SIN AND SICKNESS.
It is frequently asserted by some of the faith-healers of the present day that personal sin is the cause of all personal sickness, and that if persons who are sick will repent and be saved from their sins they may expect to be also saved from their sickness and diseases; the one only condition being that they shall believe that the Lord does heal them in answer to prayer.
The proposition may be true that sin is the general cause of sickness, or, rather, that sickness is a consequence of sin, in the sense that had not Adam sinned death would not have entered into the world, neither sickness as an antecedent of death; yet to hold that the sickness of the individual is the consequence or result of the sin of the individual in every instance, and that salvation from sin necessarily carries with it, on the exercise of the requisite faith, the healing of the body, is a doctrine fraught with error and evil; bringing those who come under its influence into great mental trouble because they cannot exercise the necessary faith for healing, and they therefore count themselves [R2767 : page 63] base unbelievers, when they may be exercising all the faith that is required of them, and should 'rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,' because they are receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.--1 Pet. 1:8,9.
It will, therefore, be a desirable thing to disprove this unwholesome doctrine, and, in order to do so, it will be only necessary to show that the Lord Jesus Christ was sick, for he "did no sin" (1 Pet. 2:22), "and in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5), and he could boldly ask, while he walked the earth, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46), and, therefore, personal sin could not have been the cause of sickness in him, as it was not in the case of the man born blind, and may not be in a thousand other instances.
Jesus was a very sick man in the garden of Gethsemane. Luke, who was a physician, tells us that, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops (thromboiclots) of blood falling down to the ground. This sickness with which Jesus suffered was diapedesis, a sickness not very common, and yet frequent enough to receive note and attention in the medical works and the cyclopedias. In McClintock and Strong's great work we have several instances given, under the phrase, "bloody sweat," especially that of Charles IX. of France, and allusion is made to Dr. Stroud's book on "The Physical Cause of the Death of Christ," where the matter is scientifically treated....
No one can read the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, in the original, without being fully convinced that (the chapter containing a prophecy of Christ) it is intended to present him as one suffering from sickness. In the third verse we have the words, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Here the Hebrew word for sorrows is "makaboth," and means pains, while the word for grief is "choli," and is from the verb "chalah," which means to be sick, weak, diseased. This word "choli" is the word used when the sickness of Hezekiah is spoken of; also when it is said, "Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died (2 Kings 13:14), and in numerous other instances of bodily sickness. The same word is used in the fourth verse, when it is said, "Surely he hath carried our griefs." In Matthew 8:17 this word is translated in the Greek asthencias, "infirmities" in our version, but it is the word that is used in the singular when the sickness of Lazarus is spoken of (John 11:4), and as a verb in various other instances of unquestionable bodily illness. Again, in the tenth verse, "he hath put him to grief," where the reading in the Hebrew is, "he hath made him sick," as in the margin of the Revised Version.
Thus the proof from the Scriptures is ample that Jesus Christ was sick, and so able to sympathize with us in our sicknesses and "infirmities" (Heb. 4:15); being without sin, personal sin could not have been the cause of his illness, and, therefore, may not be of ours.
W. S. URMY,
Pastor of Potrero M.E. Church, California.