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Spiritual Gifts: Healing
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit... (1 Cor. 12:8-9 NIV) These gifts are inextricably connected to the freedom of God. When it comes to such things as healings and miracles, some people like to say that God must heal them, whereas others say that God, in effect, cannot do miraculous things anymore. These people are either saying that God must do something or that God cannot do something. Both of these positions should be rejected, because God is free to do as he sees fit.
The Spiritual Gift of Healing Defined
The gift of healing is the ability to call on God to heal the sick through supernatural means for the purpose of revealing God.
People with the Gift of Healing
Those with the gift of healing trust that God can heal the sick and pray in faith for the physical restoration of those in need. These people see healing as a sign that God uses to reveal his power to people so that many will come to believe in Jesus. People with this gift do not see someone healed every time they ask God, since healing is something that God alone decides to do (e.g., Gal. 4:13-14; Phil. 2:27; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20).
Healing in Scripture
Matthew 4:23-24 and 9:35 speak of Jesus' many healings. The Twelve had the gift of healing (Matt. 10:1), as did the Seventy (Luke 10:8-9), Peter (Acts 5:14-16), and Paul (Acts 3:1-8). Additionally, church elders are supposed to pray for the sick so that God might heal them (James 5:13-16).
Common Errors Regarding Healing
- Some say that the more supernatural gifts, such as healing, ceased to operate at the end of the first century, but the church fathers from the second and third century report that such things as healing continued to occur in their day.
- Some say that if a testimony of a healing is given, it is to be believed, but a healing also needs to be verified (e.g., by a doctor) to help prove what God has done.
- Some say that healing should be done in a church service, but there is no record of this happening in the New Testament, which may mean that healing, like some other gifts, is not best used during a church service.
- Some extreme groups teach that since God can heal, Christians should not use a doctor, but the Bible does not speak against doctors, and doctors like Luke used their medical ability as part of their pastoral ministry to help people (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 1:24).
- Some say that by walking in faith and not sinning, no Christian needs to ever be sick, but Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-27), Timothy (1 Tim. 5:23), Trophimus (2 Tim. 4:20), and Paul (1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor. 11:30; 12:5, 7-10; Gal. 4:13) each had sickness that was not healed, despite the fact they deeply loved God and walked with Jesus faithfully.
Do You Have This Gift?
- Do you have a deep compassion for people who are sick?
- Do you have a deep conviction that God can heal anyone he chooses?
- Do you enjoy praying for people who are sick?
- Have you seen God heal someone?
- When God heals someone, are you excited because it helps to reveal his power to others?
- Do you long for the coming of God's kingdom, when there will be an end to all sickness since sin and its effects will be no more?