"Himself took our infirmities and bare our sickness." Matt. viii. 17. "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, to-day and forever." Heb. xiii. 8.
1. WHAT DIVINE HEALING IS NOT.
We will look at its negative side first. Wherever good is to be found a
counterfeit of it also will soon appear. Any valuable coin is always imitated,
and the great forger has been at work on this also. It is particularly necessary
with this precious truth to guard against error.
Divine healing is not medical healing.. It does not come to us through medicines,
nor is it God's especial blessing on remedies and means. It is the direct
power of the Almighty hand of God Himself. "HIMSELF took our infirmities,"
and He is able to carry them without man's help. We have nothing to say against
the use of remedies so far as those are concerned who are not ready to trust
their bodies fully to the Lord. For them it is well enough to use all the
help that nature and science can give, and we cheerfully admit that their
remedies have some value as far as they go. There is some power in man's
attempts to stop the tides of evil that sweep over a suffering world. But
there comes a point in all efforts when we have to say, "Thus far shalt thou
go and no further." Yet no one ought rashly to give up these human helps
until they have got a better one. Unless they have been led to trust Christ
entirely for something higher and stronger than their natural life, they
had better stick to natural remedies. They need to be sure that God's Word
distinctly presents healing for disease, and does it as definitely as it
does forgiveness of sin.
Divine healing is not metaphysical healing. It is not a system of rationalism,
which is taking on so many forms in the world today, like the chameleon,
assuming the hue of the surrounding foliage, according to the class of people
it comes in contact with. What is commonly known as mind cure or Christian
Science, is one of the most familiar forms of metaphysical healing. In Chicago
they call it the Science of Life, but it is practically the same thing. It
puts knowledge and intellect, or the mind of man in the place of God. It
is not healing by remedies, but by mental force. It is a system of false
philosophy and a skeptical theology; a philosophy that is absurd and misleading,
and a theology which is atheistic and infidel. The basis of it is, that the
material world is not real. What seem to be facts are simply ideas. This
church is only a circular idea in my brain, and you chance to have the same
idea in yours, and so we call it a church; but it is not, it is only an idea.
As you sit there before me you are not there in tangible form, but I have
an idea of you in my brain, as sitting there. I am not here either in any
physical sense, but I, too, am an idea lodged in your mind. So the teachers
of this error go on to say that there is no body. Disease, therefore, is
not real because it has no basis to work on. If you accept this philosophy,
the bottom will drop out of all disease. If the idea of sickness has gone
from your mind, the trouble has gone. This is a frank, candid statement of
the principles of this theory. It has captivated hundreds of thousands of
people in this country and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been made
out of it. It is the old philosophy of Hume revived again. The Bible is treated
by these teachers in the same way as the body. It is a beautiful system of
ideas, but they are only ideas. Genesis is a beautiful story of creation,
but it is only an allegory. The New Testament contains a charming picture
of Jesus Christ, but it, too, has no foundation in fact. It is the old errors
that the Apostle John wrote strongly against. "Every spirit that confesseth
not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that
spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even
now already is it in the world." This philosophy denies that Jesus Christ
has come in the flesh. It denies the reality of Christ's body; therefore,
it is anti-Christian in its teaching. This is not Divine healing.
There is no fellowship between the two. It is one of the delusions of science,
falsely so called. It would undermine Christianity. Some of us have despised
it so much that perhaps we have not guarded others against it as we should.
We have felt it was so silly there could be no harm in it; but we forget
how silly human nature is. The apostle tells us the wise in this world are
fools with God. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." How truly this
has been fulfilled in the case of New England! That land of colleges, the
seat of American intelligence and culture, has given birth to this monstrosity.
It is the most fatal infidelity. It does away entirely with the atonement,
for as there is no sin there can be no redemption. I would rather be sick
all my life with every form of physical torment, than be healed by such a
Divine healing is not magnetic healing. It is not a mysterious current which
flows into one body from another. It is a serious question whether there
is such a force in nature as animal magnetism, and whether what this seems
to be, is not rather an influence to which one person's mind is subject from
causes within itself. Whether this is so or not, the thought or claim of
such an influence is repudiated by all who act as true ministers of Divine
healing. Such a one is most anxious to keep his own personality out of the
consciousness of the sufferer, and hold the eye of the invalid only on Christ,
that he may take his healing from Him. There is nothing to be so much feared
in this work as becoming the object of attention. It is heart to heart, and
soul to soul contact with the living Christ, and with Him alone, that will
accomplish the result.
Divine healing is not spiritualism. It cannot be denied that Satan
has a certain power over the human body. Certainly he must have if he is
able to possess it with disease. And, if he has power to inflict ill health
upon the body, I see no reason why he should not, if he please, open the
back door and get out and leave the body well. If Satan had power to bind
a woman in Christ's time for eighteen years, he had power to unbind her just
as quickly. If sickness was his work then, it must surely be the same now.
If he can use some persons better if they are strong and well, he will do
so. Other instruments he can use better in weakness and pain. We cannot but
notice the strange persistency with which people of all ages have resorted
to evil power, either to appease them or enlist their help. The custom is
as old as the earliest races. We find it with the wild Indian in the forest,
and the equally savage African. Particularly have these wild incantations
been performed for the healing of sickness, and it is said that many of them
have actually resulted in the removal of the disease. There can be no question
that great multitudes of spiritualistic phenomena are real. They give positive
evidence of the reality of evil spirits, and they are proofs of God's terrible
forewarning, that in the last days the spirits of devils shall be upon the
earth working miracles, so that, if possible, they shall deceive the very
elect. God's true child will not be deluded by them. If you are deceived
about this thing, look out! You may not be God's true child. I warn you as
you value your true welfare, avoid this seductive snare. You will find in
it some reality, but it is a dangerous power and it will submerge your Christian
faith beneath its hideous waves.
Divine healing is not prayer cure. There are many Christians who greatly
desire others to pray for them. If they can secure a certain quantity of
prayer there will come a corresponding influence for good upon them, and
if all the Christians in the world were to pray for them, they would expect
to be healed. There is a general notion that there is a great deal of power
in prayer which must have an effect if it can be concentrated. And if enough
of it could be obtained, it would remove mountains and perhaps be able to
break down God's stubborn will. This is practically what this view teaches.
There is no power in prayer unless it is the prayer of God Himself. Unless
you are in contact with Christ the living Healer, there is no healing. Christ's
healing is by His own Divine touch. It is not prayer cure, but
Divine healing is not faith cure. The term gives a wrong impression, and
I am glad it has been discarded. There is danger of getting one's mind so
concentrated on faith that it may come between the soul and God. You might
as well expect your faith to heal you, as to attempt to drink from the handle
of the chain pump with which you get fresh water, or to eat the tray upon
which your dinner is brought. If you get to looking at your faith, you will
lose the faith itself. It is God who heals always. The less we dwell on the
prayers, the faith, or any of the means through which it comes, the more
likely we will be to receive the blessing.
Divine healing is not will power. No person can grapple with his own
helplessness and turn it over into strength. It is a principle of mechanics
that no body can move itself. There must be some power outside of itself
to do this. Archimedes said he would be able to pry up the world if he could
get some power outside of it to operate on it; but he could not do it from
the inside. If man is down, all the power in his own soul will not avail
to lift him up. The trouble too often is in his will. He tries to take hold
of himself and lift himself up. He must have some power outside of himself
to lift him, or he will remain down. The will must be yielded up to Christ,
and then He will work in us to will and do of His good pleasure. Then the
first thought will be-how easy, how delightfully simple it is to receive
the power from Him which we need. It is only touching God's hand and receiving
strength from His life.
Divine healing is not defiance of God's will. It is not saying, "I will have
this blessing whether He wills it or not." It is seeing that in having it
we have His highest purpose for us. We will not trust for physical healing
till we know it is God's will for us, then we can say, "I will it, because
He wills it."
Neither is it physical immortality, but it is fullness of life until the
life work is done, and then receiving our complete resurrection life at the
coming of Christ.
Divine healing is not a mercenary medical profession that men adopt as they
would adopt a trade or profession in order to make something out of it. If
you find the mercenary idea appearing in it for a moment, discountenance
and repudiate it. All the gifts of God are as free as the blood of Calvary.
II. WHAT DIVINE HEALING IS.
It is the supernatural Divine power of God infused into human bodies, renewing
their strength and replacing the weakness of suffering human frames by the
life and power of God. It is a touch of the Divine omnipotence, and nothing
short of it. It is the same power that raised Jairus' daughter from the dead
or converted your soul. Is it strange that God should show such power? More
power is required to regenerate a lost soul than to raise the dead. God could
shiver the sepulchre and bring out the forms of those who have laid there
for years with less expenditure of power than it costs Him to redeem one
soul, and keep His saints steadfast unto the end.
It is founded, not on the reasoning of man, or the testimony of those who
have been healed, but on the Word of God alone. All the testimony that could
be gathered from the whole universe would not establish the truth of such
a doctrine, if it is not to be found in the Scriptures. All the deductions
of the human intellect are worthless if they are not rooted there. This truth
rests on God's eternal Word, or it is merely human.
It ever recognizes the will of God, and bows to that in profound submission.
A Christian who is looking for Divine healing will wait till he knows the
will of God, and having learned that, he will claim it without wavering.
If a sufferer is convinced that the work God gave him to do is done, and
that now he is called home, then he should acquiesce in that will and lie
down in those blessed arms and rest. If that conviction has come to any of
you, dear friends, I would not dare to shake you out of it, if you have been
led into it by God. My only thought would be to sweetly smooth your last
pillow, and let you depart in peace. If, however, you think your work is
not done, if you have not clear light from God that this is so, if there
is a true and submissive desire in your heart to live and finish your course
with joy, then He who said nearly two thousand years ago, "Ought not this
woman to be loosed from this infirmity?" is the same to-day as He was then.
He is saying to you in the midst of your weakness, "Ought you not to be made
well?" Surely that should be enough.
It may be, however, that your sickness has been allowed to come as a discipline.
You may have been holding back part of the full testimony or service Christ
has called you to. I am afraid, then, you cannot be healed till that difficulty
is made right. You may be in some wrong and crooked attitude. He probably
will not restore you till that is adjusted. He may have called you to some
service and you are holding back. There will not be healing for the body
till you have yielded at this point. There are hundreds of meanings in the
sicknesses that are allowed to come upon God's dear children, and He will
show you what His voice is for you. "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet
man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep
falleth upon me in slumberings upon the bed, then He openeth the ears of
men, and sealeth their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his purpose,
and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life
from perishing by the sword. He is chastened also with pain upon his bed,
and the multitude of his bones with strong pain; so that his life abhoreth
bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot
be seen; and his bones that were not seen, stick out. Yea, his soul draweth
near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger
with him, and interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his
uprightness, then he is gracious unto him, and saith, 'Deliver him from going
down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a
child's; he shall return to the days of his youth." That is the meaning of
many of God's chastenings. There is much that He would say to men through
His dealings with their bodies, and it is necessary to get their full meaning
into the soul before Divine healing can be received, and kept after it has
been received. It is not a cast-iron patent that works inexorably in one
way always; it requires a walk that is very close with God. When the soul
is thus walking in harmony and obedience to Him, the life of God can fully
flow into the body. Thank God, we cannot have it and have the devil, too.
Divine healing is part of the redemption work of Jesus Christ. It is one
of the things He came to bring. Its foundation stone is the cross of Calvary.
"He redeemeth thy life from destruction." "Deliver him from going down to
death, I have found a ransom." Surely that healing comes from Himself alone.
"By His stripes we are healed." That is the redemption work of Christ. You
have a right to it, beloved, for His body bore all the liability of your
body on the cross. Take it and love Him better, because it came from His
stripes. I love to think of that word as being in the singular number, stripe.
That is the Greek meaning. His body was so beaten that it was all one stripe.
There was not an inch of His flesh but was lacerated for us. There is not
a fibre of your body but Christ has suffered there to redeem it.
Divine healing comes to us through the life of Jesus Christ, who rose from
the dead in His own body. He has gone up to heaven with His living body.
You can see Him there this morning, with hands and feet of living flesh and
bones, which you could handle. He could sit with you at the table and eat
today as He did of old. He is no shadowy cloud-like form, but He has flesh
and bones as we have. That is our Christ, a living physical Christ, and He
is able and willing to share His physical life with you, by breathing into
you His strength. We are healed by the life of Christ in our body. It is
a tender union with Him; nearer than the bond of connubial oneness; so near
that the very life of His veins is transfused into yours. That is Divine
It is the work of the Holy Spirit, quickening the body. When Christ healed
the sick while He was upon earth, it was not by the Deity that dwelt in His
humanity. He said, "If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom
of God is come unto you." Jesus healed by the Holy Ghost. "The Spirit of
the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to
the poor, to heal the broken hearts." The Holy Ghost is the agent, then,
by which this great power is wrought. Especially should we expect to see
His working in these days, because they are the days of His own Dispensation,
the days in which it has been prophesied that there shall be signs and wonders.
How did Samson receive his strength? When the Spirit of the Lord came upon
him. Then he was able to hurl the temple into ruins and their god Dagon with
it. The Spirit of God was in his flesh. So when this electric fire is running
through our frame, it brings healing and strength to every fibre.
Divine healing comes by the grace of God, not through the work of man. It
cannot be bought, neither can it be worked for. We cannot help God out in
it. We must take it as a gift. It comes to us as pardon does, a free gift
It comes to us by faith. It is not the faith that heals. God heals, but faith
receives it. We believe that God is healing before any evidence is given.
It is to be believed as a present reality, and then ventured on. We are to
act as if it were already true. God wants us to lean on Him, and trust Him,
and then rejoice and praise Him for what He has given, with no doubt
Divine healing is in accordance with all he facts of Church history. From
the time of Irenaeus down to the present century there have been repeated
examples of it. It is a long array, and great multitudes of healed ones proclaim
with one voice: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
All down through the middle ages the pure Church believed this truth and
taught it. The Waldenses held it as an article of their faith. The times
of the early Reformers are full of it. The lives of Luther and Baxter, and
Fox and Whitfield, and John Wesley, give clear and convincing testimony that
they believed this truth. In later times the examples of it are numerous.
Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, England and her colonies, and the mission
fields of the world, have many witnesses to the healing power of Jesus. Our
own land, and even our own city, are full of it. You have many witnesses
to it here in your midst. You know them, and how some of them have stood
the test of publicity and of years. They are not obscure cases. Many of them
are men and women who have stood in the very front of Christian work. There
is every kind of character and intelligence and temperament and disposition
among them. There are children among them, as well as old men. Some of them
have had lofty intellects, but they have been transformed into simple children.
There are all classes of disease among them-from the terrible cancer to the
most disordered of nervous organisms. And He has healed them all.
Divine healing is one of the signs of the age. It is the forerunner of Christ's
coming. It is God's answer to the infidelity of today. Man may try to reason
it down with the force of his intellect. God meets it with this unanswerable
proof of His power.
III. HOW IS JESUS OUR HEALER.
Because He has bought healing for us with His stripes. It is a part of His
purchased redemption on Calvary. "Surely, He hath borne our sicknesses and
carried our pains."
Because it is in His risen life in us. We have healing not only from Jesus,
but in Jesus. It is in His living body, and we receive it as we abide in
Him and keep it only as we abide in Him.
Because He enables us to take it by becoming our power to believe. He gives
the faith to trust Him if we will receive it. We have not to climb the heights
to find Him, but He comes down to our helplessness and becomes our trust
as well as our healing. A Chinaman was once telling the difference between
Christ and Confucius and Buddha. He said: "I was down in a deep pit, half
sunk in the mire and was crying for some one to help me out. As I looked
up I saw a venerable, grey-haired man looking down at me. His countenance
bore the marks of his pure and holy spirit. 'My son,' he said, 'this is a
dreadful place.' 'Yes,' I said, 'I fell into it. Can't you help me out?'
'My son,' he said, 'I am Confucius. If you had read my books and followed
what they taught, you never would have been here.' 'Yes, father,' I said,
'but can't you help me out?' As I looked up he was gone. Soon I saw another
form approaching, and another man bent over me, this time with closed eyes
and folded arms. He seemed to be looking into some far-off, distant place.
'My son,' he said, 'just close your eyes and fold your arms and forget all
about yourself. Get into a state of perfect rest. Don't think about anything
that could disturb. Get so still that nothing can move you. Then, my child,
you will be in such delicious rest as I am. 'Yes, father,' I answered, 'I'll
do that when I am above ground. Can't you help me out?' But Buddha, too,
was gone. I was just beginning to sink into despair when I saw another figure
above me, different from the others. He was very simple, and looked just
like the rest of us, but there were the marks of suffering in His face. I
cried out to Him: 'Oh, Father, can you help me?' 'My child,' He said, 'what
is the matter?' Before I could answer Him, He was down in the mire by my
side; He folded His arms about me and lifted me up, and then He fed and rested
me. When I was well, He did not say, 'Now, don't do that again,' but He said,
'We will walk on together now;' and we have been walking together until this
That's what Jesus Christ will do for you, beloved! He comes down to you where
you are. He becomes your trust within you, and then you go on together until
the resurrection light and glory of the coming age bursts in upon you. May
God help us all to receive Him thus fully for His own name's sake! Amen.