This is such a tough question on so many levels. My friend and famous author Andrew Farley doesn’t come from a charismatic background and, therefore, has a different take than I do. I can appreciate where he is coming from, but it always puzzles me. When great teachers who become known for their ability to break down a subject from the Bible use a philosophical argument to combat a theological premise, that one always throws me off. You cannot honestly read the Bible and come away believing that Jesus did not bear all the sickness of the world upon himself and, therefore, pay for each believer to be healed. What is my friend Drew’s comeback on this? Experience. He suffers from some kind of illness that he is very open about, so it is okay to say that. His argument is an old one. He is a leader among today’s grace teaching, although he has chosen to lead teaching from outside of the charismatic circles that have readily received his teachings about grace. However, many have stopped having him teach at their meetings due to his take on divine healing and tongues; neither of which, he believes, are things that are a benefit of believing in Christ to the Christian.
Andrew teaches, as do I, that Jesus paid for our sins, once and for all, at the Cross. Before I was born, Jesus bore all of the sins that I would ever commit upon Himself at the Cross. This destroys the idea of getting saved and then lost and then saved again and then lost–sometimes all in the same day. The Bible teaches that Jesus did our high priestly work on the Cross once and for all time; then He sat down at the right hand of God and did no more work. Dr. Andrew would say that when we put our faith in Christ, we appropriate all that Jesus did. He would say that we received all the forgiveness that we will ever need. Past, present and future sins were all laid upon Jesus, so when we believe in Jesus, we get full forgiveness right then on the spot. He would argue then, when he received his forgiveness instantly, a healing is provided in the atonement, so we should be instantly healed of every sickness we have ever had, currently have, or will ever have. If healing is indeed an atoning work received by faith, then we should receive it in the same as we receive forgiveness of sins.
That’s a fantastic philosophical argument, and it goes well with human reasoning, but it just doesn’t fly with the Bible. There are many things that the most atoning chapter in the Bible, Isaiah 53, talks about that we don’t walk in 24-hours-a-day just because we believe. For instance, in Isaiah 53:4, the Bible says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that BROUGHT US PEACE, and with his wounds we are healed.” Many believe all four of these things, but they believe that “healed” refers to spiritual healing and that “peace” is peace with God. The first two are self-explanatory. Of course, our transgressions and our iniquities were taken care of by the Cross. No one argues that. But what about peace? It’s the word shalom. The Greek equivalent to the word sozo, meaning “saved from sin, healed from disease, made whole in every way.” The Hebrew word shalom itself means “complete peace and prosperity in every way.” Jesus and the disciples didn’t preach from the Hebrew Bible though. They used the Greek Septuigent, so they knew what they were saying when they quoted these things. When Peter quoted Isaiah in 1 Peter 2:24, he said “by whose stripes were healed.” The word he used for healing cannot mean spiritual healing. It is an impossibility. It is a word in the Greek that is spelled Iaomai. It means to cure, heal, or make whole. It is used 28 times in the New Testament. The other 27 times it always means physical healing. Why suddenly on the final time it is used in the Bible would it mean something else?
Peace, which can also mean wholeness, can certainly mean mental or physical peace; I can agree on that. Isaiah said that Jesus was punished so that we can have peace, but do Christians always have peace 24-hours-a-day? Of course not. Just because Jesus paid for us to always have peace, doesn’t mean that we won’t sometimes walk in fear and anxiety. We are told to cast your anxiety on the Lord for He cares for us. We are told, “Do not be anxious about anything but pray about everything. . . . and God’s peace, which passes understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ.” What? But shouldn’t we have peace all the time if it is provided in the atonement? Apparently not. You see, Dr. Andrew, Pastor Joseph Prince, and many others also teach that confessing of sins is not needed to get forgiveness. Why? Because we are already forgiven, they say. I have taught this, but I would say it is only half-right. We are fully forgiven in the sense that Jesus fully paid for our sins, but because of what He did, we must now act on that. We must confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we are fully cleansed. why did John write and say that confession cleanses us from all unrighteousness? Some would argue that this is for unbelievers. I can see where a case might be made for that if Chapter 1 were the only chapter, but if you keep reading, it is clear that the writer is talking to believers. The eternal punishment for our sins has forever been taken care of on the cross. We do not lose our salvation when we sin. No doubt about that, but there are consequences on earth. For instance, for those who continue in sin as Christians, we are warned of judgement in 1 Corinthians 11. We are also warned of being turned over to Satan in multiple places, and we are told that we can break fellowship. In I John, the word “fellowship” is used several times. The point of confessing our sins was not to keep our salvation, but rather to get our fellowship back in order. When we sin, and especially when we persist in sin, we break our fellowship. God is there all the time waiting, but we break fellowship on our end.
So even though Jesus fully paid for our sins at the Cross, as Isaiah 53 and as Hebrews 8-10 suggests, we still must confess our sins to stay in the right fellowship with God. Even though Jesus paid for us to have peace in Isaiah, we still must cast our cares on the Lord and pray about each situation, keeping our mind on the right things, or we won’t walk in peace. Jesus paid for us to have peace, but we can miss walking in peace even though it has already been paid for. There is no doubt that in Isaiah 53:3 and 4, God includes sickness and pain as things Jesus paid for to remove from our lives so that we could be healed. If you have an Old King James, it might say “Surely, he took our grief and carried our sorrows.” But any modern translation will say “Surely he took our sickness and carried our pains.” Of course in verse 4 he famously says, “and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah was before the cross, and God says there “we are healed.” But Peter was after the cross and looking back. He said “by his stripes we WERE healed.” Past tense. Already done. But just like we need to confess our sins to stay in the right relationship with God even though salvation is eternally ours, even though peace is ours but we don’t always walk in it; in the same way Jesus paid for us all to be healed physically, but we must learn how to take care of it.
Mark 11:24 teaches us that when we pray for something we are to “believe we have received, and we will have it.” So we must believe that healing is already ours before it will show up. Jesus is called “the high priest of our confession.” This is not just a confession of sins. This is also confession of God’s word. We are to speak God’s word over our lives. I started out this series talking about how I had no hope of living after contracting a terrible parasite in Thailand. My liver and kidney shut down. I had a heart attack, a stroke, meningitis, 105.5 fever, became deaf and lost oxygen as my levels went dangerously low to 70 percent. But I knew that Jesus paid for me to be healed at the Cross. The seventh question is the most important one to get right before you get a crisis. Yes, we must know its God’s will. But this one tells us WHY we can know it is God’s will. God put sickness on Jesus at the cross so that we would be healed and whole. It is God’s will to heal because it pleased God to bruise his son for our sakes. If Jesus bore our sickness, we don’t need to bear it also. Just like we cast our anxiety on the Lord, let’s cast our sickness on Him also. Yes, He already bore it, but when my symptoms seem to by lying to me and telling me that I am not healed, I must do the same thing I do when my mind tells me to be anxious. I cast it on the Lord by faith on my death bead with hours to live. I spoke every healing verse I knew until I got up six days later totally healed. The only things that persisted was meningitis which caused some slurring of speech and short-term memory loss. But I didn’t get mad and say, “Well, God must be a liar. He healed my kidney, liver, my heart, etc., etc., but I still have this meningitis.” No, I stayed with it. I prevailed in confession of the Word until all the sickness was gone forever. There was no damage in the heart or in the brain. It was like I never even had a stroke or heart attack. One day after nine months of suffering with meningitis, I woke up, and it disappeared forever. God is awesome. Jesus is a healer. Jesus healed you at the Cross. Believe that and stand firm in it. I am going to leave you with the Passion translation of Isaiah 53. It’s a beautiful way of putting it, and I think you will like it a lot. I hope this series helped you greatly.
To whom will Yahweh reveal his mighty arm?
2 He sprouted up like a tender plant before the Lord,
like a root in parched soil.
He possessed no distinguishing beauty
or outward splendor to catch our attention—
nothing special in his appearance to make us desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of deep sorrows
who was no stranger to suffering and grief.
We hid our faces from him in disgust
and considered him a nobody, not worthy of respect.
The Sin-Bearer Servant
4 Yet he was the one who carried our sicknesses
and endured the torment of our sufferings.
We viewed him as one who was being punished
for something he himself had done,
as one who was struck down by God and brought low.
5 But it was because of our rebellious deeds that he was pierced
and because of our sins that he was crushed.
He endured the punishment that made us completely whole,
and in his wounding we found our healing.
6 Like wayward sheep, we have all wandered astray.
Each of us has turned from God’s paths and chosen our own way;
even so, Yahweh laid the guilt of our every sin upon him.
The Surrendered Servant
7 He was oppressed and harshly mistreated;
still he humbly submitted, refusing to defend himself.
He was brought like a gentle lamb to be slaughtered.
Like a silent sheep before his shearers,
he didn’t even open his mouth.
8 By coercion and with a perversion of justice
he was taken away.
And who could have imagined his future?
He was cut down in the prime of life;
for the rebellion of his own people,
he was struck down in their place.
9 They gave him a grave among criminals,
but he ended up instead in a rich man’s tomb,
although he had done no violence nor spoken deceitfully.
The Servant’s Reward
10 Even though it pleased Yahweh
to crush him with grief,
he will be restored to favor.
After his soul becomes a guilt-offering,
he will gaze upon his many offspring and prolong his days.
And through him, Yahweh’s deepest desires
will be fully accomplished.
11 After the great anguish of his soul,
he will see light and be fully satisfied.
By knowing him, the righteous one,
my servant will make many to be righteous,
because he, their sin-bearer, carried away their sins
12 So I, Yahweh, will assign him a portion
among a great multitude,
and he will triumph
and divide the spoils of victory with his mighty ones—
all because he poured out his life-blood to death.
He was counted among the worst of sinners,
yet he carried sin’s burden for many
and intercedes for those who are rebels.
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President, Agape International
Until Every Tribe Has Heard