Seven Questions That Bring Life or Death: Part 7

Is it possible to have plenty of faith to be healed and yet fail to receive from God?

This question is similar to Question 3 that can be found in Part 4 of this series; however, I felt it was a different question. The first question with a similar outlook was “Why are some people who are full of faith not healed?” The answer was pretty straightforward and directly from Scripture. We pointed out that just because it seems that a person has faith doesn’t mean they actually did have faith for healing. We pointed out that faith without works is dead, so you can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t act on it in some way, the faith does not profit you. As James teaches, “your faith, being alone, is dead” and “as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” We also spoke about the fact that some people gave up before receiving their promises. We gave the parable of the unjust judge and how we must always pray and not give up. If you missed that lesson, please go back and read it. That question, although similar, is also different. It was asking why faith filled people don’t get healed at times. This question is asking, IS IT POSSIBLE to have PLENTY OF FAITH to be healed and yet fail to RECEIVE from God? It is a slight variation of a previous question. We mentioned that some who have plenty of faith do often fail to be healed for the reasons stated above, but a question of this nature needs to be looked at a little closer. I want to focus on the last part of the question: Can a person with PLENTY of faith to be healed actually fail to receive from God the thing he or she needs? Is that truly possible when you have genuine faith in God?

The obvious answer is in the way the question is posed. Many fail to RECEIVE the promise of healing or other promises even if they have true faith, even though it is rightfully theirs as children of God. We discovered that in Part 4 (Question 3), but we dig deeper into this now. I don’t pretend that the following verses are not complicated because they are. They use the word disobedience and the word disbelief or unbelief somewhat interchangeably, but these verses are about God promising something to His people and some not receiving it because they didn’t mix faith with the promise, and a second group who didn’t receive it because they didn’t obey. We will focus on that in this lesson. It is a fact that without faith, you cannot receive from God. James says this. He says if we doubt, we should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. However, in following verses, we see that many didn’t receive because they did not obey God. On this I have much to say. You may not like it all, but we will stick with only what the Bible says and not my opinion of the Bible.

Hebrews 4:1-12, “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, ‘As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest,”’ although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ And again in this passage he said, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

In this passage, it would be very easy to get into the deep and integral theological implications of this verse and part of me very much wants to do that, but it would not benefit many of you. I want to give you what the heart of this passage is saying in a way that you can take the best nuggets of truth for your life and begin to walk in the true peace of knowing all of God’s works have been done SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.

He begins by saying that there still remains a rest for God’s people. As you keep reading throughout Hebrews Chapter Four, a theme arises: God is done working. At the end of the Creation, hHe ceased from His works, and the Sabbath was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath. It was never supposed to be about a man being required to take a day off each week–although it is a good thing to do. He teaches plainly that the purpose of Sabbath is a spiritual one. We are to cease from our works just as God ceased from His works on the Sabbath day. It’s not about working but rather about resting–not from physical labor but from trying to please God by actions. In addition, Jesus said, “It is finished.” This is the second time God rested. But actually this work was done before the foundation of the world. Jesus is called “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” SO on God’s time table, Jesus already died before the world was even created. Yes, I know, it freaks our little carbon-based life form minds out to think about it. When Jesus physically followed through with His work some 2,000 years ago, it was simply an outworking of something God already finished before He even created the world.

God ceased from working because before He created the world–in his viewpoint, which is OUTSIDE of time and space–He had already provided Jesus for the sins of the entire world. All that was needed for the salvation and healing of the whole world had already been done and finished when God finished all His works on the seventh day. But here is what He says. He continues to compare the children of Israel with us now. He says that the children of Israel didn’t mix faith with what He said. However, as believers, we do have faith. Every believer has at minimum, the measure of faith that is dealt to us at salvation when we hear the gospel. Since the word “saved” also includes physical healing, it is a given that upon being saved, we have the measure of faith required for healing. Faith was their problem, but it is not our problem. In fact, if you are saved, you have the faith of Jesus himself. Paul said, “The life I now live, I live BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD.” And Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that we are “saved (also healed) by grace through FAITH and THAT NOT OF OURSELVES; it is the gift of God.” So the saving faith which is sufficient to heal us did not come by our own works. It came as a gift–not from any work that we have done or could do. We got this faith when we heard the Gospel (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the message of Christ.) When we hear about Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection for the sins and sicknesses of all who will believe Him, we are saved and healed.

Notice that this promise of entering a place of rest–what a wonderful place–still STANDS TODAY. God swore that the children of Israel would not get to enter this place of rest because of their unbelief. It is still available for us. He actually tells us to STRIVE to enter the REST. What a strange paradox. It’s not of works, yet we must strive to get to a place of rest. This implies that leaning to rest in God’s promises of healing can seem like a battle even though the war has been won on the cross. The flesh and the devil want to resist us resting because it’s in the place of resting that we can receive. So how can we STRIVE to enter INTO GOD’s rest? He goes on to say if we do not strive to enter into rest, we actually are following the same pattern of disobedience that kept the children of Israel from entering into the rest of God. Again, He said we can FALL SHORT of God’s promises, which includes healing, if we don’t strive to enter rest. He immediately tells us why this lack of striving to enter rest will leave us just shy of receiving what was fully paid for even if we believe God. He follows up this by saying “For the word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.” WOW! The issue is God’s Word. We strive to enter into His rest by activating the Word of God and using it in our lives.

The Scriptures tell us that when we have ceased from our own works, we enter into His rest. When we find the promise of healing for the sick, salvation from the soul, peace from anxiety, harmony with God, joy unspeakable, and many other great and precious promises of God, we can activate that word by acting on it and speaking it. When we WORK THE WORD of God and practice what it says (OBEDIENCE), we actually are striving to enter the rest of God. It’s a wonderful place of full identification with Christ. We understand now that we are seated with Christ because of the Word of God. We come to understand that Jesus finished all His priestly and kingly works, so that we can sit with Him in heavenly places far above all sickness, and He has given us the power to tread on the power of the wicked one.

Oh, but there is another VERY POWERFUL portion of this Scripture that shows why many haven’t received God’s promise ,and it is part of the warning that we could also fail to receive what was given freely to us. He says “TODAY, if we will NOT HARDEN OUR HEARTS AS THEY DID.” He was speaking of the children of Israel and how they hardened their hearts because things were going badly. Listen closely, the Bible doesn’t promise we will never have physical attacks against us. It doesn’t promise that we will get to miss out on ever being sick again. The mere fact that healing is promised is a guarantee that we WILL be sick at times and will need to accept God’s benefits package of healing. There are two things here in the text that could cause us to fall short of God’s promises. One is having to do with TODAY. The other is having to do with NOT HARDENING OUR HEARTS.

Faith is always now. We have to decide that TODAY is the day of rest for us. Not tomorrow.

Tomorrow is about hope. Faith is now. TODAY is the day I will accept all that he paid for my rest, my healing, and all that He has for me. It’s all right now today. Secondly, we cannot harden our heart. The context was the children of Israel having gone through hard times were always provoking God and complaining about everything. They provoked God in the wilderness and missed out on an amazing blessing from God: the ability to enter this rest, cease from their own works, and receive all that we have.

I am going to finish with a profound statement that I hope you can get. I really hope you can get this. The place of rest is equivalent to being under the shadow of the almighty in the secret place. Listen to this. Are you ready for this statement? You have to get this! The place of rest, which is the end of striving for what you need from God, is the place of receiving all that belongs to you in Christ. Striving to receive healing will never bring healing. We are only told to strive for one thing: to get to this place of rest. The striving has to do with taking God’s Word which is alive and powerful. When we take Him at his word and put it into action, we are striving by activating His Word. We are striving by speaking His word and believing His word and acting on His word. But once we reach the place of rest, where we have ceased from trying to earn God’s favor for our healing or any blessing, then we are positioned to take hold of all of God’s promises. The place of resting is the place of no longer doing good works to please God but resting in the finished work of the cross of Jesus and the resting of the Father from all of His works. The revelation that we aren’t trying to get God to move is so powerful. We are trying to move God. He already moved for us. He already provided for us. He already did the work for us. By His stripes we WERE healed (1 Peter 2:24). That word healed is not a term of spiritual healing. It is used scores of times, and every single one is always about physical healing. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and sicknesses. He says that by His stripes we ARE healed. This was before the cross happened. As an Old Testament believer, Isaiah was saying we are now healed by the stripes Jesus will take. But Peter looked back at the cross and changed the wording. He says “by whose stripes we WERE healed.” This is past tense. So when we reach the place of rest, seated with Christ and hidden in God, we aren’t trying to get God to move for us. We are resting in the truth that He has fully moved and that we are not trying to get Him to do something. He has already provided all we need. It is truly finished. We were healed, 2000 years ago. The work is done. So what are we to do? REST. ENTER THIS PLACE OF REST where the work is done, and we are thanking God that it’s done forever. This creates peace and removes the striving.

We rest because we are healed, and we were healed. We rest because He paid for us to enter this rest. We rest because others had a chance and missed out and left a place for us to enter God’s rest.

I have stopped striving for God’s acceptance, and I rest in full assurance. Let’s not fall short of the promise. Let’s lay hold of it. LET’S RECEIVE!! So is it possible to have plenty of faith and yet NOT RECEIVE? Yes. it is, but it is not necessary. We may all receive. Come with me to this place of rest, and start receiving. When? TODAY, if you will hear His voice and harden not your heart.

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President, Agape International
Until Every Tribe Has Heard