What Divine Healing Is Not
We will look at the 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. The most precious truths must be most closely guarded against error.
1. Divine healing is not medical healing. It does not come to us through medicines, nor is it God’s special blessing on remedies and means. It is the direct power of the almighty hand of God Himself. “Himself took our infirmities,” (Matthew 8:17) and He is able to carry them without man’s help.
For those who are not ready to fully entrust their bodies to the Lord, it is well enough to use all the help that nature and science can give. We cheerfully admit that such remedies have some value as far as they go, and there is some virtue 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 must accept the decree, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further.” And yet, in spite of their limitations, no one should rashly to give up these human helps until they have found something better. Unless you have been led to trust Christ entirely for something higher and stronger than your natural life, you had better stick to natural remedies. You need to be sure that God’s Word distinctly presents healing for disease, and does it as definitely as it does deliverance from sin.
2. 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 building is only a circular idea in my brain, and you chance to have the same idea in yours, and so we call it a building; 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—that 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 error 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.” (1 John 4:3) This philosophy denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. It denies the reality of Christ’s body; therefore, it is anti-Christ 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.” (1 Corinthians 3:19) 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 lie.
3. 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 renounced 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 direct the eye of the invalid only to Christ, that the healing may be received from Him. There is nothing to be so much feared in this work as becoming the object of attention. Only heart-to-heart contact with the living Christ, and with Him alone, will accomplish the result.
4. 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 (Luke 13:11,16), he had power to unbind her just as readily. If sickness was his work then, it must surely be the same now. If he can use some persons better while 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 throughout history and all parts of the world have resorted to evil powers, either to appease them or enlist their help. Although commonly associated with “primitive” peoples and superstitious tribes, it has also drawn followers among those considered more civilized and intelligent. Particularly have 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 much of spiritualistic phenomena is real. Such gives clear evidence of the reality of evil spirits, and is proof 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. But a true child of God will flee from the voice of such a stranger (Mark 13:22; John 10:4-5). 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.
5. 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 Christ-healing.
6. Divine healing is not faith cure. 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 pump with which you get fresh water, or 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 always God who heals. The less we dwell on the prayers, the faith, or any of the means through which it comes, the more prepared we will be to receive the blessing.
7. 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 outside power to operate on it; he could not do it from within. If man is down, all the power in his own soul will not avail to lift himself up. The trouble too often is in his will. He tries to take hold of himself and lift himself up, but in vain. He must have some power outside of himself, or he will remain down. The will must first be yielded up to Christ, and then He will work in us to will and do of His good pleasure. And then the first thought will be—how easy, how delightfully simple it is to receive the needed power from Him. It is only touching God’s hand and receiving strength from His life.
8. Divine healing is not defiance of God’s will. It is not saying, “I will have this blessing whether He wills it or not.” Rather, it is seeing that in having healing, 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.”
9. Divine healing is not a career. It is not an occupation 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, denounce and reject it (Acts 8:20). All the gifts of God are as free as the blood of Calvary.
10. Divine healing is not physical immortality. It is receiving the fullness of life until our life-work is done. It is but a foretaste of the resurrection life we will receive at the coming of Christ, when we shall be like Him, and shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).