How are Believers “Healed by His Stripes?”

How are Believers "Healed by His Stripes?" LIVE Q&A with Pastor David Guzik, April 6, 2023

How are Believers “Healed by His Stripes?”

From Ella, part of our TWR360 audience:

My conviction is that the Scripture, ‘by His stripes we are healed’ refers to our spiritual sickness of sin, not physical sickness. To my mind there are other Scriptures which clearly teach that God can and does heal, but even from the early years of coming to faith in Lord Yeshua the Messiah, I was struck with firm conviction that this Scripture refers to spiritual healing. I know that the finished work of Jesus of His suffering and sacrifice in His arrest, “trial”, scourging and other suffers and His death on the cross is without a shadow of doubt sufficient for salvation for those who and that there is no question that when a person repents and believes upon Lord Yeshua’s death and resurrection they are saved – because by His stripes we ARE healed. There is not the same certainty that the same person, with a serious illness, coming to the Lord will be necessary healed. To believe otherwise, to my mind, brings uncertainty concerning salvation too. Have I got this completely wrong? This is a really important, current, issue so I would REALLY appreciate your perspective. Thank you. Shalom and God bless.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

[5] But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him: Yes, the Messiah was stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But now, the prophet explains why. It was for usfor our transgressions…for our iniquities. It was in our place that the Messiah suffered.

  1. Wounded is literally “pierced through.”

[5] And by His stripes we are healed: Here, the prophet sees through the centuries to know that the Messiah would be beaten with many stripes (Mark 15:15). More so, the prophet announced that provision for healing is found in the suffering of Jesus, so by His stripes we are healed.

There has been much debate as to if Isaiah had in mind spiritual healing or physical healing. As this passage is quoted in the New Testament, we see some more of the thought. In Matthew 8:16-17, the view seems to be of physical healing. In 1 Peter 2:24-25, the view seems to be of spiritual healing. We can safely say that God has both aspects of healing in view, and both our physical and spiritual healing is provided for by the suffering of Jesus.

1 Peter 2:24

…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.

The context here is pretty clear – Peter understood Isaiah 53:5 as a reference to spiritual healing, healing from sin. By the suffering of Jesus, who suffered in our place, we are healed from the “disease” of sin.

Matthew 8:16-17

When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

“He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.”

[17] That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah: Matthew rightly understood this as a partial fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 53, which primarily refers to spiritual healing, but also definitely includes physical healing. In this, Matthew showed Jesus as the true Messiah in delivering people from the bondage of sin and the effects of a fallen world.

[17] He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses: The provision for our healing (both physically and spiritually) was made by the sufferings (the stripes) of Jesus. The physical dimension of our healing is partially realized now, but finally only in resurrection.

This healing work of our Savior cost Jesus something – He took and bore our infirmities and sicknesses. It wasn’t as if Jesus had a magic bag of healing power that He drew from and cast about to the needy. It came at the cost of His own agony.

However, some have taken this to mean that every believer has the right – the promise – to perfect health right now, and if there is any lack of health, it is simply because this promise has not been claimed in faith. In this thinking, great stress is laid upon the past tense of this phrase – by His stripes we are healed. The idea is that since it is in the past tense, perfect health is God’s promise and provision for every Christian at this very moment, even as the believer has the promise to perfect forgiveness and salvation at this moment.

Often, the people who say they believe this – the prosperity gospel crowd – they don’t really believe it. One prominent teacher of this prosperity gospel is a man named Kenneth Copeland, and it’s recently come out that Kenneth Copeland has a pacemaker. He says that God told him to receive it by faith, instead of a miraculous healing for his heart problem.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with Kenneth Copeland receiving a pacemaker, other than that it contradicts what he has so strongly taught for many years – that it was and is always God’s will to immediately heal every believer, and if they aren’t healed it’s probably because they don’t have enough faith – all based on his spin on Isaiah 53:5, by His stripes we are healed.

The problem of this view – not even counting how it terribly contradicts the personal experience of saints in the Bible and through history – is that it misunderstands the “verb tense” of both salvation and healing. We can say without reservation that perfect, total, complete healing is God’s promise to every believer in Jesus Christ, paid for by His stripes and the totality of His work for us. But we must also say that it is not promised to every believer right now, just as the totality of our salvation is not promised to us right now.

  • The Bible says that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8)
  • The Bible says that we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18)
  • The Bible says that we will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Even so, there is a sense in which (spiritually and physically) believers have been healed, are being healed, and one day will be healed. God’s ultimate healing is called “resurrection,” and it is a glorious promise to every believer. Every “patch-up” healing in this present age simply anticipates the ultimate healing that will come.


  • Isaiah 53:5 speaks of both spiritual and physical healing.
  • The salvation of God’s people is real, and they definitely possess it – yet it isn’t complete until the resurrection.
  • Whatever healing the believe receives in this life (praise God!) or in the resurrection is based on the fact that, by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

What Christians must do is pray boldly and trust God’s goodness and mercy in granting gifts of healing now, even before the ultimate healing of resurrection.

Can you explain the parable about the shrewd manager and how it applies to us today?

Can you explain the application for Christians of the parable told by Jesus about the shrewd manager? It’s a parable that’s always got me wondering what Jesus was teaching, and how to put it into practice. I really appreciate your ministry, by the way.

In Luke 16:1-8, Jesus told a parable about a man who worked for a master. The master found out that this man was corrupt and stealing from him, so he planned to fire him. When the man found out that his master was going to fire him, he went around to everybody to whom his master owed money, and he settled their accounts for pennies on the dollar. “You owe my master 500 pieces of silver. Let’s settle the bill for 50 pieces of silver. But remember the favor I did for you later.” He did this with several people to whom his master owed money. Jesus complimented the shrewd manager, who was not only a thief and an embezzler, but he was managing his master’s resources very poorly, and then going out and settling the master’s accounts for pennies on the dollar.

I don’t blame you for looking at this and wondering what Jesus is talking about here. How is He putting this man forward as an example? Here is the wisdom of the shrewd manager that Jesus wants us to learn. The shrewd manager used his present position to prepare for an unknown or potentially unpleasant future. Remember that parables really aren’t meant to teach us every aspect of theology in great detail. Rather, parables are meant to give us one or two very straightforward principles. So, we’re not trying to draw application out of every single detail in this parable. But this is what we are getting from it. It is wise to use your present position to prepare for a future that may seem in some ways to be uncertain, and maybe insecure. Jesus applied that parable to eternity.

The wisest thing that people on earth can do right now is to use this present life to prepare for eternity. Think about how wise and important that is. We are all in some way immortal and will live forever. Now, what kind of life are we going to live forever? That is determined by what we do right here and right now. Only a foolish person knows that they have an uncertain future in front of them yet does nothing to prepare for that future. So, I think this is a very important and very helpful parable.

What does it mean to pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20)?

Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…

Jude 1:20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…

When some people see the phrase praying in the Holy Spirit, they immediately think of praying in tongues, using the gift of tongues. It’s hard for me to comprehend all the misunderstanding there is among God’s people about the gift of tongues. I am sometimes shocked by the number of people in God’s family – who are well-read, good teachers, and they know a lot – who somehow think and act as though the purpose of the gift of tongues is to evangelize or disciple people in other languages.

The Bible tells us straightforwardly in 1 Corinthians 14, that he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men but unto God. Period. God gives the gift of tongues not as a horizontal form of communication, but as a vertical form of communication.

Bearing that in mind, some people assume that whenever the Bible mentions praying in the Spirit, it means somebody is praying using the gift of tongues. Well, it could be. But the idea of praying in the Spirit goes far beyond the gift of tongues. The idea of praying in the Spirit is directly relevant to having prayer led by, inspired by, informed by, and in the flow of the Holy Spirit of God. That’s what it is. It’s Spirit-guided prayer, Spirit-inspired prayer. When we have our times of prayer, that’s the first thing we pray for. “Lord, would You guide me in this prayer by Your Holy Spirit? I want to pray what is according to Your wisdom, what is according to Your will, and what is according to Your glory.” I think that’s a valid prayer for us to pray.

Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying according to the heart of God, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Fundamentally, prayer is not to get my will done. Rather it is, to the best of our imperfect ability, to discern what the will of God is, and to ask God to enact that and carry that out in this world.

Did Jesus descend to hell after He died?

My answer that question would be no. Now, I need to give a lot of qualification here. Ephesians speaks of Jesus descending to the lower parts of the earth after His death. There are some solid commentators who believe this is merely a reference to Jesus being buried. That’s one way that people understand this verse.

I believe that when it speaks of Jesus descending into the lower parts of the earth, it’s not talking about Jesus going to what we normally think of as hell. When people normally think of hell, what they’re actually thinking of is Gehenna or the Lake of Fire, this place of eternal destiny for those who have chosen to separate themselves from God and to reject God. That’s what we normally think of as hell.

But the Bible tells us that people are only cast into Hell (Gehenna/the Lake of Fire) after the Great White Throne Judgment. And the Great White Throne Judgment happens only after the reign of Jesus is concluded on Earth. So, you could say right now, in this sense, there’s nobody in Hell – that’s awaiting the final judgement.

Now, the Bible also talks about sort of an intermediary place that people go when they die. That’s called Sheol, the grave, or Hades. Hades is the place where those who aren’t in Jesus Christ go to await the final judgment. It’s not a place of partying. It’s not a place of pleasure. It’s a place of torment.

Jesus told us a story about a man who went to Hades. I don’t believe it was a parable; I think it was an actual story about a man who went to Hades and was in torment.

I believe that Jesus went to Hades after His death, and proclaimed liberation. Before the finished work of Jesus Christ, Hades had two areas. One was a place of blessing and reward for the people of God. The other was a place of torment. Jesus came and preached deliverance to those who were in the “good part” of Hades, the place of blessing. And He preached condemnation to those who were in the “bad part” of Hades, the place of torment. Then He led those people who were in the so-called “good part” of Hades/Sheol to heaven. He could do this now that the price had been paid, and the work was finished.

Are we breaking the second commandment (Exodus 20:4) when we are looking at Jesus through pictures such as The Chosen, The Passion, etc.?

There are some Christians who believe that any visual depiction of Jesus is a breaking of the second commandment, which says that you shouldn’t make any image or likeness of God. I would disagree with that. Understood in the right way, a representation of Jesus can be fine.

I believe that what the second commandment forbids is making such images to worship them. If somebody worships the Jesus in The Chosen, or the actor himself, that’s dangerous. Worshipping an image is dangerous. We must confine our worship to the true Jesus, who is greater than any visual representation. Even the greatest actor in the world could not adequately represent Jesus in all He is and all that He’s done.

So, I believe that what’s being condemned in the second commandment is the making of images to worship them. Now, there is some of that in the Christian world. People make images of Mary or the saints or Jesus, put them in churches, and people bow down and pray to them and worship them. That would be very much a violation of the second commandment. But I believe it’s possible to have a visual representation without it becoming an object of worship.

There is a divergence of opinion in the Christian world on this topic. There are some Christians who would argue that any visual representation of God in any way is a breaking of this commandment. Other people stress that it only applies to a visual representation which is made for the purpose of worshiping it. I hope you catch the distinction I’m trying to make.

There’s a very strong tradition in the Orthodox Christian world, that because Jesus came in a very visual way. I mean, look, Jesus came as a true man that could be seen and heard and touched. And I mean, that, that God sort of changed his rules with that, so to speak, that he said, Now I will represent my way myself in a way that can be seen that that some of the thinking just in a super unfairly mention of it, just to begin that.

How should churches incorporate the instructions Paul gave in 1 Corinthians 11?

1 Corinthians 11 includes topics such as head coverings for women, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, examining yourself, and so on. We need to rightly divide the word of truth, taking the Bible and interpreting it correctly and fairly and applying it correctly and fairly. The principle of what God said, through the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth and other passages in the New Testament, applies throughout history. Absolutely, it does. But the practice in which that principle is carried out may differ from culture to culture.

Take the whole issue of head coverings. There are some people who absolutely insist that, according to 1 Corinthians 11, Christian women should wear head coverings in the gatherings of worship. Here’s what I think that they’re missing. In the Roman culture in that part of the world at that time, a head covering meant something. If you saw a woman with a head covering, you properly assumed something about that woman, just as much as when you see a man or a woman today wearing a wedding ring, you assume something about them properly. So in that culture, you assumed that a woman with a head covering was under authority. But a head covering in our culture today doesn’t have that connotation at all.

So, the principle and the purpose behind it, is for the women in a congregation to demonstrate that they are under the authority of qualified men. And not every man in the church, but the qualified men in the church who were called to lead. That principle abides. How believers live out that principle can change according to cultural expression.

Now, there are some people who get all wound up about this, saying, “So, you don’t believe the Bible, and all you think it’s all cultural?” For those folks, I would simply reply, “Are you kissing in your church services? There are more commands in the New Testament to greet one another with a holy kiss, than there are to wear a head covering in church.” To that, you might argue, “Paul didn’t mean that we have to literally kiss other people in church. He meant to greet one another with a warm greeting. I do that with a kind word, a handshake, or a hand on the shoulder. I don’t have to kiss the guy next to me.” Do you see the point I’m trying to make here? We all get what this principle means when applied to the holy kiss. The same principle applies to head coverings.

In the same way, this principle applies to the way we should conduct ourselves at the Lord’s Supper, and so on. The principle of these things should be carried out in church today, but not necessarily in the way that principle was expressed in ancient culture. If we’re going to get all ancient on this, then everybody should show up to church next week with a toga and sandals and bring a couple of slaves with you, because they were part of the New Testament Church, and on and on. No, we understand that according to culture, these things change, but the principles remain and should be honored.

Who will hear God say “depart from Me” on Judgment Day?

I can’t say in every regard, but I can give some general principles. Certainly, everyone who has rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be there. Maybe that’s the safest way to say. We all have this tendency to want to make salvation or damnation a matter of what group you belong to. But friends, God deals with each soul individually. Those who have rejected the good news of Jesus Christ, who have looked to self or to some ceremony or anywhere but Jesus for salvation, will hear on that day, “Depart from Me.” It’s a heavy thing. The Day of Judgment is real. All those who have consciously rejected Jesus Christ will certainly be told to depart from Jesus on Judgment Day.

What is the difference or connection between our conscience and the Holy Spirit?

What is the connection between our conscience and the Holy Spirit? How are we to differentiate the voice of the Spirit with the voice of our own conscience? Are we transforming or connecting our conscience with the Holy Spirit now as believers?

Those are great questions. It can sometimes be confusing. If I am convicted of a sin, “David, you shouldn’t do that; that’s wrong,” is that conviction coming from the Holy Spirit, or is that conviction coming from my conscience? I think many times one wouldn’t know. Now, here’s the thing about our conscience. Our conscience is a gift from God telling us right from wrong. But like everything else in the human being, it has been affected by the fall. So, we can’t rest on the authority of our conscience alone. No, no, that will not do. We have to take rest and find peace in the fact that the Holy Spirit can help our conscience. The Bible talks about people have a seared conscience, a conscience that’s overactive, and an accused conscience. The conscience can be imperfect. But of course, the Holy Spirit is not imperfect, though we don’t have a perfect ability to hear from the Spirit of God.

Sometimes the voice of our conscience can seem very similar to what the Holy Spirit would say. And when that’s true, praise the Lord. I don’t know if we can discern all the time, “Oh, this was my conscience,” or “This was the Holy Spirit.” Even though the conscience is a gift from God, it’s not perfect, and it can be affected by the fall. It is possible for a person to have a seared conscience, and at that point their conscience approves them just fine. But the Holy Spirit of God does not.

So, it’s a challenging thing. If you want to help your conscience any way you can, you need to spend as much time in God’s word as you can. Remember that line from Romans, that we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Really, that’s what we’re looking for: the renewing of our mind.

What is David Guzik’s view on “prophetic healers”?

What is your view on “prophetic healers”? For example, seeing people get touched and automatically being healed.

Much of it is fakery, but not all of it. Sometimes God will use ridiculous instruments out of His own mercy and grace. I think it’s valid to be skeptical of such prophetic healers, but to recognize that, nevertheless, God can still even use a foolish and imperfect instrument. However, we should be wary of those who seem to bring glory to themselves in the work that they claim God is doing.

Does God know our individual needs and struggles?

Yes, He does. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that God knows the number of hairs on your head. That’s an easier number for God to calculate for me in recent years. But God knows that number. He knows everything about us. So yes, He knows our needs and our struggles. The Bible invites us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us. The Bible tells us that we should be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication to make our requests known to God. God knows our individual needs and struggles, yet He wants us to bring them to Him in a conscious act of faith, saying, “I yield this to you, Lord God.”

How would you answer a person who says that all pastors in the 60s had to be Masons?

I would say that’s absolutely false. Perhaps it was more common for pastors in the 1960s to be Masons, but it’s just absolutely not true that all pastors in the 1960s had to be Masons. Although that’s a long time ago, I know people who were pastoring in the 1960s, and they were not Masons. So, it’s just not true. Interesting question, though.

Is Mary the new Eve and the ark of the New Covenant?

I would say no, because Jesus is the new Adam, the second Adam. Also, Eve was Adam’s wife, but Mary is not Jesus’ wife. That’s the body of Christ. If Eve corresponds to anybody, it’s the body of Christ. So no, I would not say that Mary is the new Eve. Nor would I say that she’s the ark of the Covenant, even though somebody might argue that she contained the glory of God within her, as the ark of the Covenant did. But I think that approach is inaccurate and probably overly glorifying to Mary.

Look, we honor Mary as a great woman of God, but she wasn’t sinlessly perfect. She wasn’t immaculately conceived. She needed a Savior just like anybody else. Our best response to Mary is to listen to what she said to the servants at the wedding at Cana, “Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it.” That’s a great word from Mary.

Is it biblical to make promises to God?

Is it biblical to make promises to God? What is the purpose? Is a prayer more efficient if we do it?

Yes, making vows or promises to God is something that the Bible definitely talks about. The Bible says that we shouldn’t make hasty promises or vows to God.

There’s a wonderful book that we’ve been able to republish called “Full Surrender” by the late Dr. J. Edwin Orr. It’s a marvelous book about discipleship and about God’s work in us. The first chapter in this book is all about broken vows. He talks about how Christians today often don’t regard it as a sin to be dealt with, when they make a vow to God but then break it. He says that’s a sin from which you need to repent. And God is gracious, God will forgive. But if you consciously made that vow and then failed to fulfill it, you need to repent. That’s what I would say to anybody who has broken a vow to God.

When it comes to the idea of making a vow to God, we need to avoid the idea that it somehow twists God’s arm, that it makes Him do something that He’s reluctant to do. But a vow can be a valid demonstration of our own seriousness to God’s work or our seriousness about what we want God to do. So, there is a place for vows. But we do need to be careful with them before the Lord. We can’t try to force God to do what we want.

What does it mean that Jesus was “generated in eternity but not created”?

You’re referring to a creedal formation talking about the deity of Jesus. It says that He was begotten or generated in eternity, but he wasn’t created. The relationship between God the Father and God the Son is not a relationship between Creator and created. Rather, it’s a relationship between Begetter and Begotten.

Here’s the thing about the relationship of begetting. Theoretically, it’s possible for somebody to make a statue that looks exactly like themselves, but it wouldn’t be human. It would be whatever material they made it out of. Now, a son or daughter of mine is my offspring. I have begotten them. And they are 100% human. In the same way, God the Son’s relationship to God the Father is described as begotten. This indicates that He is 100% a divine being, as God the Father is divine.

There are places in Scripture which speak to the eternal nature of the Son. That needs to be kept in mind as well. Jesus being begotten does not mean that He necessarily had a beginning point. He’s eternal. But He is fully and completely God.

We don’t want to fall into that Arian trap of saying that Jesus is not eternal, that He is merely a created being. Arianism taught this view, just as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, otherwise known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, teach today. They teach that Jesus was the first and greatest of God the Father’s creation, but He was nevertheless still a creation. That is not biblical, and it’s not true.

Is faith without works dead?

Yes. Let me explain why. Faith without works is not living faith. Dead faith can’t save anybody. We’re saved by faith alone. James addresses this in his letter, that faith which saves is a living faith. It’s not a faith of only words or ideas, but it’s a faith that will carry itself out into real action which honors and glorifies God. Faith without works is dead, and dead faith won’t save anyone.

Do you have any thoughts on the Satan Con in Boston?

Do you have any thoughts on the Satan Con in Boston? Is it just showing how far this country is falling away from the truth?

I really don’t know anything about the Satan Con, but it sounds to me like it’s a convention of Satanists. And those losers will get their own reward. Satan loves to posture and present himself as the ultimate winner. But ladies and gentlemen, Satan is a loser. And anybody who consciously follows Satan is a loser. Jesus Christ has and will win His victory. Satan took his best shot at Him, and then Jesus Christ rose from the dead. I think it is an indication of how greatly our nation and our culture is turning away from God. There will be a price to be paid for that, absolutely. It is a discouraging sign of the times.

Do you consider Calvinism to be a heresy, with God predestining the unelected to hell?

Do you consider Calvinism to be a heresy, in the sense of God determining the unelected to be predestined to hell, as God intentionally sending those people to hell? Is this a heresy?

I’m happy to answer the question, but first we need to define terms. Heresy is not just a teaching that’s false or not true according to the Scriptures. Heresy is more than just a wrong teaching. A heresy is something which, if it is believed, means you’re going to hell. Therefore, I believe that a teaching can be wrong without being heretical. That’s my definition of the term heretical.

You refer to the idea of double predestination. It’s worth mentioning that not every Calvinist or Reformed theologian believes in double predestination. But double predestination is wrong, in my view. I think the Scripture nowhere teaches the idea that God has predestined the damned to be damned with no alternative, just as much as He’s predestined His own elect to receive salvation. So, I believe that idea of double predestination is wrong. It’s a false teaching. The Bible does not teach that. But I don’t even know that I would regard it as a heresy in the way that I’m defining heresy. As wrong as the teaching of double predestination is, I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that if a person believes it, they’re automatically going to hell.