Biblical Christian view of sickness
In order for us to maintain our bodies in a condition that glorifies God, we should first know what attitude to take with respect to sickness. We must also learn how to use our body to manifest God’s glory and how we can receive healing and maintain good health.
The Christian view of sickness and sin
The Bible reveals an intimate relationship between sickness and sin. The final consequence of sin is death. Sickness falls between sin and death. If there were no sin in the world, there would be no sickness or death. However, when the Lord Jesus came to save humanity, he did not only forgive man’s sin but He also healed him. In this way, the first attitude that we should have when we become sick is to examine ourselves to determine whether we have sinned against God or not.
In Isaiah 53, the Word tells us that God has grated us both the healing of the body as well as the peace of the soul. Because Jesus carried our infirmities, we no longer have to carry them. We should note that the salvation of God would not be complete if the Lord Jesus merely forgave our sins without healing our sicknesses. Today, many Christians believe in His power to forgive, but doubt His grace to heal.
The Christian view of sickness as a form of God’s discipline
The apostle Paul explains that sickness is a type of discipline from the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:30-32). God can discipline Christians with sickness when they err and move them to judge themselves in order to eliminate their errors. Upon disciplining His children, God treats them graciously, so that they are not condemned with the world. If His children repent of their sins, God takes away His discipline. Therefore, we can avoid sickness by judging ourselves! Sickness, in many cases is God’s clear judgment of sin. However, we must not infer from this that all those who are sick, are necessarily more sinful than those who are not (Luke 13:2); much to the contrary, those who are most disciplined by the Lord are generally more holy. Job is an excellent example of this.
The first attitude that we must have if we get sick, is not to run from one place to the other in the attempt to get healed and to discover ways of being healed. What we must do is to place ourselves totally in the light of God and allow Him to examine us, having the honest desire to discover whether we are being disciplined due to sin in our life or not. In this way, the Holy Spirit will show us where our error is, and whatever He reveals to us we should immediately confess and abandon. If the sin has harmed others, then we should do our best to make restitution believing at the same time that God has accepted us. God is happy to remove His discipline when it is no longer necessary.
The Christian view of sickness and the ego
Every bad and adverse situation can serve God’s purpose to exposing our true condition. Sickness is one of God’s methods by which we can know our true condition. We never know just how much we are living for God and how much we are living for our own ego until we get sick, principally if the sickness is prolonged. On good days, we may feel very consecrated to the Lord, but in sickness, we reveal our egocentricity. How sad it is when a Christian, because of his own desire, murmurs against God when God tests him. He does not accept what God gives as best for him. On the contrary, he fills his heart with the desire for quick healing. Because of this, God needs to prolong the sickness, until he attains His purposes.
With sickness, God shows us whether we seek Him only on good days or whether we seek Him even when things go bad. He also permits sickness so that we surrender our self-love, which is the exaggerated concern for ourselves.
The Christian view of sickness and Medicine
We do not intend on spending too much time questioning if a Christian should use medicine or not. However, if the Lord has made provision for the healing of our physical bodies in His plan of salvation, it seems like ignorance, if not unbelief, for us to seek the help of human invention through medicine. The world has invented multiple types of medicines to relieve people of sicknesses. However, the Lord secured the healing of our body on the cross as well as the salvation of our soul and spirit. In the rush to get well, we must decide if we as Christians will seek healing through human methods or depend on the Lord Jesus for our healing.
There is a big difference between receiving healing through medicine and receiving healing by God. The power of medicine is natural, while that of God is supernatural. When we are healed through medicine, we place our confidence in the intelligence of man. However, when God heals us, we depend on the perfect work of Jesus on the cross. This does not mean that God does not bless the use of medicine and that he does not heal through it. However, His goal is that we believe in His work and receive healing by His hand. If we are healed by dependence on God, we will gain spiritual benefit; something that healing through medicine can never offer us. The lesson that God intends to teach us through sickness is for us to cease all of our own activity and trust in him totally.
The Christian view of good health compared to sickness
Some Christians go to extremes. Previously they were hard and obstinate, but God has broken them through sickness. They responded well to God and because of this, they became gentle, loving and meek. Since the sickness was so effective, they began to appreciate sickness more than health. We must understand however, that life with the Lord by no means implies living with physical infirmities. It is good to be able to support suffering. However, it would be much better if someone would obey God when he or she is full of strength.
Sickness can glorify God, because it offers Him an opportunity to manifest His healing power (John 9:3). However, how can God be glorified if someone remains sick for a prolonged period just because he appreciates the sickness? God desires to heal us. The earthly healing ministry of Jesus was marked by innumerable healings. He has not changed, He continues to desire healing.
We cannot fail to mention that sickness originates with the devil. God permits Satan to attack His children because of defects in their lives. However, be careful! Some sicknesses come directly from Satan and we have no need to suffer them. We should firmly reject and eliminate some sicknesses, because they have already fulfilled their purposes. In these two cases, we may be suffering unnecessarily. Many people are sick with no need to be sick, simply for lack of faith in the promise of God’s healing through faith. We must understand that any spiritual blessing that we receive through sickness is inferior to that which we receive through restoration and healing. In order to be healed, we may either call the elders of the church to pray over us (James 5:14, 15), or exercise our own faith confidently and take possession of the promises of God concerning healing (Exodus 15:26). God will heal us.
In redemption, God treats sickness differently than he treats sin. The destruction of sin is complete but the destruction of sickness and infirmity is not. Timothy, for example, continued having a weak stomach. We claim however, that there should not be as much sickness as we see among the children of God. Innumerable Christians remain sick because they lost the opportunity to be healed. Unless we have the assurance that Paul had after having prayed three times, that his thorn in the flesh would remain because it was useful, we should ask for healing. Until we are sure that God wants us to bear our weakness, we should boldly ask Him to take away and remove our sickness.
We want to emphasize the attitude that a believer should have with respect to sickness. Every time a Christian becomes sick, the first thing to do is to investigate the cause of the evil before the Lord, while not being too anxious for the healing. We must determine whether we have disobeyed God, whether we have sinned in some way or not. Perhaps we are indebted to someone for some reason and we have failed to pay our debt or perhaps we have violated a natural law or neglected some special direction. After identifying the motives, we must assume the proper attitudes. In conclusion, we recognize that no sickness comes without a cause. If a Christian gets sick, he must try to discover its cause or causes. After confessing them one by one before the Lord, he should call the elders of the church so that he can confess his sins to them and receive prayer for healing and forgiveness. The elders will anoint the sick person with oil so that God may restore his life in the body of Christ. Then the influx of God’s life will make the sickness disappear.