Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)
Is Any Among You Afflicted? Let Him Pray
The heading refers to trouble of any kind. Actually, just how valuable is prayer? Considering that The Holy Spirit had told James what to say here as it regards affliction and prayer, the child of God should readily know and understand just how valuable and important that a proper prayer life actually is. Every one of us would agree, that is, if we are saved, that Jesus Christ was and is perfect. Above that, He was and is the Son of God. As well, Jesus was possessed by The Holy Spirit as no other human being has ever been possessed of this nature and in this capacity. And yet, Jesus had an extremely strong prayer life. So, the question could be asked, if Jesus had to pray, how do we think we can eliminate this all-important principle and privilege? One could probably say, without any fear of scriptural exaggeration, that prayer is the greatest privilege afforded the child of God. Without a proper prayer life, it is impossible for one to have a relationship with Christ. In fact, one of the great works carried out in our lives by The Holy Spirit is to help us pray according to Romans 8:26. And yet, so few Christians take advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Why?
Satan fights the prayer life of a Christian as he fights nothing else. If he can defeat you in this front, he can defeat you on every front, and conversely, if he cannot defeat you on this front, he can little defeat you on any other front. Unbelief is the culprit in many hearts and lives. Christians just simply do not believe that God answers prayer. One of the favorite statements is, “I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t do anything for me,” or words to that effect. Trying prayer is like trying The Cross. Both statements are foolish. It’s like saying, “I’ve tried breathing.” Of course, I’m certain that the reader understands that, when we speak of prayer, even as James proclaims here, we are not speaking of such as a ritual or a ceremony but, rather, a communication and fellowship with The Lord. It is possible to turn prayer into works, but considering how few Christians actually pray, I think that such does not present very much of a problem.
Petitions and Praises
For the entirety of my life and living for The Lord, most all of the direction that I’ve ever received from The Holy Spirit has been while in prayer. I personally believe that we should take every single problem to The Lord, no matter how large or small it might be. We should ardently seek His guidance in all things, once again, whether little or large. Most of all, most of our praying should be taken up with praise to The Lord, especially considering His great goodness to us, which comes in an uninterrupted flow. Our petitions should be small in number, while our praises should be many. Unfortunately, many in the modern church have eliminated prayer from their vocabulary and even their thinking, I suppose, in favor of counseling, when in reality, the greatest Counselor of all lives within our hearts. Of course, I’m speaking of The Holy Spirit. How so foolish to ignore this tremendous privilege and, rather, solicit the counsel of weak men.
Prayer and The Cross
As with everything else that pertains to The Word of God, I personally feel that our prayer lives can be greatly enhanced if we understand The Cross of Christ. In fact, I know it can. To have such an understanding helps us to comprehend the means by which the grace of God comes to us, which all of us must have on a continual basis. It is The Cross that makes grace possible, plus everything else that comes to us from The Lord. Without exception, every single prayer that has ever been uttered by a man to God and every answer that God has ever given as it regards prayer has always come through the means of the Finished Work of Christ. In fact, were it not for The Cross, The Lord could not even look at us, much less help us, as He now can presently do. By and through that sacrifice alone can God deal with sinful man. So, if we understand that, then we surely should understand how important such comprehension actually is, especially as it pertains to prayer.
Why The Cross?
If we do not understand The Cross as the means by which God deals with man and man with God, then we will try to approach God on an entirely wrong basis. I speak of the basis of good works, merit, religion, etc. It should be readily understood that such an approach could never be accepted by The Lord. In fact, every single praise that we, as Christians, might utter, such as, “Thank you, Lord Jesus,” or “Praise The Lord,” can be accepted by The Lord only on the basis of the slain Lamb, i.e., “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). Without The Cross, the door is irrevocably closed. Some may wonder as to the validity of the position of believers before The Cross. In a sense, the access by believers before The Cross was actually the same as it is now, faith in the One Who was coming, which was represented by the sacrifices. Of course, access was, to a far greater degree, much more limited than now. But the point is that The Cross has always been the means by which God has dealt with man and man with God. The sacrifices that were instituted immediately after the fall were the symbol of that which was to come. Even though the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, still, such sacrifices served as a means of faith. In other words, the offeror was to have faith in Who they (the sacrifices) represented and, more particularly, what they represented. Of course, they represented Christ and The Cross. At The Cross, Jesus atoned for all sin, past, present, and future, at least for all those who will believe (John 3:16). With all sin removed, this makes it possible for God to deal with the human race on an entirely different level. That’s why we say The Cross opens the door for everything, and without The Cross, there is no open door, so to speak. Martin Luther said, and I’m paraphrasing, if one does not understand The Cross as one should, this means that one has a very limited knowledge as to Who God actually is. In other words, one can only know God by and through The Cross of Christ. The problem with the modern church is that it has a modicum of understanding respecting The Cross of Christ regarding salvation but no understanding as it regards the great part The Cross plays in sanctification. In fact, 99% of Paul’s writings have to do with The Cross of Christ as it pertains to our sanctification (our holiness), in other words, how we live for God on a daily basis. If The Holy Spirit devoted that much time and attention to this all-important subject, we should start to realize how important it really is. As previously stated, when we consider that the modern church understands almost nothing about The Cross as it regards sanctification, then we should realize the reason for the present spiritual condition of the modern church.
Is Any Merry? Let Him Sing Psalms
The heading, in effect, refers to singing as a form of prayer and of worship, which it actually is, that is, if we sing the right songs. The “psalms” of course, have to do with the book of Psalms that we have in our Bible, which was actually the only songbook that the church had at a particular time. There is a record of Christians in the early church beginning to compose particular songs based upon Scriptural doctrine and even based on the Psalms, but the Psalms, at least in those days, provided the base and foundation for this tremendous form of worship. To understand just how important this worship actually is, or at least the significance that God places on this act, we should understand that the Book of Psalms is the largest book in the Bible, and that is not without design. Consequently, we have the ideal combination of prayer and worship. I think The Holy Spirit is telling us that, if there would be more singing of psalms and Spiritual songs, there would be less trouble. This is so important in as much as satan fights prayer, he, as well, opposes proper spiritual worship and praise. He does so through the music. I speak of that which goes under the name of Christian contemporary music, which means that it's very similar to that of the world. Such is not of God. I know that’s blunt, but it is the truth. So, if it’s not of God, that means that it is actually of satan. My grandson, Gabriel, was telling me a short time ago how that many of the so-called Christian rock groups, or whatever they call themselves, actually state that they get their inspiration from the most notorious groups in the nation and the world, for that matter. They are proclaiming blasphemy every time they open their mouths. Now, please tell me how in the world anything can be of God when its inspiration is the devil. Seemingly they are proud of their associations with these demonic groups, and they’re quick to say so on their CDs as it regards the notes concerning the songs. Such music is of satan. It’s not just merely wrong, it is instigated by demon spirits, and it has invaded the church pell-mell. Although some poor misguided souls may claim to try to worship The Lord with such nonsense, the truth is that it is impossible to worship The Lord in any capacity by and of such music. In the creation of music, one might say that The Lord designed it as a trinity of melody, rhythm, and harmony. If any one of these three is perverted, it becomes impossible to worship. To make a bad matter worse, contemporary music corrupts both the melody and the harmony. Such music made its debut in the 1960s as a copy of the music of the world. It was begun under the guise of reaching the youth but has degenerated presently to the mere spectacle of making money. To be sure, while it reached the youth, it reached them for satan and not The Lord. If satan can pervert the music of the church, he has destroyed the church. Regrettably, satan has perverted the music of the modern church.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:” (James 5:14)
Is Any Sick Among You?
The question refers to physical illness of any nature. Let me say immediately that I thank God for doctors and nurses, hospitals, and for modern medicine. I feel that these things are a blessing of The Lord. In fact, I think we Christians should pray constantly that God will give medical scientists the knowledge to find the cure for certain diseases such as cancer. No, The Lord does not need help from anyone, but He does use doctors and nurses as He uses many things. Divine healing refers to being healed by The Lord as a result of believing prayer. As James proclaims here, physical sickness with divine healing is a major topic in the thinking of many Christians, even as it should be. However, many questions arise including:
These questions, and many others, need to be Biblically addressed. Unfortunately, many Christians are taught things that are not exactly Scriptural, and such teaching always brings forth bitter fruit. In other words, to the degree that we misinterpret the Word of God in any respect, to that degree we will suffer some loss. The Scripture tells us that The Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). While it is certainly true that no believer (preachers included) has all the light on any subject in the Word of God, still, we are definitely required by The Lord to walk in all the light that we presently have. So, every believer should, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) So, next, we’re going to look at what The Word of God says about physical healing.
Sickness and Health
A certain woman’s only son was sick (1 Kings 17:7-24), “And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.” (1 Kings 17:17) In frustration, the woman turned to her boarder, the prophet Elijah, and cried out “…What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). Her reaction was not unusual. Many view sickness as a punishment for sin, and there is a basis in the Bible for that view, at least in some cases. However, can all sickness be so directly linked with God’s response to human behavior? Perhaps, more significantly, can believers who walk so closely with The Lord expect health and healing at all times? Let us look into some of these questions.
The Hebrew Words
The Old Testament vocabulary of sickness includes terms for disease, for ailments, and for weaknesses or illness. However, the root word from which most of these are derived is halah, which means “to be weak or sick”. The concept includes weakness caused by illness (1 Kings 14:1, 2 Kings 20:1, 12) and by wounds suffered in some way (2 Chronicles 18:33). At times, the concept of weakness is extended as a metaphor of national weakness regarding the entirety of a nation (Hosea 5:13-14). Sickness can also be a matter of the heart and portray mental and spiritual anguish (Psalms 38:5; Proverbs 13:12; Song of Solomon 2:5). And yet, considering the span of time and subjects the Old Testament covers, it has surprisingly few references to illness or sickness in general. Even more surprising, in a language that often multiplies metaphors, sickness and disease are seldom used as symbols of something else. The Hebrew word for health is also limited. It is rapa and means “to heal” or “to make healthy". It stands in contrast to the vocabulary of sickness. In contrast to weakness, there is strength. In contrast to debilitating illness, there is health and wholeness.
The Covenant of Healing
Almost immediately after delivering the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, actually, after they had only gone a short distance into the wilderness, the Scripture says, “…and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.” (Exodus 15:22) When they finally did find water, they found the water to be bitter, therefore, unusable. The Scripture tells us that Moses “cried unto the LORD”. It then says, “…and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,” (Exodus 15:25). At this time, the Great Covenant of Healing was given to Israel. It says, “…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.” (Exodus 15:26)
A Type of The Cross
Of course, we know and realize that the “tree” was a type of The Cross, which alone, could and can make sweet the bitter waters of life. I personally think that the reason sickness and healing are not mentioned that much in the Old Testament is because of the great covenant that Israel had with The Lord. But yet, we know and realize that Israel did not do too very well in giving ear to God’s commandments or keeping all His statutes. So, there definitely was some sickness, etc., but I personally think that, because of this covenant, the health of the Israelites was far ahead of the people of surrounding nations.
The Covenant of Healing Presently
As well, I might quickly add the following: even though this covenant was made with Israel of old, at the same time, we know that The Word of God is immutable (not capable or susceptible to change). In fact, we have the promise of even more under the New Covenant than they had under the Old (Hebrews 8:6). Paul wrote, “But now (since The Cross) hath he (The Lord Jesus) obtained a more excellent ministry (The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood is superior and takes the place of the Old Covenant in animal blood), by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant (proclaims the fact that Christ officiates between God and man according to the arrangements of the New Covenant), which was established upon better promises (This presents the New Covenant explicitly based on the cleansing and forgiveness of all sin, which the Old Covenant could not do).” (Hebrews 8:6)
Sickness and God
The Old Testament unquestionably relates sickness to God. In the Old Testament, in fact, all things are oriented to The Lord as their ultimate cause. Moses promised Israel, “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.” (Exodus 23:35) Likewise, disobedience to God would be punished, at times, by sickness. If Israel refused to obey the law and to revere God, there was this dreadful warning, “Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 28:60-61) Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple shows the same close relationship between God and illness. He says, “If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men(Israel):) ” (2 Chronicles 6:28-30). However, even though sickness may strike the land or an individual as a direct act of God, it is not always so. Sickness is a reality that affects all of humanity, and we might quickly add that it is because of the fall. Also, even a prophet could develop a terminal illness (2 Kings 13:14).
Sickness and Sin
Even though sickness is not always caused by sin, still, the link between the two can be seen throughout the Old Testament. One can note the Mosaic Law’s clear promise to Israel of divine protection from disease if they were obedient in its warnings of illness if they were disobedient. The link continues to shape the view of later Old Testament writers and is expressed in a number of ways. Psalms 103:3 parallels forgiveness and sin, healing and sickness. It is The Lord who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. Isaiah portrays sinful Israel as severely injured by blows from The Lord but unwilling, still, to turn to Him (Isaiah 1:5-6). Hosea speaks of national weakness as illness, illness that has come because of unconfessed sin. Until Israel admitted guilt and earnestly sought The Lord, there would be no rescue (Hosea 5:13-14). These passages shoot down the unscriptural doctrine of the so-called grace revolution, which is no revolution at all. This false message teaches that, when Christians sin, they should not confess that sin to The Lord and, in fact, should ignore it. Let us say this quickly, unconfessed sin is unforgiven sin, and such a path will lead to terrible difficulties if not remedied. The great prophet Hosea also said, “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1) We find here that healing is found, therefore, in a return to The Lord. He Who caused the injury is able to restore.
Is All Sickness Caused by Sin?
No. All sickness is not a result of sin. Sickness comes, at times, and even comes to all, as a natural consequence of human frailty, which, as stated, is a result of the fall. And yet, whatever nature or cause of sickness, it is appropriate to look to God for help, ever how He will bring about that help. Prayer and fasting are fitting, and when prayer for healing goes unanswered, the humbling of the soul is proper (Psalms 35:13-14). Sickness, like all suffering and tragedy, cannot be automatically assigned to sin or ascribed to God’s judgment on a sinner. It certainly may be, at times, but definitely not always.
Does It Show a Lack of Faith on the Part of the Christian to Take Medicine?
No. Infrequent references to medication and herbal treatment in both the Old and the New Testaments make it clear that the use of remedies was not viewed as a denial of trust in The Lord. God can work through medical treatment, or He can work without it (2 Kings 20:7; 1 Timothy 5:23). In fact, The Lord has healed millions of people down through the centuries in hospitals, even while under the care of a physician. If it were sin or wrong for such to be, then The Lord would be contradicting Himself by doing such. While The Lord does not need the help of anyone to do anything, still, He, at times, definitely does use the art of medical science to aid and abet in the healing process. So, the taking of medicine or availing oneself of treatment at the hands of a physician does not show a lack of faith in God any more than the believer going to church shows a lack of faith as it regards The Lord forgiving sin. In fact, we are told that, in the coming Kingdom Age, The Lord will provide medicine for the entirety of the world (Ezekiel 47:12). This medicine will come from the leaves of the trees that will grow beside the river that will come from the new Temple that will be built in Jerusalem. In fact, many, if not most, medicines now come from plants, etc. So, if the taking of medicine is wrong, then God will be sinning when He does this thing in a coming day. Of course, we know that God cannot sin.
Sickness and Isaiah 53
Isaiah uses words for sickness and healing in this great passage that portrays Jesus as the suffering servant. Concerning this chapter, an argument has raged, I suppose, throughout the duration of the church as to whether healing is in the atonement, etc. Healing is not only in the atonement but every single thing that man lost at the fall as well. While it is certainly true that we do not now have everything that Jesus purchased for us by the shedding of His own precious blood, still, we do now have everything as it pertains to salvation and victory, with the balance coming at the Resurrection (Romans 8:23). However, healing being in the atonement no more means that no Christian will ever be sick than salvation from sin being in the atonement means that no Christian will ever again sin. Of course, salvation is most definitely in the atonement. When Jesus went to The Cross, which is what Isaiah 53 portrays, He addressed every single thing that man lost at the fall. Absolutely nothing was excluded. However, we have to understand the atonement in the light of this particular dispensation. Paul cleared it up very succinctly when he said, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come (the Resurrection), then that which is in part shall be done away. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10,12) He then said, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54) Then, there shall be no more sickness and no more dying. Oh, what a day that will be! The apostle also said, “For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation (the Resurrection) of the sons of God. Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19, 21) The bottom line is that we have some things now for which Jesus paid in the atonement, which Paul refers to as “firstfruits of the Spirit.” However, at the coming Resurrection, we will have everything for which Jesus paid in the atonement (Romans 8:23). Even though The Lord definitely heals now in answer to prayer, the truth is that these physical bodies are getting older, and, as a result, they are wearing out. With the wearing out process comes physical affliction and problems, which will not be ameliorated until the redemption of the body (Romans 8:23). As stated, all of this will take place at the Resurrection, when every saint of God, at that time, will receive a glorified body, which will not be susceptible to sickness or disease in any capacity.
Sickness and The Gospels
The Old Testament forges direct links between sickness and God. The New Testament does not deny such a relationship (Acts 12:23). But yet, a different emphasis emerges in the Gospels. In the Gospels, we see a definite link between sickness and demonic powers. This is certainly not to say that all sickness is a result of such activity, but it is definitely meant to say that some sickness falls into that category, probably far more than we realize. A typical happening is described in Luke 13:10-16. A woman, crippled for 18 years, was released from her infirmity on the Sabbath. When attacked for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus confronted His critics and said, “…ought (should) not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound (kept bound), lo, these eighteen years (for 18 long years), be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day (set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her)?” (Luke 13:16) Her identification by Jesus as a daughter of Abraham puts her within the family of faith. This tells us that even God’s people are, at times, bound by forces hostile to God. This also tells us that most sickness is not caused by God, though it may be permitted by Him. We have to come to the conclusion that satan can do nothing but that God allows him to do so (Job 1; 2). To believe less is to make God subservient to satan, which is ridiculous.
Sickness and Demonic Forces
This theme of sickness being caused by demon forces is actually repeated again and again in the Gospels as in Matthew Chapter 12. On this occasion, Jesus healed a blind mute whose disability was caused by demons. The frustrated pharisees tried to start a rumor Jesus must be in league with satan to have such power over demons. However, Jesus pointed out that no divided kingdom can stand. Satan does not fight against satan. It is the kingdom of God, the beneficent influence of God at work among humanity, to which Jesus’ healings testify. Throughout the New Testament, illness and disease are associated with the forces hostile to God and to humanity. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is always healing, never once causing illness. While the weaknesses of humanity reflect the reality of human alienation from God, Jesus’ attitude and actions show that God is and yearns to be man’s healer. To see illness only as punishment is to misread the nature of God and to misunderstand the nature of those forces that distort human experience.
Sickness as it Relates to Sin
The link the Old Testament forged between sin and illness is not broken by the New Testament. Sin may bring divine judgment in the form of illness. Luke reports that when Herod “gave not God the glory (did not give praise to God)” when he was blasphemously honored by the people of God, “...the (an) angel of the Lord smote him (struck him down) …and he was eaten of (by) worms, and gave up the ghost (and died).” (Acts 12:23) As well, Paul links the sickness of many in Corinth to their failure to discern the Lord’s body when gathered for communion (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). This speaks of not properly understanding the Cross of Christ, what Jesus did there for us by giving of Himself, i.e., The Lord’s body. In each of these cases, the link between personal sin and sickness is affirmed. However, the emphasis in the New Testament is on the other causes of sickness and personal sin. Sickness is an expression of the death that has passed on to humanity with our original infection by sin brought on by the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. In this broad sense, all sickness is linked with sin, but not every person’s sickness is linked with his or her personal sin.
What Jesus Said
The disciples, like others in that time, had an erroneous concept of sin and sickness. They assumed that there was a link between sickness and personal sin in every case. One day, they pointed out a man who had been born blind and asked Jesus, “…who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) Jesus answered, “…Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:…” (John 9:3) Actually, Jesus was not saying that neither the man nor his parents had never sinned but, rather, that his affliction was not a result of personal sin at all. Rather, Jesus said that “…the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3) Then, Jesus went on to restore the man’s sight (John 9:6-7). While Jesus did not go into much explanation there, the idea is that satan had caused this thing, but whatever satan had caused, the power of God could un-cause. In fact, this is the story of the Gospel. Consequently, as it regards individual sickness, the portrait displayed in the New Testament goes beyond that of the Old Testament. Sickness is imposed on individuals by hostile forces that delight in human suffering. Although God permits suffering, He is capable of redeeming any experience that displays itself in the physical bodies of particular Christians. He does so by His own wonderous working power.
Sickness and the Ministry of Christ to the Whole Person
Special insight into the Biblical implication of health is gained when we note the manner in which Jesus did certain things. Often, Jesus’ healings of physical ailments were associated with the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26). John Chapter 5 is especially suggestive. It spoke to one who had been an invalid for 38 years. He first asked, “...Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6) The man’s inner self and his body were both, in some sense, crushed by the years of sickness. When Jesus healed him, He warned, “…sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5:14) Restoration thus touched the man, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The same thought is conveyed in the restoration of the prodigal son who came back to his family once again “…safe and sound.” (Luke 15:27) Even though there is clear-cut teaching about the relationship between the spiritual and physical aspects of a person, still, the links between forgiveness and healing are very suggestive. What is clear is that, in Jesus’ ministry, spirit, soul, and body, are not divorced. Jesus sought ways to minister to the whole person, and we might say again that He never turned one away. He never said to anyone who was sick, “I cannot heal you now because you are not living right.” He never said to anyone, “You don’t have enough faith.” In fact, if that were the case, and it definitely was with some, Jesus gave them the faith they needed.
God is the Source of Health for Humanity
The Bible views health as wellness, a condition in which a person fully exercises all of his or her capacities as a living being. Sickness is weakness, a diminishing or limiting of these capacities in the individual. The Old Testament relates sickness in human beings to God and also to sin. But yet, we must understand sickness as it relates to God in the sense of sowing and reaping. Sickness did not and does not originate with God, with its source being satan, i.e., sin, whether directly or indirectly. God is the source of health for humanity. Right relationship with Him means an experience of His healing touch. Sin is the enemy of the body as well as of the spirit. However, personal sin may bring sickness as one of the many different judgments from God.
The New Testament
The New Testament accepts the suppositions of the Old Testament but adds details to the picture. While sickness has sin as its original source, an individual’s sickness is not necessarily related to his or her personal sin. Mankind is trapped in wreckage that is scattered across the whole earth by Adam’s sin, and man is also vulnerable to the malicious attacks of demons. Even the faithful believer may be victimized by satan. That’s one of the reasons that Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer, “…lead us not into temptation (do not allow us to be led into temptation), but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13). Similarly, God’s role in sickness is expanded in the New Testament. While we have to recognize the fact that God is the cause of some sickness, His actual role is that of Healer. Jesus gives us a taste of the Kingdom and His healing ministry. We see sickness attacked by Jesus as an enemy, not used by Him as a scourge. This means that, in the New Testament, we sense the love of God Who yearns to heal and Who only reluctantly plays judge before the time for judgement. I think it is obvious that God permits sickness for His own good purposes, with Him using such as discipline or even judgement. Sometimes His wisdom demands such. So, we can answer the question, “Is it always God’s will to heal the sick?” Yes, it is always God’s will to do such, but it is not always His wisdom. However, the role that God plays when we allow Him to do so, and I speak of obedience and faith on our part, is that of Healer.
Let Him Call for the Elders of the Church
The heading refers to pastors. In Titus 1:5, 7 and Acts 20:17, 28, elders and bishops (or pastors or overseers) are equated. In acts 20:28, the elders are instructed to shepherd the church of God, that is, to do the work of an overseer or pastor. That elder, bishop, and pastor refer to the same office is also suggested in 1 Peter 5:1-4. This means that the names or titles, pastor, elder, bishop, overseer, and presbyter, all refer, without exception, to the pastor of a local church. Unfortunately, the church has attempted to take one or more of these titles, such as bishop, and make more of it than does the Scripture. In other words, by doing such, they have changed the government of the church and instituted that which The Holy Spirit has never sanctioned. To say it in another way, these particular higher offices are purely of man’s invention and actually began in the 2nd century. It finally evolved into what we presently know as the catholic church. However, the protestants have been guilty of the same sin. As well, even though James did not mention it, prayer for the sick can be offered by any believer. The Scripture plainly says, “…these signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17-18).
And Let Them Pray Over Him
The heading refers to asking The Lord for healing regarding the need. While the anointing with oil is very important, as we shall see, prayer is the more significant of the two ministries performed by the elders. The word pray is the main verb, while the world anoint is a participle. As well, overall emphasis of the paragraph is on prayer. So the anointing, although very important, is a secondary action. From the entirety of the teaching on prayer as it regards the Word of God, we must understand that prayer is a privilege and not merely a duty. In fact, if it is looked at as a duty, we completely miss the importance of what this is all about. The idea presented here is that we are to ask The Lord for healing or whatever is needed, that He’ll hear our petition, and that He will answer. Now, the question for you, the reader or the hearer, is this, do you believe that? I realize that we would think that all Christians should believe that, as they certainly should. However, due to false teaching behind the pulpit, unbelief is rampant. In other words, a lot of so-called Christians simply do no believe that God hears and answers prayer. It is my belief that much of the doubt expressed by many comes from the fact that they are not Spirit-filled. If such comes from one who claims to be Spirit-filled, to deny the effectiveness of prayer certainly means that they are not Spirit-led. One of the first things that happens to the Spirit-filled believer is that he begins to look to God, Who hears and answers prayers. He begins to believe that God is able to do all things, in other words, a God of might and miracles.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I will not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus Name
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand