Does God Still Heal Today? He Is Unchanging

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 16, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I selected the title I did for this writing because I believe this is one truth that must be at the very core of the Christian’s theology. If you believed that God’s nature and character could possibly change, then how could you trust him or anything that he says in his Word? I know I’m giving away my answer to the question, but we must stop evaluating God as if he is another human being. You and I can, and often must, change because sin separates us from God. Our nature and character change when we are “born again”, and the process of being made holy is ongoing in our lives. God, however, is completely holy and has no need to change.

I will share just two Scripture passages - one from each Testament - that highlight this truth. “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Malachi 3:6). Here, God explains that his promise to Israel remains because he will not go back on his word. Then in James 1:17, the author explains, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. Since healing would certainly fall under “every good and perfect gift”, I’d say that verse makes it clear that God still heals today!

With that being said, I want to talk a little bit more about healing and why it seems to me that the purpose of healing today is the same as it was during Biblical times. Was the healing really only about the individual who received it? I don’t think so. Furthermore, I’d argue that it’s not even mostly about that person. When a sick person is made well miraculously by the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s much more about the HealER than the healEE. And since God does not need to simply show off for himself, it seems to me that healing is also about those who witness the act and/or the evidence. God wants to make himself known to us and this is shown in Scripture. That’s why he chooses to use those that society has labeled “weak”, “uneducated”, and “unworthy” to accomplish extraordinary things by his power. He also heals people who are known for their ailments so that there is no denying the evidence of the miracle.

In Acts 3, we see the very first miraculous healing that is recorded to have taken place after the Holy Spirit came upon the believers for the very first time at Pentecost. Check out last week’s post for more information on that. The man who is healed is a cripple since birth who is brought to the temple gate every single day to beg for money. He is specifically put in this location because of the large numbers of people that enter the temple there. Many people saw this beggar every day to the point that it was commonplace to walk right past him. People likely noticed his condition and maybe had momentary sympathy for him, but nothing could change his situation.

Then one day, former disciples of Jesus named Peter and John show up. The man asks them for money just as he does everyone else that walks by, but Peter instead says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (3:6). The man instantly gets up, realizes he is healed, and begins to walk, jump, and praise God (3:8). All the people who were used to seeing him crippled and begging are “filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened” (3:10). At this point, the people come running to Peter and John thinking they must be some pretty special dudes. Peter rightfully gives credit where credit is due and declares that it is “by faith in the name of Jesus” that the man was healed (3:16).

Then in the next chapter, we see that the Jewish ruling authorities get upset at Peter and John because they are teaching people that Jesus heals and that even though the authorities had killed Jesus, he has been raised from the dead by God (4:1-12). The man who had been healed had been brought before the authorities along with them, and they weren’t about to deny the evidence no matter what the penalty might be. The authorities were in a bind. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say” (4:13-14). In other words, even the authorities who opposed Jesus and those that stood with him could not deny the obvious evidence that a man had been healed. So, again I say that the healing was not about the one who was healed. We don’t even know his name! It’s about the power of the living Christ and is intended to reveal him to those who don’t believe.

The same was true with the healing of the paralytic in Matthew 9:1-8. Jesus wasn’t trying to hide something. He told the teachers of the law that the reason he was going to heal the man was “so that (they) would know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (v. 6). The healing was certainly a blessing to the paralytic, but the purpose was to reveal his power to others. One of the reasons why I say this about both the crippled beggar in Acts 3 and the paralytic in this passage is that, as far as we know, these men still died at some point. And because we all face pains and illnesses in this life, I’m sure these men did too. Do you ever think about that? We read healings and it’s almost like we assume all of their problems are now gone. They still had to live in this world, which guarantees troubles (John 16:33). Regardless of how the rest of their lives went and whether they even continued to worship God, the proof of the power of God was evident to others through their healings.

Friends, I encourage you to take comfort in this if you are currently waiting patiently for healing for yourself or a loved one. I encourage you to take comfort even if you earnestly prayed for it and didn’t receive it when you wanted or even felt you needed it. Since we will all die unless Christ returns while we’re still living, isn’t physical healing simply prolonging the agony of this life? My point isn’t that we shouldn’t pray for healing. My point is that we all need to think about whether our purposes are self-serving or God-serving. As believers, we must accept that the only TRUE and COMPLETE healing comes when this life is over. This healing will not simply be characterized by a brief respite from pain. Instead, Scripture says, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

I urge you to recognize that if God did not give you or your loved one healing when you prayed for it, that doesn’t mean God no longer heals. It means the healing was permanent in a way that we cannot see or understand yet, rather than temporary as we see. It means that God was probably better glorified through the pain or death of a loved one than he would have been through a temporary healing. Remember that we are on this earth temporarily and none of us has any number of days guaranteed. We are here to bring glory to God as we experience his love. Let us remember that he is unchanging and let us pray that our lives reflect his goodness and power, whether we are temporarily or permanently healed.