What does it mean when God says you are healed?

Self-ImprovementSpirituality

  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published December 21, 2023
  • Word count 1,821

26

You Are Healed

What comes to mind when you think of the word healed? I’d assume it would have something to do with physical healing, right? Did you know that there are many different meanings of this word depending on where it’s used in Scripture? Let’s begin by taking a look at its usage in a verse from the book of 1 Peter.

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

What I recently found out was that the meaning of the word healed in this verse has caused major friction amongst the leadership in the body of Christ. Over the past six months, I started watching many of the TV broadcasts of a well-known Christian teacher. Apparently, he has come up with what he calls a ground breaking revelation of the relationship between grace and faith. After hearing what he had to say, I admit that Scripture appeared to support this analogy.

Another thing that I heard him teach about were the many truths about how God sees us positionally when we responded to the gospel. For instance, he declares that many believers try to be righteous by what they do and yet in Christ they are righteous. And after mentioning a few other spiritual realties he said something like, did you know that God also sees you as being healed?

The idea being that if a Christian gets cancer or any other debilitating illness then they should claim that they’re already healed in the eyes of God and continue in this belief waiting for Him to fully restore them to full health in His timetable. And the verse that he uses to support this view is the one we’re studying right now.

I just want to add this point. I have no dog in this fight. Let’s study this verse and try to determine whether the word healed means physical healing or something else. So, where should we begin? Let’s begin by translating as much of this verse as we can, and then we’ll proceed from there.

Jesus bare (bore the punishment of) our sins in his own body (endured the same kind of physical pain that the guilty do who are punished for their own sins157) on the tree (cross). And those who repented and believed in Him, being dead to sins (being effectually separated from sin - that is, being so that it no longer influences [them])158 should live unto righteousness (holiness). Then comes the confusing statement, by whose stripes (refers to the process of being wounded, that is to say, the suffering which is involved in such wounding159) ye were healed.

The ultimate question is, what does the verb healed mean? Commentators have different opinions with respect to this. The different interpretations are physical healing, the healing of an illness, spiritual healing, i.e., recovering from our faults, being made whole again, restored to spiritual health, righteous in living, or the salvation of those who believed in Christ. It’s argued by many analysts vigorously that physical healing couldn’t be the meaning of such because this wasn’t something that Christ’s atonement provided.

The confusion as to why much reasoning is flawed in this respect is because there’s a lack of understanding between what Christ accomplished on the cross, i.e., redemption and forgiveness, and the blessings received when someone responds to the gospel. All I’m saying is that the word healed could refer to physical healing. Whether it does or not, hopefully we’ll find out as we study further.

The verb being dead in Koine Greek is in the form of an aorist middle participle. If we were to translate this part of the verse, it could read something like this. Because Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross, we ourselves became dead to sins when we believed the gospel message at a point in time.

Now, let’s take a look at the verb healed in Koine Greek. This is in the form of an aorist passive indicative. Translating this part of the verse, it could be written something like this: Christ endured the process of suffering on the cross. And it’s a fact that we were healed, when we believed in Him at a point in time in the past.

We’re back to trying to answer the question, healed in what sense? The first avenue to take a look at is the context. What does this word mean in the verse that it’s found in? If the meaning isn’t clear, then are there verses that occur before or after it that helps us to understand what topic was being discussed? But before we do, why don’t we start by using a concordance and find out where the word healed is found in other places in Scripture that use the same Greek verb iaomai and try to determine if there’s only one meaning for it. If there is, then we’ve probably found out what it means in this verse. This verb is found in the book of 1 Peter.

Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the word healed in this verse pertains to physical healing.

Another place this verb is found is in the book of Luke.

Luke 17:12, 15 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Again, I think it’s pretty clear that the word healed means the healing of an illness. The next book I’d like you to turn to is the book of James.

James 5:14-16 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: 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. 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.

What this conveys to us is that if a believer is physically sick, then they should call for the pastors of the church to pray over them and anoint the forehead with oil so that they might be healed. If, during this intervention, there’s brought to remembrance in the believer’s mind an incident where they sinned against a fellow Christian, then they should go to them privately and admit guilt, which wouldn’t only bring about reconciliation but the removal of the sickness. In this sense, it appears that the word healed refers to both the restoration of spiritual health and physical healing.

Another meaning that some commentators suggest that the word healed means is the salvation of those who believed in Christ. I couldn’t find any verses that supported this rendering unless if the one we’re about to look at in context affirms it.

As we can see, there are at least two different meanings for the word healed depending on its usage in Scripture. Keeping these in the back of our mind, let’s take a look at the verses that come before or after 1 Peter 2:24 and try and determine what was being discussed.

1 Peter 2:18-20 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21-23 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

What was this chapter talking about? It was expressing what a believer’s response should be when they found themselves suffering physically for Christ’s sake. It says in verse 19 that they should endure grief. These words mean to bear bravely and calmly the things that cause sorrow.

In contrast, Christ’s response to undeserved suffering is highlighted in verses 21-23. They disclose that He didn’t react to the mistreatment in a humanistic manner but verse 23 says that He committed himself to the Father. This means that Jesus gave judgement to the Father.

And not only so, do you remember the words He spoke when He was on the cross in Luke 23:34; His words were Father, forgive them. The word forgive means to give up a debt. It can also mean that those responsible for his crucifixion were not be punished along with not holding their actions against them with a view toward their salvation.

So, if we were to define the word healed from the context, it could mean to be set free from retaliation due to undeserved suffering by giving the matter over to God. Another way we could say this is that Christ suffered so that it would be possible for Christians to follow His steps, both in suffering and in righteous living.160 Could we say that the word healed means that God sees us as being righteous in living. What do you think?

In our search, we found three possible renderings of the word healed: spiritual healing, physical healing or righteous in living. Is there one that seems to describe this word in the phrase by whose stripes were ye healed?

With that said, we could surmise that as Christ committed all suffering to God the Father, likewise, when you believed the gospel, you were healed, i.e., you’re someone who evidences righteous living amidst undeserved suffering in the eyes of God. And subsequently, you should see yourself as being righteous in living, which evidences a godly testimony no matter what comes your way.

The next spiritual blessing that I’d like to introduce to you is similar to something that I’m sure many people would like to obtain with respect to the US. Any idea what I’m referring to?

Endnotes

157Barnes’ Notes.

158Barnes’ Notes.

159UBS New Testament Handbook Series.

160Bible Knowledge Commentary//New Testament.

My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership Course of Study and graduated as valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude).

Studying and teaching the Word of God has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

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