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Pointers along the way #497

"By His stripes"
- Jacob Ninan

"With his stripes we are healed" (Is.53:5 KJV, "by His scourging" NASB) is a phrase many people quote in order to teach that physical healing is a part of the atonement Jesus made through His suffering and death for us. There are several problems with this interpretation. This is only a part of the verse, which reads "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our wellbeing fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. NASB" As we can see, the rest of the verse is talking about Jesus suffering for our sins. So is the rest of the chapter, about how Jesus has dealt with our sins. Is it right to take this phrase alone to refer to physical healing just because the word 'healing' is used? In the context of the chapter, is it not right to read it as referring to spiritual healing along with the rest of the chapter?

When it comes to spiritual healing, the forgiveness of our sins which Jesus gained through His suffering and death, all we need to do is to receive it by faith. (This 'faith' includes recognition of who Jesus is, repentance, and submitting to Him with our life.) "And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Ac.2:21). Even a criminal hanging on a cross was able to receive this salvation by a simple act of faith (Lk.23:41-43). Yet thousands of people who ask Jesus for physical healing quoting Is.53:5 have not be healed. Even those who have been healed miraculously at some time in their life in answer to prayer finally die of some sickness! Yet those who preach this mistaken interpretation accuse those who have not received healing of lack of faith, lack of persistence in prayer or the presence of some hidden sin in their lives!

There is no doubt that God does heal people miraculously in answer to prayer even now. The age of miracles is not over. But I also see that there is no promise from God, as in the case of forgiveness of sins, that whoever believes in Him will be healed.

Some individuals claim that ever since they believed in this promise for healing from God they have experienced no sickness. Putting aside the possibility that some of them may redefine sickness so as not to include some of their experiences which others would have called sicknesses, I am willing to accept that God may do that miracle in some lives. But they are rare exceptions and not the rule. Such people cannot form a doctrine based upon their experience, which does not work for most others. It is right to ask for miraculous healing even though there is no general promise for it because we believe our God is almighty and full of goodness. But if He does not grant that to us after a reasonable amount of time, we would need to accept that for some reason that is unknown to us God has chosen not to do that miracle for us, instead of living in condemnation for the rest of time. Then He will work some eternal glory in us through our suffering (2Co.4:17).


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