When We All Get to Heaven?
I was reading a devotional by Charles Stanley that I found remarkable by a statement he made about healing. It surprised me because my understanding is that Stanley is a Baptist and wouldn’t believe in healing as a present reality available to the believer. Here is the statement Stanley made:
“We who belong to Jesus Christ have God’s promise that He will heal all our diseases, rescue us from every trouble, and give us great riches…”
I read that and found it uncharacteristic of Stanley’s reputation, BUT then I read the rest of the sentence. Let me quote it in its entirety:
“We who belong to Jesus Christ have God’s promise that He will heal all our diseases, rescue us from every trouble, and give us great riches—not now but in eternity.”
My mind immediately when to Acts 3:16 when the lame man at the Gate Beautiful was healed after Peter and John prayed for him. The lame man leaps up dancing for joy, and Peter tells the people gathered that it was the faith of Jesus that healed the man:
Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
This verse tells us what faith in the name of Jesus does. It gives PERFECT SOUNDNESS “in the presence of all,” or, in other words — NOW. Peter and John didn’t look at the man at the gate Beautiful and say, “Be of good cheer, when you get to heaven, you won’t be lame or crippled anymore.” If they held to the thinking expressed in Stanley’s statement, that’s what they would have said. Aren’t you glad that Peter and John weren’t good baptists? (They had little in common with any of the current streams of the Christian religion, including ours as well.)
The point is (not to disparage Stanley) we need to see what faith does. Faith gives PERFECT SOUNDNESS. It doesn’t just provide patient endurance until we get to heaven; it gives PERFECT SOUNDNESS NOW. Of course, many would say that healing and the other apostolic gifts have passed away. They quote 1 Cor. 13:10:
[1Co 13:10 KJV] 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
What is that which is perfect? They will tell you “the word of God.” Really? The apostles had the Old Testament scriptures, and they still moved in healing gifts. Others will say, “the Church is perfect.” Well, I don’t think that one needs an answer, do you? The truth is that the Spirit’s gifts and the fivefold ministry offices did fade out of the church after Constantine’s time because of unbelief, spiritual declension, and corruption in the Church. Still, there is not one scripture to point at in the Bible that gives a line of demarcation in the history of the people of God when these things are no longer intended by God to be with us.
What encourages me in Acts 3:16 is the immediacy of faith to the man’s need at the gate Beautiful. What does faith do? It gives perfect soundness now. God wants you to be “sound,” in fact, to be perfectly sound. What does that word mean? It is a Greek word “holokleria,” meaning “unimpaired, entire, whole, without defect, without blemish, complete in all respects.” Can I get an “I’ll take mine now?”
It is true that in heaven, we won’t have any sorrow, sickness, poverty, etc. but we don’t have to wait till we get to heaven. In Luke 11:2, Jesus told us to pray and to place our expectations on “as in heaven so on earth.” He never told us not to expect to be healed, provided, for, or blessed until we get to heaven. He commanded us to pray and anticipate AS IN HEAVEN SO ON EARTH. Stanley’s comments sound spiritual because they let everyone off the hook as far as believing God. Let’s not cop out on our faith, shall we? Let’s believe for PERFECT SOUNDNESS NOW! That’s the promise of God for the man at the gate Beautiful, for all the people Peter preached to that day, and it’s the promise of God for us as well.
For more on this subject, check out “Can You Take Now for an Answer,” here: https://bit.ly/3hCWJU6