Can We Be Healed Today?

A look at James 5, verse 14

A lot of churches tell us that we cannot be healed by God today. But other churches tell us that we can be healed! So, who is right? Christians must always read the Bible to check if others are right. Let us see what the Bible says, in the book of James, chapter 5, verse 14. It says:

"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. "

We shall look at each bit of this verse and see what God tells us.

"Is any sick among you?"

The writer of James is asking Christians in the churches if anyone is sick. He is talking about sick Christians, not anybody else. The person who is sick, is very sick, maybe even close to death. We know that the person is very, very sick, because of the word 'save' in verse 15. We are told that "the prayer of faith shall save the sick".

The word 'save' in this verse means to rescue from danger and from dying. So, we know that the person is very ill before he calls for the elders. We also know that the sick person must be a member of the local church. That is, the sick are not to go to big meetings where there are healers, because this is not what God wants.

"let him call for the elders"

We are told two things here:

  1. The sick person must ask for healing himself.

  2. The elders are the ones who must go to help.

Who are the elders? (You must also read article Ref. No. DBM-010 'Pastors and Deacons', which tells you all about elders). In the Bible, the elders are called different names. An elder is also known as a ‘pastor’, and a 'bishop', and a ‘presbyter’*. So, it does not matter which name you use - you can call him an elder, or a pastor, or a bishop or a presbyter. Today, people think a bishop is higher than an ordinary pastor. That is wrong. It shows that some churches do not know what they are talking about.

The elders in this Bible verse are not young men. All pastors should be older men. This is because older men have got more experience of life. The sick person must call for the older pastors in his own church. Some sick people travel to lots of different churches, to see if they will be healed. We are not supposed to do that. We should ask our own pastors to help us. The verse says that elders must be called to help. So, it is no use calling for deacons or anyone else! A deacon is not the same as an elder.

"let them pray over him"

When the elders get to the sick person (in his own home or in the local church), they must pray over him. This means they must stand near his bed.

"anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord"

The sick person must be anointed. That means, the elders must pour the oil on his head. A small amount will do. The oil that is used is olive oil. It was used by the Jews for healing. It was also used to pour onto heads at feasts.

When the oil is poured onto the head, the elders must pray in the name of the Lord. This means that the elder calls on God to use His power to heal the sick person. He calls on God because only God can do this. A lot of Christians try to get other people to heal them. They go to 'faith healers’ and to ‘spiritualists’*. But, these are bad people. God hates them and He warns us not to go near them. Never let these people near you if you are sick! They follow the devil, not God.

God has the right to heal people. He also has the right not to heal them. If He does not heal a person, it is because He has a much better plan for them. Perhaps He wants to have the person in heaven, to be with Him. Sometimes, people who see a sick Christian suffering will want to be saved, too, so God does not make the sick person better. It is up to God if He heals us or, if He does not heal us. Just because we pray like it says in this verse, it does not mean we will be healed. It just means that we are praying like God tells us to do. So, God might heal us. Or He might not. It is up to Him.

So, there is nothing wrong with asking the elders to pray for you, if you are very, very sick. There is no need to pray for such easy things like colds! These get better on their own. The Bible says that we can ask for healing if we are very sick. And if elders do pray for us, they must do it in the way shown in James 5:14. Other Christians can pray for you, too; but only the elders should put the oil on your head and pray near you. It must be done this way because it is the way shown to us in the Bible. The Bible does not ask us to go to big meetings in other towns or in other churches.

If we are not healed, remember that God will have better plans for us! Do not be afraid. Do not blame God if he does not heal you. And do not blame yourself. Some Christians tell us that if we do not have enough faith, then we will not be healed. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM! Only God does not depend on how strong our faith is. If you are not healed, it does not mean that God is not pleased with you. (Also remember that God can heal in other ways, too. For example, He can heal if we pray on our own).

  • Presbyter is said PREZ-BIT-ER1
  • Spiritualists is said ' SPIRIT-CHEW-ALISTS1

© November 1993

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