Friends, I wanted to humbly revisit 1 Peter 2:24 to affirm the proper scriptural understanding of this contentiously debated verse with regards to physical healing.
A short time ago, awakened from a deep sleep, the Spirit led me to a Word of Faith blog that essentially teaches the precept of name-it-and-claim-it healing. The blog author cited Peter’s words as the proof-text of faith healing. Regular followers of this blog know that I have recently posted a number of articles on this subject, and so I felt compelled to leave a comment that the author’s interpretation of Peter was incorrect.
[You can read my comments here.]
The short version is that I was effectively banned from the website until I reviewed hours of videos and articles promoting Word of Faith healing. The author admonished me that I was under a veil of deception, that God sent me to her blog and she would pray for me.
Well, I thought the Holy Spirit sent me to correct her so there we stood at an impasse. I took ill after this exchange, and was sorely afflicted by a chronic condition that has not been healed by years of prayer. Thoughts tormented my sleep — maybe I am deceived … maybe I am lacking in faith or wisdom … maybe God inflamed my affliction to show the error of my thinking.
After many days of fasting, prayer and study I am even more confident of my interpretation, and that my affliction is a message — not from God, but Satan. (See Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7.)
Incidentally, I want to thank the brothers and sisters who sent me words of encouragement.
I studied over 20 commentaries — some dating back to the Reformation — which concur with my understanding of Kephas. We have to put on the whole armor of God including the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to faithfully abide in Him.
[This is the part of my sermon where I serve the daily dose of castor oil. You can’t be fully equipped to defend your faith if you spend a third of your day in front of the television or tethered to a cell phone. As you feed your body, you need to feed your spirit.]
I could post two thousand words of orthodox commentary on Peter, but one of my afflictions is dimming eyes so I will leave you with a summary by Dr. Thomas Constable whose interpretation is consistent with historic Christian teaching.
Jesus’ sufferings reached their climax on the cross. Peter taught that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and laid down His life as payment for those sins. He viewed Jesus’ cross as an altar on which a sacrifice was placed.
We could translate the second part of this verse as follows: “… that, having broken with our sins, we might live for righteousness.” Jesus Christ’s death separated our sins from us. Consequently we can now live unto righteousness rather than unto sin (cf. Romans 6:1-11).
“The idea is that, Christ having died for sins, and to sin, as our proxy or substitute, our consequent standing before God is that of those who have no more connection with our old sins, or with the life of sinning.” [Note: Alan M. Stibbs, The First Epistle General of Peter, p. 121.]
Some writers have cited the third part of this verse to support the non-biblical doctrine that Jesus by His death made healing from any physical ailment something that every Christian can claim in this life. This is the belief that there is “healing in the atonement.” The context of Isaiah 53, as well as the past tense “were healed” here, implies spiritual healing from the fatal effects of sin rather than healing from present physical afflictions. Peter used healing as a metaphor for spiritual conversion, as Isaiah did (cf. Mark 2:17; Luke 4:23).
A false teaching has become entrenched doctrine in the Word of Faith movement that by Jesus’ wounds we have been healed of physical infirmities while by His blood we have been cleansed of our sins. No, my friends. Our precious Lord did not die an agonizing death on the cross to heal your body, but to save your soul.
To facilitate a greater understanding of Scripture it is useful to become learned of Jewish idioms, metaphors and hyperboles — and not rely on your own understanding, or the teachings of a charismatic leader.
Dr. Thomas Constable
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