Society people should believe in “Divine Healing” today, (a) because of Christ’s last great commission, and (b) because of God’s direct command in James 5: 14.
(a) Examine here Christ’s last commission to His disciples in Mark 16: 17: “And these signs shall follow them that believe (literally, ‘to those believing’) ; in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (18) They shall take up serpents (as Paul did, Ac. 28: 3-5) ; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Here then is a direct command from Christ that His followers should pray for the sick, and expect Him to heal them.
(b) Here listen to James 5: H: “Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” The word “call” here is “proskalesasthó,” the 1st Aorist, imperative, middle, 3d singular of “proskaleö”—I call or summon. It is therefore a direct command from God, a command that most saints have never yet obeyed. But look at God’s promise, if only we will obey this command. James 5:15, “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Is this a part of God’s word? Yes. Then, let us obey it and see how marvelously God fulfills His promises.
Now we know James was here speaking of physical sickness: (1) Because the word for “save” here is “sösei,” the future, 3d singular of “sözö,” the very word used by Christ every time He said to a sick person, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” See Mathew 9: 22; Mark 6: 56; Mark 10:52; Luke 8:48; Luke 17: 19, etc. (2) Because of the word James uses for “the sick”—”the prayer of faith shall save the sick” (ton kamnonta). “Kamnonta” is the present participle, masculine accusative of “kamno,” to be tired, exhausted, sick or ill, and literally reads, “the one being sick or exhausted. This is the word used to express Job’s physical sickness (Job 17:2).
Again the word “raise” (egerei) here speaks of physical illness. It is the future of “egeiro” (I raise or lift up), the very word used in Mark 1: 31 where Christ “lifted up” Simon’s wife’s mother who was sick of a fever. (4) Again we are absolutely sure that this sickness of James 5:14 refers to physical sickness and not spiritual, because this Epistle was luritten to church saints. James 1: 19 speaks of “My beloved brethren,” words which always and only refer to church saints. See pp. 79 to 87, where we prove most conclusively that James wrote his Epistle to church saints. This being so, then their sins were already forgiven. But if he (the sick one) may have committed (the subjunctive mood with the perfect participle) sins, they shall be forgiven him, James declares. If James had been here writing to a people who were spiritually sick or unsaved, would he have used the subjunctive mood, and said, “And if he may have committed sins?” Never. If they had been spiritually sick or unsaved there would have been no “if” about it: they would all have needed forgiveness.
For these four reasons we are absolutely sure James 5: 14 and 15 is God’s command to His physically sick saints, a command, however, which comparatively few obey.
But what is here meant by “the prayer of faith shall save the sick (Jas. 5: 15)”? Many say it refers only to the faith of the elders who offer the prayer, and not to the faith of the sick persons. This is not correct for Mark 9: 17-27 tells us of a
poor father, who brought his demon-possessed son to the Lord, and said, “If Thou canst do anything have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth (to him believing).” Christ says in effect to this father, Man, the “if” does not lie with me at all; of course I can heal your son, but you must exercise an expectant faith.
In Matthew 13: 58 we read, “And He (Christ) did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Unbelief then, either of the elder or of the sick person, will make it impossible for God to answer prayer. When unbelief kept Christ from healing the sick on earth, it will surely do so today.
In Mark 2:1-5 we have the story of the palsied man who was brought to Christ by four friends, and let down before Him through the roof. In Mark 2: 5 we read, “When Jesus saw their faith. He said unto the sick of the palsy. Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” This reads literally, “Jesus, seeing the faith of them” (autön), meaning the faith of the sick man as well as the other four. But, you ask. How can we be sure that this pronoun “autön” (of them or their) includes the sick man as well as the four who carried him? Because of the pronoun “autön,” the genitive plural of “autos”—he or himself. If Christ had been here speaking of the faith of these four men only, and not of the sick man. He would have used the demonstrative pronoun “toutön,” the genitive plural of “houtos,” which would have told us that Christ was referring to the faith “of the persons” nearest to the sick man (the four), but not to the sick man himself.
There are two demonstrative pronouns in Greek, viz. “houtos” and “ekeinos.” “Houtos” (this one or these) would designate the person or persons nearest to us, while “ekeinos” (that one or those) would designate the person or persons farther away; but neither of these pronouns would include ourselves. The use of this personal pronoun “autön,” however, includes the sick man himself and the four others.
Yes, “All things are possible to him believing” (Mk. 9; 23) ; but without faith on our part our prayers cannot be answered. Dealing with this very subject of exercising faith, when we pray, James 1: 6 says: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man (who lacks expectant faith) think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” Then both the elders and the sick persons should have an expectant faith.
Because it is impossible to have faith without the know will of God, and here we are required to have expectant faith for physical healing, it is without question that it is God’s will to heal.
as adapted from the work of…. T. J. McCrossan, B.A., B.D.
“Bodily Healing and the Atonement”