the benefits David sang about in Psalm 103, that he did not want to forget.  The fact that he makes a point of saying “don’t let me forget” leads me to believe that the enemy must want us forgetting – or never knowing about – God’s benefits (just drinking the surface), because he does not want us living them out and being a witness of the complete SOZO package to people.  And having Christians just slurping up the top drops of the communion cup – and not even believing more exists – is a great tactic to make that happen.  If I were the enemy, I’d be terrified of believers who were living out all of God’s benefits, and would hate the little Josies who, in faith, grab that cup and take all of what belongs to them.  And like Josie, David didn’t want to miss anything either.  In this passage, he is in essence crying out, “Lord, let me always drink the WHOLE cup!”  He wanted ALL of God’s benefits, which he goes on to say are things like being forgiven, being healed (which he states separately from salvation and forgiveness, so again, NOT “spiritual” healing) from ALL of our diseases, being redeemed from death, having our youth renewed, and having our lives filled with good things.  In other words: SOZO.

If you grew up like me, and you knew about the gift of salvation, but you’ve been handing that cup back half full, I encourage you to seek what else God has for you.  I encourage you to ask God what benefits you may be missing.  I encourage you to seek His goodness and in faith, take it all.  It’s not selfish to receive a gift.  It’s not selfish to make sure you got it all, so that the remainder doesn’t go to waste.  It’s a way to be thankful.  It’s a way to live in ALL of His fullness so that you can turn around and share those benefits with a hurting world that needs it.   It’s a way to tell Jesus that He didn’t pour out his blood in vain, and that you’re going to make sure no drop of it was wasted.  It’s a way to live out what we are called to do – to destroy the works of the enemy and to seek and save the lost.  And we were meant to do those things FULL of the complete sozo package.

Take it.  He thought of you when he spilled his blood, so don’t hand the cup back to him half full.

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!  I have had a passion for writing for a long time, and I also have a passion for people to be healed and set free to live the abundant life Jesus has for them.  I am so thankful for what he has done in my life, and what he continues to do, and that is what I want to share with you.

Unknown-1