The phrase “with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5) is often used to claim that all Christians should experience earthly physical healing.
The context of this verse is usually sin and redemption (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24). But Matthew 8:16-17 does link it to demon-possession and physical sickness.(1)
And it's true: our redemption - body, soul, and spirit - is fully accomplished in the spiritual realm.
But our redemption is not fully realized here on earth (1 Corinthians 15:22-25; Hebrews 2:5-9).
By Christ's stripes, sin, Satan, trouble, death, and sickness were defeated when Christ said, "It is finished" (John 19:30).
Yet, sin, Satan, trouble, death, and sickness still exist here on earth (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). No matter how much faith we have, they exist (John 16:33).
We are in the process of renewal in Christ and sometimes God's plan includes supernatural healing here on earth,(2) but perfect spiritual, emotional, and physical health will not be available until eternity when we're completely transformed (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2).(3)
Our faith is built on that unseen reality (Hebrews 11:1).
(1) Matthew actually refers to Isaiah 53:4, which is in the context of Isaiah 53:5.
(2) There are many reasons for sickness and for healing. Sometimes sickness is related to sin or unbelief, but not always. Sometimes healing is credited to faith or repentance, but not always. If we create formulas for healing that blame the sick person, we are no different than Job's friends whom God rebuked. Just as we are saved, are being saved, and will be saved - we are healed, are being healed, and will be healed.
(3) See also 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 which explains that Christ's mission won't be complete until His second coming and Hebrews 2:5-9 which explains that not all things are subject to Christ-followers here on earth.
Bible StudyBecause this is such a misunderstood subject, we must study the full counsel of Scripture to learn all that God tells us about healing here on earth. I could not fully explain what Scripture teaches about healing in a single study, but I do want to offer Scriptural proof that perfect health is not promised here on earth.
1. These passages talk about future realization of perfection - the future realization of what Christ has already accomplished in the spiritual realm.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Hebrews 2:5-9: It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? 7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor 8 and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
2. Some specific examples of the way Scripture talks of Christ's accomplishments as both present and future:
John 16:33: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Note the present and future tense for the defeat of evil:
Colossians 2:15: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
1 Corinthians 15:24: Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
1 Peter 1:3-5, 13: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time....13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
See also "The 3 Tenses of the Gospel" which explains that we are completely saved when we give our lives to Christ, but the power of sin still brings sickness, decay, and evil into our lives until heaven when all that Christ has done will be fully realized.
3. These passages talk about the wasting away of our physical bodies here on earth.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
4. Also read about Paul's thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
Many Bible scholars believe it was a physical problem, but even if it was a spiritual problem, it would refute the belief that what Christ accomplished in the spiritual realm is fully realized in our present lives, for Christ certainly defeated Satan, and Scripture says it was a "messenger of Satan" sent to torment Paul, a faithful believer.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, Bite Size Bible Study