Healing Through Deliverance
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38)
In the gospel accounts, there is plenty of evidence that physical healing and deliverance from evil spirits are closely related.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
"Then his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed (Gk: daimonizomai - demonized), epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them." (Matthew 4:23,24).
When Jesus preached the message about the Kingdom, it was a message of God's effective rule coming. The signs of the coming of the Kingdom included the destruction of Satan's works. Amongst these are sicknesses and torments. These things often go hand in hand. They are both due to the operation of evil spirits in the bodies and souls of men.
Are All Physical Problems due to Demons?
I do not say this. If someone falls over and breaks their arm, the broken arm is not due to a demon. Sometimes such wounds are prevented from healing due to demonic infestation or a curse, but that is another matter.
Poor diet or overeating, especially of the wrong foods, can open the door for disease. This has been well established. If you fill your arteries with cholesterol, its not necessarily the devil's fault if you have a heart attack. But if you have a spirit of gluttony - a very common problem amongst the people of God, then demons are related on the onset of disease, albeit perhaps not directly.
Having said this, a lot of internal diseases and disabilities involve direct demonic oppression. Demons may find access to a person's life through some kind of generational curse, and this can mean that a person, even a Christian person, may be afflicted with multiple spirits of infirmity, which need to be driven out. Demons can work to reinforce sickness, and magnify the oppression over people's lives. It is extremely common. Demonic infestation in Christians of one degree or another is at least as common as the presence of physical sickness in Christians. These things need not be. Jesus took our infirmities and bore our diseases at the cross. But the victory of calvary must be appropriated - otherwise for us, it is no more than a legal provision that we have neglected to our own hurt.
The Ministry of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ clearly had a ministry of total liberation. For Jesus, it was not enough to preach only about a legal state of righteousness with God without demonstrating the power of the Kingdom to make a difference in people's lives! For example, Jesus did tell the paralytic man in Mark 2, "Your sins are forgiven you" but went further and demonstrated he had authority to say this by the next word, "I say to you, arise, take up your mat, and walk". It is easy to SAY "your sins are forgiven you". Anyone can say this, but not all can say it with authority from God. Some preachers will tell you your sins are forgiven when you are still clinging to them! Jesus did more than declare unseen and unverifiable things. By the same authority, Jesus told the paralyzed man in Mark 2 to walk - and it happened, SHOWING that there is more to Jesus' authority than theological assertions.
Now God wants not only our souls but also our bodies to be free from satanic harrassment. Some people are only interested in the healing of their bodies, and they don't expose the unrighteousness in their souls to the Lord, so the Lord has a free hand to move in their entire being. This is a serious mistake. Now God can do things for people in any order He chooses. He can, if he wishes, physically heal a person with all kinds of soulish issues requiring deliverance. God is sovereign. But many times, especially in the life of a believer in Christ, the healing of the soul takes precedence over the healing of the body, and God will not work unless certain issues are dealt with.
Deliverance from evil spirits at the level of the soul prepares us to receive from God at the physical level also. It also prepares us to move in the power of the Holy Spirit for the deliverance and healing of others. Many times it is the internal bondage to wickedness in ministers of the gospel that is limiting the flow of God's power to others. Does that sound too harsh? Well, God talks, for example, about "an evil heart of unbelief that departs from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). There could well be degrees of this - not all of them relating to personal salvation. Unbelief concerning certain promises of God could be a spiritual bondage that a minister of the gospel needs freedom from.
People seeking healing MUST forgive those who have wronged them. If we hope to extract justice from those who have wronged us, and hold the pain of the injustice in our hearts, we are going to miss out on a lot of God's blessings. Forgiving others from the heart and "tearing up the IOU" so to speak - is an essential condition of deliverance, healing, faith, receiving answers from God, and even of God's forgiveness. That is the teaching of Jesus. (See Matthew 6:14,15; Mark 11:25; Matthew 18:30). I have seen people who have been healed physically only when they yielded to the Spirit of God on this point. Jesus said God would deliver us TO the tormentors if we do not forgive our brother from our heart.
The verse quoted above in Acts 10:38 proves that SICKNESS IS A WORK OF THE DEVIL. Jesus healed those who were "oppressed by the devil" - not "oppressed by God". If we can grasp this one thing, we can proceed with an undivided soul to wage warfare on sickness wherever we find it. Yes, God may be looking for other forms of deliverance in people's lives at first, but we can be sure that He really wants them to be healed physically.
The gospels attribute much sickness and disability directly to the work of demons. When the spirit causing the physical problem is cast out by the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the name of Jesus, healing often happens immediately. The vandal must first be thrown out of the house before the house can be repaired. If we don't get him out, and keep him out, our efforts to bring restoration could be in vain.
Illustrations of this fact abound in the gospels. Some conditions are referred to almost interchangeably with the demons that cause them. In Mark 9:17 it says:
"Then one of the crowd answered and said, 'Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit' ".
This man knew a lot more than many Christians. Many of us, if we met someone who could not talk, would be very reticent to think the person had a demon which stopped them from being able to talk. The tendency today even amongst those who believe in the existence of demons is to be so very judicious and uncommitted regarding the source of disease as to have little to say to our generation in this regard. In my view though, we won't go far wrong if we treat all such cases as "mute spirits". Unsophisticated? When did Jesus ever say to someone, "Go in peace. Your sophistication has made you well!"? Let us not try to be more sophisticated than the Son of God.
That is the way I was led to deal with the problem in India when a 12 year old girl, deaf mute from birth was brought for ministry. By addressing the demon of muteness - not once but several times, we got a great victory and the name of the Lord was glorified.
Why does Disease sometimes come back after prayer ministry?
One reason so many people experience relief and a measure of healing through prayer and the ministry of laying on of hands, and then lose the blessing, is their failure to be vigilant concerning the possibility that the demons that caused the problem are likely to try to return and cause the same affliction again. We are called to abide in Jesus, and follow Him. We have to be filled with the Word and the Spirit of God in order to give no place to the devil.
More Scriptures proving the relationship between Sickness and Demonic Oppression
One woman in Luke 13 was so bent over that she could not raise herself up. I'm sure if their physicians had our medical knowledge of today, they could make all kinds of interesting scientific observations concerning it. But Jesus simply declared a word of freedom and the woman was healed. Her back straightened. In talking about the incident, Jesus called this woman a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound (Luke 13:16). And the Bible account says this woman had a "spirit of infirmity" for eighteen years (vs 13:11). If a righteous woman could have a spirit of infirmity then, why could a Christian not have a spirit of infirmity today? It is not a sin to have a spirit of infirmity. What is shameful though, is that we are many times so ignorant and ineffective that we don't deal with these spirits and get them out of the temple of the Lord - which is our bodies.
"Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw." (Matthew 12:22).
Jesus referred to this incident in the verses that followed as "casting out demons by the Spirit of God". We see therefore what is going on. The demonic power had gotten into that boy, attacking him physically. His eyes, made by God with the purpose of seeing, were stopped from working by the rotten devil. Same with his speech capacity. Jesus drove the demon out, and the man saw and spoke. Simple.
Deliverance as a Key To Healing and Healing Ministry
If we have faith to cast out demons, we are far better equipped to minister healing in some of those "difficult" cases. And as we grow in experience, our faith grows in dealing with demons. We have a growing measure of the power of God effectively working in us, which allows us to deal with increasingly severe demonically caused problems, as the Lord leads us. Our faith grows as we see how the Lord changes lives through the ministry of deliverance he operates through us.
Ministers who do not have this understanding concerning can still be effective in divine healing, but I believe they do so with less understanding. The anointing will drive out the devil, even if the minister does not imagine the devil to be involved. But when you know it is that rotten devil, a righteous hatred can rise up in you through which the Lord can move to bring his power into a situation. It also helps us to realise even more that it IS God's will to heal people. It IS God's will to destroy the works of the devil, of which sickness is one. And it IS God's will to keep his promise. Therefore, lets use all the spiritual weapons God gives in order to destroy sickness and disease, and may God use this for his glory and for the true salvation of many souls.
How to Apply this Knowledge
When ministering, you may be in a counselling situation. In such a situation, issues may come up and you may be able to explain to the person things in such a way that they realise they need deliverance. You can then proceed to minister more methodically.
In public ministry situations, God can give extra grace. You may be able to minister via a mass prayer. I have frequently rebuked demonic power en-masse, commanding it to leave the people, and many have received healing immediately. Just ask them to first thank God verbally, and then to do something that was difficult to do before. People with a simple faith can often receive in this way. In laying hands on people, you must first be filled with the Holy Spirit. You should use your faith to impart the power of the Holy Spirit directly against the demonic force causing the sickness. Tell it to leave, and do not doubt in your heart. Do not take the time to worry about whether God has done it or not - that gives place to doubt. As Jesus said, believe that the things you say will come to pass. This is how faith works (see Mark 11:23).