Sin brought disease and death into the world, which was never God’s intention, but where today’s culture is missing the mark is where we think God wants us to just heal the sick. We get this idea from taking Matthew 10:8 out of context:
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.
The problem is that this verse is just the beginning of the message Jesus wanted to convey. Jesus told the disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel (verse 6). They were lost, unbelievers needed miracles in order to be open and receptive to the rest of what the disciples were charged with doing.
Then Jesus said to him, Unless you see signs and miracles happen, you [people] never will believe (trust, have faith) at all. -John 4:48
In later of Matthew chapter 10, Jesus tells the purpose of the signs and miracles he allowed the disciples to perform:
And into whatever town or village you go, inquire who in it is deserving, and stay there [at his house] until you leave [that vicinity]. As you go into the house, give your greetings and wish it well. Then if indeed that house is deserving, let come upon it your peace [that is, freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. But if it is not serving, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet.
Therefore, everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him. But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven. -Matthew 10:11-14,32-34
The end game was always knowing Christ. God’s will wasn’t that people would be temporarily healed from sickness and disease. All flesh would still come to an end. People who are healed from sickness still die from old age, car accidents, explosions, etc. So if Jesus’ will was merely to heal the sick, that would be a pretty temporary and non-eternal will.
For this is My Father’s will and His purpose, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in and cleaves to and trust in and relies on Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day. -John 6:40
Jesus always focuses on the eternal. So with that being said let’s focus on the major question that people have been asking regarding healing and faith:
Is it a person’s lack of faith that caused someone not to be healed or was it God’s will that the person would not be healed?
The answer is: neither.
Sin is what lead to and caused death.
If movement of the holy spirit, healing, spiritual gifts, etc. relied on how much faith a man had there would never be any works of God on this earth. The Holy Spirit doesn’t rely on man’s faith in order to do God’s will. God isn’t hindered by man’s faith or made greater by it. God is God.
As Jesus says in John 6, God’s will is that all would come to know Christ so that they would be “raised up” on the last day. Being raised up, implies that we would all die first. Thus, temporary physical healing is not God’s “will” but a “benefit” of God’s will while we are still on earth. God doesn’t desire that anyone be sick or die, but we confuse that with the verses in 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 that state God desires that none would perish and all should come to repent. In these instances, God desires that no soul should perish into the lake of fire for eternity. Again, God’s goals are eternal and not carnal.
So the second part of the answer to the aforementioned question is that God doesn’t desire for us to be sick, but because of our love of sin, we are sick. Can we heal the sick? Absolutely, but is it God’s fault or a lack of faith that cause a person to die without physical healing? No. In fact, the only perspective we can have on this is that the reason someone lives or dies in the flesh is to honor God.
For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of eternal glory]. –Philippians 1:21
What this means is that it’s not a question of whether it is God’s will that someone live or die in the flesh. That’s the wrong question. If the person is a believer, whether they are healed, or die from illness, they WILL be raised on the last day. So a better question is “which situation will allow the kingdom to grow the most?” The church often grows through suffering and persecution. Why should it be any different in our own bodies. God uses all things for the GOOD of those who love Him, which means either a closer personal relationship with Him or the fruit of salvation being passed along to others.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. -John 12:24
While physical healing is one of God’s gifts and desires for us on earth, it is not His “will” per se. Eternal life through Jesus is God’s will. While we are still bound to our flesh we are bound to wrestle with sin. Let’s not send the wrong message to believers and unbelievers. When a person prays in faith, and loses a family member to sickness, if they see that as God’s will, or they are told that it was because they did not have enough faith, that can become a major stumbling block to their relationship with Christ, if not a way to turn them away.
If we can look at all circumstance as being used by God, to bring more people into His kingdom, then whether physical death or healing is granted to us, we know that it will be used for good.