Just as salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), so all God’s blessings and gifts
are ours by His grace, or unmerited favor. They cannot be earned or deserved. It should
be noted that instead of demanding healing from Jesus, the New Testament records that
people came asking for His compassionate ministry. They did not look on healing as their
right, but as a gracious privilege extended to them.
That we cannot earn God’s blessings, including divine healing, should make us realize
the importance of cultivating our life in the Spirit, for the Spirit will “give life to your
mortal bodies,” and that is our real hope (Romans 8:11). In fact, even though outwardly
we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
It is this inner renewal that makes us best able to have the faith to receive the gift of
divine healing. To the woman healed of her twelve-year-long bleeding, Jesus said, “Your
faith has healed you” (Mark 5:34). Paul at Lystra, when he saw that listening to his
preaching had brought faith to be healed into the heart of a cripple, commanded him to
stand up (Acts 14:9,10). Faith is seen also in the Roman centurion who recognized the
authority of Christ’s word for the healing of his servant (Matthew 8:5–13) and the
Canaanite woman who believed in Jesus for the healing of her daughter (Mark 7:24–30;
That divine healing comes through faith is further confirmed by the fact that unbelief
hindered its reception at Nazareth (Mark 6:5,6) and at the foot of the Mount of
Transfiguration (Matthew 17:14–20). James 5:15 promises that the prayer of faith offered
for the sick by the elders of the church will make the sick well and the Lord will raise
Faith, then, receives healing through the simple Word of the Lord. But Jesus did
not turn away from those who had little faith or who did not seem to express any faith at
all. Those who are sick often find it is not easy to express faith, and Jesus did a variety of
things to help them. Some He touched (Mark 1:41; 8:22), took their hands (Mark 1:31;
Luke 14:4), or laid His hands upon them (Mark 6:5; 8:25; Luke 4:40; 13:13). Others He
helped by a variety of acts, some of which called for faith and obedience on their part
(Mark 7:33; 8:23).
Faith, however, had to be in the Lord, not in the means used to help them express their faith. This seems to be the reason for the great variety of means used, lest people get their eyes on the means rather than on God. Faith is trusting the all-wise, all loving and all powerful God to respond to the cries of His creation in His own way.
The promise “anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing” is closely
connected with prayer, asking in Christ’s name (John 14:12–14; 16:23,24). The usage of
the name of Jesus is not a formula that can be used by humans to coerce the response of
God. His name is the revelation of His character and nature, which we have in us only if
we abide in Christ and His words abide in us (John 15:7). As a consequence of this, His
will becomes dominant in our lives, conforming our will to His. Thus, our requests in His
name are increasingly according to His will, opening the avenue for His responding to
The revelation of God as “the Lord, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26) cannot be limited to
Israel. The healing of the centurion’s servant and the daughter of the Canaanite woman
show that healing is the privilege of Gentiles also. In fact, there is healing for all who
desire it and will respond to Jesus. There is evidence that God’s gift of healing can even
be experienced by one before their sins have been dealt with, as in the case of the invalid
at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:2–9,14).
Belief in divine healing neither opposes nor competes with medical doctors. The
knowledge and skills of this profession bring help to many. It is true that the Bible
condemns King Asa because “even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but
only from the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12). But Asa had already sought for help
from Syria in an act of unbelief and disobedience, refusing to rely on the Lord (2
Chronicles 16:7). The issue for which Asa is judged is not that he sought help from
physicians but that he refused to seek the Lord
When the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years was healed, Mark
records that “she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent
all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26). If it was wrong for
her to go to physicians, this would have been the perfect place for Jesus to have said so,
but He did not. Instead, He accepted the faith she expressed and commended her for it.
Jesus also sent the ten lepers whom He healed to show themselves to the priests (Luke
17:14). Under the Law the priests were in charge of diagnosis, quarantine, and health
(Leviticus 13:2ff.; 14:2ff.; Matthew 8:4). Thus Jesus recognized that human
diagnosticians have their place.
Through the skill and training of physicians recoveries and restorations do occur, a truth
that does neither refutes nor diminishes the belief in divine healing. We rejoice should
God, who is the source of all healing, work through the doctors, give thanks to them for
their dedication, and offer continual praise to God. With all their learning, training, and
skill, doctors are still not the last word to be uttered in diagnosing human maladies. We
steadfastly look to God who is more than able to bring healing even in situations deemed
to be hopeless.
Source: A/G Position Papers