Posted by: splat | July 2, 2012

Were we healed by His stripes?

Were we healed by his stripes? What do people mean by this? Why are so many Christians sick if they are supposed to be healed already? In this post I explore these and other issues.

The main scripture (the one most cited) for “by his stripes we were healed” is 1 Peter 2:24-25.

1 Peter 2:24-25 KJV Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The way that this scripture is generally preached is that Peter was calling those things that aren’t as though they were and telling his listeners what to say in order to be healed. They base it on this verse that speaks of God promising Abraham a son:

(KJV)Romans 4:17
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Now this led some to conclude that any symptoms they might experience in their body, as “lying symptoms” and they should also “call those things that are as though they aren’t”. Some would take this a step further and call “reaching for the medicine cabinet” a sin.

It was because I was having a great deal of difficulty with this concept that led me to think more deeply about this. It occurred to me that Peter could actually be referring to certain individuals who were actually healed, rather than telling them what to say in order to be healed. In other words, he was, in my opinion, simply telling them how their healing had occurred. In this way 1 Peter 2:24 was fulfilled for them, at some point prior to Peter’s writing the letter. In other words, he wasn’t encouraging them to manifest that healing some time in the future by reciting “by His stripes ye were healed”. However, this is the approach that some bible teachers take.

In the process of trying to resolve this dilemna I eventually found myself in Mark 11:23-24.

Mark 11:23-24 KJV For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (24) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

This is another of those verses which is used to bolster the position of “calling those things that are not as though they are”. However, notice that “believe that you have received them” is in the present tense in the KJV. Most bibles, even most study bibles, put this in the past tense. I believe they do this in error. The KJV seems to be more consistent with the original greek.

So we can see that the greek literally says that if you believe that you are obtaining (present tense). If its present tense its not a matter of “calling things that are not as though they were” but simply acknowledging that when God is working we may not perceive it with our five senses. This is simply in accord with normal faith principles as you only need faith when you can’t see how the answer can come.

Where I was originally having difficulty with this is the inclination of some faith teachers to say that you have received it (past tense) which, for me, caused me some consternation, as I could not find that taught anywhere in scripture. They would use phrases such as “calling those things that are not as though they are” or “lying symptoms”.

Also its much easier to assimilate that God is working already on one’s behalf to bring about the answer to prayer, even while we see no evidence of it than to deny ones senses and call what you see a lie.

Now this causes verse 23 to make more sense in relation to vs 24:

Mark 11:23 KJV For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

What does the person believe in this verse? That it is already done? No! He believe that those things he says shall come to pass (future tense). Its not a matter of calling it “lying symptoms”.

It would be better to say that God is acting in the present but it may take some time to see the evidence of it with our five senses. There is an unseen spiritual process at work.

This means that God is acting on your behalf even before you see the evidence of it and then the manifestation of it shall come. It does not mean, as some claim, that God is not acting at all, and that its up to you “to produce” that healing with your faith. This is the result of those that claim to it being “past” tense.

Its much easier to justify, to oneself, that God is working already on one’s behalf to bring about the answer to prayer, than to deny ones senses and call what you see a lie. This, in turn, leads to the doctrine of lying symptoms which I don’t agree with. The problem with this teaching is that now it becomes wrong to reach for the medicine cabinet while standing in faith for your healing. While this may not be too bad for a headache, for someone who is a diabetic and on insulin this can be disastrous. I have not found one single scripture to say that our symptoms of sickness are a lie. Symptoms are real and any attempt to “mind over matter” symptoms are foolishness.

The correct response, in my view, is that we thank God for what He is doing in the situation (present tense) and ask God to show us how to get relief from our symptoms while we are standing in faith for our complete recovery. It is wrong to stop taking prescription medication unless the doctors or God himself clearly tells us to stop taking them.

Now to reiterate Mark 11:23

Mark 11:23 KJV For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

What does the person believe in this verse? That it is already done? No! He believes that those things he says shall come to pass (future tense).

The more we thank and praise God for what He is already doing, whether we see it or not, causes our heart to be strengthened, and our faith to increase in accordance with that. (Cf Eph 3:16-20)

I do, in a sense, understand what people might mean when they say “by His stripes we were healed” if they are thinking in terms of the payment for it. However, if they are trying to justify it in terms of “lying symptoms” I think its misleading. They might be better to call it “lying emotions” as our emotions are never a reliable barometer as to what God is doing in the situation.

My distinction may be considered by many to be slight and “splitting straws” but for me it makes a huge difference in my ability to be at rest with “by His stripes you were healed”. There is too many people in the other camp that are into performance-faith where all the responsibility is on the sick person to perform. I don’t think its about our performance but just trusting and _resting in His finished work but recognizing the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our physical bodies.  For this reason I prefer to say “by His stripes He is healing us” rather than “by His stripes we were healed”.

Another good example is the following verse:

Acts 9:33-34 KJV And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. (34) And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

What did Peter say to the man? Did he not say “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole”? Is this in the present tense or the past tense? If it was in the past tense it would be “has made thee whole”. Here Peter is showing that he believes in the present tense sense of “by His stripes”.

So in summation, I believe that we can be healed by His stripes but there some points I don’t agree with.

  • That reaching for the medicine cabinet is necessarily a lack of faith
  • That we need to perform to have faith or be acceptable to God
  • That we need to “tell lies” or pretend our symptoms don’t exist to have faith
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