Healing in the book of Act raises many questions in the church today. There are lots of false doctrines being taught. If we rightly divide the word of truth, God will clearly show us his plan regarding divine healing in the book of Acts and beyond.
In order to understand healing we should know where sickness comes from. Throughout the bible sickness is revealed as coming directly from Satan. In Job 42:10, Satan smote Job with sickness. In Luke 13:16, Jesus healed a woman that was sick for eighteen years and declared that Satan has bound her with the infirmity. Yet in another example, the devil had to be cast out so a blind and dumb man could see and speak (Matt 12:22). The book of Acts records that Jesus went doing good and healed all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). Scripture clearly shows that all sickness come from Satan who wants to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life and give it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Just as Acts clearly states that Jesus healed those oppressed of the devil, He also stated in the same passage He healed all. This is significant. Just knowing that Satan is responsible for sickness in this world is not enough. We must know that it is the desire of the Lord to heal all. In Matthew 4:24 it says “…they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and he healed them.” Matthew 9:35 states Jesus was “…healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” In lots and lots of scripture we find that Jesus healed all (matt 10:1; 12:25; 14:14, 34-36; Luke 6:17-19). In Acts Peter declared, “I see very clearly that God doesn’t show partiality.” (Acts 10:34 NLT)
Knowing that healing is for all as scripture plainly teaches brings us to another question. Is it God will to heal us today? We must understand that we are living in the church age that started in Acts. The acts of the church and believers are still going on today. That is one of the reasons why the book of Acts never really has an official ending, because we are still living in the church age. The only difference between the Christians recorded in Act and Christians today is time. We were saved by the same Lord and filled with the same Spirit. Hebrews 13:8 declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
T.L Osborn wrote “Christians need never be sick, any more than they need to be sinful. It is always God’s desire to heal you.” There was only one time in scripture that a sick man asked Jesus if it be your will you can make me well. Jesus settles His will on healing by saying, “I am willing.” (Matt 8:3) Not only does Jesus want to heal all it is His will to heal all today. Jesus Christ was the expression of God’s will and through him all sickness was healed.
Jesus bore our sin in His own body on the tree…by His stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Notice that it is in past tense “were” healed. That is because Jesus already paid the price for sin and sickness. He took our infirmities, and bore our sickness. All we have to do is look upon him for the healing just as we do for salvation.
How do we receive divine healing? In the Old Testament we find that poisonous snakes were among the children of Israel and many of them had been bitten and died. God told Moses to make a replica of a poisonous snake out of bronze and attach it to the top of a pole. God said those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it. (Numbers 21:6-9) In John 3:14 the bible shows us that the bronze snake is a “type” of Christ because Jesus said,”…and as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of man, must be lifted up on a pole.” If we look upon Jesus Christ we will be healed just like everyone who looked at the bronze snake.
In Acts 4:12 it states, “nor is there salvation in another, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The word saved in the passage is from the Greek word sozo. Sozo means to heal, deliver, preserve, save and be made whole. This is the same Greek word that is used in Romans 10:9 that says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be sozo (healed, saved, delivered). We are healed when confess and believe Jesus as our savior and healer. It is the same faith in Christ that saved us that will heal us. Dare to believe.
In Acts 3:6 Peter said to a crippled man, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” the crippled man leaped up and walked. It was in the name of Jesus that the crippled man was healed. The bible says that “God also has given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and thing in earth and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-10) The bible also says in the gospel of John, “Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” There is power in the name of Jesus that’s why we need to pray in Jesus name with faith and divine healing will occur.
Paul a believer in Christ prayed for the father of Publius who was sick with a fever and dysentery by laying hand on him (Act 28:8). Scripture goes on to say that all the other people on the island came and were healed. God shows us in scripture that we should lay hands on the sick. In the gospel of Mark it says that believers, “…shall lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” Jesus healed many by laying hands on them. In Luke 4:40 it states, “When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.”
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15). In this passage shows us that we should:
• Lay hands on the sick
• Pray in Jesus Name
• Anoint with oil
• Have faith, the same faith that heals you also saves you.
• Call on the elders if we are sick
The word of God will not return void. Jesus said, “therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Sickness is of the devil and it is God’s will that all be healed. Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8) Praise God!
Yet with all the scriptures being so clear about healing, why do people still not believe? Many do not believe out of ignorance while others propagate false doctrine to explain the lack of faith in their own lives.
One of the most common objections to divine healing is raise because of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Some false teachings say that the thorn in the flesh was a sickness or poor eyesight. Anyone who has really studied the topic of healing throughout scripture knows that this can not be true. So what was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?
The term “thorn in the flesh” was used in both the Old and New Testament and was never used for sickness. In Numbers 33:55 the term “thorn in the flesh” was used. The passage clearly states that thorns in the flesh were the inhabitants of the land. In Joshua 23:13 concerning the heathen nations in Canaan, it says, “they shall be…scourges in you sides, and thorns in their eyes” The thorns in this passage are clearly the Canaanites and not actual sores in their eyes. In the New Testament the term was used in 2 Corinthians 12:7 “…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me…” which clearly show us that the thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan. The Greek word for messenger angelos appears in the bible 188 times. It is translated 181 times as “angel” and 7 times as “messenger.” In all 188 times, without exception, it is not referring to a sickness.
Another objection to divine healing according to many is that Paul was almost blind and could not be healed. They base there false doctrine on Galatians 6:11 that states, “You see how large a letter I have written to you with my own hand.” If a simple word study is done you will see that the word large in the Greek is payleekos, which means a quantitative form, how much. Paul is referring to the length of the letter not the size of the actual letters it contained. If he were talking about the size of the individual letters he would have used the Greek work megas, which simply means big.
The book of Acts is a picture of the early church and can lead us to the true intent of the church. The early church isn’t a picture of a building, but rather the body of Christ. The body of Christ is made up of believers. Over the years Christians have strayed away from the example of the early church.
We should preach the Gospel with full of the Holy Spirit and boldness. Everything we do should point to Jesus and His perfect work. Jesus Christ died once and for all sin and sickness. All we have to do is look upon the Lord Jesus and we will be healed, saved and delivered. Christ’s sacrifice was enough. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Dare to Believe and you will receive in Jesus name. For more information go to http://www.edhensel.org
How very true your article is. If only we could get the church to believe this, then there wouldn't be any sick. We'd have to go outside the church to find someone to pray for to be healed.
Good article! Keep them coming.