“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 3:5
Several years ago, James Bakker wrote a book called “I Was Wrong.” In the book, Dr. Bakker shared his prison experience with the reader. He also explained how he used his prison time to study God's Word.
In the book, he confessed he was so busy building his ministry he had little time to study God's Word. Because of this, he found himself preaching what others taught, without validating their teachings through scripture. However, God got his attention. He confessed that prison gave him time to focus on God's Word. During that time, he discovered that he and others had lead people astray by not teaching the Word in context. This was a problem then, and unfortunately, it is still a problem today.
It seems that many teach what they want to teach to fit an agenda. To do this, they often teach the scriptures out of context. Unfortunately, many who hear the words do not check them out. Thus, they do what Dr. Bakker did, before he entered prison. They pass what they have heard along as truth, and this validates the teaching, without any regards to the truth.
For instance, years ago, one of those misquotes was the proclamation that “God helps those who helps themselves.” People thought this truth came form the Bible. Of course, it did not. Yet, it found its way into acceptance. Before long, it became a truth, even though it was not.
In addition to misquotes, there are misuses of the Word of God. Over the past few years, I believe one of those misuses comes from Isaiah 3:5. It says, “by His stripes we are healed.” Many believers quote this when praying over the sick. The question I have had to ask is this, “Are we applying it correctly?”
Before I continue, I want you to know that I have thought about writing on this subject for several years. I held back because I knew this would be controversial. In addition, I did not write this to discount the miracles that have taken place after quoting this scripture. I know my Lord continues to heal those He chooses to heal. So, I am not one of those who discount miracles. Jesus healed then and He continues to heal today. Thus, I want to make it very clear that discounting miracles is not the focus of this article. What is the focus is the proper context of scripture.
Today, many focus on the physical body itself. We speak about it in a way that makes it appear the body we have could never fail us; especially if we have enough faith. Yes, we expect perfection from our body, while it remains unredeemed.
The Word says that Christ’s death and resurrection redeemed our soul and our spirit. The flesh remains under Adam. In its present form, it awaits redemption. Paul writes in Romans 8:23, “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (NKJV).
Because our bodies remain imperfect and unredeemed, I believe the healing that takes place in Isaiah 3:5-6 speaks of a spiritual healing, rather than a physical one. It says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
The entire passage refers to our redemption in Christ. We were once far from Him. Sin and death separated us from Him. Fortunately, Christ bore our sins and died in our place. He redeemed us so we could triumph over sin and death. Thus, the healing that Isaiah wrote about had to do with our Lord healing the divide between man and God and not our physical healing.
Peter supports the idea of a spiritual healing in 1 Peter 2:5. Peter writes, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed” (NKJV). Peter continues by telling us that, like sheep, we have all gone astray. This speaks to our separation from God, before Christ and not to some disease.
Until Christ came into our lives, we had no hope. We were all going our own way. Sin did not seem sinful to us. We planned our sins, and never gave them a second thought.
However, in Christ, Jesus healed us spiritually. He healed the divide that separated us. He placed within us a new heart, after taking out our old stony heart. He placed within us a new Spirit. Even now, He continues to change our thinking, by renewing our mind and transforming us into the image of His Son Jesus. And, instead of running to sin, we run from it. We do not enjoy our sins anymore.
We know that Jesus physically healed people before the Cross. In fact, He performed so many miracles it was impossible to document all of them. Thus, the Calvary experience was not about our physical healing, but redemption. Jesus redeemed our soul and our spirit. In essence, He became a curse for us, so we no longer remain under the curse of sin and death. For, “by His stripes we are healed.”
Unfortunately, many are not teaching the Gospel today. They are teaching something that Paul never taught. He said he preached, "Christ crucified." He did not preach healings. He did not preach wealth. He taught the Cross and the fact that Jesus healed the divide between man and God. In essence, as Oswald Chambers states in 'My Utmost for His Highest,' "the gospel is the reality of redemption in our Lord Jesus."1
Yes, many will continue to quote Isaiah 53:5 when praying for someone who is sick. After all, that verse offers great comfort. However, let us remember the true context of this verse. Jesus healed the divide that separated man from God and redeemed us from sin and death. This, then, is the true healing miracle of the Calvary experience.
1 Chambers, Oswald, "My Utmost for His Highest," Oswald Chambers Publications Assoc. Ltd, Copyright 1992, (See February 1)
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