Traditions of men are beliefs, rules, and principles of man which hinder the work of God’s Word.  Jesus told the religious leaders of His time:


… Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.  (Matthew 15:6)


If faith comes by hearing God’s Word, then it can leave by hearing and accepting traditions of men that destroy faith.


This lesson discusses common traditions of men concerning healing.  A Biblical response to each tradition is presented since the best remedy against error is not silence, but proclamation of the truth of God’s Word.  As we remove traditions and objections concerning healing we remove barriers blocking divine healing from occurring.


The Psalmist David indicated that although he previously declared his own ways he now desired to learn the ways of God:


My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy Word.  I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; teach me thy statutes.  Make me to understand the way of thy precepts; so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.  My soul melteth for heaviness; strengthen thou me according unto thy Word.  (Psalms 119:25-28)


David replaced traditions with the Word of God, and in so doing, his soul was quickened (healed and renewed).


Here are some common traditions of men concerning healing:




Some people claim healing was only for Bible times or for the future when Jesus returns.




God says:


… for I am the Lord that healeth thee.  (Exodus 15:26)


“I am” is present tense.  How can we change it to “I was” in the past or “I will be” in the future?  he Bible teaches that God does not change:


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  (James 1:17)


For I am the Lord, I change not…   (Malachi 3:6)


God has not changed since the beginning of time:


Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  (Hebrews 13:8)


If the day of miracles is past, then so is the day of salvation, for there is no greater miracle than salvation.  If healing is for the future when Jesus returns to earth, then the ministry of teachers, pastors, and other leaders must be for that future time also because the gift of healing is a spiritual gift as are these ministries.


The most convincing argument against claims that miracles are not for today is the documented record of experience. There are seven “dispensations” or “ages” in which God has dealt with man in special ways.  These are:


-The age of innocence:                                    Genesis 1:28

-The age of conscience:                                   Genesis 3:23

-The age of human government:                     Genesis 8:20

-The age of promise:                                       Genesis 12:1

-The age of law:                                              Exodus 19:8

-The age of grace:                                           John 1:17

-The Kingdom age:                                         Ephesians 1:10


The coming of Jesus introduced the final Kingdom age.  At the beginning of this age, Jesus performed miracles and healings:


Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached.  (Luke 7:22)


The book of Acts records miracles and healings in the early Church as the Kingdom age continued. The documented record of modern Church history also confirms many healings and miracles.




Some people ask, “If healing is for today, why don’t believers go around raising all those who have taken sick and died?”




Raising the dead was not part of the Great Commission given to the Church.  It was commanded to the disciples when they were first sent on a preaching tour to announce the Kingdom.  Raising  the dead was the “first fruits” of the resurrection of Jesus which was to come.


There is a difference between special miracles and covenant miracles. Special miracles were performed as a sign in special circumstances, such as turning water to wine, walking on the sea, multiplying the loaves and fishes, and opening the Red Sea.




Healing is a covenant miracle of the Old Testament, not a special miracle.  God still raises the dead, but this is determined by His sovereignty and is not a general part of our commission to heal.




While we are on the subject of death, some skeptics claim that if divine healing always worked, no Christian would ever die.




No such claim is made by Scriptures.  The Bible only provides divine health within the normal life span.  Although the atonement of Christ purchased our eternal redemption from death, these mortal bodies will eventually die unless Jesus returns first and the rapture occurs.  The same Bible which teaches healing also sets a limit on the length of man’s life:



The days of our years are threescore years and ten…  (Psalms 90:10)


And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.  (Hebrews 9:27)




Tradition says:  “There was no competent medical help in the time of Jesus.  Now that help is available, we are expected to use it instead of praying to God for healing.”




As early as 400 B.C. there was a medical healing science.  A man named Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.), the father of medicine, developed the science of medicine to a relatively high state.  Some of his technique is still used today.  Greece, Egypt, and Rome had many competent practitioners in the time of Jesus.


Divine healing has nothing to do with the competence or incompetence of medical science.  It is a blessing provided in the atonement.  Every good gift comes from God, so it is acceptable to use legitimate medical resources.  Remember, however, that medicine is not a substitute for the covenant promise of healing.


Despite the advances of medicine there are still many incurable illnesses so divine healing is still needed.  Also many people are beyond the reach of medical help.







Tradition says: “Divine healing is only taught by false cults.”




Wesley, Luther, and Zinzendorf, the leaders of the Methodist, Lutheran, and Moravian churches, respectively, all taught divine healing. Those who teach it today, along with the saving power of the blood of Jesus and the deity of Christ, are no more unorthodox than these leaders.


Some false cults do teach healing, but not true Biblical healing.  It is “psychic” or “mind over matter” healing from a source other than God through Jesus Christ.  Satan is a deceiver and imitator.  We do not eliminate divine healing just because he deceives and heals through evil powers.


Satan has deceived many into believing that by washing in the Ganges River in India they will be cleansed of sin.  Do we stop preaching salvation just because Satan has imitated it?  Do you stop believing in the medical profession just because there are a few doctors who are frauds?  The fact that Satan bothers to imitate divine healing is another indication there is a true healing.




Tradition claims:  “Divine healing puts more emphasis on the body than the soul.”




Some believers in healing ministries have fallen into this emphasis, but this is not the Biblical pattern of healing.  Biblical healing deals with the whole man, body, soul and spirit.


Healing is not a Gospel of itself, it is only one aspect of the Gospel of Christ.  It should never be preached apart from the message of salvation of the souls of sinful men and women. The Church’s concentration on the spirit and medicine’s preoccupation with the body have both missed the whole person concept presented in the Bible.




One claim often heard is that “You are sick because you sinned or have sin in your life.”




We already covered this subject in the discussion on the source and reasons for sickness in Chapters Four and Five.  You will recall that while all sickness is in the world because of sin, a person is not necessarily sick because of personal sin.




“It is God’s will for you to be sick. It is for His glory.”  Have you ever heard this claim?




Many do not question whether or not God is able to heal, but whether He is willing.  The Bible indicates we are unwise if we do not understand God’s will:


Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  (Ephesians 5:17)


Knowing God’s will concerning sickness provides fertile ground on which faith can grow.  The prayer of faith is the only prayer that is effective in obtaining healing for the sick. It cannot be prayed as long as you are wondering if it is God’s will to heal.


If you really believe it is God’s will for you to be sick, then it is wrong to ask someone to pray for your healing.  If sickness of a believer is of God, then doctors are of the Devil because they are trying to get rid of sickness.  Hospitals are in error because they are seeking to get rid of disease in rebellion against God’s will.  Nurses are defying God with each effort to relieve suffering.



Those who believe sickness is God’s will should not accept medical treatment to get rid of it.  They should not let a doctor operate and remove God’s will from their body.  If you really believe sickness is God’s will for you as a believer, why are you taking medicine and seeing doctors?


But since we know that the source of sickness is Satan, then legitimate doctors, medicines, hospitals, and medical science must be an extension of the goodness of God.  Since sickness is of Satan, every legitimate manner of relieving suffering is of God.  (By legitimate we mean those methods that do not involve Satanic methods or violate God’s Word.)


It is true that your body is bought with a price and you are to glorify God in it, whether you are sick or well. But in the Biblical record, God was glorified when people were healed. If sickness glorifies God, then Christ robbed God of glory by healing the sick.  If sickness glorifies God, we should all pray to be sick.  God is not glorified by sickness in the body anymore than by the sickness of sin in the spirit.


Sometimes God permits sickness to come on a believer, but always remember that Satan is the source.  The example of Job illustrates this (Job chapters 1-2)..


God does not will sickness on a believer.  He has knowledge of the attack by Satan and He uses all things (even bad) to work together for your good.  This is why that even during sickness you can be drawn closer to the Lord.  God always seeks to bring good out of evil.  He used the effects of sin to remedy it by the death of Jesus. God is not the source of sickness in a believers life, but God takes something Satan intends for evil and works in you to accomplish spiritual victories as you undergo the attack.


Paul first preached in Galatia because of a schedule change due to illness (Galatians 4:l3-15).  Trophimus’ sickness kept him from going to Rome with Paul and suffering a similar fate

(II Timothy 4:20).  Sickness was used to prevent sin in Genesis 12 and 20.  Although these examples illustrate how God uses it, remember that…


…He doth not afflict willingly… (Lamentations 3:33)


Sickness alone does not produce saints who glorify God.  It can produce bitter, complaining, unbelieving people.  It is the Word that sanctifies and produces growth (John 17:17).  While it is true that you often get into the Word more during a sickness, it is not necessary to have sickness in order to grow spiritually.


It is helpful to remember this:  The will of God for believers is Christ-likeness in character.  Everything else, including sickness and health, derives its significance in relation to this divine goal (Romans 8:28-29).


In the case of unbelievers, sickness can result from sin and the inherent judgment of God that comes from sin.  But even this can be used by God for good, for as healing and deliverance is ministered, salvation can result.  God has given many promises in His Word regarding healing and deliverance. Why would God give these in His Word if it is His will for you to be sick?  If a believer says, “I do not know if it is God’s will to heal me,” ask him, “Is it God’s will to keep His promises?”


Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He said this because He did the work and will of the Father (John 14:9).  If you ever wonder whether or not God wants to heal, you have only to look at our Lord’s actions.


When you pray for healing, pray “Thy will be done” or “according to Thy will.”  Do not say,  “If it be Thy will” when you are praying for healing and deliverance. A sinner does not pray “Lord, save me if it be Thy will.”  Healing is part of the atonement just like salvation.


“If”  implies doubt that God wants to make you whole.  “According to Thy will” projects confident faith, while yet leaving the method, extent, and timing to Him.  Even in cases of sickness unto death, pray “according to Thy will” not “if it is Thy will” to heal.  “According to Thy will” leaves the time and conditions to God.  For a believer, He may choose the ultimate healing through death that rids you from the presence of sickness for all eternity.


Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth, even as it is in Heaven.”  There is no sickness and disease in Heaven, so we can pray confidently against it on earth knowing it is not His will.  Jesus never prayed “heal if it is Your will, God.”  The only time He prayed “If it be Thy will” was in relationship to His own submission to the plan of God for His life–not healing.  “If it be Your will” destroys faith.  When it was used by an outcast leper who did not know Christ’s will in healing, Jesus corrected his uncertainty by assuring him, “I will.”  Never turn God’s facts into hopes or questions.  Act on them as realities and you will find them powerful.



Just because someone is not healed immediately or because he dies from a “sickness unto death” does not mean it was not God’s will to heal Him.  We view things in terms of time, while God views them in terms of eternity.  You must remember that there are delayed healings.  Some are:


Delayed in mortal time:   Sarah’s barrenness was not healed immediately.  Job was not healed immediately.  John the Baptist’s father was not healed of his dumbness until a set time.  Jesus prayed twice for one blind man who received only partial healing the first time.  Healings are sometimes delayed to bring greater glory to God.  A good example of this is the story of the resurrection of Lazarus.


Delayed in eternity:  Death is just an event within the realm of eternity in the life of a believer.  Even a “sickness unto death” is swallowed up in victory because death to a believer is the ultimate healing.  As you enter the presence of the Lord you are made whole and no longer suffer from sin or sickness. In speaking of death, Paul says you are prepared for this purpose: “To be absent from the body and present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:6-9).


If you do not believe that healing is for all, then you must believe that healing is governed by direct revelation in each case as to whether or not it is God’s will to heal.  You are then relying on direct revelation to man rather than the written Word of God.  You will have no basis for faith until you receive a special revelation in each case that the sick one is among the “favored ones” to be healed.




Some people claim:  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.   This is an affliction you must bear because you are righteous.”




The meaning of the word “afflictions” used in Psalms 34:19, from where this tradition developed, does not refer to sickness.  It refers to trials, hardships, persecutions, or temptations.  Even if it did refer to sickness, the remainder of the verse indicates that the Lord wants to deliver you.


In James 5:13-16 a difference is noted between afflictions and sickness.  If you are afflicted with trials, persecutions, and temptations, you are to pray for yourself (James 5:13).  Although you can ask others to pray with you, they are not called to pray all your troubles away.  The Scripture instructs you to pray when you are afflicted because you need to learn how to be an overcomer by praying yourself through trials and temptations.  In case of sickness, however, the elders are to be called to pray (James 5:14).  The sick are to be saved (from their physical sickness), raised up (return of strength), and forgiven of sin (spiritual healing).




Some object to divine healing claiming healing is rare.  They ask, “Why get people’s hope up only to disappoint them?”




Divine healing is not rare. The pages of the New Testament are filled with stories of healings and deliverances.  The record of church history also has many medically documented divine healings.




“Your sickness is  your cross.  You must learn to live with it.”  Have you ever heard this claim?




The claim that sickness is your “cross” is easily dealt with. “The cross” is not problems, sicknesses, and afflictions that come upon you through no choice of your own. Jesus made it clear that “taking up the cross” is a voluntary act, not something you accept because you have no choice.  Jesus did not treat sickness and death as a cross sent from God.  He treated them as an enemy.  If you believe sickness is your cross, then why do you seek medical help to get rid of it?


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