In God’s plan of redemption, not only is there the remission of sin, Jesus also provided healing for our physical bodies. The Bible contains many scriptures that prove Jesus not only carried our sins on the cross, but our sicknesses as well.
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
1 PETER 2:24
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
In our first text, Matthew is quoting Isaiah, saying, “. . . Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Let’s take a closer look at the passage Matthew quotes from Isaiah.
I call Isaiah chapter 53 “The great redemptive chapter.” In this chapter, we see Isaiah prophesying about the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:4 is a verse that should be familiar to you since we’ve studied it in previous chapters.
4 Surely he [Jesus] hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he hath borne our GRIEFS, and carried our SORROWS. . . .” Again, this translation is from the King James Version. But as the marginal notes in many study Bibles point out, a more accurate translation of the words “griefs” and “sorrows” would have been “diseases” and “pains.” So in the original Hebrew, this verse actually reads: “Surely He—Jesus—hath borne our diseases and carried our pains. . . .”
This is the way Dr. Isaac Leeser translated those two Hebrew words for his
Orthodox Jewish translation of the Bible. But you really don’t need to know anything about Hebrew in order to gain a clear understanding of what this scripture meant, because you can simply read what Matthew said about Jesus, quoting Isaiah:
“. . . Himself took our INFIRMITIES, and bare our SICKNESSES” (Matt. 8:17).
Let’s go back to Isaiah chapter 53 for a moment. Verse 10 reads: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief. . . .” Where the King James Version says, “. . . he hath put him to grief . . .” other translations say, “he hath made him sick.” According to this verse, God delighted to bruise Jesus and make Him sick. Why? Because it meant healing for all mankind!
Jesus Christ bore our sins and paid the penalty that we might be free from sin. He also bore our diseases and carried our pains that we wouldn’t have to bear them.
After I read in my Bible that Jesus Himself took my infirmities and bare my sicknesses, I decided there wasn’t any need for both Him and me to bear them, and I’ve been free from sickness ever since!
In our third text, First Peter 2:24, we read, “Who his own self [Jesus] bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: BY WHOSE STRIPES YE WERE HEALED.” Here Peter is looking back to the sacrifice of Christ when he says, “by whose stripes ye were healed.” Notice that “were healed” is past tense.
Now consider those last two scriptures together: “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses; by whose stripes you were healed.”
That verse in First Peter has been misunderstood by many in the past, so I want to look at it closely for a moment. I was reading after a supposedly outstanding Bible scholar who said, “First Peter 2:24 doesn’t mean physical healing; it’s referring to spiritual healing: ‘By whose stripes you were healed spiritually.’”
Now this man was supposed to be a great authority on the Scriptures. But he must not have been reading the same Bible that I was reading. According to Second Corinthians 5:17, a sinner does not get healed spiritually.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The human spirit of the lost man or woman is not healed—it’s reborn. Second Corinthians 5:17 says that once a person is in Christ Jesus, he becomes a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things become new. So First Peter
2:24 does not refer to spiritual healing.
Dispelling the ‘Spiritual Healing’ Myth
If you stop to think about it, there is no such thing as spiritual healing mentioned in the Bible. The concept of spiritual healing probably came into being when some psychologists got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, and then they tried to consolidate the teachings of the Bible with psychology. They were born again and filled with the Spirit, all right—wonderful, sincere Christians—but they got confused.
You see, when your body gets healed, you are just healed of a sickness or disease. You don’t get a brand-new body, do you? No, of course not. You still have the same body you had before you were healed. You just got healed of the sickness or disease that afflicted your body.
Well, similarly, if your spirit were healed when you got born again, you would still have the same spirit too. It would just be healed. But the Scriptures don’t teach that at all.
The Bible says that if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things become new—not half of them, all of them (2 Cor.
5:17)! This verse is clearly talking about the inward man not the outward man. When you’re born again, you’re not the same spirit that you once were.
Jesus explained the New Birth to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, saying
“. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John
3:3). Then Nicodemus, being natural, could only think naturally, so he asked Jesus, “Is it possible for a man when he is old to enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “. . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5,6).
In other words, there is a natural birth whereby the flesh is born; and there is a spiritual birth whereby the spirit is born. You see, when a baby is born into this natural world, we don’t say he was healed. No! We say he was born. In the same way, when a person becomes a new creature in Christ, his human spirit is not healed; it is born again.
While we’re on this subject, let me also say that when a person is born again, his soul doesn’t become new either. That’s another place where folks miss it: They don’t distinguish between the soul and the spirit, because they think that they are the same. But the soul and the spirit are different. In fact, man has a
threefold nature. According to the Bible, man is a spirit who possesses a soul and lives in a body(1 Thess. 5:23). The soul of man is the mind, will, and emotions.
Many people have missed it because we talk about the soul being saved when a person gets born again. James 1:21 does say: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS.” But we’ve taken that verse out of context. Here the word “save” means to renew or to restore. Psalm 23:3 says that God restores your soul and Romans 12:2 says that you must renew your mind with the Word of God. Your soul can’t be born again. The spirit is reborn, but the soul is renewed or restored.
Notice what Ezekiel prophesied under the Old Covenant:
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
In this verse, God was saying, “The time is coming when I’ll establish the New Covenant, and I’ll take out that old stony heart and put a new spirit within you. Then I’m going to put My Spirit in you.”
Healing Is Part of God’s Redemptive Plan
That’s why when I read where that fellow had said the Bible was referring to spiritual healing, I thought to myself, Well, if that’s the case, God made a mistake down there in Oklahoma!
I mentioned in a previous chapter that during a meeting I held in Oklahoma years ago, a little 72-year-old woman was healed. The best doctors in the state said she would never walk another step the longest day she lived. She had been confined to a wheelchair for four long years.
When she was brought to my meeting, I just laid my Bible on her lap and had her read First Peter 2:24. And in ten minutes’ time, she was jumping around, healed!
So if that verse meant spiritual healing, then God made a mistake. He ought to have healed her spiritually. But He healed her physically.
No, bless God, First Peter 2:24 means just what it says: “By whose stripes, ye were healed.” That’s talking about the healing of our human body, not our spirit!
There is only one sense in which divine healing could be called spiritual healing—if “spiritual” is being used to describe the work of God.
You see, in referring to divine healing, God is the One who heals your body,
and He is a spirit (John 4:24). Therefore, in that sense you could say divine healing is spiritual healing. But that is not talking about the healing of the human spirit.
To put it another way, divine healing does not refer to being healed spiritually. However, it is spiritual because it refers to being healed by the power of God.
True Spiritual Healing
In ministering the tangible healing power of God, I have laid hands on people and felt the power of God go into them—then come right back out. Why? Because they didn’t take hold of it!
This usually happens because folks are trying to receive healing with their mind. But divine healing is not mental. You can’t contact God with your mind because He is not a mind. He is a spirit.
You see, when man heals (and man can heal, whether you realize it or not), he must either do it through the mind or through the physical senses. But when God comes on the scene as the Healer, He heals through the person’s spirit.
Let me explain. God contacts us through our spirit, not through our mind or body—because, as we said, God is not a mind. Likewise, He is not a man (Num.
23:19). Although He has a spirit-body over in the spirit world—angels do too— God is not a physical being. He is a spirit. Therefore, He contacts us through our spirit, just as we contact Him through our spirit.
Now when God heals, He does heal physically, but it’s through the human spirit or man’s heart, where faith dwells. You see, God heals people through their faith—and the Bible says that faith is of the heart, the human spirit.
So divine healing is not mental as Christian Science, Unity, and other metaphysical teachers claim. Neither is it only physical as many in the medical world claim. It is spiritual—but only in the sense that it involves faith in the power of God as God’s Word proclaims.
I’ve seen it happen again and again: When people quit trying to contact God with their mind and believe they receive in their heart, they are healed instantly! You have to believe you receive the things of God by faith—and you believe with your heart (Rom. 10:10)!
With the Heart Man Believes
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
In chapter 9 of Mark’s Gospel, a man came running up to Jesus, telling Him about his son who was possessed by a demon that would throw the boy into fire and water. The disciples had been unable to deliver the boy, so the father begged Jesus, saying, “. . . if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us” (v. 22).
Jesus replied, “. . . If thou canst BELIEVE, all things are possible to him that
BELIEVETH” (v. 23).
Notice that Jesus started working immediately on the man’s believing, which had to do with his spirit. Jesus turned the father’s plea for help around and said, “It’s not a matter of what I can do. It’s a matter of what you can believe: If thou canst believe, all things are possible!”
Your Faith Will Make You Whole
We see this same emphasis on faith repeated again and again in the ministry of Jesus. For example, read the following accounts of Jesus healing the two blind men in Matthew chapter 9, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark chapter 5, and the centurion’s servant in Matthew chapter 8.
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
30 And their eyes were opened. . . . MARK 5:25-34
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I
have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
What do all these people have in common? They received God’s provision of physical healing through their spirit, because they believed with their heart!