Sunday, June 20, 2010

Healing Without Stripes

Healing Without Stripes
June 21, 2010
Isaiah 53:5 "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

If you have been a Christian for any length of time, undoubtedly you have heard the phrase, "by His stripes we are healed." "His stripes" refers to the shedding of Jesus Christ's blood, through the torture that He received before and during His execution on the cross. This is the same "stripes" referred to in the book of Isaiah where it is often translated, "by his wounds we are healed." If you simply quote the scripture like this, "by His stripes we are healed," it is easy to get the wrong impression of the scripture and even apply it incorrectly. Saying those six little words, "by His stripes we are healed," it is easy to interpret that as meaning a medical healing in the physical body through the blood of Jesus Christ. But that is not necessarily what that particular scripture means.

It is important to interpret scripture correctly, in order that we have the true understanding of God, His ways, and what He has for us. While saying that our physical ailments are medically healed through Jesus' blood sounds well and good, it is out of context and an inappropriate use of scripture. (I have used this verse incorrectly, too, don't feel bad.) When we read the words, "by His stripes we are healed," it actually means the healing of our sinful predicament. It is making right what was severed or broken when Adam and Eve first sinned, a healing of our separation from God because of our sins. You can get more clarity on this if you read the other words surrounding this particular scripture, as well as through reading 1 Peter 2:24. When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, it healed our relationship with the Heavenly Father by washing away our sins once and for all, forever.

When we interpret this scripture correctly, it leaves a gap in our understanding as we need to cling to something, something to give us hope regarding medical healing that is often needed for each and every one of us. I have seen many medical miracles in my lifetime and know that healing is still for today. So, how does it happen, then, if not necessarily for the blood of Jesus Christ? Well, medical healing happened in the Old Testament, BEFORE Jesus walked the earth. Medical healing happened in the New Testament BEFORE Jesus shed His blood for us. Medical healing happened many times in the Bible based completely on the power of God alone, without any shedding of blood. Medical healing happens today, through the power of God, when we ask Him to heal us. The Lord heals us according to His sovereignty and His plan. He did back in the Bible, and He does so today.

It takes prayer, faith, and God's will to have a medical healing miracle. In the Old Testament, the individual was required to offer a sacrifice (most often it was a guilt offering), present himself to the priest, have the priest perform a ceremonial cleansing, and through these acts of faith, the person could be healed. Oftentimes, in the Old Testament, a prophet was given the power to perform a medical healing miracle. During Jesus' time on the earth, most anyone who begged Jesus and had faith in Him and His ability to heal, was healed. Since Jesus' ascension into Heaven, it takes prayer and faith to be healed, in the medical sense. An example of this is found in Acts 3:16, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." It was Peter who spoke these words and he was speaking about faith in the deity of the Jesus, not faith in the blood of Jesus. Peter said it again in Acts 4:10. You can read further about the prayer of faith for healing in James 5.

But not everyone is healed in the physical sense. I've seen many great men and women of God, with tremendous faith, die of illness at a young age. I've seen many young children, who deserved a medical healing more than most, still die of illness. Not everyone who prayerfully and faithfully serves the Lord is healed of physical disease in this lifetime. This might not sit right with some Christians, but we all must submit to the sovereignty of God and His greater plan for us and mankind.

So, to blanket the scripture, "by His stripes we ARE healed," and declare that you are already healed of your physical illnesses is incorrect. But to cry out to God, have faith that He CAN and WILL heal you, is to position yourself for receiving your medical miracle should HE so choose, based on His sovereignty and plan.

1. How have you applied this scripture correctly or incorrectly to your life?
2. How can you ensure you are using scripture appropriately?
3. How can you petition God for a medical healing today?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Deut 32:39, Job 5:18, Ps 103:3, Lk 7:7, Lk 9:2, Lk 18:42, Acts 3:16, Acts 4:10, James 5:15-16, 1 Peter 2

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