The question we are dealing with assumes some things that not all my readers will agree with.
Some people need to ask a prior question: Does divine healing still occur at all? Because if you say, “no”, you obviously will not even see the need to question if healing is in the atonement.
For the sake of the discussion, let me assume that most of my readers are not only Christians, but that they also believe that divine healing is something that God can and perhaps still does, even if rarely, and even if you’ve never experienced it personally.
Let me also explain that by “divine healing” I mean “the miraculous intervention by God, apart from the normal healing processes of the human body and apart from the intervention of medical science.” I do not mean by this that God does not bless the normal functioning of our bodies and that He is not involved within the skill and wisdom of physicians. I believe He does these things as well. However, for the sake of our discussion, these latter types of healing are NOT what we are focusing on.
At this point, let me state that I KNOW THAT GOD STILL DIVINELY HEALS. I don’t hold this position by “faith”. Faith relates to things that cannot be presently proven by our five senses, but which we hold true based upon the promises and teachings we have in the word of God, the Bible. I have personally experienced divine healing on several occasions and have witnessed it occurring in others in dozens of instances. It’s not a matter of faith but of historical reality for me. For instance, I don’t believe that Molly is my wife. I know she is. While I was courting her, there were months where I believed that she would be my wife (for I felt that God had promised me the same.) I was quite sure it was going to happen – but this I held by a position of faith. Today I hold her in my arms. Faith ended in sight, as the old hymn says.
In other words, if you want to talk me out of divine healing, you’re too late! The Apostle John began his first epistle with some very factual statements about Jesus: “what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.” There is an experiential knowledge of even spiritual and eternal things.
Let me share two of the more noteworthy experiences of divine healing I’ve personally witnessed.
Years ago our missionary team baptized an eight year old boy. He had been born blind, but miraculously received his sight as he came out of the baptismal waters. This happened in a remote tribal village in a third world country. It was a spontaneous miracle.
On another occasion, there was a mute woman, who had not spoken for a very long time. She immediately began to speak when the demon that had been tormenting her was cast out. As the demon was going out, it used the woman’s body and mouth to make monkey-like imitations and sounds. Later I learned that the woman had been a worshipper of monkey-like deity (idol). The lady immediately regained her senses and her organ of speech after the demon left. She subsequently responded to the Gospel and confessed Jesus as her Savior. I was privileged not only to drive the demon out of this poor woman, but to lead her to forgiveness of sins and peace through the same Name by which she had been delivered of the devil: Jesus Christ. Just remembering this marvelous event fills me with the awe and wonder of that blessed experience all over again. I wish everyone had this experience.
But in all honesty, there have been many more times when I prayed for sick people and they were NOT healed immediately or miraculously – though I did everything I knew to do.
So the question we will be considering is not, “Does God still divinely heal the sick?” This is a fact proven in Biblical times and in contemporary times as well. Rather we are asking, “Was divine healing purchased and thus guaranteed to every believer, in this life, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ at the Cross?”
This we will specifically begin to address in the next post.