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14 reasons why Christians should believe in divine healing

iStock/Anastasiia Stiahailo
iStock/Anastasiia Stiahailo

Some individuals within the church mistakenly align the doctrine of physical healing with the so-called "prosperity gospel." While I challenge the tenets of the "prosperity gospel," it's crucial to acknowledge that God's willingness to bestow physical and material blessings upon us stems from His inherent goodness. The real contention with the prosperity gospel lies not in denying God's desire to enrich our lives physically and financially but in the problematic perspective it promotes: pursuing God not for His essence but for the benefits He provides. True faith prioritizes seeking the Giver of blessings, not merely the blessings themselves.

The following are ten reasons why I believe Christians should believe in divine healing:

1.  Divine healings and miracles are part of the global expansion of Christianity

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Scholars and theologians who have moved away from cessationism, believing that spiritual gifts like prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues ceased with the apostolic age, often do so in light of empirical evidence of the church's growth and the manifestation of signs and wonders. This is particularly true in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Observations of the dynamic development of Christianity in these regions, often accompanied by reports of miracles, healings, and other signs and wonders, challenge the cessationist viewpoint. Scholars who value empirical evidence must recognize the widespread reports of supernatural activities in these vibrant Christian communities.

Contextual Theology:

Witnessing the ongoing spiritual phenomena, some scholars have revisited biblical texts to explore the possibility that cessationism may not be a biblically warranted stance. Their studies often lead to a more continuationist view that the gifts of the Spirit are available and active today.

Also, the explosive growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in these regions, known for their emphasis on the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, provides a compelling narrative of Christianity's expressions of power evangelism.

Untold multiple thousands of cases documented healings and miracles.  These specific instances challenge cessationism:

Finally, some scholars and theologians have shifted their views based on personal encounters or firsthand accounts of spiritual gifts in action within these global contexts. Witnessing the transformative impact of such ministries has led some to reconsider their stance on the cessation of spiritual gifts. These factors contribute to reevaluating cessationism, especially as Christianity continues flourishing in contexts where signs and wonders are reported as part of the church's growth and ministry.

2.  The word “salvation” implies within it physical healing

In the Bible, salvation is often presented as a comprehensive term encompassing spiritual redemption and restoration in all areas of life, including physical well-being (Luke 1:69-71).

The Greek word for salvation, "sōzō," used in the New Testament, can mean: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, and to heal.

James 5:15 says the prayer of faith will “save” the sick. The same Greek word, “Sosei," is the word for “saving” a soul from death in James 5:20.

3.  The disciples pointed to physical healings to prove Christ rose from the dead

The miraculous healings served not just as a testament to the resurrection's power but also as significant markers of the dawning Messianic age and the imminent restoration of creation in every dimension, encapsulating the assurance of renewed physical well-being as depicted in Acts 4:1-14. If the apostles underscored physical miracles as evidence of Christ's resurrection, how could one argue that such manifestations are irrelevant to impactful evangelism in our time?

4.  Jesus never turned anyone away who needed physical healing

Jesus assured us that He would never reject anyone who approaches Him (John 6:37), and according to Luke 6:18-19, individuals sought Him out both to listen to His teachings and to receive healing from their afflictions. Remarkably, He "healed them all." Not once do the Gospel narratives record an instance where Jesus refused healing to those who came to Him seeking it.

5.  The scriptures connect the atonement with physical healing

Some scholars see a connection between the gospel and physical healing through passages like Isaiah 53:5, which states, "By his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow.” This was interpreted in Matthew 8:17 as: “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Furthermore, Jesus said that He could prove His ability to forgive sins by healing a paralytic man (Matthew 9:6-7.) Psalm 103:3 even connects forgiveness with physical healing when it says “who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.”

According to Dr. Michael Brown, “Isaiah 53:5 strategically joins peša‘, ‘awon, šalôm, and rapa’ -- transgression, iniquity, well-being, and healing: The servant’s sufferings would produce complete restoration for his sin-sick people.” Indeed, Jesus implied that healing was “the children’s bread” (Matthew 15:26-28).

6.  Biblical Foundation

The Bible provides numerous instances of divine healing throughout the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, we see accounts of miraculous healings performed by prophets like Elijah and Elisha, demonstrating God's power to heal various ailments. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ performed countless healings, restoring sight to the blind, enabling the lame to walk, and curing various diseases. Furthermore, Jesus instructed his disciples to heal the sick and cast out demons in his name, emphasizing the importance of divine healing as a manifestation of God's kingdom on earth.

7. Personal Testimonies

Countless Christians worldwide have experienced firsthand the transformative power of divine healing in their lives. Our local churchwas built in the 1980s through a combination of evangelism and seeing God miraculously heal many.  Through prayer, faith, and the laying on of hands, many individuals have been healed of physical illnesses, emotional wounds, and spiritual afflictions. These personal testimonies are powerful reminders of God's faithfulness and compassion towards his people. By sharing these stories of healing and restoration, believers can inspire others to trust in God's ability to bring about miraculous healing in their own lives and communities.

8. Jesus said healing is an expression of God’s goodness

In Mark 3:1-6, Jesus identified healing as an act of goodness and a means of saving lives. Furthermore, Acts 10:38 portrays the ministry of healing as a manifestation of divine goodness. Therefore, numerous scholars and theologians contend that the depiction of God in the Scriptures as good, as it relates to divine healing, underpins the belief that physical healing is a deliberate component of His saving action since it aligns with His goodness as an expression of His divine will. Since Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever, we should expect Him to continue to express His goodness through divine healing (Hebrews 13:7).

9. Jesus healed to express His compassion

Some people say that Jesus only healed to prove His divinity. However, when He healed the leper, He was motivated by His compassion (Mark 1:40-44). Also, in some instances, He even commanded those healed not to share what happened but to go home (Mark 1:44).

10. Limiting the atonement to spiritual healing is a form of Gnosticism

The notion that God is indifferent to our material well-being is rooted in “semi-Gnosticism,” an influence stemming from Greek thought, which rigorously divided the world into distinct categories, undervaluing the material realm and the physical body in favor of spiritual matters. This viewpoint was deemed heretical compared to the Hebrew tradition, which embraced a holistic view of human existence—integrating spirit, soul, and body—thereby never divorcing physical well-being from spiritual blessing (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This comprehensive perspective on spiritual and physical health was even reflected in a common benediction among early Christians, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2), highlighting the interconnectedness of our material and spiritual lives.

11. Jesus connected divine healing with preaching the gospel

Jesus’ ministry was characterized by both preaching the gospel and healing the sick, illustrating that physical healing was a significant aspect of the Kingdom of God’s in-breaking reality (Matthew 4:23-24). This is why Jesus commanded the disciples to preach the gospel and heal the sick. “He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal…” (Luke 9:2). He told the 70, “Whenever you enter a town, and they receive you, eat what is set before you, heal the sick in it and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:8-9)

12. Jesus’s healing expressed God the Father’s will

After Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus said, “My Father is working until now and I am also working” (John 5:17). He also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus was the exact expression of the Father’s character and nature to the point in which He said, “if you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9; Hebrews 1:3). Hence, when He healed everyone who came to Him, He was expressing the fact that healing is the general will of God.

13. Divine healing is a Testament to God’s Unchanging Nature.

The Scripture affirms that God does not change and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). If we see God’s healing power at work in the Bible, it stands to reason that He continues to heal today because His nature and character remain unchanged.

14. It encourages believers in their faith

In my experience, divine healing is an extraordinary means to elevate corporate and individual faith. Experiencing or witnessing divine healing can uplift one’s faith, encouraging a deeper trust in God and His provisions. This aspect of healing highlights its value as a physical remedy and as a spiritual catalyst, promoting spiritual growth, increasing reliance on God, and fostering a more intimate relationship with Him. In this way, divine healing serves a dual purpose: it addresses immediate physical needs and nurtures long-term spiritual development.

Some common arguments challenging the concept of divine healing include the following:

Arguments often include questions like, “If you believe in God’s healing power, why not empty all hospitals?” or “Why aren’t all individuals who are prayed for healed?” These inquiries, however, overlook the complexity of healing’s integration with atonement. A similar line of questioning could be applied to salvation: “Why isn’t everyone preached to instantly saved?” or “Why can’t a preacher bring salvation to an entire stadium of people at once?” These questions highlight the nuanced nature of both salvation and healing. Some argue that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12 was a physical ailment. Yet, contextually, it appears more as a metaphor for a “messenger of Satan” causing disturbances, such as riots and hardships, akin to Old Testament descriptions of adversaries as “thorns.”

This does not imply that illness equates to being out of God’s will or sin, just as emotional or mental distress does not. Many Christians live fulfilling lives despite physical disabilities, achieving great things not because of but despite their conditions.

The interplay of salvation and accompanying physical healing is complex, involving factors like forgiveness (Mark 11:24), the collective faith of a community (1 Corinthians 11:17-34), personal belief (Matthew 9:27-31; Mark 9:23), individual openness to healing (John 5:6), and God’s sovereign will and timing for His ultimate purpose and glory.

The Book of Job and John 9:1-7 illustrate that God’s reasons for allowing suffering and the timing of healing are often beyond human comprehension, aimed at revealing divine truths or to manifest His glory. This underscores the importance of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit when praying for healing and discerning underlying issues for more effective ministry.

Finally, while God generally desires health for us, the manifestation of healing is a divine mystery influenced by a myriad of human and spiritual variables. The promise of a lifespan (Psalm 90:10) does not preclude God’s sovereign decision to allow departures from this earthly life for reasons within His omniscience.

Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition.

To order his books or to join the many thousands who subscribe to his newsletter, go to

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