I think in order to answer this question, you have to walk a very clear line between grace and truth. The Bible teaches that the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus. Jesus was full of grace and truth. He was the Word. The Word became flesh, and He dwelt among man. He was the walking Word of God, and now he is the living Word of God. When you see Jesus do something, you are getting the Word of God on that subject. The Scripture says that Jesus will be riding on a white horse and that He will have a name that no one knows except Himself (Revelation 19:12) and yet a verse later says that He is called the “Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). So even though He will have a name that we aren’t allowed to know because our God is so big that we can’t know all about Him (which I like because I don’t want a God that is small enough for me to know everything about Him), Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God. He is called the Word of God over and over and over again. We are told that Jesus, as God’s Word, created everything that was made. When God said and it was so, Jesus was the Word spoken that made those things happen. He is the Word of God. The Word of God became flesh and walked among mankind while man beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God. The Word of God is called the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus is the Spirit’s sword, and He is the very word of God Himself. He was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. He was the only begotten of God as it pertains to becoming human, but the Word Jesus Himself said, “before Abraham was, I AM.” He was solidifying that he is the “I AM” that Moses came on behalf of to tell Pharoah to let Jesus’ people go. In Jude, the Bible says it was Jesus who led the children of Israel out of slavery (Jude 5). I love that the Bible specifically says Jesus led the children of Israel out of Egypt (Jude 5).
Here, God is speaking to Moses, and He specifically says that He was not known by the name Jehovah, which is actually the word Yahweh. The word Yahweh is generally not used because it is too holy to be spoken. The Jews would not even use the vowels in the name. It was written more like this: YHWH. No one knows for sure exactly how it is pronounced or exactly which vowels go there, but Yahweh is their best guess. Notice that we see limited miracles in Genesis because they didn’t understand Him by the name YHWH (or Jehovah, as the translators respectfully wrote it). It generally means, “the God who saves and delivers.” But what is interesting is how God lets the children of Israel also come to know Him by this name and its compound names–names such as Jehovah-Rapha, or the Lord is my healer. There were seven of these compound names. Without going into the English version of the Hebrew compound words, these names meant: the Lord is my righteousness, the Lord is my banner of victory or refuge, the Lord is my shepherd, the Lord is ever-present, the Lord will provide, the Lord is my healer, and the Lord is our peace. He was not known by the name Jehovah or the power that came with this name before Moses. The result was a lack of healing, lack of miracles, and lack of provision–at least on the level that the children of Israel experienced. It was all in a name.
This brings us back to the name Jesus and whether or not sin can keep us from receiving something paid for by Jesus. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the Word of God and is eternally existent. In Isaiah 45:23, the Bible tells us that every knee will bow to God, and every tongue will confess. Yet in the New Testament, this is more clearly defined as Jesus specifically. In the Old Testament, Jehovah (Yahweh) is the name above every name and was not revealed until Jesus showed up in a bush and talked with Moses. (Jesus says that you didn’t know my name Jehovah before). Sure, they used it, but they didn’t know it. But He showed His great power through His name, and the Children of Israel believed, and Jesus led them out of bondage (Jude 5). The Bible says in Philippians that Jesus took on the form of a servant, like a man, and emptied himself of His deity and divine privileges, being found in fashion as a man. Yet it goes on to say that when He was raised from the dead, God gave Him the name which is above every name. Jesus’s name now encompassed the name Jehovah and all its compounds in the Old Testament–the name to which, according to Isaiah, every knee would bow and every tongue would confess. The New Testament teaches that this name is now known as Jesus.
It was Jesus who led them out. It was Jesus who is called the I AM. It was Jesus who was the healer, the refuge, the one who provides, the one who makes righteous. Jesus is the full name that brought deliverance, not only to the Jews but to anyone who now calls upon his name. Jesus makes righteous. Jesus is the Word of God. He is fully God and yet fully human. The Scripture teaches that Jesus only did what the Father told Him to do and that He was the express image of God. He was the walking will of God.
If we are to answer a question such as “Will sin keep someone from receiving healing?,” we must ask, “Did Jesus ever fail to heal someone because of sin?” What a question! Did Jesus ever fail to heal because of sin? He is God’s Word on every subject, so by looking at Jesus, we can see God’s Word on this question. I can think of several times where it is implied that sin directly brought sickness into someone’s life. The grace of Jesus’s healing touch made them well, and then Jesus warned them not to go back into sin again “lest a worse thing come upon them.” Jesus did not fail to heal someone because of sin, but He did warn that returning to sin after receiving healing could lead to even worse sickness coming on the person.
In answering this question about whether sin can keep someone from receiving healing, I think of the famous story of the man let down through the roof. The first thing Jesus said to Him was “Your sins are forgiven.” Everyone was angry at Jesus for doing this, so then Jesus said to them “So that you will know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins,” and then He healed the paralytic. Jesus is the Word of God. If a person gives their word, it is only as good as the person backing up the phrase, “I give you my word on this.” The Father literally gave His word on this subject. He forgave the man before he even asked because the man believed in Jesus. He had so much faith that he had his four friends break the roof off and drop him down right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he forgave the man’s sins first, then he healed the man’s disease. In Psalm 103, the Scripture gives two promises. It promises that God forgives ALL of our iniquities and that He heals ALL of our diseases. It even tells us that our soul should bless the Lord because of it. Notice, there is an order: First, forgiveness and then healing. In James 5:16, we are told to confess our sins to one another and to pray for one another so that we would receive healing. There is something about confessing our fault and sins and being honest about where we are in our lives that can bring healing. I think the order is again important. First, there is an openness to confess our faults and sins to one another and pray for one another, and then healing comes. The Bible didn’t just say to pray for one another that you may be healed. God said, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, that you might be healed.”
In John 5, there was a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. He desperately needed healing. He didn’t have anyone to help him. Every so often an angel would stir up the water, and the first one who went into the water after the stirring was healed. Jesus asked the man if he wished to be well, and then Jesus told him to rise up, take up his bed, and walk. He did what he was told. His action of faith healed him. But then he saw Jesus a little later in the day, and Jesus said curious words to him: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
I have to conclude from all that we have studied here that Jesus never failed to heal someone based upon his or her sin, but it seems that repentance from sin was part of the process of healing and there were warnings that sickness could possibly come back or even come back worse if the person returned to the former lifestyle. I want you to notice the particular wording to the man who had been sick for a long time. First Jesus rejoiced with him and said, “See, you are well!” Then Jesus gave an important warning with specific wording. “Sin no more, that nothing worse MAY happen to you.” The word “may” is a permissive word. It means to give permission to. Jesus said don’t go back to your former life so that nothing will be given permission to happen to you. Sin can give Satan permission to attack your life. Jesus fully dealt with sin at the cross, and we are eternally righteous by His blood, but we are told in Scripture that there are earthly consequences to sin.
In 1 Corinthians 11, the church was abusing communion. Paul warned them about not taking the body and blood of Jesus seriously. He said that some are weak, sick, and others have died because of this. In another place Paul turned a man over to Satan so that he would learn to stop blaspheming. In yet another place, Paul turned a man over to Satan because of sexual sin. This man was a Christian, but Paul said, “Turn such a one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that His soul would be saved on the day of judgement.” Paul seemed to be saying that this man would be kept from losing his salvation if he were allowed to suffer. He would either repent as a result of being turned over to Satan or, ultimately, he would die or be taken out. Satan would ultimately be allowed to remove the person, but it was for his or her own good because if left to his or her own devices, the person may have gotten to a place where he or she got so deep in sin that he or she lost their faith in Christ. Jesus is called the Author and Finisher of our faith. He won’t let us lose our faith and fall away, but he will allow the destruction of our flesh so that our soul will ultimately be saved on judgment day.
You see, sin opens the door to Satan. It can have terrible consequences; therefore, some have been sick and weak and others have even died early because they didn’t get things into order concerning what God said. In Hebrews 12, the Scripture teaches that if God loves you, He chastises you. He doesn’t put sickness on his children as we have learned in previous lessons, but He certainly disciplines us. The number one way is by allowing us to walk out of His protection. It isn’t that He removes His protection. It is that when we choose to walk in darkness, we have left His place of protection and help. But after we spend enough time out there in the world, going through difficulties without God’s help because we have left the realm of His help by our pride, we often come back humble and repentant. God is quick to forgive and quick to restore. Sin opens up the door to Satan’s attack. Every sickness doesn’t come because of sin, but if you are living in open sin and dealing with a prevailing and overwhelming sickness, repent of that sin right now. Get it out of your life. Turn from it, and ask God to forgive you. Ask Him to release you from the consequences of your actions. Sometimes we have to live with some of the earth consequences of our actions, but God’s grace is so awesome that God will often lovingly release us even from those consequences which we deserve. In the end, after confessing your sins to God, confide in a brother or sister for help if it is an addiction that you keep going back to or a sin that you keep dealing with, as James 5:16 teaches, then you can ask for prayer or pray to God for healing yourself. When healing comes, don’t go back to sin, as we are warned many times that a worse thing could come on us.
Someone might say, “How can we, ‘Go and sin no more”? That is an impossible action. I don’t think Jesus is talking about us never sinning in ever again. All of us will sin at times, and usually every day in some way. I think He was speaking of specific sins that may have opened the door up to a particular sickness or open and prevailing sin that we never stop doing, but it could even be specific sins that have specific consequences. If you got an STD from sexual promiscuity, and you repented and asked for healing, don’t ever go back to that. If you are healed from liver problems after being an alcoholic for a long time, don’t go back to that. If you have any kind of natural consequence from knowingly doing something God said not to do, turn from it, ask for His forgiveness, and then never go back to it. Also, maybe there is some sickness that is unexplained that you have, but you know you have had a secret sin for a long time. Repent of that sin, ask God to heal you, and when He does, NEVER GO BACK to that thing which may have opened the door to that illness because I think it is much like Jesus talked about with demons: when a spirit is cast out, if it comes back and finds the former house empty, it comes back with seven friends “MORE WORSE THAN THEMSELVES,” and they all enter the person.
A Christian cannot have a demon in his spirit, but certainly, we can allow demonic influence in our soul (mind, will, and emotions) and our physical body. If you don’t get yourself filled up with the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the holiness of God, and you command a sickness to leave you, that sickness which comes from demonic origins can return, finding the place empty (or you could say there is an opening of opportunity), and it can invite friends much worse than itself to come upon you. So when you turn from sin, and get healing by faith, never go back to the sin which was dominating your life.
Yes, Jesus dealt with sin. Yes, it is by faith. Yes, we must be careful that we never think that every time a person is sick it is because they have sin or a lack of faith because that is just not always true. However, we must acknowledge that some sickness is a direct result of sin, and repentance is necessary before full healing will come. Jesus never failed to heal because someone had a sin; therefore, this is God’s Word on the subject. Sin cannot directly stop you from being healed when your faith is in the healer, but it seems that unrepentant sin can certainly keep you from receiving, and if a gift of God’s mercy is given to you–as it often is–by healing you even while you are in open and blatant sin, my suggestion is to thank God for that, run from sin as fast as you can, and repent from that forever because a worse thing can come upon you if you don’t. Sin opens the door for all the evil works of the evil one, and it allows him access. Remember, it was Jesus who said “Sin no more, SO THAT a worse thing MAY not come upon you.” In other words, don’t do the things which gave Satan permission the first time you got sick because you could give Satan permission again, but this time will be much worse. I am thankful that God’s grace and love is greater than my worst sin and that His love is so wonderful that He heals us even when we sin. Let’s honor him with our bodies as a living and holy, acceptable sacrifice to him. Let’s be thankful, and let’s walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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President, Agape International
Until Every Tribe Has Heard