“Healing ministry” has become a popular aspect of church services, largely in charismatic churches, but not confined to that constituency. I have no doubts that God heals people of physical sickness, gradually and instantly and that we should pray for God to act when someone is ill. It’s obvious, too, that Jesus uses miracles to validate the authority of his word (Mark 2:1ff, John 11:1ff). In this quote from the 5th chapter of God’s Way of Holiness, Horatius Bonar shows how the cross has the power to heal. It is the cross, therefore, that our healing ministries should ultimately point to:
it is by the abundance of that peace and truth, revealed to us in the cross, that our cure is wrought.
The cure is not perfected in an hour. But, as the sight of the cross begins it, so does it complete it at last. The pulses of new health now beat in all our veins. Our whole being recognizes the potency of the divine medicine, and our diseases yield to it.
Yes, the cross heals. It possesses the double virtue of killing sin and quickening holiness. It makes all the fruits of the flesh to wither, while it cherishes and ripens the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal 5:22). By this the hurt of the soul is not “healed slightly,” but truly and thoroughly. It acts like the fresh balm of southern air to one whose constitution the frost and damp of the far north had undermined. It gives new tone and energy to our faculties, a new bent and aim to all our purposes, and a new elevation to all our hopes and longings. It gives the death-blow to self, it mortifies our members which are upon the earth. It crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts. Thus, looking continually to the cross, each day, as at the first, we are made sensible of the restoration of our soul’s health; evil loosens its hold, while good strengthens and ripens.