fredag 20. januar 2012


Nr. 207:


Many born-again Christians who are living sincerely and wholeheartedly for God remain afflicted after prayer for healing. This may be due to a misconception regarding the teachings of God's Word. Perhaps they have not been able to understand that God promises healing to all who ask in faith. They do not realize the extent of God's great guarantee to heal and, because of this misconception, they have asked with wavering faith.

Unwavering faith

God says, Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord (James 1:6,7).

Often these people come for prayer thinking that they DO believe and will not waver in faith. But when it's put to the test, they find that their faith wavers. They say, "I really thought I was going to be healed this time, but I just can't seem to have enough faith."

These people really do have faith. But their faith wavers because of misconceptions regarding the Word of God which have commonly been taught as doctrines, but which really cannot be proven by the Word of God. These are traditions of men which make the word of God of none effect (Mark 7:13) to the person who heeds them.

Jesus says of those who teach in this way, In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Mark 7:7, Matthew 15:9).

God has guaranteed healing to His people. But some who profess to be His ministers have told the people that He didn't mean what He said!

Suffering for God's glory

Another prominent misconception is that some cannot be healed because they are suffering for the glory of God. This teaching is based on two misinterpreted incidents in the ministry of Christ.

When Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, He replied, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby (John 11:4).

When Jesus finally came to Bethany and was met by the sisters of Lazarus, He certainly was not met with praise. They were not glorifying God or His Son. But the Son of God was glorified when Lazarus came forth from the tomb (see verse 44).

In another case, some of Jesus' disciples questioned Him concerning a man who was born blind. They wondered whether the man had sinned or his parents. (This is an example of the mistaken attitude of that time regarding the relation between sin and sickness.) Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (John 9:3).

This does not infer that neither this man nor his parents had ever committed a sin, for we are told, All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Rather, this blindness, which was unusual, was not a direct punishment for unusual sin.

But if this man was blind for God's glory, then Jesus was working against the glory of God, for He gave sight that day to the man. This man's blindness was not, in itself, a glory to God. But rather, his blindness was an occasion for the works of God to be made manifest in him. When people saw this man, blind from birth, suddenly receive his sight, God was glorified.

If you are suffering for God's glory, then let God be glorified NOW by accepting healing from Him. Be a witness to everyone around you of the mighty power of God that brings deliverance to all who trust in Him!

Not once in His entire earthly ministry did Jesus ever command a person to be sick. However, He commanded many to be well and healed them with His Word. Not once did a sick person come to Him, asking to be healed, and receive the answer, "It is God's will for you to remain sick for His glory."

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). Then it is inconceivable that, while He was here on earth, He glorified the Father by healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Matthew 4:23), but now, having gone back to the Father, He is glorified by people remaining patient in affliction, declaring that it is evidence of His love. It is no wonder that sinners are not interested in sharing in such love!

Nowhere in the Word of God is sickness declared to be an evidence of God's favor. Rather, it is the penalty for sin (see Deuteronomy 28:22-28,61). The reward of obedience is health and healing (see Exodus 15:26).

A glaring inconsistency in the "suffering for God's glory" theory is that, while these people do not come to God for healing, they seem to feel no qualms of conscience in doing all that human power can do to ease pain and restore health. If sickness is truly God's will for them, should they try to escape it?

Suppose I say to you, "I am laboring in this city for the glory of God. It is His will for me to labor here. But I will only stay until I can somehow find a way to get away from here. I'm leaving just as soon as I can earn, beg, or borrow the price of a bus ticket to take me away. I know it is God's will for me to be here, but He can only keep me here by making it impossible for me to leave!" People would be horrified and probably would accuse me of rebelling against God.

Nevertheless, some say they are suffering for God's glory and yet it is apparent that they will suffer only as long as it is impossible for them to make themselves well. Is this not inconsistent?

Sickness is not God’s will

Sickness is the work of the devil. It is the will of God that His people prosper and be in health (3 John 2). Therefore, let us come to God without wavering, in full assurance that we are asking in His will.

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 (1 John 5:14,15).

Those who insist that some are sick because it is the will of God strengthen their position by quoting as examples a few cases in Scripture. They feel this is evidence that God has chosen some of His best servants to suffer affliction. At best, this is only circumstantial evidence and must be accepted "with reservations" in any court of law. Under careful examination, these cases break down like circumstantial evidence.

Strive for perfection

First, let's consider the matter of Job's boils. According to the testimony of God himself, Job was a perfect and upright man, in that he feareth God, and escheweth evil (Job 1:8). No divine or superhuman perfection is attributed to Job. Any Christian can and should be at least as perfect as was Job, for our opportunities, privileges, and power are far ahead of his. Jesus left us the commandment to be perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). The Scriptures - which Job never had the privilege of reading because he lived before they were written - were given that the man of God may be perfect (2 Timothy 3:17).

No Christian who is satisfied with being anything less than perfect is in the will of God or in a position to seek healing. Though we may need to say with Paul, Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after (Philippians 3:12), let us keep this goal constantly before us and earnestly "press toward the mark" at all times. Never make excuse for imperfections. Perfection is the goal.

God accounted Job as perfect because he sincerely feared God and eschewed (shunned, found no pleasure in doing) evil. However, a careful study of the Book of Job will reveal to the thoughtful reader enough reasons in Job himself for the trouble that came upon him. God does not submit His faithful and beloved followers to the tortures of Satan for no better reason than to merely prove a point to the devil. True enough, Job's faithfulness was proven, and Satan's boast proved empty, but a far greater issue than that was involved in the trial of Job. The Book of Job indicates that even a perfect man can be made better.

Fear is not faith

Note that, while Job was commended for his fear of God (see Job 1:8), this was not Job's only fear. When he was bereft of family and possessions, suffering in body, scorned by his wife, and misunderstood and accused by his friends, he cried out, The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me (Job 3:25).

Faith is our protection against sin and sickness, and it is our defense when these enemies lay hold on us. Satan saw it as a hedge around Job, which he could not penetrate. But fear, the opposite of faith, makes an opening in the hedge where Satan may enter. Job is not to be condemned for his attitude, for he did not have the Scriptures as we do today. His knowledge of God came only from oral tradition and an incomplete direct personal revelation of God. (It is generally recognized that Job was the first book of the Bible to be written.) Since faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, it is little wonder that Job failed to have sufficient faith to protect him from Satan's attack.

But having God's glorious promises so easily accessible, we should grasp them by faith and step forth into the glorious liberty available to the sons of God. As God's children, we need not grub in Job's ash heap, looking for an excuse to remain in bondage to the sickness and oppression of Satan.

God did not afflict Job. Satan...smote Job with sore boils (Job 2:7). But even this he could not do without God's permission.

A time of examination

In his desperation, Job examined his attitude toward God and, through the struggles of his soul, found a new relationship with God. True, he had feared God, striven to do right and avoid evil, but now, when his wife urged him to curse God and die (see Job 2:9), and his friends accused him of every kind of sin, calling them by name, Job discovered that only one thing remained a firm anchor in his fast-changing world. In his anguish he cried, Though he slay me, yet will I trust him (Job 13:15). God could not disregard such faith at that. Immediately, God began to work toward Job's deliverance. He revealed himself to Job in a glorious flash of splendor such as has seldom been equaled in His dealings with any one man. In light of this revelation, Job had a fine opportunity to compare his own righteousness with that of his Maker and found himself sadly lacking. He approached God then, not in a spirit of self-righteousness, but in true humility and repentance (see Job 42:6) mixed with faith. He was even willing to pray for the deliverance of his accusers, and the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends (Job 42: 10).

But the most beautiful part of the whole story is found in the concluding verses of the Book of Job. After Job had repented of his self-righteousness and lack of trust and had proven his humility and forgiveness by praying for his friends, God set him free from the captivity of Satan. Job was restored to all his former glory, with even more than he had at the beginning. He lived another 140 years, and there is no record that he ever had another boil to annoy him in all that time!

If you have been following Job's example, sitting in the ash heap bemoaning your fate and blaming it on God, you need to take another look at your example. Place your trust in God, as Job did, even though it may seem to lead only to death. Start searching the Scriptures, reading prayerfully, as though you had never heard the explanations men have added by their traditions. Look to God himself to find the cause of your sickness and, when you have found it, get rid of it. Then, like Job, you will be set free from bondage, for God is still the same today!

The enemies of the gospel of healing point to examples where true children of God were not healed. Because of that, they say there is no guarantee that God will heal all who meet His conditions. Seeing beforehand this attempt to discredit His work, the Lord has carefully shown us in His Word the reasons for the illnesses which persist for a time in the presence of the mighty miracle-working power of Christ and the first disciples with whom Christ worked, confirming the word with signs following (Mark 16:20).

Paul's ministry

God wrought special miracles in the ministry of Paul. Many whom he touched were healed, but even men and women who could not contact him personally were healed of diseases and delivered from evil spirits, when handkerchiefs or aprons were brought to them from Paul's body (see Acts 19:11,12).

We are told that his fellow soldier and companion in labor, Epaphroditus, became sick nigh unto death, while in the company of Paul. In fact, these are Paul's own words (see Philippians 2:27). However, Paul does not stop there. In the same verse, he declares that God had mercy on him, so that he was able to make the long journey from Rome to Philippi, despite the difficulty of such a journey in those times. This was a demonstration to the Philippians of the greatness of the power and love of God in his behalf. In verse 30, Paul explains the reason for the sickness. Because of the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

The gifts of healing do not guarantee an unlimited supply of strength and energy to the human body. It is possible, even in so worthy a work as carrying the gospel and praying for the sick, to tax the body beyond what God intended it to endure, with sickness as a result. But even here God shows His mercy. While a period of absolute rest or convalescence may be required, there is no need to be permanently defeated because of a nervous breakdown or other illness caused by overwork.

We are told that even Paul had his private physician - Luke - who traveled with him to watch after his health. It is true that Luke had been trained as a physician (see Colossians 4:14). However, there is just as much reason to declare that Jesus took Matthew with Him as His private tax collector as to assert that Luke was chosen to go with Paul because of his skill as a physician. There is no record in the Scriptures that Luke ever treated Paul or any other sick person in the capacity of a physician. Only one mention is made of him being a physician. As author of the Books of Luke and Acts, he records many miraculous hearings. It is noteworthy that every one of them is recorded as being one hundred percent miraculous. Never once is it recorded that Luke, or any other physician, applied any medical aid as a supplement to the miracle-working power of God. Being a physician, Luke was no doubt especially impressed when Christ and His Spirit filled disciples relieved diseases which physicians had tried in vain to heal. In fact, Luke records that a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched (Luke 8:43,44).

The Great Physician

It is true that faithful physicians have relieved much human suffering. There are enough people in the world today who have never learned of the healing power of God to keep all the physicians busy and fully justify their existence in the world. But those who know the Great Physician should wait at His feet instead of in the overcrowded waiting rooms of earthly physicians. Here we can find the relief - full and free, without medicine or surgery - that our bodies may be well and strong for His glory. Surely He is worthy of every testimonial to His skill and faithfulness that His loving followers can give.

Many people have suffered for years while waiting to be treated by some of the famous physicians of our time. If only they would wait upon God and be as diligent to heed His directions as they are in carrying out the orders of earthly physicians, they would be healed.

Start today to examine yourself according to the Word of God. Find out what He says to do and do it. These treatments are not in the experimental stage. They are tried and proven - unconditionally guaranteed to be 100 percent effective, when used according to directions.

A thorn in the flesh

In an effort to prove that God denies healing to some, many quote 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: 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.... Therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities.

Whatever Paul's thorn may have been, God's grace was sufficient for him. The list of his achievements and sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11 would certainly be a sufficient test of grace. But to say that Paul's thorn was a physical defect would certainly require some backing beyond what is found in this passage of Scripture, for sickness is not mentioned. The strongest advocates of the idea that the thorn was a physical weakness dare not go further than to say, "It has been conjectured that Paul's thorn in the flesh was chronic ophthalmia" (Scofield Bible, page 1239).

In light of the glorious promises of healing given boldly in the Word of God, something stronger than a mere conjecture that Paul was sick should be required to cancel such strong promises.

The term, "thorn in the flesh," has so often been connected with sickness that it has come to have that meaning in the minds of many readers of this scripture. But let us examine its use in other scriptures to see if that was the thought of the writer.

In Numbers 33:55, the Israelites were warned, 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. This warning is repeated in Joshua 23:13 and Judges 2:3. Thus, the thorn refers not to something within the body but to annoyances from without, caused by people. Paul speaks of his particular thorn as being the messenger of Satan to buffet me (2 Corinthians 12:7). The word buffet means "to strike as with the hand; to contend with."

In the list of the infirmities in which Paul chose to glory (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-33), there is no sickness or blindness mentioned, but rather persecutions. He does mention weariness and painfulness, but would not beatings, stonings, hunger, and cold be sufficient cause for weariness and painfulness?

After reviewing the list of Paul's sufferings and accomplishments, would it not require more faith in the miraculous to believe that he was carried through all these things while suffering from physical illness than to believe that he was kept in health by the power of God?

God is not a respecter of persons (see Colossians 3:25). His promises are yours! Let no man beguile you. Believe the Word of God and not the traditions that have been built around it.

As the flame of your faith burns brightly, no longer wavering, you can ask God for whatsoever He has promised and it shall be done unto you!

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