Is healing in the atonement? I can almost hear some of you thinking, “Why would you ask a question like that?” One reason to ask this question is because many Christians believe this. Another reason is because our world is full of sick people. Yet another reason is because the Bible has a lot to say about the issue of healing.
I’ve found that Christian folks fall into three categories on the issue of divine healing. (For you newbies, you’ll catch on to what the phrase “healing in the atonement” means/suggests, as you read the next several posts.)
First, you have those who immediately dismiss the subject of divine healing. Their thinking might go as follows:
It’s ridiculous to even talk about it or consider it. Yes, perhaps it happened in Bible days, but any sane person knows it doesn’t happen like that anymore. Of course, God can do anything He wants to do. And it is possible that He could still heal. But we are foolish to seriously seek it. He gives us grace to endure sickness. Someday we’ll get new bodies in heaven.
So goes the thinking of the first camp. There is some truth in these points. But there is truth missing as well. Most of those who say these sort of things have never honestly searched the subject out in the Scriptures or in church history.
The second camp is the polar opposite. Their opinion might sound like this:
Of course it’s God’s will to heal. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins and heal our diseases. The Bible says that by His stripes we were healed. Jesus never refused to heal any sick person who humbly came to Him. King David said that God forgives all our sins and heals all of our diseases. God promised through Moses that He would put none of the diseases of the Egyptians on us if only we would trust and obey Him. James tells church members to call the elders of the church when they get sick, for “The prayer offered in faith will heal the sick.”
That’s the sort of stuff that you’ll hear from the second camp. There is a lot of truth in this view. But there is truth missing as well.
So let me go out on a limb and possibly offend everyone: Anyone who casually or immediately brushes off the question , “Is healing in the atonement?”, has probably not deeply and prayerfully considered the matter. Furthermore, they probably have succumbed to one of two extremes: either humanistic rationalism or charismatic triumphalism. Note that I did not say everyone in either camp has succumbed to these errors, but specifically those who “casually or immediately brush off the question.” It seems that there’s generally a ditch on both sides of the road.
But there’s a third way. It’s found in the inevitable tension and mystery in the middle. Most people are not willing to live in the middle. The ditches only require dogmatic and narrow views. The middle road requires a relationship with a living Person.
The question about healing in the atonement actually deserves a serious look. If not because of the tremendous pain and suffering in our world, then because of the tremendous amount of Biblical data relating to the subject.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll agree with the posts that follow. But I think your thinking might get stretched a bit. And if you’re in one of the ditches, you might be amazed at the blessing it will be to you and others if you brave the tension and mystery and begin to walk with the Christ in the middle.