Updated: Apr 27, 2019
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
--1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV
The following “healing sandwich” consists of observing the statements on both sides of the statement: “By his wounds you have been healed.”
What is the context of this statement? What are the conditions for receiving that healing into our bodies? What does the statement before that say? “…that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
Can we be healed if we don't repent (change the way we think to conform with God's way of thinking)? Is it realistic to expect healing if we don't or are unwilling to die to our sin (face our fears and walk through pain in dealing with ourselves honestly) just as Jesus died on the cross for our sins? Doesn't the law in Deuteronomy 28 address the same thing? It lists all manner of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Believe it or not, health is included in the blessings section, and all manner of diseases are included in the curses section.
The blessings section is for those who “diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord and obey Him.” The curses are guaranteed to overtake us “if we do not diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord, being careful to do them.” (my paraphrase)
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” --Galatians 3:13 (my paraphrase)
Is receiving the benefits of what Christ did for us conditional? Yes, is it not conditional on faith? (Matthew 9:22,29; 21:22; Acts 3:16; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:9; Hebrews 11:6; etc.) What does faith mean? Faith means trust; we believe what God says. If we trust in God's Word (Jesus), then will we obey his commands, or will we continue to live in disobedience? If we don't repent or obey Him, do we really trust God? Do we really have saving, healing faith if our actions suggest otherwise? See James 2. Did Jesus fulfill the law through his death in disobedience and rebellion, or in obedience and trust?
“By his wounds you have been healed.” What does the verse after this statement tell us about receiving this truth into our lives and bodies? “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
It says that those those who were healed were those who repented and returned to God. They returned to the Good Shepherd who restores their souls. See Psalm 23. They daily returned to the Overseer of their intellect, will, and emotions. Their intellect, will, and emotions lined up properly through connection to Jesus. As our soul (intellect, will, and emotions) is restored, then our physical bodies can be brought into proper alignment to receive healing. God created the human body to function very well when our relationships with Him, others, and ourselves are in proper order and connection.
Not only the Bible, but neuroscience and medical science also bear witness that things like fear, anxiety, envy, rage, bitterness, shame, guilt, self-hatred, and all manner of what the Bible identifies as “sin” results in a weakened immune system and all manner of diseases. However, to paraphrase Dr. Caroline Leaf, neuroscience further shows that “the brain was wired for love.” When we receive God's love, staying connected to Him in intimate relationship where our intellect, will, and emotions align with His own, we trust him and obey Him with our whole heart. This results in some great byproducts, including the right release of hormones into our bodies. As His perfect love casts out fear, if we had an autoimmune disease where the spiritual root cause was stress, fear, and anxiety, then does that disease have any reason to stay?
Is that not why Psalm 103:2-3 says “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,”? --Psalms 103:2-3 ESV Here again is that same pattern: First, all our iniquities (twisted, bent ways of thinking, believing, and living) are forgiven (removed--no longer causing separation in our reconnected relationships with God, others, and self). Second is the healing of all our diseases as a byproduct of our restored relationships and re-connection.
What then shall we do if we've been dealing with a sickness or disease? The simple (not necessarily easy) truth is that healing is found through intimacy, connection, and relationship with God the Father through trust in Jesus the Messiah. This Messiah died in order to root out the spiritual root causes of our separation from God and others, and was raised to life and health again by the healing, rescuing power of God's Holy Spirit. In this trust relationship, God will empower us to do act the way we were made to act for our maximal joy, fulfillment, and purpose in life.
I give no guarantees whether this healing will happen immediately or if the healing process will take years. Why not? Because this journey of intimacy with God cannot be rushed. The deeper we connect with God, the more He will show us stuff in our lives that needs to change, die, go, be removed, etc. (a journey that I continue on myself). So sometimes it can take a while until we finally get to that deeply-embedded spiritual root of our particular disease(s).* Love is patient, always perseveres, always hopes, never gives up, doesn't compromise, and rejoices with the truth. See 1 Corinthians 13.
*For those and other reasons, anything on this article, blog, or website is not to be misconstrued as professional medical advice. Nothing written here is meant to replace your relationship with your physician nor is advice to forego, adapt, change, or deviate from current medical treatment. It is solely the reader's responsibility to weigh the information in the context of relationship with God, one's physician, self, etc. for their own situation and to respond accordingly. The author of this blog or references are not liable or responsible for any reader’s decisions nor for any negative health repercussions experienced by a reader in this pursuit/journey of healing.
For further research and investigation in these matters, here are a few recommend resources:
A More Excellent Way by Dr. Henry Wright.
Switch on Your Brain. by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
Healing Begins with Sanctification of the Heart: “No Disease is Incurable.” by Dr. M.K. Strydom. See 771 page .pdf here
To learn more about entering into a relationship with God, here is my post “Satan Wants to Take Away Your Fun.”