Models, Models Everywhere
Healing ministries in this century have had some very bad press. One can conger up the vision of a man standing on a platform with a mike in his hand praying for a group of people in a “prayer line,” or moving through a crowd placing his hand on the forehead of a person and speaking short sentences. It is no wonder that folks get a bit annoyed at the showmanship and hype of these models. However, even there God often moves to heal despite the model. We must take note that God’s ability to heal is not based on a correct or incorrect model. It is built on his compassion to make right what is wrong in his world. When a healing takes place in any model, it is not authenticating the model, only authenticating the power of God to heal!
However, it is important to keep in mind that Jesus used many models and patterns (see Values, Models, and Patterns. Healing). It is to our advantage to be as varied as he was in his ministry of healing. Remember, everybody gets to play, not just the “professional.” But playing includes thinking and training. There are some important ideas about Spiritual Gifts or Gracelets that we should tuck away in our toolkit. These theological ideas will help equip us as God directs us to minister to the fallen world that he sent Jesus to rescue.
One of God’s blessings that he loves to give is grace, a blessing that we do not merit, but he gives to us anyway because of his love for us. This grace can be seen and felt daily through the gifts of the Spirit that he flows through us as members of the body of Christ. These displays of his daily grace can be called gracelets. Dr. Russ Spittler first introduced me to the term gracelet at my sojourn at Fuller Theological Seminary where I crammed a two-year degree into five years.
The giving of gracelets works like this: in whatever situation God needs to send his grace, he uses a human vessel to provide a droplet of grace into the situation. This gracelet is given by God out of the abundance of his grace which he has for any situation that one of his children may run into during his or her day or life.
The most often used word for spiritual gifts in the Second Testament is charismata. The root (char) of the Greek word gives us the word joy (chara) and grace (charis). Charismata is plural and indicates that there is a definite result of grace that occurs. Thus, spiritual gifts (gracelets) are the specific display of God’s grace that brings a definite result to the one receiving the gracelet and exposes all to the loving care of God for his children.
Graclets Of Healings
We can define gracelets of healings (1 Cor. 12.9) as the actual outcome of healing that a sick person receives. We should note that there are as many kinds of healings as there are kinds of illnesses. These gracelets of healings can occur as an event or they can be progressive in nature. A person can receive gracelets of healings in all areas of his or her life: emotional, spiritual, physical, social, or even financial.
In the Greek text of 1 Corinthians, the words gift and healing are plural, i.e., gifts and healings. They are plural because there are many kinds of illnesses; therefore there are many healing gracelets. In Corinth, the physicians of the day were asked to heal specific parts of the body. The one who had an illness would bring a clay part[ref]Winn Griffin. Gracelets. 119.[/ref] of the specific body part that needed to be healed by the physician. Paul uses this mindset to display the idea that God also has a gracelet of healing and it, too, is for specific parts of the body.
In my book Gracelets, I suggest that “The gracelets of healings are the actual outcomes of healing, which a sick person receives”[ref]Winn Griffin. Gracelets. 119.[/ref].
We have been schooled in our ecclesiae that we can discover, develop, and deploy a spiritual gift and that everyone has one. This is not a correct reading of Paul. The gracelets (like drops of grace on a specific situation) are sent through a person by the Spirit to a person. The person getting healed receives a “gift of healing,” not the person who is praying has a gift of healing. As Jesus followers, we are the conduits through which God sends his gracelets to those he has chosen to give them to.
We are the UPS (USPS, Fed Express) guys and gals whose job it is to deliver the package to the receiver without altering it. We may even have the responsibility to package the package. By this, I mean that we can choose what model or pattern that we deliver the package in. As an example, say your wife loved blue. If you bought her a little bear and put it in a newspaper from your garage and then wrapped it in some old paper saved from many Birthdays ago with an old wrinkled bow, the packaging might be a put off to her receiving the gift.
However, say she likes blue. If you wrapped the bear in blue paper, placed it in a blue box, wrapped the box with blue paper, and put a fresh blue bow on it, her delight in receiving the package would be enhanced. The gift remains the same, but the package can be different. We must know how to package and deliver the package that God sends through us. When you think about this, it takes a lot of pressure from your shoulders. You don’t have to perform some premeditated form; you just have to be yourself and deliver what God sends when he wants to send it.
Two Greek words are used in the Second Testament which explains the gracelets of healings. They are often synonyms (at least in Luke). We must remember that this information may not have been available to help the Corinthians to understand the gifts of healings. They could have known the usage from Luke, Paul’s companion, but they did not have the writings of Luke to reference. What was available to them, as we stated above, was the cultural practice of making specific clay body parts that needed healing so they could offer them to a god. The two terms are:
therapeuo: This word is translated by the words heal and cure. From this Greek word, we get our word therapeutic.
iaomai: This word is also translated heal and cure. It is this word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12. He used it three times (1 Cor. 12.9, 28, 30). There is no other Pauline passage in which this word is used. Luke, his companion, does use it twenty of the thirty-eight times it is used in the Second Testament. Because they were friends and worked together in ministry, it is conceivable that they were aware of each other’s writings and the way each used words.
It must be pointed out that in our present scientific-age worldview, it is believed that it is too difficult for God to heal the sick. It may be also said that this is far too true of many contemporary followers of Jesus who have a theology that disjoins the then and the now of the work of God. The root cause of this disjunction is an incoherent belief about the kingdom of God. According to the teaching of the Second Testament, the kingdom of God was inaugurated by Jesus empowered by the Spirit, who is the one that continues the work of the kingdom until its consummation at the Second Coming. This kingdom work occurs during this time that we are now living. It is during this timeframe that God continues to heal and uses us as his delivery people. Not until Jesus returns will healing stop. In the fullness of the age to come, we will all be healed of everything and stand perfect before a loving God. Until then we need to keep on participating with Jesus in his ongoing ministry in the world.
Community Discussion Questions
➡ |CDQ Info|
- How do healing models affect you?
- How does being a UPS guy or gal strike you? Explain.
- What about God causes him to share his grace with us? Explain.
- Which areas of your life do you need a gracelets of healings for? Are you praying for that? Are you letting others pray with you for that?
- Is praying for the sick and delivering a gracelet of healing something that you wish God would work through you? Why?