Y’all, last week we only looked at the first part of 1 Peter 2:24. I just could not move on to the next post without continuing to dig into this. There’s just so much more to the forgiveness He freely gives than “He bore our sins”- He bore them, that we might die to sin & live righteously, not only that, but to provide healing for us!
“…that we might die to sin & live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24
“Die to sin” can be a difficult phrase to understand, especially for a non-believer or a new believer, so let’s look at what this means. We know that spiritual death is separation from God- that is the death that Jesus saved us from. In Ephesians 2:1, Paul writes that we are all “dead in our sin” before we receive Christ- we were spiritually dead, separated from God, until we accepted Christ. This is because, since the fall of man, we are born with the sin nature in us. As humans, we can’t help it- sin is in us, a natural part of us. But Romans chapter six tells us that when we accepted Christ, the sin nature that was in us became crucified with Him, because He bore all sin on the cross- through faith, our spirit has now been resurrected into new life in Him, just as He was resurrected. We are now dead to sin- that sin nature is no longer our nature; we now have the nature of Christ Himself within us. That doesn’t mean that we will never be tempted with sin or even fall short sometimes- it means that committing sin will no longer sit well with our spirits, it will no longer feel normal & natural to us, our true desire is now to live a life pleasing to God, rather than to live a life that appeases the world’s standards or to please ourselves. Actually, what is pleasing to God is now what is pleasing to us, whereas before, what is pleasing to the flesh was what pleased us.
Having the nature of Christ in us, means that the same life-giving power that raised Him from the dead, now resides in us. By His stripes, we are healed. What does that mean?
The stripes, are the beating He took. Before He hung on the cross, He was ridiculed & tortured. As was the Roman custom, they took a cat of nine tails, with sharps on the ends designed to rip & tear open the skin, & whipped Him across the back- 40 times, minus one for mercy- 39 stripes across His back. Guess how many categories of sickness & disease exist. Yup, 39. Each stripe He took, was to provide our healing.
You see, just as death entered the world with sin, so did sickness & infirmity. Do not take this to mean that, if you get sick, or have suffered some sort of chronic condition, then it must be your fault, something you did brought it on you. No, these things are a package deal with the sin nature, brought on by Adam’s sin. Just like we will continue to be tempted to sin, so we will continue to be tempted with illness. God never wanted us to experience these things, & so He made provision for us to be delivered from them when we join His family.
Notice the past tense of this verse- “have been.” Healing was given to us when forgiveness was, it’s something that has already been done, something that already belongs to us, we don’t have to ask for it, we have to receive it, the same way we received our forgiveness- by believing in our hearts & confessing with our mouths. We don’t say “Oh God, if it be your will, please heal me,” we say, “Thank you Lord, You provided healing for me over 2,000 years ago, I know it is your will for not just my spirit, but my body, to be in good health, & I receive Your healing power into my body.”
As believers, it is important that we watch our words in all things, & this is especially true when it comes to sickness, disease, & reports from doctors. We must be careful what we claim as “ours,” because it is a basic human principle that we will have what we say we have. What you speak over yourself is what you will get, life & death are truly in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21). They’re not “my” migraines, for example, “I have been attacked with migraines.” That is what any physical ailment is, after all- an attack on our bodies from the enemy. Sickness & disease do not come from God; we know that He is good, & cannot contradict Himself- so how could anything bad come from Him? When symptoms come on us or we receive a diagnosis, we must not claim them as ours “I have.. I am sick…” Rather, “I am being tempted.. I have been attacked with.. I have been diagnosed with.” Our words, our confessions, are the key to our faith walk in such matters. God is not merely “The Great Physician”- physicians merely diagnose & treat, God is The Great Healer- Jehovah Rapha, the God Who heals us (Exodus 15:26).
The healing we have encompasses so much- when the woman with the issue of blood was healed, Jesus said to her “Your faith has made you whole” (Luke 8:48). The original word for whole, in the Greek, used here, was “sesoken”, from the root “sozo,” which means to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. HELPS Word-studies tells us this was word was “…used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty & power of sin…”; Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it “to save a suffering one… to make well, heal, restore to health.” To be made whole then, is to be rescued from sickness, disease, & death- all penalties of sin. In Christ, we are healed & restored to health. There is so much more to be said on this topic, so many more verses, & I could just go on & on about all that the Word tells us about healing & all that it encompasses. Instead, I’d like to share a few personal testimonies with you:
When I was in the fourth grade, I got my first pair of glasses. I also got my eyes dilated for the first time. When the ophthalmologist looked into my left eye, they saw something, quite possibly a tumor. Only five letters, but such a big, scary word. Tumor. This word put such fear into the hearts of my parents. But they had faith. They called the elders of the Mennonite church we were attending (Y’all, that’s a whole other story out of my life;) ), & they came to our house. They met with my parents, & they anointed my head with oil, laying hands & praying in agreement with the faith of my parents that this thing the ophthalmologist thought they had seen, it was nothing. I’m here today to tell you, that when I returned to that office, & they took a second look, they saw nothing! No tumor, no evidence of whatever it was they had seen before. It was gone!
That’s just one testimony, though. From the time I started getting monthly visits from Aunt Flo, I suffered migraine headaches, at least once or twice a month, usually around the time Flo was about to visit & during the visit. If any of you have ever had them, you know how awful they are. It’s not just a headache, it’s pain, nausea, & extreme sensitivity to light & sound. All you can really do, is curl up in a dark room & try to sleep it away. Doctors can give you medicine regimens to prevent them, but the side effects leave you hardly functioning. There’s a natural herb that can help, but that’s illegal- so you have to break laws & alter your state of mind to get relief when you get tired of putting man made drugs into your body that cause more side effects than the migraines you wish to cure. And then one day, I started taking my kids to church again. Not just any church, a Word teaching, Holy Ghost church. I went back to church for my kids, & God did something great in me. After about a year, I realized, I hadn’t had a migraine as long as I’d been attending my church! And that supernatural healing has continued. Recently, I was attacked, but I went forward one morning to receive the laying on of hands & prayer, & God blessed me not only with renewed healing, but a Word which I so needed! (You can find more about that on my IG @the_honey_seeking_mom or fb- The Honey Seeking Mom page). I am once again migraine free, by the healing power of God!
Finally, my greatest testimony. Last year, I had taken time to pray & meditate on something big. I wanted to be a surrogate. I saw it as a double blessing- a unique way to be a blessing to a family who needed that option, & my family would also receive a financial blessing out of it as well. I was ready, I just needed to have my well women visit. And then they called me back in for a biopsy. On October 6th, 2017 I was diagnosed with stage 1B1 cervical cancer. I was to have a partial hysterectomy & be out of work for at least six weeks. I could handle that. I could deal with that. I had enough vacation & comp time to cover six weeks, just nothing to cover the income that would be lost from missing hours at my part time job. But I had faith that God would provide, He would get us through this. I received prayer at church in agreement with my faith to accept this path to healing.
Then I got the MRI & PET scans. The cancer had begun to spread out from the cervix. Surgery was no longer the plan. The thing I said I didn’t want, the thing I had refused in my mind, was. I had to go through chemotherapy & radiation treatments. And I still refused it. I spoke out against it, I wanted my miracle. Where was my miracle? I’m a believer, why must I have to go through this?! But I didn’t get the miracle I wanted. I received the first of five chemo treatments on November 1, 2017. The next day was the first of 25 external beam radiation treatments, to be followed by four brachytherapy (internal radiation surgery) procedures.
I didn’t get the miracle I wanted, but I did get miracles & testimonies. Every day, before every treatment, I paced my apartment, with “God’s Creative Power” by Charles Capps in my hands, praying & speaking healing scriptures over my body. I declared every day “My body will accept what it needs for healing & reject the bad, I WILL NOT suffer extreme side effects from these treatments.” And the most extreme side effect I suffered was fatigue. There were other side effects, but none got as severe as the fatigue. Due to the location of the treatments, I did not have deal with losing my hair. I never looked like I was going through cancer treatments; if you didn’t know me, you never had a clue by looking at me. I actually gained weight! Every Sunday at church, someone would say “You look so great! You can’t even tell!” They didn’t see me that morning, having to pause to rest multiple times while getting ready for church, or through the week when all I wanted to do was sleep. They didn’t know the effort it took to make myself look like that on Sunday mornings. God gave me grace to walk through those months without breaking down, without losing faith. When I didn’t get the answer I wanted, I just kept walking by faith & trusting Him through the process.
Even greater than the grace He gave me through it all, is the testimony of provision. Medical leave went from being six weeks long, to three months long. Yet every bill was paid. I was on leave before Halloween, & didn’t return until January 31, 2018. During this time, we wanted for nothing. Two of my three boys had birthdays, & God blessed them, through His people. Every meal was provided, every need was met, the entire time, & I continued to tithe on every dollar He sent our way, & also give to missions. We wanted for nothing. God brought His people together, to be a miracle for us. I am forever thankful to Him & to those He used to help us.
My path to healing wasn’t the one I wanted, it was the one I needed. It was the one that built my faith up even greater than it already was, & made a walking testimony for all who knew me to see. Yes, I had to go through the treatments. And thank God for blessing me with the best doctors & giving them the gift to do what they do, but physicians treat, Jehovah Rapha, God alone, does the healing. He healed me as I went through those treatments. All the glory goes to Him!
This was all possible for me, because I chose to receive what Christ did for me. He bore our sin, He took our sickness & infirmity, that we might be made whole.
“…He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, & he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, ‘He took our sicknesses & removed our diseases.” – Matthew 8:16,17