Teaching Article #21
by Bill Nugent
Jesus said to the paralyzed man whom He had just healed: “Behold, you have become well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may befall you” (John 5:14 NASB).
In the epistle of James we read: “the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:15-16 NASB).
Part of the glorious revelation of the Christian faith is our doctrine of sin. The Christian approach to sin is different from that of paganism. The doctrine of sin is called ‘hamartiology’ after the Greek word for sin which is ‘hamartia.’ In the Christian faith we believe that the original sin of Adam brought the curse on the world. We believe that each person is born in sin and each of us are sinners who need to personally repent and receive forgiveness through Christ. It is repentance and faith in Christ that reverses the curse.
The greatest and most powerful weapon the Christian has in spiritual warfare is repentance. The greatest weapon the enemy has in spiritual warfare is sin. Healing involves spiritual warfare. Healing is a spiritual thing. Supernatural healing is something that is fought for in the realm of spirit and the outcome of that spiritual fight affects the physical body.
More than seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied: “the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). There is healing in the atonement. Christ died for our sins and he also suffered for our diseases. “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). He also bore our mental illnesses.
Do you see how closely healing is tied to sin? The same atonement that takes away our sins also takes away our diseases. We can all agree that the sin of Adam brought the curse upon the world. The Bible in Genesis 3:16-19 is very clear about this. Sin brought the curse on the ground and caused the ground to bring forth thorns and thistles. I believe that the curse that was brought upon the world through Adam’s sin is also manifested through sickness and physical trauma (accidents).
Healing is an accomplished fact as far as Christ is concerned. Jesus bore our sicknesses nearly 2,000 years ago. The problem is not on Jesus’s end in the battle for healing. The problem or fight is on our end. We must do spiritual warfare to bring healing into physical manifestation in the body of the sick person. Please don’t be put off by the term “spiritual warfare” because ordinary prayer is an aspect of spiritual warfare. You do spiritual warfare every day whether you call it spiritual warfare or not. When you pray, you are asking God for a miracle and miracles involve the realm of spirit.
Let’s take the example of cancer. Cancer does not occur in a vacuum. There are many causes of cancer. There are many carcinogens. One major cause of cancer is cigarette smoking. Abuse of tobacco is an obvious cause of cancer and smoking is considered to be sin. Smoking cigarettes is blatant abuse of the physical body. Your body is a gift from God. It is a sin to take poisons into your body.
You are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in a body. It is of utmost importance that a Christian be a good steward of his body. To abuse the body is to sin against God.
What are some less obvious ways that Christians abuse their bodies and set themselves up for cancer? Eating junk food is one way that Christians commit the sin of bad stewardship of the body. Eating sugary white flower, denatured bread and candy throws the body into an acid state. An acid state of the body is when the ph level of the body falls. It is tested by dipping a ph strip in to the first urine of the morning. A healthy body should have a first morning urine ph of between 6.4 and 7.0. Junk food eaters routinely clock in at around 5.0. That is extremely unhealthy and sets the body up for cancer and many other diseases.
It’s a fact that Christians abuse their bodies in a number of ways. There’s junk food, junk stress, junk fear, junk anxiety, junk work (workaholism) junk laziness (lack of exercise) and failure to get enough sleep. Much back pain is caused by abusing the back by careless lifting of heavy loads.
I’ll also mention that bitterness and unforgiveness are very common and powerful ways that demons find access to cause disease in a body. The cancer patient in front of you who wants you to lay hands on him to pray for healing from cancer has probably abused his body for decades. He might also be in a state of bitterness and unforgiveness towards people. Is he a victim of cancer or is he a collaborator with cancer? By “collaborator with cancer” I mean that perhaps he invited cancer into his body by his sins.
The last thing I want to say to a suffering person is that his cancer is because of his sin. I don’t want to shame a suffering person. However, sometimes it is necessary to deal with a person’s sins to get to the root cause of his disease. People invite cancer into their bodies by their sins. I believe cancer is demonic. I don’t know if demons actually cause the cancer or simply ride along and worsen the cancer that started by natural means. Demons take territory because they are invited in by sin.
I spoke to a minister from England recently who, while traveling on ministry, entered a hotel room and sensed the presence of demons. He immediately began to pray against the demons and commanded them to leave. The evil presence remained. The demons would not leave. God showed the minister that the demons had a right to be there because of sins committed in that room. Can you imagine all the adultery and fornication that occurred in that room over the years?
The way to remove sin is by repentance. The Englishman began to pray prayers of identificational repentance. He repented of the sins that were committed in that room even though he was not personally guilty of those particular sins. We see a biblical example of identificational repentance in Daniel nine where Daniel intercedes and repents of the sins of Israel even though Daniel himself lived a holy life of commitment to God’s law.
When the British preacher repented of the sins committed in the room the demons lost their legal basis for being in the room. The demons left the room after he repented. If demons can occupy a hotel room because of sins, it’s no stretch to see that demons can occupy and afflict a human body because of sins.
It would be extremely awkward to confront a cancer patient about his sins in the front of a church where the man came forward for prayer. Such a dealing with sin should be done very discreetly and gently in a private healing room type of setting.
Another bizarre problem you may encounter is that some people don’t really want to be healed. In their heart of hearts they are hanging on to their illnesses. If it’s a long standing chronic illness they have learned to adjust their life to it. Maybe it’s a death wish that they would never openly admit. If it’s “terminal” cancer, maybe they want to die. In John 5:6 Jesus asked the paralytic if he wanted to get well. In another case Jesus asked a blind man what he wanted (Luke 18:41). Why would Jesus ask such obvious questions? It’s because many people subconsciously hang on to their illnesses.
It’s a medically documented fact that many people do not think they deserve to be healed. I heard this discussed by Dr. Bob Marshall of Premier Research Labs. Dr. Marshall used a kind of lie detector test as he questioned people about their illnesses and their desire to get well. He found that all of the people claimed that they desired to get well but most failed the lie detector test. These were people who had spent a lot of time and money to see some of the nation’s leading physicians yet they, in some bizarre way, deep in their hearts, clung to their illnesses!
We need to teach people that they deserve to be healed. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32 NASB). Every Christian deserves healing! Every Christian deserves prosperity and every good thing. It is sin to take the attitude that you don’t deserve healing!
It is a sin for a Christian to hang on to his illness. It is a sin to abuse your body so that sickness comes upon your body. Christ carried our sorrows and infirmities according to Isaiah 53. We should gently ask the sick person: “Do you want Christ to carry your sickness or do you want to carry your sickness yourself? Repent of the sin of carrying your illness or injury. Jesus wants to bear your illness. Give your illness or injury to Jesus!” “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
James 5:16 commands us to “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (NASB). I think there’s great practical value in verbal confession of sin. I attended a church in Connecticut where the people confessed their sins out loud from the pews in the sanctuary during the Tuesday morning prayer meeting. That was at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut in the early 1990s. I believe that open verbal confession of sin has its place in healing ministry.
I suggest some simple steps:
1) Teach the congregation about the connection between sin and sickness. Explain to them the many ways in which people abuse their bodies and that it’s a sin to abuse the body. It’s a sin to deny that you deserve healing. It’s a sin to hang on to your illness.
2) Teach the people that verbal confession of sin is not restricted to Catholics speaking to a priest in a confessional.
3) Lead the people in open, out loud confession of sin in liturgical, ‘repeat after me’ fashion. An example would be to have them repeat the following words: “I confess that I’ve sinned against God by abusing my body with junk food, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and by being anxious and stressful rather than trusting God. I confess that I’ve hung on to my affliction by unbelief and fear of change. I now repent of my sins and I pledge to take proper care of my body and mind going forward.”
4) Invite the people to come forward for the laying on of hands to receive the healing that Jesus paid for by His sufferings on our behalf.
The simple steps outlined above are a practical way for people to exercise repentance as a means of spiritual warfare. People must take responsibility for their lives and reach out in faith to Christ who delights in giving healing.
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!