Print Friendly, PDF & Email

¶630.1.3 AS REGARDS TO GOD: Divine Healing

¶630.1.3     Divine Healing

All healing, whether of body, mind, or spirit has its ultimate source in God who is “above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).  God may heal by the mediation of surgery, medication, change of environment, counseling, corrected attitudes, or through the restorative processes of nature itself.  God may heal through one or more of the above in combination with prayer, or by direct intervention in response to prayer.  The Scriptures report many cases of the latter kind of healing in connection with the life and ministry of Jesus, the apostles and the early church. 

A truly Christian perspective on healing reflects the New Testament view of salvation, which holds together God’s sovereignty, God’s loving goodness, and God’s ultimate wisdom. These divine realities reach beyond what humans can fully grasp. We hold together our confidence that salvation is something that has already happened (e.g. Ephesians 2:4-9) and that it is something that is happening right now (e.g. II Corinthians 2:15), and also that it is something that we still await at the final coming of Christ (e.g. Philippians 3:20-21).  Thus there are two erroneous approaches to healing: One is to stress only healing now (because in Jesus, and through the gift of the Spirit, salvation has indeed fully and powerfully come).  The other is to expect healing only in the resurrection (because the final redemption will come only when Jesus returns).  Both perspectives alone are distortions which miss the creative “already/not yet” tension of New Testament thought.

Consistent with the Scriptures, therefore, we urge our pastors and group leaders to help people to seek healing of every sort, be it physical, psychological, emotional, relational, spiritual. We prayerfully and with hope expect healing and, regardless of which form God’s healing takes (whether it happens instantaneously, over time, or even only in eternity), we give due praise to God. We make opportunity for the sick, afflicted, and broken to come before God in the fellowship of the body of Christ in confidence that the God and Father of Jesus Christ is both able and willing to heal (James 5:14-16). We recognize that although God’s sovereign purposes are good and we are sure that He is working toward a final redemption that assures wholeness to all believers, He may not grant healing for all or full healing in this life.  We believe that in such cases God still receives glory both now and then through the resurrection to life everlasting.

The ministry of healing is not to be ignored in the church. We do not expect that the emphasis on, or means employed in, the varied ministries of healing will be the same in different churches (or in different small groups, or in individual Christians) or in the same church or group or individual believer at different times.  We call the church to both examine and prize our differences in this regard, always aware of the ‘already/not yet’ scriptural tension outlined above.

To illustrate this dynamic tension in Scripture, we must note that all healing has spiritual implications (Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 11:2-5, Romans 8:18-23, 35-39).  In any situation where healing is desired, mature discernment and wisdom are required.  In some instances in the New Testament Jesus addresses a physical need through deliverance from demonic influence (Mark 5:15, Matthew 17:14-18). The New Testament, however, also presents us with other occasions of divine healing that occur without any reference to the demonic (John 9:1-7, Acts 3:1-8).  As noted above, healing can come through a variety of means.  What many would consider a natural remedy (e.g. surgery, medication, or therapy) remains an act of the work and grace of God.