Last night at Midweek Fellowship we had a discussion about being confronted with the belief that if one has enough faith they can be healed.
When I hear the phrase “enough faith” I cringe. It is a subtle error of presumption that disregards biblical truth, although an individual who may advocate it may be absolutely sincere.
Faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” but always in the context of “the word of God” (Hebrews 11:1-30). Presumption, on the other hand is Satan’s counterfeit for faith. Presumption is simply jumping to a conclusion without considering the full truth.
An example of presumption over true faith in God is when Satan took Jesus on the “pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Satan tried to tempt Jesus to be rash, to assume, to presumptuously put a verse of Scripture to test without considering the larger biblical truth, and in this situation it is his attempt to get our Lord to ignore the hundreds of Bible prophecies regarding the Messiah’s mission.
Yes, we should exercise faith in the promises of God and in the God who promises, but we’ll be disappointed if we attempt to have healing by somehow trying to have enough faith to be healed.
The implication of faith healers is that if one has enough faith they can be healed, or if one would simply rid their mind of doubt than the seed of faith can flourish and bring about healing. Now God can still heal and He still does, but it at His will, not ours.
Let me hit on a few points to help put this this issue in biblical perspective…
• In Mark 11:22 Jesus told us to “Have faith in God” but He never instructed us to have faith in ourselves or in faith itself. Consider that we are saved by Jesus through faith not saved by faith because of our faith. Likewise, no one is healed by their own faith, but by Jesus.
• In both John 5 and John 9 Jesus healed a paralytic and a blind man who did not first express faith. They didn’t come to Him in faith for their healing, but instead Jesus went to them and healed them, although neither had no clue who it was who healed them. John 9:35-38 records the story after the healing as “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
• Besides John 5 and John 9, the Bible records other accounts where Jesus healed people who did not first express faith. (Luke 6:19; Luke 9:11; Matthew 14:14; Matthew 15:30).
• In John 18:10, Jesus healed the ear of the Roman soldier when Peter cut it off thinking he was protecting Jesus from being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. The soldier never asked to be healed nor had faith in Christ.
• In Luke 8:26-39, Jesus healed the demon possess man without asking or receiving any type of expression of his faith.
• In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten lepers but only one obeyed Jesus in faith.
• Sometimes Jesus healed people because of someone else’s faith not their own, like in Matthew 8:5-10 when it was the faith of the centurion that healed his own servant or in Mark 5:35-43 when the daughter of Jairus was healed from the father’s faith or in Mark 2:2-12 when the paralytic was carried by his friends to Jesus.
• Apparently, Paul the Apostle, the man entrusted by God to write the majority of the New Testament, didn’t have enough faith because in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 we read that he wasn’t healed.
• GotQuestions.org has a good article on “faith healers” at https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-healers.html that points out some biblical truths about healing by Jesus, including that Jesus’ healing was an instantaneous miracle that required no working up to it by the recipient of the healing.