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Is Healing Included in the Atonement?

By Patricia Backora
Today there is much controversy as the whether physical healing is
even included in the Atonement Jesus won for us at the Cross. More
often than not, a person who prays for salvation of the soul will
immediately feel evidence of being saved, in that he feels the heavy
weight of guilt lifted from his heart and feels sparkling clean inside and
at peace with God. But many times, a person in a wheelchair who
receives prayer for healing will leave in that wheelchair wondering
why. Only God knows. I read that even Kathryn Kuhlman had to finally
admit that not all who came to her meetings seeking healing were
healed. That was no reflection on her faith or on the faith of those
who earnestly sought this blessing.
Time and again I've heard that people in third-world countries find it
much easier to receive miracles from the Lord than those living in
modern Western societies. The "modern brain", as I've heard it called,
always finds it much easier to believe in invisible blessings like
salvation of the soul than medically verifiable miracles . People say if
you cant get physically healed, thats OK because healing of the soul
is a far greater miracle. Thats just a religious copout to put a positive
spin on whats obvious: Remarkable, visible, publicly recognized
miracles are NOT as prevalent as they were in the days of the apostles
(Acts 4:16; 5:15-16). Peter healed sickness and disablities with his
shadow, while todays money-hungry carnival celebrity preachers
cant even heal a hangnail with all their hollering, jumping, and
dancing. Scripture says people lined up in the streets and the apostles
healed every single one of them. Do you see that happening today, or
do you hear excuses about how the so-called healing might manifest
later if you keep on sowing into the preachers ministry?
True, you can get to heaven if you only get healed spiritually, but
where does God say we have to choose one and do without the other
because one is allegedly much more important?
To grow in faith we must get past the analytical objections of our
brainwashed brain to cultivate genuine faith deep down in our spirit,
the central part of our being where God the Holy Spirit takes up
residence in the believer. That is the seat of true faith, not the brain.
And contrary to one popular modern heresy, faith is not a force to be
used independently of God like Luke Skywalker's light saber. True faith

is a living, vital confidence that what God has promised, He is well able
to perform (Hebrews 11:11).
It is oh, so easy to just "spiritualize
away" the supernatural side of God's promises so there will be no
conflict between what you're praying for and the evidence your eyes
are seeing (or not seeing). But regardless of hearsay or people's
skepticism regarding the supernatural, ultimately we must base our
beliefs on what the Word of God clearly teaches. Is there any
evidence whatsoever that healing of the body is included in the
Atonement? And is healing part of the Great Commission Jesus gave
the disciples before He ascended to heaven?
In Matthew 10: 7-8 Jesus gave the twelve disciples their marching
orders: And as ye go, preach, saying, the Kingdom of Heaven is at
hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Luke 9:1-2 says: Then he
called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and
authority over all devils, and to cure diseases (not just vague spiritual
maladies). And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to
heal the sick. Now, if some assert, our corruptible human body isn't
all that important because it's going to die someday anyway, why did
Jesus bother to include healing in His Great Commission to the
Some insist that the commission of healing the sick was given ONLY to
arent commanded to heal the sick, why are they still obligated to
preach about the historical Jesus Who performed miracles? Turn over
to Mark 16:17-18, to some of the last words Jesus spoke before His
Ascension to heaven. He said: And these signs shall follow THEM THAT
BELIEVE (that includes every believer): In My name shall they cast
out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up
serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them;
they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. Sometimes
recovery is gradual, instead of an instantaneous miracle.
Nowhere does Jesus say that we are to go on preaching repentance
from sin to people but cut out the part of the Great Commission which
obviously involves the miraculous and the supernatural. Outward signs
and wonders of the early Church came through the preaching of the

Kingdom of God. If miracles are done away with, is the Kingdom

of God done away with too?
Isaiah 53:5 proclaims: With His stripes we are healed. Many say this
refers only to spiritual healing. This begs a question: What can we
receive from God as believers which was not included in the
Atonement? As former sinners, we were all worthy only of God's
judgment and we were all sitting on death row waiting to go to hell
when we died. What favors could we have expected from God if Jesus
hadn't come to offer up Himself in our place on the Cross of Calvary?
What if God, as the One sinned against by Adam, had not chosen to
reconcile the world unto Himself through Christ, and God knew the
whole world was going to hell unredeemed? Would He ever have seen
fit to heal anybody's body or even to allow the world to go on existing
without hope of the Atonement?
Chapter 103 extols the benefits God offers His people. Verse 3 says:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. This
verse doesnt specify spiritual diseases, just diseases. Notice, in the
same breath that the Psalmist praises God for forgiving all his
iniquities, he praises the Lord for healing ALL his diseases.
Biblically sound believer would ever say that God has gone out of the
sin-forgiving business because it's "done away". But why do so many
question the second part of that verse which praises the Lord for being
a healer? If forgiveness of the Psalmist's sin is included in the
Atonement, why wouldn't his healing be included in it too?
Every born-again believer knows that Jesus bore our sins to the Cross
of Calvary, as I Peter 2:24 plainly teaches.
How unspeakably
wonderful. But turn over to Matthew 8:17, which ought to forever
settle the question of whether healing is included in the Atonement:
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Just as Jesus
bore our sins, He also bore our sicknesses! Had Jesus only borne
away our spiritual sicknesses, Scripture would have made that crystal
In Matthew 8: 1-4 Jesus meets a leper who says: "Lord, if thou wilt,
thou canst make me clean."
Verse 3: And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying: I will,
be thou clean. And immediately, his leprosy was cleansed. Notice,
Jesus didn't get on the leper's case for saying "If it be thy will". Some
faith teachers will warn you don't ever say "If it be thy will" when you
pray. That's a no-no, and a quick way to kill your own faith seed. But

as badly as the leper wanted his healing, he bowed to God's

sovereignty in the situation, and Jesus was willing to make the man
Cessationists (those who believe miracles have ceased) think that if
some leper were to approach Christ today, Hed just tell the leper he
only heals spiritual leprosy, and to be content with that.
If healing is NOT included in the Atonement, and has no place in our
faith and practice, then why did Jesus command the leper to go to the
priest and show VISIBLE proof that he was healed, and to offer the
special sacrifice which God commanded healed lepers to offer up in
Leviticus Chapter 14:1-32? Temple rituals had everything to do with
the issue of making atonement for fallen human beings. And as for the
leper Jesus healed, it wasn't a quick in-and-out, popping into the
priest's office to announce his healing from leprosy.
It was a
complicated business which went on for a solid week. As well as
undergoing ritual shavings and washings, the healed leper had the
priest offer up a mixture of flour and oil on his behalf. Flour speaks of
beaten grain, typified by Jesus, the Bread of Life, Who suffered a
horrible whipping before going to the Cross. Oil speaks of the unction
of the Holy Ghost. Two birds and two lambs had to be sacrificed. One
of the lambs, is mentioned in verse 12 as a trespass offering. Verse 19
mentions the sin offering which makes atonement for the healed leper
before the Lord. Jesus is the Lamb of God Who makes atonement for
us, in sickness and in health. He was offered up for all our sins and
Isaiah 33:24 speaks of the inhabitants of God's Promised Land during
the Millennium: And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people
that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. A connection is made
here between sin and sickness.
Had Adam and Eve not sinned, no sickness would exist in the world
today. This earth would be a paradise. The imperfection of the human
body, like sin, is an inherited condition. Sometimes sin does lead to
sickness as John 5:14 indicates. Jesus tells a man he has just healed
to "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee".
In Mark: 1-12 friends of a crippled man let him into a crowded house
through a hole in the roof so he can get to Jesus to be healed. But the
first thing Jesus says is: "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Unbelieving
skeptics scoffed at Jesus for claiming to be qualified to forgive any
man's sins. But Jesus asks them whether it is easier to pronounce

forgiveness on someone or to heal them. Jesus does BOTH for the

crippled man. It wasnt an either/or choice between physical and
spiritual healing.
Despite these examples, Jesus doesn't always attribute illness to
personal sin.
Jesus says in John 9:1-3 when questioned by his
disciples whether one man's blindness is the result of personal or
parental sin: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that
the works of God should be made manifest in him. While all sickness
results from the sin and fall of Adam, not all sickness is a direct
penalty for personal sin.
In Exodus 15:26 God promises the Israelites that if they remain
faithful to walk in His ways, He will put none of the diseases upon
them which He put upon the Egyptians. God calls Himself: I am the
Lord that healeth thee.
God promises to bless His peoples bread and water and take ALL
sickness away from the midst of them, if they would faithfully serve
Him (Exodus 23:25). God could have said Hed only take away
spiritual sickness from them, but He didnt limit His healing that way.
The Old Covenant was a CONDITIONAL covenant, based on the
performance of imperfect Israelites. Many times Israel got struck with
plagues for falling into sin.
If, as 2 Cor.5:21 states, Christians are actually made the very
righteousness of God in Christ, then why shouldnt we expect that God
would keep us well based upon the merits of Christ, if our covenant is
a far better one than the Israelites of Moses time lived under?
The Israelites turned away from God many times and fell under the
curses of their broken Covenant, which included sicknesses and
afflictions listed in Deuteronomy Chapter 28. If we abide in Christ with
a humble and repentant heart, looking only unto Him and the allsufficiency of His Blood Sacrifice, we need not fall under such
judgment for sin. As we repent of our stumblings and failings God will
still be the Lord Who heals us.
I have wrestled harder with this question of miraculous healing than
with any other issue, but if God claims to be our Healer, we dare not
make Him any less than what He truly is. God in Christ is our
Redeemer from sin. He is our Provider. He is our Baptizer in the Holy
Ghost. Instead of relying on us to perform perfectly, Christ Himself is

the Guarantor of this New and better Covenant (Hebrews 7:22). And in
every way this New Covenant IS superior to the Old. At what point
during this 2000-year Church Age did God ever say that while He
would continue to save our souls and feed our bodies, He no longer
wanted to HEAL those same bodies?