When studying the healing ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, you will soon notice that in some of the accounts of people receiving healing Jesus mentioned the person’s faith as being involved, while at other times faith was not present, or referred to, in the account.
As a result, those desiring Divine healing seem to divide into two groups, or schools of thought, on how healing occurs: by faith or not by faith.
This has caused confusion in the church. Some teach that we need faith to receive healing from God while others strongly oppose this, claiming we do not.
The debate about whether faith is necessary to receiving healing or not has become a dividing line, and people feel they can choose which method they would like to be healed by, since both have scriptures to back up their position.
Some choose to go with the scriptures where faith was NOT an issue in the healing and they use these scriptures to try to ‘disprove’ that faith is a necessary factor in healing; others hold strongly to the scriptures where faith IS pointed out as the determining factor in the person receiving healing and teach that we need faith in order to be healed.
The problem is the Bible shows both, and we are not supposed to be picking and choosing the bits of the Bible we want to listen to, or the bits that ‘prove’ our doctrine.
Nor are we supposed to be setting one scripture against another, trying to prove that because we can find a scripture which says ‘one thing’ we can ‘write off’ a scripture that says something else.
That is not how we should approach interpreting the Bible, but unfortunately we often do, and doctrinal debates arise between Christians with each siding in with some scriptures and denying what the other verses say.
What we should be doing is accepting that both sets of scriptures are true, and part of the Word of God; and there is a correct interpretation of the Bible where both fit together.
We should study it out and determine if the Bible shows whether there are reasons why some are healed without faith being necessary and others are healed by faith, then determine what qualifies a person for either option.
It is not simply a matter of saying, ‘I don’t want to use faith to be healed, so I expect God to heal me the non faith route’. Instead we need to see if we qualify for the non faith route; and what determines whether we need faith for our healing.
I believe that the Bible shows a qualifying factor for being healed the non faith route, and what determines whether faith is necessary. This Biblical factor determines which approach to healing is needed in a particular situation and should solve the questions people have about whether they really do need faith or not to receive.
We cannot fulfil the requirements for the faith route, but expect God to heal us through the non faith route. If we qualify for one route, then we need to receive by the principles of that path, whether it fits with our personal idea of how we expect God to heal us or not.
There have been times when I have been trying to help a person receive healing and I point out a particular scripture which shows faith as a factor in receiving healing, and the next thing, they jump quickly in to point out a scripture which they feel contradicts the one I have used, where the person received healing and faith is not mentioned.
Some take scriptures like the woman with the issue of blood, who’s faith made her whole, while others prefer scriptures where like the man by the pool who was healed without any faith.
People seem to feel they can pick the verses they prefer and expect healing to work in their lives according to their choice.
If they do not like the idea of faith and believing God for healing, then they choose ‘the non faith’ healings in the Bible, while those who believe that faith is the route, side in with the faith verses on the subject.
Some feel that because the Bible shows both possible routes to healing, that it gives them a Biblical basis to ignore the scriptures on faith, when in reality it does not.
If you try to ignore certain passages which do not fit in with your personal ideas, you are likely to miss out on the benefits for your life that those passages bring; and you could find yourself unable to receive healing as a result.
We should be looking at how all of these passages fit together and endeavouring to understand why the Bible shows the two different sides, how they work together in the over all healing ministry, and how to know which applies in specific situations.
The point is that both are in the Bible and if we want to receive healing then we must understand how both are true and how they both work together in order to receive Biblical results in the area of Divine healing.
If we ignore some passages, then we will not have a complete understanding of the Bible teaching on Divine Healing and how it occurs.
Can we pick and choose which Biblical healing accounts we expect our healing to follow after; or do we need to understand what qualifies us to receive by faith or not by faith?
In order to study this, take a look at the tables below.
These tables are put together based upon one specific factor: who made the initial approach. In other words, did the sick person go to Jesus for healing, or did Jesus go to the sick person?
This may seem like a very simple, almost meaningless distinction, but you will notice a pattern emerges in the scriptures when you make this specific division.
By splitting the healing passages in Jesus’ ministry based upon this factor, you will notice that ALL of the people healed ‘by faith’ are in one of the groups.
For example, the woman with the Issue of Blood. The Bible says, ‘she came…’ (Mark 5:27)
With the man by the pool, Jesus saw him and started the process (John 5:6)
(Please note that we are not including cases where people were delivered from demons here, that is for another study. These are specifically healing related incidents, although a couple of these healing related instances were included a demonic influence, but as they pertain to a healing, are included here)
A) The following table lists cases where Jesus made the first approach to the sick person:
In each of these cases faith is not specifically mentioned as a factor in the person being healed.
|Man at the Pool||5:2-15|
|Man with the Withered Hand||12:9-13||3:1-5||6:6-10|
|Man Born Blind||9:1-7|
|Woman with spirit of infirmity||13:10-17|
|Man with dropsy||14:1-6|
B) The following table lists cases where the sick person, or their parent, made the first approach to Jesus:
Notice how many of these faith is SPECIFICALLY referred to in their healing
(F) – indicates that faith is specifically mentioned as the determining factor in the healing
|Nobleman’s Son (F)||4:46-54|
|Centurion’s servant (F)||8:5-13||7:1-10|
|Jairus’ Daughter (F)||9:18-19
|Woman with Issue of Blood (F)||9:20-22||5:25-34||8:43-48|
|Two Blind Men (F)||9:27-31|
|Syrophoenician’ daughter (F)||15:21-28||7:24-30|
|Lunatic Son (F)||17:14-21||9:14-29||9:37-42|
|Ten Lepers (F)||17:11-19|
|Blind Bartimaeus (F)||20:29-34||10:46-52||18-35-43|
C) Those healed by Intercession by a group on behalf of the sick person.
In this category, a third party or group interceded for the sick person. This third group shows another route which we are not examining in this article, however it is worth noting. Here the principles of intercession on behalf of another apply.
Note however that only a small number of cases were healed through this route, so it is not a path the majority can use.
|Peter’s wife’s Mother||8:14-15||1:29-31||4:38-39|
|Deaf with Speech impediment||7:31-37|
|Blind man at Bethsaida||8:22-|
Who went to who?
This simple division between the various healings in the Gospels shows a very interesting pattern, and makes a distinction between the healings which were by faith and those where faith was not involved in the healing. It also helps us understand which category applies to us.
By studying healing in the Gospels from a point of view of ‘who initiated the healing, or who made the first approach,’ we can see when faith is required for healing and when it is not.
The healings that Jesus initiated, i.e.: He went to the sick person, do not reference faith, while those where the sick person came to Jesus, do.
All of the people healed by their faith are in the one group, category (B). These approached Jesus for their healing.
This helps us understand that when we approach God to heal us, either directly, or by asking someone to pray for us, then according to the Bible, faith is necessary.
We cannot be the ones making the initial approach, yet expect God to heal us as if He approached us. If we try to, we will find healing does not operate for us.
Faith and Non Faith Healings
Some might read this and say that it is easier then to not approach God, let Him approach you, so that you do not need faith.
However what you need to understand about this route is that there are no Biblical promises to assure you will receive healing this way. It is random, so not all can get healed by waiting for God to approach them.
Since there are these two groups, those who approach God and those God approaches, and depending who makes the first approach determines if faith is required, it would be easy to conclude that wouldn’t it be best to simply not make the first approach, and wait for God to do so?
The catch is, there are no scriptures which promise that God will make the approach. Therefore this is not a sure way to heal. There is a randomness to it, some receive this way, most do not.
The Word does promise that when you approach in faith, you will receive. The faith method, where you approach God is a sure way to results.
Some are uncertain whether faith always works, however the Bible says it does. If you believe the Bible, then you believe that faith works. The Bible does not teach that faith only works some of the time.
Many who thought they were operating faith, but did not receive, were not operating in faith the way the Bible teaches to. Notice, I didn’t say that they did not have faith, but rather were not operating it within Biblical parameters.
We need to understand how the Bible teaches that faith works.
To study this particular point more, please see the accompanying article:
Think about it like this:
The Bible shows that Healing is Gods will for us.
Some have questioned this because they did not receive, however just because you do not receive does not mean it is not God’s will. It may be that you did not receive according to how God lays down we are to receive. (Other articles on this site will study this).
So healing is Gods will for you. However, as we have seen in this article, healing can come a few different ways.
The methods by which healing can occur are:
- By your faith (promised in the Bible as a sure route)
- No faith, waiting for God to come to you (no promises to assure it will happen)
- Healed by the intercession of others (no promises to assure it will happen for you, it might, but not assurance it will happen in your case)
While healing is Gods will for all, only one of these methods is an assured Biblical route that all can rely on. The Bible shows us that when we operate faith according to the Bible we will be healed. None of the people who approached Jesus in faith failed to receive.
Some receive through the other methods, however not all. The other two methods (God approaching you and being healed by others intercession) are not promised in the bible as sure methods of healing through which all can receive.
Therefore if you rely on one of these two options, you are looking to a route that may or may not result in healing in your life.
Neglecting the faith route, and relying on the other two options may cause you to wonder if it is God’s will to heal you because there is no surety you will receive those ways. However it is Gods will, But He only assures it through the one route. Neglect that way, and you may do without.
If you want to follow a sure path to healing, then you need to take the faith option. If you are willing to leave your healing up to a random method that may or may not happen in your particular case, then you can try to wait for it to happen. However you must understand that this may mean you go without and remain sick.
It is far better to receive by faith, and be assured by Biblical promises that your faith will work and enable you to receive healing.
In order to help you see that the Bible teaches that faith is necessary when you approach God, let’s look at some other verses which teach this.
:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
:15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Here in James 5, it specifically says that the sick person is to call the elders.
In other words this passage is specifically dealing with the category where the sick person makes the initial approach. It states that it is the prayer of faith that heals them.
:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
‘for he who comes to God…’
Notice that here we are told, when you ‘come to God’ you ‘must’ believe. In other words, when you make the approach, faith is required. It is not optional.
:25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
:26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
This is a very interesting passage, and can cause confusion unless you understand what we have been looking at in this article.
Jesus mentions there were many widows in the time of Elijah, but only one got it.
That is not because God would not provide for the others, He would have if they had approached Him by faith. However Elijah going to her (at Gods instruction) only resulted in one receiving provision.
:26 shows that the prophet was ‘sent’ to the widow.
He was only sent to the one widow. This does not mean the other widows could not have gone to God themselves and trusted Him for his provision. However in this widows case, God initiated the provision by sending the prophet to her.
Here we see that God sending a minister to you does not happen for everyone. Despite the fact that so many sit at home and wait for God to send someone to them, it does not happen for all.
God has made a way for all to receive, but it is not by sitting and waiting for Him to make the first approach. The way all can receive is by approaching him by faith.
:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
:22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
:23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
:24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
:25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
:26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
:27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Here Jesus says to this Gentile woman, ‘I was not sent to you, I have no specific sending to you’. (verse 24)
This could have put the lady off, and she could have gone home discouraged. However instead, she humbled herself and her faith rose up strong. She received her healing, and Jesus commented on her great faith.
Just because Jesus was not sent to her, did not mean she could not receive.
However she had to receive by faith. That was the only route available to her, and in her case, she did receive.
Many think that unless God specifically sends someone to them, then they are without hope. This is not true.
God has made His Word available to all. All can believe and act on His Word to receive without having to wait for God to send someone to them.
We have asked the question, ‘Do you need faith to be healed?’
What we have seen is that some are healed without faith, however this required God initiating the healing.
God does send people to some sick people, and initiate the healing in their lives. This occurs through what we call the Gifts of Healings or other manifestations of the Holy Spirit. These are for God to initiate.
However healing does not come to everyone this way, and many who try to rely on this method end up not getting healed. This is because God expects us to walk in faith.
He wants the majority to make the approach to Him, by faith, in order to receive their healing.
I encourage you to develop and use your faith. Instead of waiting for God to approach you, you approach Him in faith to receive.
Find out how faith works and put yours into practice to receive healing.
(We will discuss ‘receiving faith’ in other articles coming soon)
This article, along with others by the same author can be found at www.exceedingfaith.com
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.
© 2014 Exceeding Faith Ministries International & Owen Walton.
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