Friday, February 15, 2008

"By his wounds we are healed" - of what?

What did Peter mean when he referenced Isaiah 53 and said, “by his wounds (stripes) we are healed” – 1 Peter 2:24. Is he referring to physical healing or spiritual healing? Physical healing is definitely all over the New Testament and is very prevalent and available today. For instance, Jesus healed many, the disciples and apostles healed, and we are instructed by James to gather the elders, pray for the sick, and they will be healed. But, are we misusing Peter’s words when we directly, or simply, apply “by his wounds we are healed” to all situations involving physical healing? I tend to think that we do misuse this passage. If you look at the context there is no mention of the physical. Rather, the entire context revolves around our spiritual condition and the victory we should be experiencing over sin. The healing Peter appears to refer to is a spiritual healing that brings us into perfect health (relationship) with our Savior and Lord. This is also true about the passage in Isaiah 53. It is referring to the healing (victory) we have over our transgressions and iniquities (sins).

This should not in any way diminish or dismiss your belief and assurance of the very evident presence of physical healing by our loving and all-powerful God. But it should remind us that the spiritual is always more important than the physical. However, good spiritual health can often lead to physical healing. James gives us a little insight into this reality:
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:14-16.

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