Question: Could you please comment on the following from a tract - my friend believes this: "The diseases of your body were laid on Jesus. All you need do is believe this and begin to confess it. Refuse to allow sickness to stay in your body because you were healed with His (Jesus') stripes. If Christians would believe this, it would be the end to so-called chronic ailments in their bodies."
Response: Dear friend, I would love to have the power to heal people, and would be thrilled to learn that I would never have to suffer disease again. That is wishful thinking as long as we inhabit these sin-drenched mortal bodies (Rom.7:18). Christ did indeed die for us, but not so that we could go on forever in this degraded mortal state (Rom.7:24) - rather so that we might be resurrected as He has been and have an eternal life in those new bodies that will never know tears and pain again. If in this life we are to have no disease, then why are we promised no tears and no pain in the future (Rev.16:16-17)? If in this life we are to know only wonderful experiences of joy and bliss, why are we told that it is only through tribulations that we will enter the kingdom of heaven (Acts 14:22; cf. 1Thes.3:4)? Why are we told that suffering is a normal thing that should not surprise us (1Pet.4:12; cf. 1Cor.10:13)?
Paul got sick (Gal.4:13; cf. 1Cor.2:3; 2Cor.1:8-9; 12:7-8); his companions got sick (2Tim.4:20); Timothy got sick (1Tim.5:23) - are we better than they? More to the point, all of the great believers of the past died, and with the exception of those who died a martyr's death, they all died of something - whether heart failure or stroke or heart attack or flu or what have you, they all died of something; in a way, the gradual decline of the body through aging is a sort of disease, for it is an unnatural result of the sin within us and the various curses upon the world (before and after the flood; compare Gen.2:17 with Gen.3:17-19). If all of this had been annulled by the cross, then believers should not only not get sick - they should not get old and die at all! Clearly, sickness, disease, suffering, aging, and eventual death is the lot of this mortal body. Jesus saved our spirits, gave us eternal life and the promise of a new body yet to come through faith in Him. He did not remove the curse from the ground (we still have to work for a living) and He did not remove the curse on the human body which goes back to our first parents' partaking of the forbidden fruit - we are dust and to dust we shall return (Gen.3:19). In the meantime, there is not a shred of scripture that suggests that believers will be exempt from any of the physical and material pressures that are common to mankind.
Our advantages as believers are entirely spiritual (Jn.6:63; Eph.3:16). We can cope where others cannot because we have the truth and we believe the truth (Phil.4:13). Indeed, it is in our weakness that we most and best appreciate the power and the grace of God (2Cor.12:9). We trust in our Lord to deliver us in His way at His time no matter what we are called upon to endure (2Tim.4:17), and we do not presume to dictate to Him about what we are or are not willing to suffer on His behalf (1Thes.5:18). God does heal; of that we are certain; but that does not mean that He never allows our faith to be tested through illness and disease - far from it. Satan is well aware that when our very bodies are put under pressure, even those who have shown courage up until that point often melt (cf. Job 1-2; 2Cor.1:8-9; 12:7-8). This is why the devil asked God for a second chance at Job when taking away his material possessions did not have the desire effect.
I find the sentiments included in this quotation very dangerous indeed. They are only very tangentially related to scripture, and the scriptures they reference do not even obliquely address the issues they are supposed to prove. To me this is a very clear case of dressing up one's own fantasies with scripture and twisted logic, then playing upon the fears and desires of the audience. I should say victims, for I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that in order to get the "full effect" of the healing promised here, sizeable donations of cash must first be forthcoming (a demonstration of faith, no doubt). At the very least, such representations have a tendency to enslave the audience to the speaker, because the audience so deeply desires to get the promised results. And since the disappointments that must necessarily follow when no permanent healing is forthcoming must be "the person's own fault" (i.e., not confessing energetically enough, not "really believing", not giving enough), then the only way to make progress will be to give themselves over to such leaders with ever growing obedience, obeisance, dependence, and the surrendering of their own will and good judgment. This is how cults always operate (see: Read your Bible: Protection against Cults).
If such people really do have the power to heal, then let them heal us all. If they know how we can be healed, then let them spell it out for us in exact and precise terms. And by all means let them demonstrate their results. As for me, it is my intent to continue to let scripture, truth, and the Spirit of God be my guides in faith, no matter how difficult the path ahead may become.
Please also have a look at the following links:
The Gift of Healing
Healing by Touch
The Course of Jesus' Ministry
All things Charismatic.
Does God use disease to discipline us?
Nimrod and Christmas trees, Tongues, and Healing.
Combating Legalism VI.
Yours in the One who heals according to His will, in His own way and at His own time, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.