326 Unscriptural Teachings about Suffering
In my sermon today I am continuing with my Five part Series on the Healing Scriptures, and I know that for many of you your Faith is building. Praise God. Today in part Four, I will examine some “Unscriptural Teaching” which has brought about much confusion and conflict within the Body of Christ. I make a point of saying nothing malicious about any Preacher – yet I will have something to say, (you can be sure of it) when I become aware of error and confusion coming from any pulpit! We must never be in conflict with the preacher, but we may be in conflict with their message. Just because a lie has been in office for a long time, does not make it truth. We must seek for truth at all times in a world that is full of deception. God wants His “watchmen” to give a clear and accurate interpretation of His word, prompted only by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor 14:8 “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” God forbid that I should ever create or compound confusion with a “trumpet call” that was out of tune with God.
We begin today in the Psalms, where we read earlier…
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord
delivers them out of them all.” Psalm 34:v19
Because of teachers and preachers who misinterpret this
scripture, making it applicable to sickness and disease,
Christians have often forfeited their covenant right to
physical healing. They have remained subservient to
diseases, conceding to the will of Satan rather than
identifying with the will of God.
This verse does not say, “Many are the sicknesses and
physical disabilities of the righteous.” It says, Many are
the afflictions of the righteous. As a keen student of Biblical language, of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, I need to show you that the word affliction, used in this case (in the original text ra-ra-ah), has nothing to do with sickness or physical disability whatever.
It means trials, hardships, persecutions or temptations to evil.
It would be unreasonable to say that Christ has borne our
sicknesses and taken our infirmities; that by His stripes
we were healed; (1 Peter 2:24) that He heals all our diseases; but also to say that there are many sicknesses which God expects us
to bear, until such time arrives or circumstances develop
when He wills to deliver us.
The message of substitution is that Christ bore our sins so
that we need not bear them, but be saved from them. In
the same way, Christ bore our sicknesses so that we need
not bear them, but be healed of them.
Christ did not bear our trials, persecutions, hardships, or
troubles; (we must bear those ourselves) but He did bear our sins and our sicknesses. He bore them so that we need not bear them. That is why He is our substitute. He took our place. What He has borne, we are forever set free from – if we will only believe that He did it for us.
Until this “double cure” becomes personal, you will never benefit from it. The moment you believe that Christ bore your sins, you were saved. And, the moment you believe that He bore your sicknesses, you can be healed. It truly is that simple!
Others will quote from James 5:13: where we read : “Is any among you afflicted? Let the afflicted one pray“. They have decided that their longstanding physical disability is an affliction. So they go through life praying, instead of being healed. The word affliction here means “hardship”. It has no reference to sickness, disease or physical disability. It has to do with hardships, sufferings, trials and persecutions.
“If you are persecuted,” James says, “pray.” He does not
say, “Call for the elders and ask them to pray for God to
remove your troubles.” But he does say that if you are
sick, you may call for the elders and be healed. James 5:14
If you are persecuted, God’s word says, God is able to
make all grace abound toward you, and He gives more
grace. Through your trials, you will gain great victories; so,
again, as James says, pray. In your trials and tests, –You pray. Don’t ask the elders to pray for you.
One young man came for prayer and he said, “Please
pray for me. I have a bad temper; and besides this, I have
one temptation after another. So many troubles come my
way. I wish you would just cast out the whole thing.”
I replied, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.
Then I said, – Some things have to be cast out and some
things have to be overcome. I am not here to pray all your
troubles away – because, through your trials and
temptations, you can learn to be an over-comer. If you are
sick, I will pray for you and Jesus will heal you; but if you
are just having some problems, you pray. The Bible clearly teaches that. If you are merry, sing psalms, and if you are sick, be healed; But if you are afflicted, pray!
Consider next what the Bible says about
Another scripture that is often used to justify sickness is
this: “Whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges
every child whom he receives. If you endure chastening,
God deals with you as with children; for what child is
there whom the parent chastens not? But if you be
without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are
you bastards, and not legitimate children“ Heb 12;6-8.
This scripture does not say: “Whom the Lord loves He
makes sick, or smites with disease.”
It does not say: “God imparts disease or makes infirm
every child whom He receives.”
The word chasten comes from the Greek word Paideia which means “instruct, train, discipline, teach or educate” – like a
teacher instructs a pupil or like a parent teaches and
trains a child. When a teacher instructs a student, various means of discipline and training may be employed in the education process, but never sickness.
When parents train a child, there are many ways to
correct and to guide it in the right way, but no parent
would impose a physical disease or sickness upon their
child. However, some theological traditions (and maybe the tradition in your denomination) would have us believe that
when God trains His child, His chastening is supposed to
be a cancer, arthritis, blindness, a crippled limb, deafness or
some other form of infirmity? God forgive us!
Instead of causing obedient and consecrated believers to
rise in authority, demanding and expecting their redemptive
and covenant rights, the idea of sickness as chastening leaves
the sick in uncertainty and confusion, wondering for what particular wrong they are being punished?
Good parents never punish their child until, first, they
clearly explain the reason for the punishment. How much
more, our heavenly Father. Most people who believe their sickness to be God’s chastisement have no idea why God is punishing them. I am not speaking of those who are rebellious, disobedient and contrary toward the Lord. I simply wish to encourage those who do believe and who are obedient to God’s will, to no longer allow the devil, who is the deceiver, to
condemn them and lie to them. He wants to keep them sick and physically infirm and unfit to abound to every good work
by telling them that their sickness is God’s “chastening
rod”; that God is correcting them for some mistake or
error, or is perfecting some defective thing in their lives.
Satan will constantly condemn you by bringing to your
mind every mistake you’ve have ever made, offering his
lying suggestion: “That is why you are sick. That is why
you do not get healed. Your God is chastening you with
His ‘rod of sickness,’ and there is no hope for you to try to
be healed.” My dear friend, it’s Lies, lies and more lies.
Your adversary, the devil, therefore succeeds in causing
you to blame God – the healer of sickness – for the very
sickness Satan has put upon you.
One eminent Church Leader said recently that ninety percent of the Christians who are sick, are sick because God is using
sickness as a “chastening rod” to express His love for them
and is moulding their lives to His perfect will. What Nonsense!
He said that Christians who are not brought under the “chastening rod” of sickness by God once in a while,
are “bastards” and not “legitimate children.”
If such a preacher will be consistent, people will
remember when they are sick or suffering never to resort
to medical treatment, or to be prayed for to be healed. In
so doing, they may be endeavouring to hinder their loving
Father’s will, who allegedly is seeking to bless them by
means of their sickness or so-called “chastisement. ”
Theological tradition is never consistent in this matter.
In one breath, they tell the sick to humbly and patiently
submit to God’s “chastening rod” of sickness.
In the next breath, however, they are likely to advise
them, if they have not already done so, (by fighting against
God’s “chastisement”) to put themselves in the hands
of the doctor they think best qualified to rid them of their
Father’s correction. This would actually mean rebellion instead of submission. What a complete Nonsense! Examine your theology for its inconsistencies and renew your mind to Gods word, not men’s ideas.
Those who believe that sickness or infirmity is God’s
chastisement for some wrongdoing, are telling you that you should make no attempt, either by medical means or by prayer, to get rid of the sickness or infirmity. You should endeavour to find out what your wrongdoing consists of, and – if successful -you should concentrate on righting the wrong.
Then having righted it, you should leave it to your heavenly
Father, not to a doctor, to discontinue His “chastisement.”
Do you see just how foolish that interpretation is?
Consider then what the Bible calls SUFFERING?
Another scripture which is so often used is I Peter 5:10:
Where we read …“But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
This verse does not say: “After you have been sick and have
suffered with Cancer for a while, God will make you
perfect and stable.” However, it does say: after that you
have suffered a while.
This begs the question – Is it possible to suffer any other way than by being sick or diseased? And we all know the answer – YES! In the second book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul enumerates his hardships: reproaches, necessities, persecutions,
distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labours,
watching, fasting, dishonour, and evil reports.
He writes: As unknown, and yet well known; as dying,
and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; in
stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in death
often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I
suffered shipwreck, a night and a day in the deep.
Read it all for yourself in 2 Corinthians – Chapter 11.
These were Paul’s sufferings for Christ’s sake and it is
such sufferings as these to which Peter refers in this
verse,1 Peter 5:10 as the context shows.
No one has the right to include sickness or disease here.
It was because he had endured these sufferings for Christ’s sake that Paul could say to Timothy, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness“. 2 Tim 4:8 You will never receive a crown of righteousness for having been sick. If a sick person believed that, they would not call in a doctor to cure the sickness, or ask God to heal them.
It is said of the apostles that after they had been beaten
because they had preached the gospel and healed the sick
in the name of Jesus, – they departed, rejoicing that the
were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
If you believe you are suffering for your Lord, you should
not try to alleviate the pain, but should bear it gracefully
and even rejoice that you have been counted worthy also.
Regarding THE MINISTRY OF SUFFERING
- CHARLES PRICE WRITES:
“I want you to understand that the healing of your body –
not merely the bodies of the people that were suffering
when Jesus was on earth, but your bodily suffering today –
was included in the great redemptive work consummated
by Jesus on your behalf. I believe that in order to clear up a question that sometimes arises in the mind because of modern
teaching, I ought to point out one great error over which
many sincere people stumble; an error received by
tradition. Have you not heard people talk about
the ministry of suffering? Of course you have.
There is such a thing as the ministry of suffering, but it
certainly does not mean that it is a ministry of sickness.
There is the matter of tribulation also, but neither does
that refer to sickness. We are told that, if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him; but that does not say or mean that, if we be sick or diseased with Christ, then we shall reign with Him. Jesus was never Sick!
When teachers who deny divine healing attempt to prove
their argument that it is God’s will for some to be sick, they immediately take the scriptures regarding the ministry of suffering and make them applicable to sickness.
But The Bible does not do that.
Always remember that, when Jesus spoke of sin and
sickness, He spoke of them as evils from which He came
to deliver us. But Jesus did not speak of suffering in this manner. Has it occurred to you that Christ bore our sins and
sicknesses but did not bear our sufferings? He told His disciples that they would have to bear their cross, but He did not mean,
or even imply that it was to be a cross of sickness.
He very clearly taught that we should resign ourselves to
the carrying of our burden, to the weight of our cross, and
sometimes even to a load of suffering, but never did He
tell His disciples or us that we should resign ourselves to
sickness and to disease. On the contrary, He fought it, He
cast it out; and everywhere He went… He healed it!
John Scruby in his writings says:
Peter has much to say about this suffering in his first
epistle, in which he was seeking to comfort the believers
who were passing through a fiery trial.
If you will read such passages as these – I Peter 1:3-7; 3:13-
14; 4:1,12-19; (and there are many others like them in the
New Testament) – you will see that suffering in its
scriptural sense has nothing to do with sickness.
As to suffering with Christ, in the sense of being sick, that
is unreasonable. Christ was never sick – except as His
redemptive stripes made Him sick; and He voluntarily
took those stripes in order that we might not be sick.
Peter, who speaks so much about Christ’s sufferings, says,
By whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24.
Since Christ, as our substitute, took our infirmities, and
bore our sicknesses, to the extent that anyone has been
sick, it is to that same extent that one has not realized the
physical benefits of Christ’s redemptive work.
Let me say a word ABOUT PAUL’S THORN?
The scriptures which tell us of Paul’s thorn in the flesh
have been extremely misinterpreted. And as I said a few weeks ago, I don’t know what that “thorn” was – but I am confident that it was not sickness, for the following reason. Consider again the information given in 2 Corinthians 12:v 7
If the statement, My grace is sufficient for you, meant
that God was telling Paul to keep his sickness, it would be
the only case in the entire Bible where God ever told a person He wanted them to remain sick, that He would give them
grace for a physically sick body. Nowhere do the scriptures state that God gives grace to the physical body. The word grace indicates that it was the inner person that needed help. The grace of God is imparted only to the inner man, which Paul says in his case was renewed day by day. That’s Grace!
Now this final word.
Jesus said, You shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make You free. TRADITION BINDS – TRUTH LIBERATES
All of these, and many other unscriptural teachings, tend
to hold sick people in bondage. When the people are given
the facts that Christ Jesus bore our sins and diseases in our
stead, it is then that the will of God in the matter of
healing of the sick – is revealed, and the sick can exercise
faith to be made whole. God wants to heal all who are sick just the same as He wants to save all who are sinful.
Theological & Church tradition says, “Be faithful in your sickness; be patient. Keep waiting on God, and He will heal you in His own good time” – But the fact is, you are not waiting for God to heal you. God is waiting for you to accept the healing He has already provided for you.
The Lord would have saved you long before He did, but
He had to wait until you believed on His Son, Jesus Christ,
as Saviour and accepted His free gift of salvation personally.
The Lord would heal you today. In fact, He would have
healed you as soon as you became ill, had you given Him
the chance. But He must wait until you accept Jesus Christ
as your healer. Until you do that, your healing is delayed.
Believe God’s word today. Be healed right now. Look up to Heaven and say: THANK YOU, Lord, for bearing my sickness and for setting me free. Thank You for Your stripes by which I
was healed. Thank You that I am redeemed from sin and
sickness. Thank You for deliverance, for my spirit, soul
and body. I believe it Lord, I receive it Lord,
and I praise You for it.
God Bless you