The Jews didn’t engage life in a compartmentalized fashion. For them, Yahweh’s nature couldn’t be parsed into this or that sub-attribute and broken out for independent analysis. For us, it’s the methodology we use for deepening our understanding of something. It’s the foundation of our science. Acknowledged or not, it’s the way Western Christians have been taught to engage life, the Scriptures, and God Himself. Our worldview affects how we approach the topic of healing. Healing is an outflow of a maintained relationship, not the result of adherence to principles.
For Jews, this approach to God and the things of God would have been inconceivable. It would be like breaking water into hydrogen and oxygen. We think we have gained deeper understanding into the nature of water. They would’ve thought the original thing had been lost, and with it, any hope of understanding.
The Jews viewed things in a more holistic and integrated way. The Bible reflects a Semitic worldview, not a Western one. It was God’s choice to reveal Himself within that culture, not ours. He made a statement in so doing. It’s a mistake to read our worldview and value systems into the Scripture and assume that we have properly understood it and can apply it appropriately.
For us having correct faith means our belief system is accurately aligned with what the Bible says: If I agree with the presentation of the Gospel in my mind, then I have faith, and therefore I’m saved. It’s private and personal. This paradigm would have been incomprehensible and impossible for a Jew.
How did they think of faith? Surprisingly, if you do an Old Testament word search in the KJV for “faith” you will find only two references. However, search for the word “believe” (Hebrew: ‘âman), and you’ll find multiple references. You’ll also discover that it’s synonymous with faithfulness and trust. The Hebrew word for truth (’emeth: eh’-meth) means firmness, faithfulness, truth, sureness, reliability, stability, or continuance. By using these terms (believe, faith, trust, and truth) interchangeably, or at least embedded in each other, the KJV translators got it right.
For Jews of that era, belief, truth, trust, faith, faithfulness, etc., were indistinguishable in God. Faith was not a freestanding philosophical entity. Yahweh’s truth, and therefore all truth, was an essential attribute of His character and the revelation of His reliability through covenant. God’s truth derived from His faith/faithfulness. His perfect integrity makes faith/belief possible. His faithfulness in covenant relationship is the foundation upholding all His manifestations. The Lord is my shepherd is not a principle of theology. It’s a statement of relationship.
By definition, trust and faithfulness are relational terms. They require an objective other. I must be relationally engaged with another entity or person to experience them. Since these define faith, faith is a relational term, not a philosophical one. Biblical faith does not exist, and cannot be experienced apart from relationship with a Person. Simply agreeing with what’s in the Bible, doesn’t give someone the faith the Bible talks about. This is a major reason why we don’t experience healings like we should. We treat praying for the sick as the correct exercise of biblical principles instead of an active engagement with a Person, as if healing is a thing to be obtained by resolute confession, rather than a Person to be engaged. Healing is an outflow of a maintained relationship, not the result of adherence to principles. Dr. Simpson was correct: we seek the Healer, not a healing.
This blog is an excerpt from our title: Healing: Hope or Hype? Why Legitimate Physical Healings are Rare in Local Churches, and What We Can do About it! It is available in all formats at www.stevecrosby.com.
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