Difficult Texts

"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Some interpret these words to mean that healing is a part of the atonement, and that since Jesus bore our sicknesses on the cross we have just as much right to claim healing as to claim forgiveness. But can we expect an answer for healing with the same confidence that we expect salvation in answer to our prayer?

Those who believe that you can and should accept healing as pan of the atonement also support their position with Isaiah 53:4: "Surely he hath borne our griefs [diseases], and carried our sorrows [pain]." The important question is: When was this prophecy fulfilled? Was it at the cross? The answer is clearly given by Matthew: "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." Matthew 8:16, 17.

Thus we see that He bore our diseases while He was living in Galilee, not after His death. The most likely meaning of the text in 1 Corinthians 11:29, 30 is that the Corinthians were contributing to their poor health by intemperance and gluttony associated with the love feasts that preceded the Lord's supper.

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