Unconditional Promise for Healing in this Life?


In previous Q&A’s, we have set forth some of the biblical requirements for physical healing.

We pointed out that because of Christ’s supreme Sacrifice, God has promised to heal our physical illnesses, if we are fulfilling certain conditions. We showed that God expects a sick person to ask the ministers of His Church to anoint the sick with oil or send an anointed cloth to the sick person. We also showed that the sick person must have faith to be healed, and that he or she must do the things “which are pleasing in God’s sight.” In addition, keeping God’s commandments is an absolute necessity.

At the same time, we must not conclude that we are guilty of neglecting or violating these requirements if we do not enjoy healing right away. We must of course prove, test and examine ourselves in this regard, but that is not to say that we are to run around with a guilty conscience, assuming we are not healed because we are the most terrible sinner in the world, lacking faith, while we are unable to determine in what regard we have supposedly failed. To develop a guilt complex and fall into depression as a consequence is most certainly not the right approach.

We must understand that God might have an overriding purpose for not healing us right away, KNOWING at the same time that God cannot lie, and that HE WILL heal us in His due time. It is important to develop a close relationship with God so that “delayed” healing or other “delayed” answers to our prayers will NEVER result in us doubting God and His Word.

In our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing–What the Bible Tells Us,” we state the following:

“Paul seems to have had another sickness that was not healed by God during his lifetime. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10: ‘And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations [Paul had just described how God let him see, in a vision, the third heaven, or paradise, where God dwells], a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet [beat] me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times [he asked God three times in a very formal way that he be healed from that sickness] that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities [or weaknesses or sicknesses], that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

“We see from this passage that Paul’s sickness—some think it was malaria [while others think it might have been an eye problem]—was NOT the result of an individual sin of Paul. We can also see that this particular sickness was caused by Satan, not God, but God did allow it. Further, God chose not to heal Paul from this sickness during his life. The reason God allowed this sickness was so that Paul would NOT sin and so that he could more fully appreciate and recognize what it meant to suffer, just as Christ suffered. Christ said, when he called Saul, that Saul had to experience what it meant to suffer for Christ’s name (Acts 9:16). Paul later commented that he bore in his body ‘the marks of the Lord Jesus’ (Galatians 6:17).”

The fact that God did not heal Paul at that time (Paul WILL be healed in his resurrection to eternal life) had NOTHING to do with sinful conduct or lack of faith. Rather, God chose not to heal Paul at that time because that was the BETTER course of action.

We also stated this in a previous Q&A on Paul’s faith:

“The question of sickness and healing has confused many people. Some don’t believe in godly healing; others claim that given enough faith, God will heal every sickness in this life. Some carry with them feelings of guilt, as they prayed to God for healing and were not healed, concluding that the reason must be their fault and their lack of faith. Some conclude that if we prayed to God for healing ‘in accordance with’ or ‘subject to’ His Will, this would already signify our doubt in God’s intervention. Some say that when Paul asked God for healing (compare 2 Corinthians 12:7-10), Paul did not really have the faith that God would heal him. They make the same argument regarding Elisha (2 Kings 13:14, 20-21), stating that Elisha was not healed because he did not have the faith that he would be healed.

“We should be able to see that these conclusions cannot possibly be correct. To suggest that Paul and Elisha did not have enough faith in God’s healing is absolutely wrong. But those ideas show the confusion some people have regarding this often-misunderstood topic of sickness and healing…

“Some say that if we only have enough faith in God to heal, then we have an unconditional promise for healing in each and every case. But… this is not correct. If it were so, why was the apostle Paul not healed? Why were righteous prophets, like Elisha, not healed? … we must understand that it may NOT be God’s Will to heal us right away, or completely, or at all, in this life. And there are reasons for that. To argue with and deny this, we are really ‘tempting’ God or better ‘testing Him severely,’ trying to force OUR Will on Him. Some have done this, refusing to take medical help–for instance, an insulin-dependent diabetic refuses to take insulin–’believing’ that God would heal the person of diabetes. In some cases, they nearly died, and some did, in fact, die. This is not unconditional faith—it is ‘foolishness’ and unbiblical conduct…

“Christ experienced what it was like to suffer in the flesh, so that He could become our merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14–16; 5:6–8). All of us need to be compassionate and merciful toward others. In going through trials and suffering, including [a prolonged] sickness, we develop empathy for others who are also afflicted with sickness (compare 2 Corinthians 1:3–7). This may be, at times, one of the reasons why God may decide not to heal us right away.

“… even if we had ‘perfect’ faith and lived a ‘perfect’ life and had brought about perfect reconciliation with our brother and sister, God might STILL NOT heal us in this life from a particular sickness. Why not? Because God might have in mind a superior purpose for us in this life which He deems much more important than our healing from temporary frailties…  If we REALLY love God, then we will have developed such a close relationship with Him that we will understand and accept the fact that God may respond to our plea for healing with the words, ‘Not yet, My child.’…

“… if we are sick, we are to pray to God for healing and avail ourselves of the privilege of calling for the elders of His Church to anoint us with oil and to pray for us. MANY were healed who did this – some miraculously in an instant. Others did not experience immediate healing, or healing at all in this life, but lack of faith or ungodly living or lack of reconciliation with others did not HAVE to be the reason. We must of course make sure that we do our part, and we must then have the unshakable confidence and trust that God WILL heal us—in HIS due time—never questioning Him, and never trying to ‘force’ Him to do what WE want Him to do, even though it would not be in our best interest and might even prevent us from entering His Kingdom. We might not fully understand all the reasons why someone is not healed right away or at all… but we MUST have the absolute faith and conviction that God knows everything; that He can do everything; and that He will do everything that we ask… in His due time and subject to His Will.”

Referring to praying to God subject to His Will, we should understand what is meant by this. We stated in a previous Q&A on godly requirements for healing:

“Christ KNEW that He had to go through His ordeal, but as a human being, He WISHED so hard that there could be another way. Deep down inside, He understood, of course, that there was no other way (He Himself had inspired Old Testament writers to prophesy about His torture and crucifixion), but He just expressed His innermost feelings to the Father in prayer. But He always added that the Father’s Will had to be done, not Christ’s human will which did not want to go through these terrible events just ahead of Him. And He submitted to the Father’s Will in everything. This must be our approach as well. We must never argue with God and oppose God’s Will for us, whatever it may be. But submitting to God’s Will has nothing to do with lack of faith.

“When we ask God for healing, we MUST believe that our request will be granted. When we ask God for healing, we must not doubt at the same time by thinking that perhaps it is not God’s Will to heal us. Such a prayer would show doubt (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23). It would not avail anything, because why would we even ask God for healing in the first place? If in a particular case God does not intervene right away, or for a longer period of time, we must not lose faith and give in to doubt (Matthew 14:31), but rather, our faith must grow ever stronger (Romans 4:20, Living Bible), being totally convinced that God will answer our prayer of faith in His due time. And let us not forget that no sickness—no matter how severe—is beyond God’s power to heal. There is NOTHING too hard or impossible for God (Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17).”

It really boils down to the question as to whether we have “unconditional love” for God and His Way of Life–never willing to forsake that way if things don’t work out in the way which we want them to.  A good description of unconditional love for God can be found in Luke 16:13, where we read that loving our Master means, holding on to Him (Authorized Version) or being devoted to Him (NIV). The Living Bible states that we will be enthusiastic about Him. Christ had an extremely intimate relationship with the Father. We read that He is in the “bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). The NIV says that He is in “closest relationship with the Father.” The Pulpit Commentary adds that Christ is “in most intimate and loving fellowship with the Father.” We must acquire that same kind of relationship with God. We read in a parable, for example, that Lazarus was “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:23), describing the same close relationship and unity of mind. Christ NEVER doubted that whatever the Father decided was best for Him and others. James tells us too that God is the Giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). We must never lose this conviction that God knows best, and that whatever He decides is the very best for us. With that understanding, we will gladly accept God’s Will in our lives… whatever it may be.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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