In 1924, F.F. Bosworth published an incredible book called Christ the Healer. I bought a copy in 1980 only to have it ruined by water damage while in storage. Admittedly, I had not read the book cover-to-cover, and had long forgotten the truths it contained. As many of you know, I struggle with significant pain from fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and a collapse of disc space in my lumbar spine. The pain has been so debilitating that I am currently receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. I have a long history of substance abuse, which began when I was 18. As you probably won’t find surprising, extreme physical pain has been a trigger for me, leading to numerous relapses on narcotic painkillers from 2008 to as recent as August of last year. I have come to the revelation that it is time for a different approach to my healing.
A few months ago I was looking at books at our local Christian book store, Bible Depot, in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. I gravitated to the “healing” section. (No surprise there!) There are many good books on healing, but my eyes rested on Christ the Healer. I was immediately transported back to when I first read the tome. To date, there are over 500,000 copies of Christ the Healter in print. Indeed, it has been in continual print for 76 years. It speaks of God’s compassion and longing to heal all who are sick. Bosworth’s passion was to communicate transforming truth about God’s will regarding healing. Bosworth was a dedicated evangelist. To him, saving souls was paramount, but healing took a close second.
Bosworth said in his preface to the 1924 edition, “…little did [I] dream that the truths presented were to bless such vast numbers in so many parts of the world. The results, down through the years, have been a demonstration of the truth of the inspired declaration that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (See Ephesians 3:20) Bosworth indicated that by the simple presentation of enough of the written Word of God to the minds and hearts of the incurably afflicted they can be brought to the same state of certainty and assurance concerning the healing of their body as to the healing of their souls.
First Things First
Before people can have a steadfast faith for the healing of their body, they must be rid of all uncertainty concerning God’s will in the matter. One of my misconceptions was that I deserved to suffer after all the evil and hurt and sin I had committed. Seeminly, I brought all this pain on myself. Appropriating faith cannot go beyond one’s own knowledge of the revealed will of God. (Here’s where I needed to get a grip!) Before attempting to exercise faith for healing, we need to know what the Scriptures plainly teach. We need to know that it is just as much God’s will to heal the body as it is to heal the soul. Without this realization, there is nothing on which to base our faith. What is it that makes steadfast faith possible? Actually, it starts with a renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2) As Romans 10:17 puts it, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Word is the Seed
Jesus told us that the Word is the seed. It is the seed of the divine life. Until the person seeking healing is sure from God’s Word that it is God’s will to heal him, he is trying to reap a harvest where there is no seed planted. It would be impossible for a farmer to have faith for a harvest before he was sure the seed had been planted. Parenthetically, God will not reward the farmer with a bumper crop without the farmer having sowed what he intended to reap. God’s Word does not allow for a harvest without the planting of the seed – without His will being known and acted upon. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) Another way to put it is freedom from sickness comes from knowing the truth. God does nothing without His Word. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.”
For each sick person to know that it is God’s will to heal him, it is necessary for the “seed” to be planted in his mind and heart. It is not planted until it is known and received and trusted. No sinner can become a Christian before he knows that it is God’s will to save him. It is the Word of God, planted and watered and steadfastly trusted, that heals both soul and body. The seed must remain planted and be kept watered before it can produce its harvest. For someone to day, “I believe the Lord is able to heal me” before he knows from God’s Word that He is willing to heal him, is like a farmer saying, “I believe God is able to give me a harvest without any seed being planted and watered.” God can’t save the soul of a man before the man himself knows God’s will in the matter. Salvation is by faith – that is, by trusting the known will of God. Being healed is being saved in a physical sense.
Here’s something that must be grasped: Praying for healing with the faith-destroying words if it by Thy will is not planting the seed. It is destroying the seed. The prayer of faith that heals the sick requires following (not preceding) the planting of the seed. Look at the words from Matthew 8:17: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.” Eugene H. Peterson’s modern-day translation The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language puts it this way: “He cured the bodily ill.”
We need to remember that seed is powerless until it is planted. As Bosworth puts it, “Many, instead of saying, ‘Pray for me,’ should first say, ‘Teach me God’s Word, so that I can intellectually cooperate for my recovery.'” We must know what the benefits of Calvary are before we can appropriate them by faith. David specified, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.” (Psalm 103:3)
Bosworth believes that our purpose to have our body healed should be as definite as our purpose to have our soul healed. We should not ignore any part of the Gospel. Our Substitute (Jesus) bore both our sins and our sicknesses that we might be delivered from them. Christ’s bearing of our sins and sicknesses is surely a valid reason for trusting Him now for deliverance from both. When, in prayer, we definitely commit to God the forgiveness of our sins; we are to believe, on the authority of His Word; that our prayer is heard. We are to do the same when praying for healing.
Between the time we definitely commit to God the healing of our body and the completion of our healing, we can, and should, learn one of the most valuable lessons of our Christian life. That lesson is to observe Hebrews 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (NIV)
The Word of God cannot be health to either soul or body before it is heard, received, and attended to. God’s words are life only to those who “find” them. If you want to receive life and healing from God, take time to find the words of Scripture that promise these results. When God’s Word becomes health to all your flesh, your cancer will be gone, your goiter will be gone, your kidney disease will be gone, your drug addiction will be gone. The flesh of many believers today is unhealthy flesh because they have failed to find and attend to that part of God’d Word that produces healing. This is the divine method of receiving the blessings that God has provided for us. Many have failed to receive healing simply because they have not followed this method.
God says that when we do as we are told in the Scriptures, His Words are made health to all our flesh. It does not matter what particular kind of unhealthy flesh. God is not held back by facts. He is not beholden to a physician’s prognosis. He says, “health to all their flesh.” Whose flesh? Those who find and attend to the Word of God on the subject. This is exactly the same way that the Word of God becomes health to the soul. God tells us to not let his Word depart from our eyes. We are to keep His Word in the midst of our heart. Rather than having our focus be on our symptoms, we should let God’s Word be our focus. As the only way a seed can do its work is by being kept in the ground, so the only way that God’s imperishable seed can effectually work in us is by it being kept in the midst of our heart. This does not mean occasionally, but continuously. It has to be our only focus. The reason why many have failed to receive healing is because they have not done this.
God bless you in your journey for physical healing. It is the will of God.
Bosworth, F.F. (1924). Christ the Healer. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Peterson, E. (2006). The Message //Remix: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO” NavPress