The Holy Spirit the Spirit of Healing
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit… To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit… But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (I Corinthians 12:4, 9, 11).
What is it that distinguishes the children of God? What is their glory? It is that God dwells in the midst of them and reveals Himself to them in power (Exodus 33:16; 34:9-10).
Exodus 33 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. Exodus 34 9 And he said, If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray Thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance. 10 And He said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
Under the New Covenant this dwelling of God in the believer is still more manifest than in former times. God sends the Holy Spirit to His Church, which is the Body of Christ, to act in her with power, and her life and her prosperity depend on Him. The Spirit must find in her unreserved, full liberty, that she may be recognized as the Church of Christ, the Lord’s Body. In every age the Church may look for manifestations of the Spirit, for they form our indissoluble unity; “one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4).
The Spirit operates variously in such or such a member of the Church. It is possible to be filled with the Spirit for one special work and not for another. There are also times in the history of the Church when certain gifts of the Spirit are given with power, while at the same time ignorance or unbelief may hinder other gifts. Wherever the life more abundant of the Spirit is to be found, we may expect Him to manifest all His gifts.
The gift of healing is one of the most beautiful manifestations of the Spirit. It is recorded of Jesus, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth… Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil” (Acts 10:38). The Holy Spirit in Him was a healing Spirit, and He was the same in the disciples after Pentecost. Thus the words of our text express what was the continuous experience of the early Church (compare attentively Acts 3:7; 4:30; 5:12,15-16; 6:8; 8:7; 9:41; 14:9-10; 16:18-19; 19:12; 28: 8-9).
Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 4:30 By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of Thy Holy Child Jesus. 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
The abundant pouring out of the Spirit produced abundant healings. What a lesson for the Church in our days!
Divine healing is the work of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s redemption extends it’s powerful working to the body, and the Holy Spirit is responsible both to transmit it to and maintain it in us. Our body shares in the benefit of the redemption, and even now it can receive the pledge of it by divine healing. It is Jesus who heals, Jesus who anoints and baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Jesus, who baptized His disciples with the same Spirit, is He who sends us the Holy Spirit here on earth either to keep sickness away from us, or to restore us to health when sickness has taken hold upon us.
Divine healing accompanies the sanctification by the Spirit. It is to make us holy that the Holy Spirit makes us partakers of Christ’s redemption. Hence His name “Holy.” Therefore the healing which He works is an intrinsic part of His divine mission, and He bestows it either to lead the sick one to be converted and to believe (Acts 4: 29-30; 5:12,14; 6:7-8; 8:6,8; 9:42) or to confirm his faith if he is already converted.
Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word, 4:30 By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of Thy Holy Child Jesus. 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 6:7 And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 8:8 And there was great joy in that city. 9:42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
He constrains him thus to renounce sin, and to consecrate himself entirely to God and to His service (I Corinthians 10:31; James 5:15, 16; Hebrews 12:10).
1 Corinthians 10 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. James 5 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Hebrews 12 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Divine healing tends to glorify Jesus. It is God’s will that His Son should be glorified, and the Holy Spirit does this when He comes to show us what the redemption of Christ does for us. The redemption of the mortal body appears almost more marvelous than that of the immortal soul. In these two ways God wills to dwell in us through Christ, and thus to triumph over the flesh. As soon as our body becomes the temple of God through the Spirit, Jesus is glorified.
Divine healing takes place wherever the Spirit of God works in power. Proofs of this are to be found in the lives of the Reformers, and in those of certain Moravians in their best times. But there are yet other promises touching the pouring out of the Holy Spirit which have not been fulfilled up to this time. Let us live in a holy expectation, praying the Lord to accomplish them in us.