Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Issue of Sin in Healing

Continuing with the subject of Divine Healing, with a review of some pertinent scripture verses: Isaiah 53:3-5; 1 Corinthians 13:9-10; Romans 8:10-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; John 9:1-3; Luke 10:1-12; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 12; Matthew 9:28-30; Mark 9:23-24; Mark 6:1-6; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; James 5:14-20; Revelation 22:1-3

Experience tells me, what I am about to share with you will cause some of you some anguish. However, since my commitment in writing is to be boldly scriptural, I'm going to tell you what I think is scripturally true come what may. So give this a read, and if it upsets you, leave a comment. We'll talk.

In dealing with in the subject of sickness from a scriptural perspective, there is no avoiding the fact that Paul and James both connect sickness to sin in their Holy Spirit inspired writings. Paul does so quite directly, James merely implies it, but both connect the two beyond a shadow of a doubt. Neither offers the correlation that if one sins, one consequently becomes ill, but there is cause and effect in some cases. James nebulously mentions that if a sick person has sinned he will be forgiven in the process of healing (causal link implied), but Paul specifically mentions the sin of eating and drinking from the Lord's table in an unworthy fashion as leading to sickness (and even death).

The concept is nothing new. We looked into God's ancient pattern of governance earlier in the series to establish that God wanted his people well. If we look there again, we'll see that the sin and sickness connection is long established under the rule of God. Isaiah said that sin puts us at odds with God, even out of earshot, which goes a long way toward explaining why sickness can follow sin in a believer's life. If we need to ask for healing, which is what I have asserted, and sin interferes with our ability to be heard by God; certainly, sin could effect our ability to receive all that God has made available to us.

For those of you who would have trouble envisioning God making us ill, let me point out that he would not have to act directly against us for sickness to follow sin, he would merely have to leave us to our lot. This concept may put a chill down your spine, but don't let it get you down, even though death is part of the possibilities that Paul brings up. James makes it clear, that if sin is associated with the sickness someone is experiencing, it will be forgiven him when he calls for the elders and the church prays for him. Mistreating your brothers and sisters may bring illness your way, but calling on those brothers and sisters to pray for you can bring forgiveness and healing.


  1. One connection to your post is the man at the pool of Bethesda that was healed. Jesus later met him in the temple and said, "Don't sin less a worse thing come upon you" (paraphrase).

    Good post.

  2. Thanks Peter,
    I really appreciate your input! I think the scripture is clear on the subject, but it's hard for some folk to see or hear it.

  3. Hmm. Interesting. I guess I never really thought about it. Is it the same concept as what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts?

  4. Todd,
    Although we could only speculatively connect the dots between the specific circumstances of I Corinthians 11 and Acts 5, I think the incidents are of the same cloth. The outcome of the actions cited, at least in the ultimate sense, is certainly the same. I think both could justifiably be seen as demonstrations of the principle at hand. Great comment!

  5. Great post!

    The Old Testament prophets saw the connection between disobedience and sickness very clearly. For example, Isaiah chapter 1

    Why will you still be struck down?
    Why will you continue to rebel?
    The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.
    From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,
    but bruises and sores
    and raw wounds;
    they are not pressed out or bound up
    or softened with oil.

    But then the same prophet says concerning Christ in chapter 53

    But he was wounded for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his stripes we are healed.

    Because one of the consequences of sin can be sickness, we have the wonderful prospect that when we invite Jesus to deal with our sin that one of the consequences of forgiveness can be restored health. Praise God! Indeed, the very word that we see translated in the New Testament as "salvation" is the Greek word "sozo" which basically means "to be made whole" and is also translated in the New Testament as "healed" depending on the context.

    Every kind of brokenness is the consequence of sin - not always directly, often "just" the consequence of a fallen world as your previous post covered so well.

    But God's heart is to "sozo" us - to make us whole again :-)

    Even if we must patiently wait until we see the new earth - He will complete that "sozo" work in us.

  6. Thanks Mark,
    Sin short-circuits everything, and God puts things right and makes them work. Thankfully, He is better at doing what he does than sin is at doing what it does, all to the chagrin of the Devil.


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