If the body of Christ was fully presenting the Gospel—the whole counsel of God—we’d be making a much greater impact on the world today. God not only wants to forgive us of our sins, He also loves us dearly and desires to heal our bodies, bless us financially, and deliver us from discouragement and depression. Think about that!
One of the main reasons why the modern-day Church has been rendered so ineffective and irrelevant in many people’s eyes is they’ve only preached that God is for the hereafter. They’ve made relationship with the Lord a heaven and hell issue, and haven’t preached that He loves us right now. They haven’t taught that God wants to give us a dynamic and absolutely victorious life at this present time. They haven’t ministered healing, prosperity, or deliverance.
Some statistics I’ve seen have said that as much as 85 percent of the population in the United States believes that there is a God, yet only 10 to 15 percent actually attend church on a regular basis. Out of all these people who say they believe in God, would there be enough evidence to convict them if they were accused of being a Christian? There is a huge gap between the people who say that God exists and those who enjoy a vibrant relationship with Him.
Why is that? Why do so many people who know God exists not go on to obtain this intimate relationship with Him and make Him the center of their lives? Although there are probably several factors, one of the most obvious is that the Church has presented relationship with God as a heaven and hell issue. They’ve preached, “Just get your sins forgiven so you won’t go to hell.”
Even though that’s true—there is a heaven to gain and a hell to lose, and you must have your sins forgiven to escape hell—most people are living in such a hell in this life that they aren’t concerned with a hell in the afterlife. They’re in strife, enduring divorce, suffering from sickness, and terrified of what’s happening out in the world. They haven’t heard or seen that the Lord deals with these issues in this life. They just think that God is for the hereafter, and they’re shortsighted. They should be thinking about eternity, but they aren’t because they’re so occupied with trying to struggle through all of the terrible things they’re facing right now. They know God exists, but they put Him off until just before they die because they don’t see His relevance to their present everyday life.
What if the Church were to represent the Lord more accurately by saying, “God will heal you and keep you healthy. He’ll deliver you from the depression, despair, and strife that you find yourself in. God will prosper you in a way that you could never accomplish just through your own effort.” If we presented the truth that God is not only for the forgiveness of sins, but for all these other areas too, then people would see that He is truly relevant to our daily life.
If a sick person came to one of many modern-day “churches” (I use that term loosely), they’d ask, “Why are you coming to us? Go to the doctor.” If a poor person came, they’d say, “Well, have you checked with the government agencies and tried welfare yet?” If someone came who was discouraged, depressed, and under some kind of demonic oppression, they’d refer them to a psychiatrist or other professional who would prescribe them some kind of a drug. But that’s not the attitude God wants us to have. The Church should be meeting the needs of people! Our lack of doing so is one reason that many folks see the Church as irrelevant to their present life. They don’t doubt God’s existence. They just don’t see why they need Him until they get ready to die. That’s wrong!
Our example—Jesus—emphasized healing. I am simply following Him. Everywhere Jesus went, He healed people. God the Father used these miracles to show people that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins. This confirmed Christ’s message and proved the validity of His words. Since that’s the way God did it with Jesus, I’m following a good precedent.
A terrible signal is sent both to unbelievers and Christians alike when misled preachers say things like, “God doesn’t care about the healing of your body,” or “He’s putting sickness on you to teach you a lesson.” That’s absolutely untrue!
Not Just An “Add-on”
My dad died just about a month after I turned twelve. He was in a coma for a period of time before that. So I went through this grueling experience of my father being on the verge of death for months as an eleven year old. The church that I grew up in said that the Lord put that sickness on him, and it was God’s will that he died. I didn’t rebel against God because of that, but deep down in my heart something about it just didn’t sit right.
However, I can give you examples of many other people who went through similar experiences and did rebel. One fellow is very famous. As a young boy he knew that God existed, and even sought Him. But his sister died and the religious people told him that God did it. He turned completely away from the Lord and today is a very outspoken atheist. He cites this example in his life and says, “You can’t tell me that if there is a God He would put sickness on people!” This misrepresentation of God turns a lot of folks away from the Lord and embitters them against Him.
It’s only the grace of God that kept me from rebelling when I was told, “God is the one who killed your dad.” Many others haven’t responded as well.
Countless people know God exists, but for whatever reason, they just don’t want anything to do with Him, or they don’t see His relevance to their everyday life. That’s why healing needs to be emphasized. We need to speak the truth of the whole counsel of God. Although healing shouldn’t be elevated above forgiveness of sins, neither should it be diminished below it.
Jesus provided healing for us at the same time as He provided forgiveness for our sins.
Healing isn’t just an “add-on” or an “added benefit” that only happens sometimes. It’s an essential part of what Christ came to do. Jesus died for the physical healing of our bodies just the same as He died for our forgiveness of sins. The Lord purchased healing for us just as He purchased forgiveness. It’s all part of His atonement.
A Done Deal
This truth is not yet widely understood and believed across the body of Christ today, which explains why so few people are walking in it. Most Christians think that God could certainly heal if He wanted to, but they don’t see that He has already redeemed us from sickness and disease. They view healing as something the Lord can do, but they don’t know for sure that it is His will.
If you recognize that healing is part of the atonement (which took place two thousand years ago), then you’ll comprehend that the Lord has already healed us. He’s already purchased that blessing. That power has already been generated. Healing is a done deal, and is available to us now exactly the same as forgiveness of sins.