As an introduction to this Bible study, please read Does Faith Heal?
When I became a new Christian, I thought perhaps God did heal everyone with faith. But as I studied the Bible and observed godly Christians, I realized there were too many questions and contradictions.
- If sin or unbelief cause sickness, why are children born with birth defects? Are they being punished for their parents' sins and/or unbelief?
- Why are unbelievers healed when they have no faith?
- What about diseases or injuries that leave the person without the mental clarity to believe God for their healing?
Hebrews 2:3-4: "This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
John 14:12 says we will do greater things than Jesus, but this means in scope, not quality or power. Think about it: Jesus saved us from our sins. No one can do anything greater than that. Nor has anyone performed a greater miracle than Christ performed on earth (i.e. raising someone from the dead). But believers since the time of Christ have done more miracles and seen more conversions than during Christ's earthly ministry.
God promises perfection in heaven, not on earth:
Hebrews 2:5-9: "God has not placed the angels as rulers over the new world to come—the world of which we speak. 6 Instead, as it is said somewhere in the Scriptures: 'What are human beings, O God, that you should think of them; mere human beings, that you should care for them? 7 You made them for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor, 8 and made them rulers over all things.' It says that God made them 'rulers over all things'; this clearly includes everything. We do not, however, see human beings ruling over all things now. 9 But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God's grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honor because of the death he suffered."
Not all godly men are healed in Scripture:
In Philippians 2:19-23 Paul says there is "no one else like" Timothy because he "proved himself" in his work for the gospel. And without condemnation or correction, Paul tells Timothy, "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses." 1 Timothy 5:23
Paul also mentions illness without any reference to sin or lack of faith in the passages below:
Galatians 4:13-14: "As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself."
Philippians 2:25-30: "But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me."
2 Timothy 4:20: "I left Trophimus sick in Miletus."
Many Bible scholars believe Paul's "thorn" was the illness described in Galatians 4:15:
2 Corinthians 12:6-9: "Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
copyright 2013, edited and updated in 2020, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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