Sunday, May 28, 2017

James 5:15


Living a Life Worthy of The Gospel

One of the most misunderstood verses of scripture is

“The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

Those wanting to mock the superiority of scripture like to take a verse or two and create a doctrine based on gotcha philosophy.

"Well if your faith was strong that loved one would not have died. If you have the faith God will give you health back." First, understand that is not biblically correct in the slightest.

As all passages; It needs careful interpretation.
2. These facts need to be kept in mind.
a. Most scholars believe James was the first book written in the New Testament.
b. Paul never mentions this practice of anointing with oil.
c. Simon Peter never mentions this practice of anointing with oil.
d. John never mentions this practice of anointing with oil.
e. No other New Testament writer mentions this practice.
f. If this is a practice for all sick people why didn’t Paul advise Timothy to have himself anointed with oil for his stomach problems.
1 Tim 5:23 No longer drink water {exclusively,} but use a little wine for the sake
of your stomach and your frequent ailments. (NAS)
g. Why didn’t Paul anoint Trophimus with oil.
2 Tim 4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus
h. The GREEK word for anoint here is Strongs word #218 aleipho (al-i’-fo).

I do not see this verse truly relating to or referencing physical sickness exactly.

1. Greek “astheneo” (no strength)
2. CAN mean physical sickness. “Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.” (Luke 4:40 (ESV)
3. MORE OFTEN, means spiritual, psychological or emotional weakness
4. “However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” (1 Corinthians 8:7 (ESV)
5. Means weakness NOT sickness every time in Romans (Rom 4:19; 5:6; 6:19; 8:26; 14:1-2; 15:1)
6. “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” (Romans 4:19) , NKJV)

With the scripture of James in mind, let's look at a biblical example of sickness.
Hezekiah was regarded as a good king. In the later part of his life, he fell sick and was close to death. The prophet Isaiah came and pronounced his sickness was unto death. This led to Hezekiah pleading for his life. Amazingly, God relented and Hezekiah was healed.
Below are some things I learnt about sickness and healing from this passage.
Hezekiah was a very good king. In 2 Kings 18:1-8 (quickview) , the following is said of him.
a) He did what was right in the sight of the Lord – V3
b) He removed the high places – V4
c) He trusted in the Lord – V5
d) He held fast to the Lord –V6
e) He kept his commandments –V6
f) The Lord was with him – V7
g) He rebelled against the King of Assyria – V7
h) He subdued the Philistines – V8

Even good people fall sick. Being righteous does not exempt us from the trials of life. God is sovereign in all his ways and does allow sickness to come to Godly men and woman.
In the passage below, we see that the sickness was specifically for the glory of God. The sickness of the blind man was not attributed to sin. Jesus healed him so that God would be glorified.
John 9:2  Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind ?”. Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but that the works of God should be revealed in him”.

So in sickness, God's glory be praised.

Matthew Henry's commentary says:

Observe, that the saving of the sick is not ascribed to the anointing with oil, but to prayer. In a time of sickness it is not cold and formal prayer that is effectual, but the prayer of faith.
Now after reading this you'd think, "I thought you said it wasn't about physical issues?" Keep reading.

The great thing we should beg of God for ourselves and others in the time of sickness is, the pardon of sin.

Let nothing be done to encourage any to delay, under the mistaken fancy that a confession, a prayer, a minister's absolution and exhortation, or the sacrament, will set all right at last, where the duties of a godly life have been disregarded.

To acknowledge our faults to each other, will tend greatly to peace and brotherly love. And when a righteous person, a true believer, justified in Christ, and by his grace walking before God in holy obedience, presents an effectual fervent prayer, wrought in his heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections and believing expectations and so leading earnestly to plead the promises of God at his mercy-seat, it avails much.

The power of prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Thoughts must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces exercised. This instance of the power of prayer, encourages every Christian to be earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. Where there may not be so much of miracle in God's answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.

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