Is Healing Guaranteed in the Atonement?
The possibility of healing is because of the atonement but there is NO guarantee of healing in the atonement – In other words if there was a guarantee of healing as there was salvation then every person who was forgiven by the atonement would be healed automatically without asking, it would be included. you have a cold, when you get saved it would be removed.
Because he died for us we can be healed emotionally, as well as physically. But only a spiritual healing is what the atonement applies to for each person who believes the gospel, you may or may not be healed.
Too many believe that if you take a position of conditional healing then you don’t believe in it. We ought to believe in healing, in healing as the Bible presents it, not as a faith teacher twists it.
The issue should not be “does God heal today” but will He heal- is it dependent on his will and purpose? The Bible certainly makes it clear that it does.
One of the most used and abused passages is Isaiah 53:5: “By His stripes we are healed.” Many claim this as a guaranteed promise of physical healing (Jesus being whipped). So they make this a biblical mantra or an affirmation of healing.
The word “stripes” is actually in the singular, relating to his being struck once in his crucifixion, to cure our sins, by dying for sins once. This is especially important as many claim we were healed from his stripes (whippings, etc.), because these stripes were from men not God. If these stripes heal us physically and the Bible teaches that we were healed spiritually from our sins by the whipping (stripes), then Christ did not need to go to the cross. Neither did Jesus Christ did not bear the sins of the world when he was scourged but on the cross.
We should not assume every time we see the word “heal” in the Bible it is referring to divine healing for the physical body. The common Greek term for physical “healing” is therapis, therapeuo (from the Hebrew rapha), in the Isaiah 53 text, and the context in which it is quoted is focused on sin, not our sickness or illness. We should not disregard what the context is about.
The word “iniquity” is found four times in Isaiah 53 – Verse 3:5 Christ was crushed for our iniquities. Verse 6: the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Verse 11 is about the travail of his soul, “He will bear our iniquities.” Verse 12: and He Himself bore the sins of many (cited in 1 Peter 2:24). The primary point through Isaiah 53 is the spiritual healing from the effects of sin. It has everything to do with our sin problem and the redemption of a sacrifice (the lamb) needed to remove sin.
The verse of Isaiah 53:5 fully reads, “But He was wounded (pierced) for our transgressions (Breaking the law), he was bruised (crushed, punished) for our iniquities (sins); the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” This is in reference to all the various sins being removed at the cross. One needs to go to the New Testament to see how the writers interpreted this verse. To understand it we only need to go to the apostles and how they applied it. Peter defines it in 1 Peter 2:24: “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.” The context is that of spiritual healing from sin, not physical healing of sicknesses. The New Testament reference to this verse does not even mention illness. One might argue that illness comes from sin, so does death, and no one that claims this verse has escaped death, even those who teach on it. Neither Paul nor any other apostle recommended Isaiah 53:5 as a cure apprehended by faith for himself or others. There is no account of any person saying “by your stripes I’m healed.” They did not teach this to the church. If our sicknesses were all to be healed now, we would not die, death is a consequence of sin, and “The wages of sin is death,” still takes place until the last enemy is defeated (1Cor.15:52). If God has not removed physical death then he has not removed all our sicknesses.
If healing were a guarantee in the atonement than everyone would be physically healed of whatever ails them at the same time they are spiritually saved. Why do the sick NOT always receive a physical healing when they first believed? The same faith we used to be saved spiritually certainly is enough to be healed if it is incorporated in the atonement. If faith in the cross is a guarantee of healing then all should be physically cured automatically when they are first saved and be continually healed as they are continually saved.
The context in 1 Peter 2:24 is Salvation, there is no other way to interpret it. “Who himself bore our sins in His own body ON THE TREE.”1 Peter 2:24 carries the meaning of Jesus the suffering servant is the paschal lamb who bore the punishment due to our sins. Just as in the Old Testament when the Passover lamb or the sacrifices were made they were to forgive sins, not to heal diseases.
1 Peter (1:24), when quoting Isaiah’s passage (53:5) on whose stripes you were healed refers back to “Who himself bore our sins. The stripe is the crucifixion- the cross where the blood is shed is related to sin. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. John writes “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). It is not used in reference to physical illnesses but for sin.
Peter says the result is that we might now live unto righteousness, because he bore our sins. Something we were unable to do before because of our sin, now we are no longer slaves to sin but as Paul states slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:16-18). Healing for the body and mind is a benefit of Christ’s death, included at the cross. But it is not saying that physical healing of the body is guaranteed to every believer with salvation. This does not dismiss the possibility of physically healing, but it in no way guarantees it to all as we live in this sinful world so that we live in “Divine health” today. death and disease will be part of our human condition until we receive our resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-55). The resurrection will give us new bodies and it is then our nature will be changed and we will be disease free (Romans 8:18-25).
So to summarize- If by his stripes were actually part of the atonement, then every one of us would be healed when we believed. You would not need a separate faith for this; if it was part of the atonement it would not be so difficult to be healed than it would be to be forgiven.
Is there healing in the atonement? Yes, but it is not a general promise to all believers for the present time. Some may be healed and still some may have to wait in time to be healed. But the Bible guarantees that we will all be healed at the resurrection.