The Prayer Of Faith Shall Save The Sick

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Hi B____,

Thank you for sending me your question concerning the proper understanding of Jas 5:14.

Jas 5:14  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

It is a logical question for anyone to ask, but it seems that the obvious fact, as you put it, “that the days of the gathered multitudes with revival and mass physical miracles as in the early NT church are over” and the undeniable fact that there are very few miracles taking place these days, is simply unacceptable to a lot of people. Here is another letter on the site on this subject of healing which I encourage you to read. Here is the URL for that letter.

http:// iswasandwillbe. com/ short-sighted_ healings. php

As far as the point of not going to a physical church building with elders who are physically present in that particular physical building, one would have to acknowledge that anointed cloths were sent out even in Paul’s day, demonstrating that “the elders of the church” do not need to be in physical attendance to pray a prayer of faith over the sick.

Act 19:11  And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Act 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.

God is completely capable of doing these same “special miracles” today, but it appears that there is simply never a reliable witness or camcorder around to catch all the miracles which are being proclaimed.

The principle that must be kept in mind to understand this, or any other verse of scripture, is that “The sum of thy Word is Truth”.

Psa 119:160  The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.

So we cannot just take Jas 5:14 alone, and exclude it from the rest of scripture. If we want a proper understanding of this verse of scripture, then we must take it as a part of the whole of the witness of God’s Word. Truth is designed to be found only “line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” for the express purpose of snaring the multitudes.

Isa 28:9  Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Isa 28:10  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isa 28:11  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Isa 28:13  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Before we go any further, I want to add a word to your statement: ” … the days of the gathered multitudes with revival and mass physical miracles as in the early NT church are over.” That is a true statement that simply needs to be clarified by saying that God still heals people of diseases when righteous men pray fervently for healing. But let’s look closely at what we are being promised in this section of scripture.

Jas 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.
Jas 5:16  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.

Where in those verses are we promised ‘The prayer of faith shall physically heal the physically sick”? Where, in these verses is that promise? Nowhere are we ever promised that God will always answer our prayers for physical blessings of any kind. All we are ever promised anywhere is that if our petitions are “according to His will” then He will hear that prayer and He will grant them to us.

1Jn 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

What is it that precipitates the healing that is under discussion in the verses there in Jas 5? It is “Confessing your faults, and praying for one another”. These verses do not say, ‘Tell each other of your physical afflictions, and pray for each other’s physical afflictions.’ Instead it says “Confess your faults and pray one for another.” Being healed of a physical affliction is not the point of these verses of Jas 5. We are not told that this “fervent… prayer of faith” will physically heal the physically sick. What we are being told in these verses is that “The prayer of faith will SAVE the sick and the Lord will raise him up.” This is not a physical promise of physical healing, and the physical realm of healing is never to be placed ahead of spiritual healing in the spiritual realm. Christ certainly never made that mistake.

Mat 9:2  And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Mat 9:5  For whether is easier, to say, [ Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Mat 9:6  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

The very reason for this man’s healing from his palsy was “That you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins.” That was the reason for the sickness itself, and this is reemphasized and demonstrated in the instance of the man who was born blind.

Joh 9:2  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Joh 9:3  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

It is the power to perform physical miracles which is given to the beast. This power is actually granted by God to the beast for the express purpose of “deceiving the whole world”.

Rev 13:11  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
Rev 13:12  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
Rev 13:13  And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
Rev 13:14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

It is His “deadly wound [ which] was healed”, making him a very healthy beast, and God grants this beast which comes up out of the earth, “the power to perform wonders [Greek, semeion – miracles] in the sight of men”.

It is very instructive for those who are “given eyes that see… the things of the spirit” to realize that the word translated “great wonders” in Rev 13:13 is the same word translated as “signs in this verse:

Mar 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Here is Strong’s number and definition of that Greek word.

se meion
say- mi’- on

Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4591; an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally: – miracle, sign, token, wonder.

Here are other places in the New Testament, with the various English translations of this word and where this Greek word “semeion” appears.

se meion

Total KJV Occurrences: 77

sign, 29
Mat_12:38-39 (4), Mat_16:1, Mat_16:4 (3), Mat_24:3, Mat_24:30, Mat_26:48, Mar_8:11-12 (3), Mar_13:4, Luk_2:12, Luk_2:34, Luk_11:16, Luk_11:29-30 (4), Luk_21:7, Joh_2:18, Joh_6:30, Rom_4:11, 1Co_14:22 (2), Rev_15:1

signs, 22
Mat_16:3, Mat_24:24, Mar_13:22, Mar_16:17, Mar_16:20, Luk_21:11, Luk_21:25, Joh_4:48, Joh_20:30, Act_2:19, Act_2:22, Act_2:43, Act_4:30, Act_5:12, Act_7:36, Act_8:13, Act_14:3, Rom_15:19, 2Co_12:12 (2), 2Th_2:9, Heb_2:4

miracles, 15
Joh_2:11, Joh_2:23, Joh_6:2 (2), Joh_6:26, Joh_7:31, Joh_9:16, Joh_11:47, Joh_12:37, Act_6:8, Act_8:6, Act_15:12, Rev_16:14 (2), Rev_19:20

miracle, 7
Luk_23:8, Joh_4:54, Joh_6:14, Joh_10:41, Joh_12:18, Act_4:16, Act_4:22

wonder, 2
Rev_12:1, Rev_12:3

token, 1

wonders, 1

It is by these miracles, these “semeion“, that he deceives those who are not given the ability to try the spirits to see whether they are of God (1Jn 4:1). For ninety nine and forty-four one-hundredths of a percent of mankind, the ability to perform miracles is equated with spiritual and Godly righteousness. After all, we are told that “the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. But physical healing and spiritual righteousness are not to be considered as one and the same, and the “much availed [by] the fervent prayer of a righteous man” is far more than physical healing. There are many unrighteous men who claim to have their prayers miraculously answered. Paul graphically demonstrates this Truth for us when he tells us that the Corinthians “came behind in no gift”, which would include the gift of healing, and in the same breath he tells us that they “were yet carnal.”

1Co 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [ even] as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [ to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [ there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [ am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

So once again we need to take the time to look at what James, under the inspiration of the holy spirit, emphasizes as the result of “the fervent prayer of a righteous man.”

Jas 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.

“Save the sick… raise him up… forgive his sins”? That is all wonderful, and in reality those are the things that matter, but where in that verse are we told that a physical miracle would be performed? The Truth is that it simply is not there. “Raise him up” can and should be primarily understood in the sense in which the scriptures emphasize that phrase.

Luk 9:22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Act 2:24  Whom [Christ] God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Having said all of this, it is important that I mention that I have personally witnessed a miraculous healing of a cancer patient who, as a heavy person before contracting his cancer, lost weight to the point that he was just skin and bones and was sent  home to die. He had previously asked all of his acquaintances to pray for his healing. When he was healed, even though I had been praying for that very thing, I was literally shocked. He had been a country music entertainer in the local night clubs around Gainesville and Buford, Georgia, and when he became ill, he stopped entertaining, he stopped smoking and drinking, and he returned to the local Baptist church in which he had been brought up.

For God’s own reasons He saw fit to restore this man to health after bringing his to death’s door.

At this very time I am in the process of asking God daily to heal two of our brothers, just as I have prayed for you. Of course you were treated for your affliction, but even your treatments were the working of our Lord. So all of our prayers must include the instructions were were specifically given for proper praying.

Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

1Jn 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us

As you are aware, “All of the days ordained for us are written in His book before there were any of them”.

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

In closing, it will do us well to remember that Christ made it super-clear that our faith was never to be based upon the signs we witness, but solely upon His Words which express His will in all things.

Mat 12:39  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet:

Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

That is where the real blessing lies. I hope this is of some help to you.

Your brother in Christ,


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