Word of False Teaching


false-teachers

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.

Notes:

Dr. Thomas Constable
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One thought on “Word of False Teaching”

  1. This latest post clearly and succinctly makes the point. It appears to me that the problem with the Word of Faith person(s) is that they focus on their own take of their “proof text” while ignoring the balance of the weight of Scripture. Job’s friends insisted his suffering was due to his own sin, which we know was not the case. A similar error is the teaching that ill-health or misfortune can be corrected if you only have (enough of or the right kind of) faith. The wisdom of Jesus teaches that blessings and calamities happen to both the wicked and the righteous (Matthew 5:45).

    I think the “thorn” in Paul’s side is probably a universal human experience. Looking at the most productive Christians, now and historically, who of them weren’t humbled in some way by some suffering? In fact John 16:33 clearly tells us that in this world we will have tribulations, but we can be of good cheer, not because our faith will heal our temporal bodies, but because our Savior has overcome the world (including everything we are prone to suffer). Being over-comers doesn’t mean our faith is a cure-all. It means holding on to what is good and enduring everything the enemy throws at us.

    Many of the things we endure are deadly, and we see Christians all over the world suffering and dying. Why? Is it because they are sinful or because they lack faith? Absolutely not. It simply is the nature of this earthly life. But Jesus told us not to fear those who can only kill the body. Why? Because he told us, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” There are many blessings in this (earthly) life. Good health is one of them. But our greatest blessing has nothing to do with health or healing. It has to do with eternal life in Christ. Whether Christians know many or few blessings in this life, our blessings will be without end when we go to be him.

    “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

    “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3

    Yes, everyone wants healing and health. But our faith is not about perfecting life here on earth, It’s about resurrection. That is the victory Christ gave us — new life, eternal life in him that eclipses the life we now know. Even if we cure all diseases, these bodies of ours will not be perfected here. They will surely come to their end. What we see now is only a dim reflection of something much greater than being cured of an illness.

    “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

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