“Everything Is Possible for One Who Believes” Faith and Healing in the NT -- By: Sigurd Grindheim

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 26:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: “Everything Is Possible for One Who Believes” Faith and Healing in the NT
Author: Sigurd Grindheim

“Everything Is Possible
for One Who Believes”
Faith and Healing in the NT

Sigurd Grindheim

Sigurd Grindheim is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

“According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matt 9:29). “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34). The gospel writings betray a close connection between faith and healing. For the suffering Christian, the question lies near: Could I be free from this if only I had enough faith? In other words, is my predicament a result of my own lack of piety?

The answer to this question can be found only when the healing narratives in the NT are seen in their right context. Healing is not the goal of faith but faith is the goal of healing. Suffering and lack of healing are not indicative of ungodliness, but the power to heal is indicative of the true nature of Jesus Christ: he is the Son of God. Faith does not primarily come into view as an instrument for healing, but healing miracles are frequently seen as instruments for inspiring and nourishing faith in Jesus Christ. Only the gospel of John explicitly states that this is the purpose of the miracle reports (20:31), but careful analyses of the narratives in the other gospels show that they share the same concern.

I. Healing and Religious Worth

The negative counterpart to the idea of religious faith as a prerequisite for healing is the thought that suffering is a consequence of sin. It is commonly noted that the NT represents a corrective to some of the ideas that were current in the first century regarding sin and sickness. While it is sometimes assumed that sin is the cause of sickness and suffering (John 5:14; 1 Cor 11:30), the NT also makes clear that there is no one-to-one relationship. If a person suffers from some kind of ailment, it is unwarranted to conclude that there must be a special level of sinfulness that has caused the condition (John 9:3).1 While the connection between sin and suffering is not denied, the NT dismisses the notion that suffering is indicative of a person’s ethical standard or value.

Neither is healing indicative of a commendable religious faith. At first sight, however, the connection between faith and healing appears tight. It may seem that, while the healing power comes from God, faith is the instrument that tri...

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