I was invited to conduct a teaching program in a neighbouring church in Lagos. Out of the blue, at the beginning of the session, the Lord asked me to lead the members of the congregation in singing a popular Christian song.
This continued every day for the first five days of the program. Each day, the Lord would come up with another song that dealt with the topic at hand. However, every song that He gave me turned out to be unscriptural. Each song was based on a misunderstanding or misapplication of the word of God. He would then require me to explain to my listeners that the songwriter was not schooled in kingdom dynamics.
The very first song He asked me to sing was given a major boost by the gospel singer, Ron Kenoly. It is entitled: “Whose Report Will You Believe?” It goes something like this: “Whose report will you believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord. His report says I am healed, His report says victory.”
You may well ask what could be wrong with this song. Does the report of the Lord not say that we are healed, according to the words of songwriter? No, it does not. As a matter of fact, the report of the Lord not only says we are sick, it says we are terribly sick.
The book of Isaiah starts with this diagnosis: “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up or soothed with ointment.” (Isaiah 1:5-6).
In the Bible, sin is synonymous with sickness. John says: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make (God) a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10). Since God would never say that a man is sinless, then He would never say that we are not sick.
But pay attention so that you do not miss the precise nature of the report. The report of the Lord does not only say we are sick, but it also maintains that we are not healed. It does not only say that we are not healed, but it also insists that we are not saved.
In the scripture above, Isaiah says we are covered with wounds, bruises, and sores that have “not been closed or bound up or soothed with ointment.” That means we are not healed, contrary to the songwriter’s optimistic assessment.
Isaiah’s medical report is consistent with all scripture. Jeremiah says: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved! For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; astonishment has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:20-22).
The prophet is baffled. There is a balm in Gilead; nevertheless, we are not healed. Jesus died for our sins; nevertheless, we are not saved.
Still not saved
Were the Jews healed in the biblical days of Jesus? No, they were not because God is primarily interested in the healing of the soul, leading to salvation.
The Bible says: “Although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:37).
Like Jeremiah and Isaiah before him, John is equally baffled that, despite the many miracles that Jesus performed, the Jews still did not believe in Him. Jesus cannot save people who do not believe in Him. (John 8:24, Matthew 13:58).
In short, even many of those who received physical healing from Jesus in the Bible were not healed spiritually. Despite the many miracles He performed, few recognised Him as the Messiah and, as a result, few were healed of sin.
When Jesus asked His disciples who the Jews considered Him to be, they told Him that some said He was John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others, Jeremiah. As far as they were concerned, Jesus could be anybody but the Messiah.
Those who were more inclined to Him, like Nicodemus, permitted that he was a prophet or a teacher. (John 3:2). But they would go no further than that because the word of God has already determined that they could not. So, it was not so much that they would not believe as that they could not. (John 12:39-40).
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities and that by His stripes we would be healed. (Isaiah 53:5).However, there is nothing automatic about this promise; it is only meant for a select few. Jesus says: “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given.” (Matthew 19:11).
To whom then does the promise of healing and salvation apply? It is a mistake to assume that it applies to those who merely quote scriptures or sing certain scripture-filled songs. The word of God does not operate through incantation.
The word of God is only applicable to those to whom it is given. Jesus says to His disciples: “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:11-12).
That means that by the process of divine election and selection, the word of God would be accessible to some and inaccessible to others. The question then is this: Is the word of God accessible to most Christians?
The answer unfortunately is “No!”
Not by incantation
Some years back, I was on an air flight that encountered serious turbulence. So, I started quoting scriptures that I had committed to memory. One of these states that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7).
But the more I quoted the scripture, the more fearful I became. It soon became clear that, although the word of God cannot be broken, the scripture had precious little applicability to me. The scripture had not been given to me. The scripture had not been made flesh in me.
The report of the Lord says that we are gravely sick, and that Jesus is our healer. However, if we do not admit that we are sick, we cannot be healed. Indeed, if we do not recognise that we are sick, we would not even go to see a doctor.
Jesus says to the Pharisees: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:12).
If we do not admit that we are sick then the question of our healing becomes merely academic.