The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘God Wants to Heal You’ preached by Pastor Michael White on Sunday, 9/8/2019, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click

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God Wants to Heal You

Our journey to healing starts with this simple truth: God wants to heal you.

Do you believe it? As much as you want to receive healing, God wants you to receive it all the more. The Scriptural reality is that God isn’t waiting to give you healing. In fact, He already poured it out over His people on the Person of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago on the Cross.

God’s Identity

God is the Healer. He has gone to great lengths to establish this reality for His people over the course of human history.

For 400 years, God’s people lived in bondage as slaves under the Pharaoh of Egypt. When God delivered His people from Egypt – their oppressor – He made a promise to them:

So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. – Ex 15:22-25a

Do you see the first thing God’s people did with their freedom? They complained. “God, why have You done this to us?” they cried. But God would make provision.

Notice how God used Israel’s predicament as an opportunity to provide. The waters were bitter (i.e. cursed), but as the people complained, God showed Moses a tree. Thousands of years later, we know what God was really pointing to: the Cross of Jesus Christ.[1] God told Moses to cast the tree into the waters, and as He did, “the waters were made sweet” (v 26). The curse that God’s people assumed would haunt them was completely done away with as the people responded to God’s command.

But God’s encouragement to His people wasn’t over yet:

There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” – Ex 15:25b-26

God’s message to His people was profound: freedom doesn’t have to feel like slavery. “If you heed [My] voice,” He said, “I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians” (v 26). God brought sickness on His enemies, not His friends. His goal was never to afflict His people with sickness, disease, and death. As long as they stayed inside covenant with Him, they would be healthy and whole. So, are you an enemy of God? Or are you His friend?[2] And if you are His friend, why on Earth would you ever accept something that is meant for His enemies?

Notice also that divine health is conditional. Please hear me clearly here. I am not saying that you can earn it. Jesus already purchased healing for you 2,000 years ago on the Cross. I am saying that, if you want to receive healing, you have to properly position yourself inside covenant with God. We do this by making a decision to believe in Jesus Christ.[3]

Healing is Who God Is

In my eyes, the conclusion of verse 26 is the most powerful portion of the Scripture passage above. “For I am the lord who heals you.” In the original Hebrew text, God was giving His people a name by which to call Him: Jehovah Rapha,[4] the God who Heals.

What’s in a name? For God, everything. Throughout the course of Old Testament Sciprture, God gives Himself more than a dozen names. The purpose of this name-giving was to establish an important truth for His people: this is not just something I do, but it is Who I Am.

Healing is not just something God does; it is Who He Is. Healing is not something that God chooses to do based on how His day is going, or what kind of mood He is in! Healing is Who He is: an inseparable part of God’s character.

My name is Mike. On Monday, when I wake up grumpy and irritable after a long Sunday of church services, I am Mike. On Thursday, when I wake up refreshed and flying on cloud nine on my day off (#churchlife), I am Mike. I am usually in much different moods on those two days: Mondays I feel like I got hit by a semi-tractor-trailer-truck, and Thursday I feel light as a feather after a full night’s sleep. But who I am does not change based on the mood I am in. My wife still comes to me as a husband. My kids still come to me as father. They know that the circumstances of life do not change my identity.

In the same way, God is healing. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals! It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is! It doesn’t matter what’s happening in your life, or somewhere else across the world. His nature does not change based on circumstance.[5] So no matter what is going on in your life, you get to go to Him, and receive the healing which He has already promised, and for which He has already made provision.

What Makes God’s People Sick?

Back to verse 26:

“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

Under the Old Covenant, what was the key to healing for God’s people? Obedience! As long as they 1) listened to God and 2) did what He said, they would stay healthy! But as soon as they strayed from the safety of His covenant through sin and disobedience, they no longer had legal claim[6] to the protection He offered.

Now, to assume that God relates to us the same way under the New Covenant as He did under the Old Covenant is a costly mistake. We’ll tackle that in a minute. But first, I need to properly frame our discussion by showing you where sickness and disease come from.

Back to the Beginning

Did you know that sin, sickness and death were never God’s intention for man? Look at the original status quo as designed by God in the Garden of Eden:

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Gen 2:15-16

What I want you to see here is this: death was never part of God’s plan. Sickness was never part of God’s plan! Disease was never part of God’s plan! As far as God was concerned, Adam was welcome to live with Him in the Garden of Eden for all time: completely healthy, and walking in perfect intimacy with God. The Garden of Eden didn’t have a cancer ward just in case Adam’s cellular development took a hard right turn. There was no hospice for when Adam was old and confined to bed rest! Do you see my point? Divine health has always been God’s original intention for His beloved.

Do you see how simple life was supposed to be for Adam? Adam would have all his needs met. He would live in paradise! God gave him a beautiful garden with everything he needed. All Adam had to do was 1) tend and keep the garden and 2) stay away from one tree. All he had to do was 1) listen to God and 2) do what He said! But oh how complicated God’s simple instructions become when we decide to play our own god!

Soon enough, Satan entered the picture. You know the story, so I’ll get to the point. Adam and Eve decided that they knew what was best for themselves more than God knew what was best for them. And when God’s people chose disobedience, the consequences were tremendous:

To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” – Gen 3:16-19, emphasis added

Here we see it. For the first time ever, Scripture introduces the word “pain.”[7] Do you see it? It wasn’t that God wanted His people to be sick! It was that He set us up for perfect health, but we opted out of His plan by not listening and doing what He said.

Life would now get harder for Eve. She would have pain in childbirth, and the perfect union that marriage was designed to be, with complementary and mutually respectful relationships between husband and wife, would be perverted.

Life would get harder for Adam, too. The ground he was to tend would now be cursed because the covenant had been broken. Adam would have to work hard to make his living. He would have to labor for his food! And at the end of his life, he would face an obstacle he had never previously been forced to consider: death.

Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden: not because God no longer wanted them there, but because He didn’t want them to cause further damage.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” – Gen 3:22

God had to expel Adam and Eve from the Garden so that they didn’t eat of the “tree of life” in their fallen state, and carry their sinful nature into eternity.

Do you see it? None of the things we struggle with – sin, sickness, and death – were God’s idea! They are the fruit of our own choices: of choosing to live outside of covenant with Him.

Why, God?

At this point in our discussion, a logical question should lodge itself in the forefront of your mind. Why? Why would God allow this to happen? If God knows everything, surely He must have known that Adam would eat that stinking fruit! So why would He let Adam and Eve be exposed to temptation? Why would God allow them to make such a disastrous decision?

Free will. True love means giving the people you love the ability to choose. God’s desire was for His people to choose Him: to love Him with all their hearts, just as He loved them! But loving them fully also meant giving them the right to choose something else.

Love with the absence of choice is not love at all; it is abuse. If God forced us to choose Him, we wouldn’t ever really love Him! In fact, we wouldn’t be human: we would be automatons incapable of ever loving God fully and completely, the way He deserves to be loved.

Now you might ask on an even higher level, why would God allow Satan to trick Adam and Eve? Why allow Satan to enter the Garden in the first place? But the answer to that question is the same. Free will. God created Satan to worship Him.[8] But because God fully loved Satan, even Satan had the choice to love God back. And he chose to reject Him. Just as Adam and Eve did. Just as you and I have!

But aren’t you so glad that God has made provision, even for our disobedience? You see, the Second Adam – Jesus Christ – came to “redeem us from the curse of the Law” (Gal 3:13). He came to rescue us from the consequences of our own bad decisions. In Him, “Behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17)! And because of the death of Jesus Christ, whereas once we were destined to a life of toil, pain, and ultimately death; in Christ we have the portion of rest, divine health, and eternal life.

New Covenant Love

Do you remember why God’s people ever got sick in the first place? They strayed from His covenant. They removed themselves from His umbrella of diving grace, love, and protection.

Does that mean, then, that every time we mess up, God metaphorically casts us out of the Garden? Does that mean that when we make a bad decision, He puts sickness and disease on us until we learn our lesson?

No! Because the Cross changes everything. To assume that God still relates to His people with an Old Covenant mindset on this side of the Cross is a grave mistake. Under the Old Covenant, what kept God’s people righteous was the same character trait that kept them healthy: obedience. But under the New Covenant, it is no longer obedience that makes you righteous; it is faith:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Rom 3:21-26

Your faith – not your obedience! – makes you righteous. And in the same way, it is no longer your obedience that keeps you healthy; it is your faith.

Jesus Died for Your Sickness

How do you tap into the healing that God promised His people thousands of years ago on the shores of the waters of Marah?[9] The same way you tapped into the promise of salvation: by believing in Jesus Christ.

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Gal 3:29

You broke the covenant. You should have to bear the weight of the curse! But Jesus already took on the curse so you don’t have to. He beat you to the punch! What a beautiful Savior! He died as the curse; and that means, when you believe in Him, that there is no curse left for you!

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. – Gal 3:13-14

Here is what happened two thousand years ago on the Cross:

  • Jesus died as your sin[10]
  • He died as your sickness (Isa. 53, below)

We are quick to embrace the first, but slow to accept the second. But the Scriptural truth is this: healing and salvation happened on the same day. God sent Jesus to die – not just for, but as – your sickness and disease. The cause for sin and sickness were the same; so the remedy for sin and sickness is also the same! Jesus defeated both on the Cross. And that means you are free to walk in newness of life.

Let me show you Scriptural proof that Jesus died for your sickness: 

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. – Is 53:4-6

Verses 5 and 6 are easy enough to understand. He was “wounded for our transgressions.” “Bruised for our iniquities.” “By His stripes we are healed.” Healed is the Hebrew rapha.[11] You should recognize that word! Do you remember what God told His people to call Him in Exodus 15? Johova Rapha: the God Who Heals! Rapha means “to heal” or to “make healthful.” Jesus took on “stripes” (i.e. physical punishment) for something He never did. He took on literal pain as a consequence of being rejected on the Cross!

But let’s also look at verse 4: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” We have a tendency in the modern church to dilute God’s Word based on what is most comfortable for us to read in our contemporary context. Over centuries of church history, we have changed the meaning of Isaiah’s original text.[12] In the New King James Version, I read that Jesus has borne my “griefs” and “sorrows.” I quickly interpret that to mean that whenever I am grieving because I have lost something or someone, I can go to Jesus and He will heal me. That whenever I am sad I can go to Jesus and He will make me feel better. That is all true; but that is not the full extent of everything the Holy Spirit was saying through the Old Testament prophet Isaiah!

In the original text, the Hebrew word for “griefs” is choliy.[13] Do you know what choliy means? Sickness! The Holy Spirit’s mission through the prophet Isaiah was to tell us that Jesus has already borne our sickness on the Cross! Isaiah wasn’t referring to emotional ailments or the pain of loss; he was referring specifically to sickness and disease. Amazing, isn’t it? But it doesn’t stop there.

In the original text, the Hebrew word for “sorrows” is makob.[14] Do you know what makob means? Pain! This is the same “pain” described in Job 33:19 as Job was, “…chastened with pain on his bed, and with strong pain in many of his bones.” Again, Isaiah was not referring to an emotional condition or subjective sadness. He was referring to physical pain a person would feel as a consequence of being afflicted with sickness and disease!

Jesus not only took care of your sin on the Cross; He also took care of your sickness and disease! What Isaiah 53 means for us is this: healing and salvation happened on the same day! Jesus never sinned; yet He became sin on the Cross and took the punishment for your sins. In the same way, Jesus was never sick! Yet He became sickness and disease on the Cross and died, so that you and I would know we have a legal, Scriptural right to expect physical healing and Divine health as part of the atonement. And if Jesus took on sickness and disease on the Cross, that means as far as God is concerned, there is none left for you!!

When I preached this message in our church, I used a visual illustration to get the point across. Before service, I inflated a bright blue kiddie pool about 4 feet wide. After preaching on Isaiah 53, I brought out the kiddie pool from behind the stage, put a chair in the middle of it, and asked for a volunteer. An immaculately-dressed gentleman who is a member at our church came forward to help me out.

At first, he was smiling. But then I brought out a bucket and his countenance immediately changed from joy to terror. I had filled a bright red bucket with several gallons of water before service. Imagine what was going through this man’s mind, as he was sitting there in his expensive shoes and well-pressed shirt, when I brought out that giant bucket of water.

I asked the congregation to imagine that our volunteer had had a “bad week.” He hadn’t attended Life Groups. He had missed his Bible study. He had been too lazy to wake up in the morning for prayer. So as a consequence, he was going to get soaked! The bucket was bright red, I explained to the people, because it represented the fiery wrath of God.

As I went to pour the contents of the bucket over his head, I shouted, “Somebody better stop me if this is not the Gospel!” The whole room erupted with shouts of “No” and “Don’t do it!” Our volunteer looked up at me out of the corner of one eye, as if pleading for mercy. I asked someone to explain to me why this was not the Gospel, and several Scripture references and short exhortations floated across the room.

I put down the bucket and asked our volunteer to take my hand. I helped him out of the pool, and invited him to sit in the front row. As he breathed a sigh of relief, I placed a giant wooden cross on the chair where he had been sitting.

“This is the Gospel,” I explained to a room full of relieved Christians. I poured out the entire contents of the bucket on the wooden Cross. This was the wrath of God, meant for you, but poured out on Jesus Christ instead. This was the consequence for your sin, poured out on the Cross. According to Isaiah 53, this was also sin, sickness, disease, and death, poured out on God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ.

I held the bucket upside down until every last drop trickled out of the bucket. Jesus took every ounce of God’s wrath – all pain, all sickness, all disease, and even death – for us on the Cross. Then I held the bucket over our volunteer’s head. Relief flooded his face. He stayed dry, because nothing was left to be poured out.

This is the beauty of the Cross. Because Jesus took it all, that means there is nothing left for you.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. – Gal 3:13-14

© Michael D. White, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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[1] Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. – Galatians 3:13-14

[2] And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. – Jas 2:23

[3] If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Col 3:1-3

[4] From the Blue Letter Bible: “Jehovah is translated as ‘The Existing One’ or ‘Lord.’ The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning ‘to be’ or ‘to exist.’ It also suggests ‘to become’ or specifically ‘to become known’ – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rapha (râpâ’) means ‘to restore,’ ‘to heal’ or ‘to make healthful’ in Hebrew. When the two words are combined – Jehovah Rapha – it can be translated as ‘Jehovah Who Heals.’ (cf. Jer 30:17; Jer 3:22; Isa 30:26; Isa 61:1; Psa 103:3). Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.” Source: https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm

[5] Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Heb 13:8

[6] A covenant is more than a contract. But using legal language to describe our right to go to God and respectfully expect Him to deliver on His promises is helpful in our understanding of divine healing. Similarly, knowing our right to reject the work of Satan, which we often improperly attribute to God, is essential if we are to experience divine healing in our lives, and pray for it in the lives of others.

[7] Hebrew etseb, Strong’s H6089: “pain, hurt, toil, sorrow, labor, hardship.”

[8] You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering…

…the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. – Ezek. 28:13

[9] See Ex 15, above

[10] “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Cor. 5:21

[11] Strong’s H7495

[12] I will explain later why I believe this is the case, mainly that church leadership is uncomfortable to pray for healing because of fear.

[13] Strong’s H2483

[14] Strong’s H4341