Bible Study Notes:


Hindrances to YOUR Healing
Part 7


These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Monday Nights at 8 PM at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com.
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Why are some not healed?

Here are some insights that the Holy Spirit has given me about the answer. There may be more reasons than listed here. None of these are meant to be a criticism or condemnation of YOU, but if any of these "rings a bell", maybe it's something you need to prayerfully consider before the Lord.


We’ve been studying about healing for several weeks now. In fact, the Holy Spirit strongly influenced me to interrupt our regular studies on Luke to talk about healing. The theme of these lessons is "The Manifestation of YOUR Healing". How can YOU obtain the healing that you need for your life?

"Healing" is the PROCESS by which we receive relief from pain, deliverance from symptoms, reversal of deterioration, regeneration of bodily functions and restoration to full health, physically, mentally and spiritually. It can be gradual or instantaneous.

I also would like to emphasize that I am a fellow seeker for healing and health and don’t pretend to have all the answers. And we discussed that healing comes to us three ways: through the natural healing processes of our bodies, through doctors and medicine, and also through what is commonly called "faith" or divine healing, although the source of all healing is God.

So far we’ve discussed 25 hindrances to healing, including: 1. Failure to ask:; 2. God doesn't answer prayer today; 3. Don't really want healing; 4. Fearful of health; 5. Jesus is not willing to heal; 6. Not worthy; 7. Demonic influence; 8. Unconfessed sin; 9. Disobedience; 10. Unforgiveness;

11. Poor Health Habits; 12. Addiction; 13. Lack Of Fasting; 14. Influence Of Others; 15. Unrighteous Covenants; 16. Anxiety, 17. Not Wanting To "Bother" God, 18. A "Thorn In The Flesh"; 19. Spirit of Infirmity; 20. Fearful faithless friends; 21) Ignorance of the Word, 22) Making a mockery of God’s Servants, 23) Rebellion, 24) Strife; and 25) Condemning rather than forgiving.

Hindrance to Healing # 26 - Revenge isn’t "sweet"

    In Yellowstone Park, Dale Carnegie once was observing the grizzly bears, who can whip any animal in the west except the buffalo and Kodiak bear. "He noticed that the grizzly would only allow one animal to eat with him – the skunk."

    "Of course, in a fight the grizzly could have thrashed any skunk. He probably resented the skunk and yearned to get even with him for his brazen impudence. But he didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even."

    Romans 12:17–19 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

    The Bible very simply says, "Do not try to get even". When someone wrongs you, forgive them and then let God handle it. Live at peace as far as it depends on you. Not only will you be obeying God, but you will be avoiding a lot of illness that comes from a spirit of revenge.

    Dr. S. I. McMillen in "The High Cost of Getting Even" from his book "None of These Diseases" has this to say about grizzly bears and vengeance. "Smart grizzly? Certainly much smarter than many human beings who spend weary days and sleepless nights rummaging through their polluted memories, brooding over worm-eaten resentments and scheming venomous revenge."

    "Why does man ignore the high cost of getting even, when his vengeful spirit may even cost him paralyzing strokes or fatal heart attacks?"

    Romans 12:20-21 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Instead of revenge, be kind to your enemy, Paul advises. Overcome evil with good. Dr McMillen continues: "For centuries scoffers have ridiculed advice of Jesus to, "Love your enemies." They scorned it as impractical, idealistic, and absurd. Now psychiatrists have shown that this radical and life-changing attitude would prevent many of the ills man brings upon himself through resentment of his enemies."

    Some of the diseases that resentment and a spirit of revenge can bring upon you according to Dr. McMillen are: strokes, heart attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, colonic cancer, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and many others.

    Dr. McMillen comments: "In life’s frog ponds, we may be able to croak our fellows, but it could truthfully be written on many millions of death certificates that the victims croaked from "irritable grudge syndrome". We have heard people say, from between clinched teeth, "I’ll get even with that skunk if it’s the last thing I ever do!" Too often, they have foretold the truth."

    Most of us don’t get even by literally killing the other person, as happens in so many "grudge" films we see today. No, we kill them with our tongues. OUCH! How many people have you slain this week by gossip? Again, don’t answer to me, tell God!

    As Dr. McMillen comments: "Running people down exposes us to a host of diseases of the body and mind. Expressing animosity toward others calls forth hormones from the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid and other glands. In excess, these hormones can cause diseases in almost any part of the body."

    Dr McMillen wisely states that: "I have found that the moment I start hating a man, I become his slave. I can’t enjoy my work anymore because he even controls my thoughts."

    "My resentments release excessive stress hormones and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work…The man I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can’t escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind…I am, indeed ,a slave to every man I hate."

    Hebrews 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

    Brooding on thoughts of vengeance can make you miss the grace of God, and will allow a bitter root to grow up in your heart that will cause you trouble and defile you.

    Defile here in Greek is miaino {me-ah'-ee-no} literally meaning 1) to dye with another color, to stain, and by extension 2) to defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil, to defile with sins.

    So you are "staining your soul" with sin or making yourself "unclean" if you allow bitterness to dwell there. Recall that the cause of a lot of illness in the New Testament was "unclean" spirits. When you let a root of bitterness grow in your heart, you are "opening the door" for an unclean spirit to come in and make you sick or even kill you!

    This is why the writer of Hebrews is begging us to "make EVERY effort to live in peace" and to walk in holiness. Are you walking in resentment and bitterness towards someone? Are your hours spent in planing vengeance? How to you react when someone, on purpose or not, annoys you?

    Dr. McMillen asks: "Did we slam the door, refuse to eat, sit and pout, or gossip about them? An honest appraisal should make it clear whether we are allowing God’s Holy Spirit or satan’s carnal spirit to control our daily lives."

    Dr. McMillen concludes: "When the ‘natural man’ is shamefully wronged, he can’t resist the temptation to get even – even though it means paying the high price of his own health. However, if we who know the Lord drive His nails into everything in our lives contrary to His Word, Christ will crucify our carnal spirits… [get] rid of the disease-producing spirit of retaliation."

    Matthew 5: 43-44 "You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

    Luke 6: 27-28 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

    Revenge is NOT sweet. It will destroy your health and make you a slave to the person you hate. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. Overcome evil with good, and walk in health!

    Father keep me free from a spirit of revenge, and if I have anything against anyone, reveal it to me and remove all bitterness from my heart. Let your forgiving spirit be my guide in all things. I trust in you my Father to handle those who wrong me. In Jesus Name AMEN

Hindrance to Healing # 27 - Living in Fear

    We talked before about the negative effect that anxiety has on the body, but let’s look a little more closely at the root cause of anxiety, which is fear. We have a normal reaction to fearful circumstances, commonly called "flight or fight". Our bodies react to fear but putting us in a state of ready alertness, the adrenal glands pour out adrenaline, our heart starts pumping and we experience a surge of energy.

    This fear reaction is GOOD if we are running from a would-be burglar, or facing some other kind of real danger. But often this same fear reaction comes upon us when there is no external cause for us.

    Psychologists have found that our bodies react this way if we even THINK of a fearful situation. If we continue to be fearful in this way, over a period of months or years, the hormones that are pumped into our blood streams can be harmful to our health.

    According to Dr. McMillen in "None of These Diseases", some of the harmful effects from by prolonged "fight or flight" reactions are: overwork and fatigue, fear and hate, exposure and injury, hurry and tension, arthritis, mental disease, vascular disease and gastrointestinal disease.

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

    What is behind this constant fear is actually an oppressive demonic spirit of timidity, deilia {di-lee'-ah} in the Greek, meaning timidity, fearfulness, and cowardice.

    The word deilia is NEVER used in a positive sense, as in fearful reverence for God. It is ALWAYS a negative, nagging type of fear that invades your whole life and robs you of power, love, self-control, and needless to say, your health.

    1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    One way to overcome this fear is to let God’s perfect love drive it out of you. As it is a spirit, it is subject to the authority of Jesus Name and can (and should) be cast out. Perfect here is telios, which means mature or complete. Love cannot be formed completely in you if you allow fear to dwell there.

    Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

    A sure cure for fear’s bondage is meditating on your sonship through the Holy Spirit. Whatever your insecurities are, you need not be in bondage to them. Just cry, "Daddy, God help me" and He will meet your needs. Don’t let fear "eat you alive" and affect your health.

    Father I confess at times that I am afraid and fail to trust in You. Remind me that I am your child and that you will always take care of me. Fear comes from the enemy of my soul, and robs me of love, power and soundness of mind. I will resist fear in Jesus Name and be filled with faith. AMEN

Hindrance to Healing # 28 -Trust in doctors only, abuse of medicine

    Luke 4:23 Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: `Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'"

    Now I’ve stated several times in the course of this study that I believe that doctors and medicine are a source of healing for us. Although some believers will not make use of doctors and medicine, I believe that their knowledge and wisdom comes from God and can be a boost to health, particularly if our faith is not developed enough yet to trust God for healing for our disease.

    However, some believers give doctors the status of God and depend on them for more than they can deliver. Some things are still beyond their knowledge, and some things are out of their control. Also, we tend to try to cure ourselves first, or run to doctors, before seeking healing from God.

    Jesus was criticized for not being able to do great works in His hometown. And why couldn’t He? Because of unbelief. But medicine was not very advanced in Jesus’ day, and sometimes the "cure was worse than the disease". So I’m sure that people were VERY interested in whether the physician himself had tried his own cure!

    Jeremiah 8:14-15, 22 "Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him. We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror… Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

    Jeremiah recounts a time when there was no healing from physicians or cures. Why was that? Because the people had rejected God and were not looking to Him as their source. They had sinned and not sought repentance. And they were looking to doctors to cure what only God could.

    Some people go from doctor to doctor seeking a cure, take medication after medication, and never seek the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are putting all their faith and hope in doctors and medicine, and not seeking healing from Jesus.

    Mark 5:25-26 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

    This happens sometimes. Either the doctors don’t have the knowledge yet to cure our problem, or either they misdiagnose what’s wrong with us. In either case, this poor, desperate woman had spent ALL SHE HAD on doctors, and instead of being healed, she grew worse!

    Medical bills are one of the main causes of bankruptcy in this country today. It’s a sad fact that many spend all they have, lose their homes, and get "head over heels" in debt due to the high cost of medical care. And are still not cured.

    Mark 5:27-29 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

    This woman heard about Jesus, then faith rose up inside of her. And her thoughts were filled with faith. And she released that faith when she reached out and touched the hem of Jesus garment. And IMMEDIATELY the bleeding stopped and she KNEW that her suffering was over.

    Oh, if we only had HALF the faith in Jesus that we do in doctors and medicine! If we would LISTEN to the Word and really HEAR what it says and fill our thoughts with faith and belief, instead of doubt, we could reach out and touch Him and be healed.

    Now I’m not against medicine and doctors. But when they come to the end of their knowledge, when they cannot cure you or misdiagnose you, what will be the source of your healing then? How will you exercise faith for a major disease, if you haven’t learned how to trust God for a minor ailment? Place your trust and confidence FIRST in the Great Physician and be healed in Jesus Name!

    Jesus you ARE the Great Physician and the source of my health and healing. In my endeavors to get well, I will not give doctors and medicine a higher place in my heart than you. Teach me how to have faith in You as my healer. Give me wisdom in making use of doctors and medicine as I develop my faith in YOU. AMEN.

    Dr William Sadler in his textbook of psychiatry wrote: "Prayer is a powerful and effectual worry-remover. Men and women who have learned to pray with childlike sincerity, literally talking to, and communion with the Heavenly Father, are in possession of the great secret whereby they can cast their care upon God, knowing that He careth for us. A clear conscience is a great step toward barricading the mind against neuroticism."

    He continues: "Many are victims of fear and worry because they fail properly to maintain their spiritual nutrition…The majority of people liberally feed their bodies, and many make generous provision for their mental nourishment; but the vast majority leave the soul to starve, paying very little attention to their spiritual nutrition; and as a result the spiritual nature is so weakened that it is unable to surmount its difficulties and maintain an atmosphere above conflict and despondency."

    What was Dr. Sadler’s prescription for his patients? "Daily, systematic Bible reading". Here is just one spiritual tibit to nibble on to develop your faith: Jesus said : "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the word giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27 KJV)

Hindrance to Healing # 29 - Legalism

What is legalism and why is it a hindrance to healing? Legalism in a spiritual sense is depending on your works to save you or bring you favor with God instead of your faith. The on-going problem that Jesus had with the Pharisees and lawyers of His day is that their legalistic interpretation of Scripture was creating unbelief and rejection of Jesus.

John 7:23 Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?

In this verse they were actually ANGRY that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, the 7th day of the week, which we call Saturday. God never intended that our Sabbath rest be interpreted as a way to keep from ministering to the needs of others. Yet a legalistic interpretation of it cause the Pharisees to resist God’s Own Son in His healing ministry!

John 9:1,7 As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth… "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

We’ve talked some in a previous lesson about this man born blind who Jesus healed. This healing caused quite a "ruckus" as people were debating whether it WAS the same blind beggar they had seen begging. Some demanded that he produce his healer, but the man didn’t know where Jesus was at that time.

So they brought him to the Pharisees. Apparently they were concerned because this miracle occurred on the Sabbath. They didn’t care that a miracle had occurred – that a man who had NEVER seen now had vision. They didn’t care that a beggar man would now be able to make a decent living and support his family.

They didn’t care about the wonder of God creating sight where there was never any before. They were "ticked off" at Jesus because He healed on a Sabbath. They believed that healing fell under the category of "work", and was illegal on the Sabbath. So if these legalists had had their way, this man would have stayed blind.

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.

To be fair, SOME of the Pharisees WERE in awe at this healing. However some accused the Son of God, the Lord of the Sabbath, of not knowing how to KEEP the Sabbath. And this is one characteristic of legalism that hinders healing:

Legalists try to tell God how to do it instead of leaving God free to work as He wills. They try to put God in a box, and want to tell everybody else what "button to push" to get God to perform miracles.

John 9:18-19 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"

So the controversy raged on. And some of the Pharisees even accused this man of lying about being blind! This is another characteristic of legalism that hinders healing: if a legalist cannot question someone’s message, they will attack their character. So the Pharisees sent for the man’s parents.

John 9:20-21 "We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself."

But the parents confirmed that this indeed was their son that had been born blind, had been blind all these years, and now had sight. They "didn’t have a clue" as to how it happened. But they advised the Pharisees that their son was of legal age and could answer for himself.

The parents were afraid that the Pharisees would throw them out of the synagogue if they told the truth about their son. The synagogue was the center of not only religious life, but community life as well.

So this brings up another characteristic of legalism: fear of man’s anger or desiring man’s approval. Now we should fear God, have a holy respect and reverent awe for Him. And we should fear His wrath if we do not confess and receive HIS forgiveness for our sins. However, we should never be motivated by a fear of man.

John 9:24-25 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner." He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

The Pharisees were getting more and more angry. They accused Jesus of being a sinner. But the man who had received sight didn’t argue theology with the Pharisees. He made a simple statement of fact: "I was blind but now I see!"

This brings up another characteristic of legalism: theological hair-splitting. You can tell a legalist by his/her inclination for arguing about words and rules. We are responsible to study and understand God’s Word, of course, but we are warned over and over about NOT getting involved in quarrels and controversies about words.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

Paul warned Timothy against false doctrines that cause controversies and quarrels about words. These false teachers are conceited – they have a puffed up notion of who they are and what they know. This results not in right or healthy living, but in envy, strife, malicious talk and evil suspicions.

Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Paul told Titus to AVOID these kinds of foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law because they are unprofitable and useless, they bring division, and they lead to sin and condemnation.

2 Timothy 2:23-26 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Again, Paul tells Timothy (and us) not to have ANYTHING to do with foolish and stupid arguments which lead to quarrels. A legalist will be quick to tell you that HIS arguments are neither foolish nor stupid. But Paul said that the Lord’s servant MUST NOT quarrel PERIOD.

Instead we must be kind to everyone, willing to teach, not resentful if someone disagrees, but gently instructing those who oppose the Word. The Lord’s servant teaches IN HOPE always that the listener will come to knowledge of the truth and escape from the trap of the devil.

Is legalism a trap of the devil? You betcha, and through it he takes captives to do HIS will, all the while they believe they are doing God’s will! I think of all the varieties of false doctrine, that legalism is the sneakiest, because it preys on those who at some level truly WANT to serve God!

A legalist also has preconceived notions about God’s character and what the Word says, and stubbornly refuses correction. These Pharisees had already rejected Jesus and were opposing Him. Instead of building their theology (which means study of God) around what God was doing, they required God to work according to their theology.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

None of us is perfect and we must always be open to correction by the Word. The Pharisees knew the Living Word when He walked the earth, but would not allow their false notions about God to be corrected. So they cut themselves off from the benefits of His grace, including healing.

John 9:28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."

So when the man healed of blindness would NOT budge from his secure position in Jesus, the Pharisees REALLY got angry and started insulting him. They began to show their badges of religiosity "We are disciples of Moses!" – and claimed that they didn’t know where Jesus comes from – that is, declared they didn’t know what the source of Jesus power was.

Another characteristic of a legalist is a tendency to insult those with whom they disagree. We may disagree with someone’s doctrine or interpretation, but we must ALWAYS remember that the one we are disagreeing with is ALSO a man or woman for whom Christ died. We are never to repay insult with insult as followers of Christ, but return blessing for cursing.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

I have heard SO many Christians calling other Christians names and insulting them because they were not in agreement! This is a direct violation of a command of scripture and a SURE sign of a legalistic spirit!

A legalist also is bound by his own experiences and knowledge, and is not open to God doing things in a new way. I don’t mean God violating Scripture – that He will never do. But God may move in ways He has not done before, or through people we do not like, and we need to be willing to change as God directs.

Luke 5:36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. "

Jesus told a parable about this, and compared the good news of the Kingdom to a new garment that the Pharisees were trying to patch an old garment with, Not only does it tear up the new garment, but it doesn’t match. If what Christ is doing doesn’t "match" your old garment, better get fitted by faith for a new one!

Luke 5:37-39 "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, `The old is better.'"

Jesus also compared this to making wine. When you put grape juice into a container and leave it, it ferments creating wine. In Biblical days they put it into a leather pouch. If this pouch was old, when the wine fermented and expanded the skin would burst. It was not flexible enough to expand.

A legalist will say things like "We never did it that way before!" "It’s against our traditions." "The old way is better". New ways are not ALWAYS better if they are not of God, it’s true, but don’t be so bound to the past, that God cannot move in a new way today if He so chooses.

John 9:30-33 The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

The man born blind simply stated the obvious. What WOULD be the source of Jesus’ power, if not God? Would God give a sinner the power to heal the blind? Would the devil be interested in reversing the evil he had done in this man’s life?

Isn’t it interesting that a blind beggar, despised and rejected by the "holier-than-thou" Pharisees had more spiritual knowledge that those who had supposedly dedicated their lives to serving God?

The man reasoned that A) He was born blind and this wasn’t good. B) Jesus had come by one day and healed him. C) Being able to see is good, therefore the one who healed him must also be good. D) Therefore Jesus must be a godly man doing the will of God for God to listen to Jesus and bring healing.

John 9:34 To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.

Now the Pharisees were REALLY enraged, and threw more insults at this man who had the discourtesy to be healed on THEIR Sabbath. Who was HE to lecture THEM? There we see another characteristic of a legalist: he/she is not willing to be taught of God by whomever God sends his/her way. A true servant of God is teachable, and finds delight in learning of God’s goodness by observing a leaf, or a sparrow, or even a beggar healed by God’s grace.

Then the Pharisees threw him out – that is, they excommunicated him from their synagogue. Well, he was probably better off, wasn’t he, because they obviously were not teaching the truth!

But this brings up another characteristic of legalists: they are exclusive instead of inclusive. That is, they are always judging whether other people are "as good as" they are, and if you "don’t measure up" they exclude you from their company.

Jesus taught that we should be inclusive – accepting and loving of each other whether we agree or not, whether we are of the same social standing or not, recognizing that we are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

So in looking at some of the characteristics of legalism, we found that the attitude of some of the Pharisees caused them to disbelieve in and reject Jesus. Legalism creates anger when rules and regulations are not kept. A legalist puts himself in a position where he feels that only his interpretation of Scripture is correct, and he is guilty of "putting God in box" where he has the key to "pushing God’s buttons".

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men."

Legalists are ultimately men-pleasers rather that God-pleasers. They have an inclination to argue and create controversy. They refuse correction, are not willing to change (after all, they are RIGHT), and are not teachable. And they are quick to become angry and hurl insults when they are challenged.

How does legalism hinder healing? Well, all of these characteristics fit in with the hindrances we’ve already talked about don’t they? Such as: lack of obedience, rebellion, anger, strife, etc. But there is an overall element in the legalist’s reasoning that keeps him from receiving from God.

You see a legalist believes that he/she EARNS favor with God by their good works. We know we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. A legalist may declare they are saved by grace, but their efforts to please God through following a set of rules and regulations makes a lie of this declaration. Because they will quickly tell YOU what you are doing wrong, and if you’d only follow THEIR formula you’d make God happy!

The legalist also believes that they receive from God on the basis of THEIR good works. They will try to base receiving healing on their own worthiness, not their faith. If they haven’t been working very diligently for God, they do not expect to receive anything from Him. If they have been working hard, they demand to be given what they need, such as healing, based on their own merits.

But the man born blind that Jesus healed on a Sabbath day didn’t expect healing to begin with. He was just begging for a living, "minding his own business", when a MAN came along, anointed his eyes with saliva and mud, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

And the man obeyed. Obedience to God’s Word IS important, but it must be based on FAITH. We obey God because we believe in Jesus and want to show our love and gratitude to Him, not to "earn brownie points". Faith is an action word – it implies trust that leads to obedience to God.

Then we saw that this man’s faith was tested. If he had begun to doubt what Jesus had done, if he had let the legalists talk him out of his healing, he may have ended up a blind beggar again.

But his faith refused to be moved by what he saw or heard (because now after all HE COULD SEE!). He even refused to be swayed by the threat of being thrown out of the synagogue. He steadfastly clung to what Jesus had done for him. He suffered insults and abuse and contention, but he never backed down from what he had received from Jesus.

John 9:35-36 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."

Now Jesus had HEARD about this man’s trials and WENT TO LOOK for him! His faith had attracted the attention of Jesus. Keep in mind that the man born blind did not know where Jesus was. But Jesus knew where the man was. And as he had manifested faith, Jesus sought to give him a greater vision of Himself. He had seen Jesus with his eyes, now Jesus was going to teach him to see with his heart!

"Do you believe in the Son of Man?" Jesus asked. Well this man was almost there, wasn’t he? He believed that Jesus was a godly man who God listened to. He believed in Jesus as his healer. His faith stood the test as the angry legalists ran him through the gauntlet of doubt. And the man was teachable. "Tell me who he is so that I may believe in Him!"

John 9:37-38 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.

YOU HAVE SEEN HIM! Jesus said. YOU ARE TALKING TO HIM. Praise the Lord! Isn’t that just like the Lord? He comes to the ones who have been blinded all their life by sin and brings them sight!

Now the man born blind could see Jesus both physically and spiritually. His eyes of faith had been opened and he recognized Jesus as Lord, made a public confession of his faith, and then worshipped Jesus.

Now some modern thinkers will tell you that Jesus never claimed to be God. This is rank nonsense. And this is one of the occasions where Jesus accepted worship. God alone is worthy of worship. Receiving worship identified Jesus as God.

Legalism is blind to the grace of God that cannot be earned by works. Legalism will hinder healing because it tries to earn what is offered as a free gift. If you have a tendency towards legalism, if you are more interested in following rules and regulations than you are in following Jesus, it will hinder not only you receiving healing, but being truly obedient to God in all areas of your life.

I Timothy 1:3-4 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.

Paul sums it up very nicely in his admonition to Timothy to command that false doctrines not be taught. Legalism promotes controversy and man’s work, rather than God’s work, which is by faith. We receive from God through faith, not works. Cast aside legalism, depend on Christ’s righteousness, and develop your faith so that your healing will not be hindered by hypocritical notions. Be healed in Jesus’ Name!

 

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned! And put it into practice.

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Original lesson 3/29/99
Revised: May 02, 2001