Healing Proclaimed

Unfortunately, salvation has been reduced today to little more than forgiveness of sins. But the Greek words most often translated “saved” and “salvation” imply the concepts of not only forgiveness, but complete deliverance and healing. [1] Let us consider a man in the Bible who experienced salvation in this fuller sense. He was healed by his faith as he listened to Paul preach the gospel in his city.

They…fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel. At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk (Acts 14:6-10).

Notice that although Paul was preaching “the gospel,” the man heard something that produced faith in his heart to receive physical healing. At bare minimum, he must have heard Paul say something about Jesus’ healing ministry, and how Jesus healed everyone who asked in faith for healing. Perhaps Paul also mentioned Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus bearing our infirmities and diseases. We don’t know, but since “faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17), the paralyzed man must have heard something that sparked faith in his heart to be healed. Something Paul said convinced him that God didn’t want him to remain paralyzed.

Paul himself must have believed that God wanted the man to be healed, or his words could never have convinced the man to have faith for healing, nor would he have told the man to stand up. What would have happened if Paul had said what so many modern preachers say? What if he had preached, “It isn’t God’s will for everyone to be healed”? The man would not have had faith to be healed. Perhaps this explains why so many are not healed today. The very preachers who should be inspiring people to have faith for healing are destroying their faith.

Again, notice that this man was healed by his faith. Had he not believed, he would have remained paralyzed, even though it was obviously God’s will for him to be healed. Moreover, there probably were other sick people in the crowd that day as well, but we have no record of anyone else being healed. If that was so, why weren’t they healed? For the same reason that many of the unsaved people in the crowd were not born again that day–because they didn’t believe Paul’s message.

We should never conclude that it is not God’s will to heal everyone based on the fact that some people are never healed. That would be the same as concluding that it is not God’s will for all to be born again just because some people never are born again. Every person must believe the gospel for himself if he is going to be saved, and every person must believe for himself if he is going to be healed.

[1] For example, Jesus said to a woman whom He had healed of internal bleeding, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34). The Greek word translated “made well” in this verse ( sozo ) and ten other times in the New Testament is translated “save” or “saved” over eighty times in the New Testament. It is, for example, the same word that is translated “saved” in Ephesians 2:5, “By grace you have been saved through faith.” Thus we see that physical healing is implied within the meaning of the Greek word most often translated as “saved.”