By Akin Ojumu

In response to my recent commentary titled, “Never Trust a Faith Healer With a Pacemaker,” a beloved brother of mine asserted that Isaiah 53:5 is, and I quote, “a divine promise that believers down the ages have exercised faith in and gotten healed and stayed healed.”

If that were the case, how come Christians have been falling sick and dying for the past 2000 years, including the Apostles of Jesus who laid the foundation of the faith? Shouldn’t “divine health” have shielded them from sickness and death? I don’t suppose my brother is suggesting that all these Christians who have fallen ill and died from their illnesses lacked faith. Or is he?

Even the great Apostle Paul was not immune from torment. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:7 about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”:

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

The same Paul counseled his spiritual son, Timothy, to:

“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Does that mean Apostle Paul and Timothy failed to “exercise faith” to operate in “divine health?”

You see, one of the challenges of contemporary Christianity is the lack of proper understanding of Biblical hermeneutics (i.e., principles and methods of interpreting the text of the Bible.) and Biblical exegesis (i.e., process of discovering the original and intended meaning of a passage of Scripture).

In order to properly interpret and understand what a Bible text means, it has to be interpreted historically, grammatically, and contextually. Every time you read a Bible passage, you must always ask yourself the question:

(1) What did the author have in mind when he wrote this?
(2) What message was he trying to pass across?
(3) What did it mean to the people to whom he wrote?
(4) What is the context?
(5) What do the words mean, and how are they used, in the original language?

If we apply this principle to Isaiah 53:5, the text becomes clearer.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

The context of Isaiah 53 is the vicarious (i.e., substitutional) atonement of Jesus for the sin of the world. Isaiah prophesied about the rejection, humiliation, suffering, and death of the Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all for our iniquities. It’s in this regard that the passage must be interpreted and understood.

Isaiah 53:5 is talking about “spiritual” healing and not “physical” healing. The scourging of Jesus heals us from the sickness in our soul. It was the stripe that caused His death that brings salvation to those for whose sins He died. 

Youd be surprised to know that the following words, “sin,” “iniquity,” “transgression,” and “transgressor” appear about 10 times in the 12 verses that make up Isaiah 53. That gives you an idea what the passage is really talking about.

Sin is the ultimate cause of sickness. Jesus bore the weight of the sin of the world on the Cross. Our ultimate physical healing will come at the end (1 Corinthians 15:42-58) when our corruptible body becomes incorruptible. Jesus died on the Cross to save our souls and not our physical bodies. His death was to rid us of our sins not our sicknesses.

Nevertheless, God continues to heal people even today; He has not lost His ability to heal. But if you are sick and you pray to God for healing, and you did not receive your healing, do not despair or doubt your faith in God.

As a born-again Believer, just because you don’t live in divine health does not mean you lack faith. Your getting healed or not getting healed has nothing to do with your faith. Just as God saves whomever He wills, He, likewise, heals whomever He chooses; it’s His prerogative and sovereign will. 

Don’t let anyone put an undue burden on you or make you feel guilty that you are lacking in faith. Whether you are healed or not, your response should be to trust God knowing that He loves you, nonetheless.


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