III. CHRIST OUR HEALER.
"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 human'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 people'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 shall you 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 a person 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 secular. 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 confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of Antichrist, of what you 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 takes 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 secularism. 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.
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 Christ-healing.
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. We cannotgrapple with our 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 we are down, all the power in our own soul will not avail to lift us up. The trouble too often is in our will. We try to take hold of ourself and lift ourself up. We must have some power outside of ourself to lift us, or we 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 guidance. 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.
2. 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 resolute and enduring to the end.
It is founded, not on the reasoning of human, 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. God probably will not restore you till that is adjusted. God 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 God will show you what His voice is for you. "For God speaks once, yea twice, yet we perceive it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon me in slumberings upon the bed, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keeps 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 abhores 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 draws near to the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, and interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man his uprightness, then he is gracious to him, and said, '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 redeems your 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 healing.
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 to you." Jesus healed by the Holy Ghost. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has 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 created. 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 human. 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 from Him.
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 or fear.
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 secularism 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.
3. 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 has 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 someone 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 day."
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!
From the Fourfold Gospel by REV. A. B. SIMPSON, D.D. with an Introduction by REV. FREDERIC H. SENFT, D.D. Published by CHRISTIAN PUBLICATIONS INC. in 1890. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.
Insights of the past for the present
Fourfold Gospel - A.B. Simpson
ON THE BOOK SHELF
May your insights be worthy.