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Analysis On Healing
This was something written by my husband, Chris, he wanted me to share:
Miraculous healing is a regular occurrence in the Bible. Interest in this subject has sparked controversy over the years. And although this greater gift is desired today, many fall short of its use. This document details what I've found on the subject.
Faith and Doubt
With even the smallest amount of faith, we should expect big results:
Matthew 17:20: “And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." ”
For the healing subject, we need to realize that with just the smallest amount of faith - one should expect the miraculous.
When you accept Christ and begin a personal relationship with God (i.e. become a Christian), the Spirit of God indwells you. It's the same Spirit in all Christians. The following verse shows this concept applying to faith as well - showing faith as a single entity:
Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
A related passage in Romans says the following (two different versions provided):
NASB: Romans 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
KJV: Romans 12:3: “For I say , through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
I was interested in the translation between the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the King James Version (KJV). The article ("a" or "the") before "measure" seemed important for the subject, since it appeared to imply a different amount of faith given. So I opened an Interlinear Bible and the Greek Concordance to look further into the actual word being used.
I noticed there wasn't an explicit article in front of measure, but rather "a" and "the" were added for context. Also, I found the same Greek word (translated "measure") was used in other scriptures, including the following (all without an article in the Greek):
Ephesians 4:13: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
John 3:34: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” [the NIV version reads 'without limit']
Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Without being a Greek scholar, here's my point...
With these verses alone, Romans 12:3 is not implying that God gives more or less of some "measure" of faith to different Christians. And with the verse from Ephesians, I understand the measure is the same (one faith). So the take-away point is that all Christians have the faith necessary for the miraculous.
Let's look at the account of Peter walking on water with Jesus:
Matthew 14:28-31: “Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"”
Notice that Peter had faith to get out of the boat. But when he saw the wind, "he became frightened". Keep in mind two things: 1) they were just in a life-threatening storm, and 2) Peter was a fisherman by trade. So Peter was naturally familiar with wind in the middle of the sea.
I don't see Peter lacking faith, or he wouldn't have been able to walk on water at the start. Instead, it appears the natural and the spiritual coming into conflict with each other. And when Peter experienced this, he probably felt more comfortable with the natural than the spiritual... thereby creating doubt. More on this in the next section.
For a second example, let's read a parallel to Matthew 17:20 that I gave in the previous section:
Mark 9:19-29: “And He answered them and said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!" They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe ; help my unbelief." When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again." After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, "He is dead !" But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately , "Why could we not drive it out?" And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."”
The boy's father believed the disciples could heal his boy, and his faith is put into action when he brought his boy to the disciples. However, the man's faith was not producing the results he expected when the disciples failed to do what he believed they could do. When they were unable to cast out the demon, he went to Jesus. And we can see the man's doubt growing by that time, with his comment to Jesus: "If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"
I want to highlight a key point here. The boy's father did not lack faith, which is seen by him showing up in the first place, and directly mentioned in the verse above: "I do believe, help my unbelief." But it seems that since his faith did not produce the expected results, doubt started setting in.
From the previous scripture, it also appears that Jesus' disciples lacked faith since. But that doesn't make sense considering they were literally walking with Jesus Christ every day. In just a few short years of Christ's ministry, we read of many supernatural occurrences, miraculous healings, and resurrections. John says the following:
John 20:30-31: “Therefore, many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Only a fraction of the supernatural is recorded. One of my recorded favorites with Jesus occurred after a raging storm when the disciples saw Jesus walking on water... the boat and all the disciples were instantly transferred to the other side of the sea:
John 6:19-21: “Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat ; and they were frightened. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”
My point here is that the disciples saw more than just a few supernatural things in the course of their time with Jesus.
Let me summarize the points so far. We have seen that the smallest amount of faith can accomplish great things, that all Christians have an amount of faith (one faith/measure), and that faith was present when healing did not occur. So perhaps experiencing the supernatural (e.g. action of performing miracles) is a bit more complex than just having faith in God.
I gave a preview of this in the section above, with the boy's father and then with Peter walking on water. The boy's father saw the disciples unable to heal the boy, and so what he perceived by his natural senses showed his faith was not working. Peter was walking on water. But once he saw the wind returning, his natural senses brought him back to the what he knew. He knew it was not natural to go untouched by the wind and he probably also realized it was not natural to walk on water.
Let's look at another scripture:
Mark 11:23-24: “And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
Notice my underscoring above. This describes faith without doubting, so to take the negative viewpoint... it's possible to have faith and doubt at the same time. We read about this above.
A couple more illustrations of doubt existing alongside faith, can be found in James:
James 1:5-8: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
James 4:3-5: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? ”
Faith can exist with doubting. The first scripture mentions that we can be double-minded, where our focus is split between ourselves (or the physical world) and God. And the second scripture talks about wanting to spend requests on ourselves. It calls people adulteresses because they are not seeking to have a spiritual relationship with God.
The last scripture previewed how we avoid doubt, by putting our focus fully on God.
I listed a longer scripture from Mark 9 above, where it says "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer." A parallel scripture on the same subject says:
Matthew 17:21: “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
In past years when I read those scriptures, I thought that "this kind" was referring to demons. Even my Zondervan reference bible gave the same response... implying that if I prayed and fasted then I could add something onto to the power of God. But this contradicts scripture.
The Bible is clear in that people cannot earn salvation by doing good deeds; our best attempts at doing so is compared to "dirty rags". And demons only flee from the blood of Christ - not from people being good. As far as I have read, the Bible mentions nothing about our physical actions adding power to the spiritual. So this viewpoint never made sense.
Recently I heard a sermon where the leader explained how this "this kind" referred to unbelief. By spending more time with God (praying), and by denying the physical self (fasting), you are becoming more spiritually sensitive to God. That made complete sense, and agreed with other scriptures.
The following scripture agrees with this concept:
Hebrews 5:13-14: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
The more we focus on God, the more we become sensitive to the spiritual side. This is what God wants from us, as Jesus says:
John 4:23-24: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
I believe this is the same reason we are instructed to go to the elders for healing:
James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”
Because people who spend more time with God, are more sensitive to God. They worship God in the Spirit, and believe God over what their senses and what earthly knowledge tells them.
By fasting, we tell our physical senses that we're not going to whittle away to nothing after not eating for a day, or two days or three. Did you know that we can go about 40 days without food, before the body starts eating away at muscle tissue? Knowing that, it's interesting to remember the 40 days Jesus was out in the wilderness Satan starts his temptation.
I won't go into detail on this, but it's important to mention. There are promises in the Bible to believers. One set of blessings are through Abraham, and are promised to all believers. Galatians chapter 3 explains how it applies to all Christians, as well as Romans chapter 4.
Another set of blessings are in Deuteronomy. The basic idea is that if you seek after God and follow His commands, then different blessings are yours. Not by anything you do to earn the blessings, but because that's what God has freely given those who love him.
A few verses from the New Testament:
John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
James 1:25: “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
Eph 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
God wants to give us life, and life more abundantly. But in order to be blessed, we need to do what Jesus is recorded in Matthew as saying:
Matt 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Sensitive to God
I've touched on the following topics:
· All Christians have the faith required to experience miraculous healing
· Anybody can doubt
· Doubt prevents miracles from happening even amidst faith
· We can reduce doubt while growing closer in our relationship with God
· God wants us to seek Him in this way, in Spirit and in truth
God never changes, and is faithful to do exactly what He said he will do. If He says we are blessed by living according to His will, then we are blessed. If He tells us it's possible to move mountains with the smallest amount of faith, then let's believe the One who gives us our faith. If He says we can ask and it will be provided as long as we are not doubting, then we need to start reducing our level of doubt.
By spending more time with God - praying, reading, doing His will - we become more sensitive to God and to the spiritual, and less sensitive to the world. Focusing less on our five natural senses also helps to refine our spiritual sense. These activities all help to reduce doubt.
In becoming more sensitive to God, we can worship in Spirit and in Truth. This allows us to become the mature person of faith that God intends for every follower. And when doing so, we should expect to see the miraculous.