Healing by Medicine or Miracle?

Does God only heal through the medical profession today, or does He still make house calls? 

Now as soon as they left the synagogue, they entered Simon and Andrew’s house, with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was lying down, sick with a fever, so they spoke to Jesus at once about her. He came and raised her up by gently taking her hand. Then the fever left her and she began to serve them. (Mark 1:29–31 NET)

To assist in understanding the subject of healing of sickness, we will discuss it in parallel with forgiveness of sin, a more familiar topic. 

Forgiveness of Sin

Recall that sin entered the world when the first Adam rebelled (1) against God’s commandment by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17).  To save us, Jesus, the last Adam, took upon Himself our sin as a sacrificial lamb on Calvary’s cross so that we might take upon ourselves His righteousness through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3,4. 2 Corinthians 5:21. 1 Corinthians 1:30). This means that the power of sin over our lives was broken by Jesus. Thus, we do not have to sin (1) (Romans 6:6-14). However, we still sin since our spirit lives in a weak, sin-prone body and a sin-governed fallen world (Matthew 26:41. Romans 7:15-25. 1 John 1:8. 1 John 5:19).

When we sin, do we go into denial and say we did not sin (1 John 1:8). Perhaps thinking God did not notice and will not hold us accountable to reap what we have sown? (Psalms 10:4) Actually, that is calling things (i.e., the sin) as though it is not, which is a lie (Exodus 20:16). Faith calls things that are not (in the physical) as though they were (in the physical because they are already true in the spiritual) (Romans 4:17). That is, if you sin, you do not deny it. When we sin, our right to be forgiven and cleansed by God from our sins, and their effects, are based on Jesus’ righteousness. That is, we can come boldly, not condemningly, to God our Father’s throne of grace to obtain mercy and discover grace based on Jesus never sinning (Hebrews 4:16. Romans 8:1,34,35).

As a reminder, we are to live the Christian life, not by our performance but the same way we were saved (Colossians 2:6). That is, by faith that received God’s gift of grace based on Jesus His son’s payment in full for all of mankind’s transgressions once and for all on the cross of Calvary (Ephesians 2:8. Colossians 2:13,14). Knowing these facts, when we sin, we turn to God our Father first to repent and ask for forgiveness from it (1 John 1:9).

When Satan (the accuser of the brethren) gives you thoughts that you are not forgiven then declare the thing that is presently not observable but is spiritually correct (i.e., the forgiveness) as though it were (e.g., I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus because I have confessed my sin and God has faithfully forgiven me. By His blood (1), I am forgiven!).

Even if this is an area of addiction where we repeatedly sin, we still find forgiveness from God and not man (Hebrews 4:15,16). For example, a person is having trouble not looking at pornography and has joined a recovery group led by a Christian psychiatrist. While this group can provide a great support system and even prescribe medication to assist in recovery, it cannot forgive sin. Consequently, after sinning by lustfully looking at pornography, if this person goes to this group first, they might find help to live with guilt or suppress it with medication, but they cannot obtain forgiveness of sin.

The correct response would be first to go to God asking (1) for forgiveness with a repentant (1) heart (i.e., sorry for sinning against a holy God and not merely sorry for having to face the consequences of the sin). Next, ask God to deliver you from the addiction. God may supernaturally deliver you from the addiction then and there. However, it is more probable that He will deliver you while you work through His plan and process (i.e., by a WORKING of a miracle (1) (i.e., all miracles require some effort on our part – “take up your mat and walk”), 1 Corinthians 12:10). Why? Because things that take longer to obtain typically last longer (Proverbs 20:21. Exodus 23:29,30. Matthew 12:43-45). A mushroom grows in hours but only lasts a few days, whereas an oak tree takes years to mature but lasts decades.

Also, having to obey God by working step by step with Him to obtain deliverance from the addiction will deepen your relationship with God and cause you to grow in spiritual maturity. I offer a heuristic (i.e., a thumb rule) for understanding God’s ways; everything He does is for and about relationships! (Galatians 4:6. 1 John 1:3) While our destination may be deliverance from the addiction, the journey is about growing (1) a profound and intimate relationship with our loving heavenly Father.    

Healing from Sickness

When sin entered the world so did sickness (Deuteronomy 28:15,21,22,27,28,29,35,59,60,61) and death (Romans 5:12). Nevertheless, Jesus not only paid the price for our sin at Calvary and the consequences of sin (e.g., sickness, death, etc.). That is, every curse that Satan brought into the world through the first Adam’s sin, the last Adam set us free from by paying the price of freedom for us by laying down His life on the cross of Calvary (1 Corinthians 15:45,47. Galatians 3:13,14). Again, God did a greater work through the last Adam (i.e., Jesus) than Satan did through the first Adam (i.e., Eve’s husband).

He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NET)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NET)

I have heard some say that the above scriptures refer to only “spiritual healing.” However, the scripture below identifies that Isaiah 53:5 includes physical healing.

When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: "He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases."  (Matthew 8:16-17 NET)

Similar to our being set free from sin, yet we still sin, we have been set free from the curse of sickness – yet we still get sick. Nevertheless, we must approach being sick the same way we approach having sinned. That is, we must first come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain the healing (for deliverance from infection, disease, etc.) and/or miracle (for the restoration of something that is damaged or missing) that we require.

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease. Though his disease was severe, he did not seek the LORD, but only the doctors.  Asa passed away in the forty-first year of his reign. (2 Chronicles. 16:12-13 NET)(cf. 1 Kings 15:23,24)

God may choose to supernaturally deliver us from our condition immediately. Again, it is more probable that He will have us work through steps (John 9:7) to obtain what is needed, typically involving the medical profession. This means we should pray for the doctors and nurses to have the wisdom of God to know what to do, for the medicine to be blessed to cause no harm, and for it to be effectual to accomplish the desired outcome, etc. 

The Counterfeits

Some are under a false doctrine (1) that, in some way, substitutes traditions of men for the Word of God, thus making it ineffective (Mark 7:13). For example, the spiritual gifts and miracles stopped with the Apostles, the original manuscripts of the Bible contained errors (i.e., the Bible cannot be trusted), only the clergy need to study the Bible, the Bible is just a beautiful book of stories but does not contain things you must believe to receive from God (Hebrews 4:1,2. Hebrews 3:18,19. Hebrews 4:6,11,12. Hebrews 4:9,10), etc.

Healing without God

These are under false doctrine, denying the power of the Gospel (Colossians 2:8). Again, they evolve into those with an appearance of godliness but deny the power (2 Timothy 3:5). Consequently, these individuals seek to be healed only through the medical profession without God. This can lead to further development of a false doctrine that undermines the Word of God and emphasizes earning God’s approval via suffering. However, this approach can easily result in feelings of self-pity, self-righteousness, and a desire for false comfort, leading to more sin. Furthermore, not having the rock of the Word of God in their lives, a sickness will not serve to conform them to Christ (1) but rather can slowly destroy them (Isaiah 1:20. Jeremiah 23:29. Luke 20:18. 1 Peter 2:7,8).

Unfortunately,  some in this category of “healing without God” are just significantly hurting people who have such a negative emotional picture of themselves and the Lord that they cannot trust Him or surrender themselves to Him in a significant way (Exodus 6:9) to ask Him for healing.

Healing without Medicine

Others are those with another false doctrine (1) that Christians are not to suffer at all because Jesus suffered for them (see “Verses about Suffering as a Believer” at the end of this article). In addition, these individuals typically have learned of the power of the Word of God but have been deceived into making it a performance-based system of trying to please God through their works of faith. They feel they must perform the Christian disciplines to please God enough so that He will give them His healing power. For example, if I only had more faith, spent more time in the Word, fasted more, prayed more, etc., then God would heal me. This is called legalism, a performance-based religion instead of a relationship-based one (1). Consequently, these individuals legalistically seek to be healed only through God without the medical profession.

Consequently, they go into denial when sickness comes and do not mature through it. That is, they will deny being sick and not take medicine, thinking that this will demonstrate their faith in God, who will, in turn, heal them. Actually, that is calling things (i.e., the sickness) as though it is not, which is a lie (Exodus 20:16). Faith calls things that are not (in the physical) as though they were (in the physical because they are already true in the spiritual) (Romans 4:17). That is, if you are sick, you do not deny it.

The Truth

Healing by God

Healing today for the Christian can be by God’s miraculous power alone (1), by God through the medical field (which is given by God), or a combination of the two. The issue is not which one of these we seek but rather which one we seek first! That is, Jesus, the Great Physician who is God! (Matthew 9:12,13. Mark 2:17)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. (Psalms 107:20 ESV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. (John 1:1 NET)
with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:38 NET)

James, a half-brother of Jesus and the first pastor, through the Holy Spirit, gave us guidance for healing in the church:

Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up – and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  (James 5:14,15 NET)
When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long. (Psalm 32:3 NET)
My whole body is sick because of your judgment; I am deprived of health because of my sin. (Psalm 38:3 NET)

So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.  (James 5:16 NET)

Praise the LORD, O my soul! Do not forget all his kind deeds!  He is the one who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases, (Psalms 103:2-3 NET)

After obeying the guidance given in James 5:14-16, God may supernaturally heal you completely, partially, or provide wisdom for healing through the medical profession. That is, He may choose to heal you quickly, slowly, or in Heaven.

Nevertheless, when Satan (the accuser of the brethren) gives you thoughts that you are not going to be healed, then declare the thing that is presently not observable but is spiritually correct (i.e., the healing) as though it were (e.g., I called upon the elders of the church and they prayed in faith for my healing, while anointing me with oil, and the Lord raised me up! By Jesus’ stripes, I am healed! (1 Peter 2:24, cf. Isaiah 53:5)).

That is, pray and obey, seeking His glory (1) through sickness, even if unto death, and give no quarter to the Devil!

He said, "If you will diligently obey the LORD your God, and do what is right in his sight, and pay attention to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, then all the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians I will not bring on you, for I, the LORD, am your healer." (Exodus 15:26 NET)

Yahweh-Rapha (Rof’ekha ) – The Lord My Healer (1) (Exodus 15:26. Psalm 30:2;103:3)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Matthew 4:24;8:1-3;8:16,17. Acts 10:38. 1 Peter 2:24).

If you obey these ordinances and are careful to do them, the Lord your God will faithfully keep covenant with you as he promised your ancestors. He will love and bless you, and make you numerous. He will bless you with many children, with the produce of your soil, your grain, your new wine, your oil, the offspring of your oxen, and the young of your flocks in the land which he promised your ancestors to give you. You will be blessed beyond all peoples; there will be no barrenness among you or your livestock. The Lord will protect you from all sickness, and you will not experience any of the terrible diseases that you knew in Egypt; instead he will inflict them on all those who hate you. (Deuteronomy 7:12–15 NET)
O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you healed me. (Psalm 30:2 NET)
They cried out to the Lord in their distress; he delivered them from their troubles. He sent them an assuring word and healed them; he rescued them from the pits where they were trapped. (Psalm 107:19–20 NET)
A person’s spirit sustains him through sickness— but who can bear a crushed spirit? (Proverbs 18:14 NET)
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Behold, they say to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” I have not run away from being your shepherd, nor have I desired the day of sickness. You know what came out of my lips; it was before your face. (Jeremiah 17:14–16 ESV)
And a leper approached, and bowed low before him, saying, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."  He stretched out his hand and touched him saying, "I am willing. Be clean!" Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  (Matthew 8:2-3 NET)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8 NET)

Verses about Suffering as a Believer

“A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master. It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more will they defame the members of his household! (Matthew 10:24–25 NET)
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you.Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. (John 15:18–20 NET)
Therefore do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 NET)
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 NET)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43–48 NET)
But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart. “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one—I in them and you in me—that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:13–23 NET)
So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, (1 Peter 4:1 NET)
Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name. (1 Peter 4:12–16 NET)
Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules.The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this. (2 Timothy 2:3–7)
But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. (1 Peter 3:14–15 NET)
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. (Matthew 5:11–12 NET)
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven. For their ancestors did the same things to the prophets. (Luke 6:22–23 NET)
So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:19 NET)
For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, since you are encountering the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. (Philippians 1:29,30 NET)
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2–4 NET)
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NET)
It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71 NET)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body—for the sake of his body, the church—what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. (Colossians 1:24 NET)
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. (Galatians 6:17)
The godly face many dangers, but the Lord saves them from each one of them. (Psalm 34:19 NET)
so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For in fact when we were with you, we were telling you in advance that we would suffer affliction, and so it has happened, as you well know. (1 Thessalonians 3:3,4 NET)
This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:5 NET)
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:8 NET)
Now in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12 NET)
The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the Lord tests hearts. (Proverbs 17:3 NET)
Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have purified you in the furnace of misery. (Isaiah 48:10 NET)
As the crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, so a person is proved by the praise he receives. (Proverbs 27:21 NET)
He delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, he reveals himself to them by their suffering. (Job 36:15)
They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions.” (Acts 14:22 NET)
When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:18–24 NET)
You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:5–8 NET)
This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold—gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away—and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6–7 NET)
and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.And every day both in the temple courts and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 5:40–42 NET)
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10,11 NET)
Therefore, to sanctify the people by his own blood, Jesus also suffered outside the camp. We must go out to him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse he experienced. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. (Hebrews 13:12–16 NET)

Discipleship for Maturing Christians

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

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Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX