This Sunday I preached at a local church on Isaiah 35. There’s loads of imagery of restoration, healing, salvation in there. I tried to explain a three stage fulfillment of these verses, namely;
- Historical – in Isaiah’s day
- Christological – in Jesus’ day
- Eschatological – on the final day
Plus, the tension we live in now. Experienceing some fulfilment now through Christ but how ultimately these verses aren’t fulfiled till the New Heavens and the New Earth. Anyway, a lady in the congregation who was big into healing asked me:
…if we believe are sins are forgiven now, why should we not think we are healed now (with a view to Isaiah 53:5)?
Which seems a fair question. Why do we believe one is fulfilled now, but not the other? Or maybe you do? I’m not a cessationist, well maybe a little, but whatever you believe about healing today, it seems fairly clear that the promise of healing, of all being completely healed (as in Isaiah 35) just isn’t fulfilled until the New Creation.
Now as this lady pointed out, it would be wrong to base our views of healing purely on experience. People not being healed can’t prove that it shouldn’t happen now. She’s right, we need to base our views on the Scriptures.
While it’s evident that God can and does heal today, I can’t see that this is promised for all today this side of the New Creation. But are my sins forgive today? Well, yes clearly those who trust in Jesus have their sins forgiven -today! Am I free from sin today? Well no I’m not, I experience that, and the Bible explains that reality – eg. the conflict in Galatians 5.
My sins are forgiven today! But I won’t experience complete freedom from sin until the New Creation.
My body is healed today! But I won’t experience complete freedom from illness until the New Creation… until I actually receive my new body!
In this way the promise of forgiveness and healing is very real for today. But in both cases can only be ultimately completed in the New Creation.