ESV - 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
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Nothing on earth happens without God's permissive will. The Bible records instances where God used (and would still be capable of using even today) illness (or even death) as a means of judgment (as with David's first child with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:15); or David's taking a census of Israel (2 Samuel 24); or Herod's self-glorification (Acts 12:20-23); or as a means of preventing an individual from becoming too prideful, as He did with Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)). However, I would also say that illnesses in general, and the organisms that produce them, are consequences of living in a fallen world, and humans (despite their sinful state) can play a significant role in the control of such maladies through the use of their God-given intelligence both in discovering the causes of diseases, and in developing cures or means (such as vaccines or hygienic practices) for treating, controlling, or preventing them. For that reason, unless there would be clear, unmistakable evidence of God's direct involvement, my first inclination would not be to regard an illness as indicative of a curse of some sort, but as a "natural" (and hopefully treatable) result of the environment, or of human actions and decisions. That is not to say that prayer would or could not be of use in such cases, but God allowed the development of medical knowledge for a purpose -- to benefit humanity (as Luke, who was a physician (Colossians 4:14), could attest).
Though I believe sickness may be a curse as we read concerning the plagues that God afflicted the Egyptians with and what might result from those who show contempt for the Old Covenant And those described in 1Corinthians 11. "Exo_15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." "1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 1Co 11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 1Co 11:34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come The fact is there has been provision made for the faithful in the New Covenant to bring us the Healing mercy and the Gospel that breaks the curses resulting from sin." That provision of healing is written about in the book of James. Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jas 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. Jas 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Jas 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Jas 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. We see from the Scripture that curses come upon those who sin. "Joh_5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." But those curses can be broken by the fervent effectual prayer of any believer. A righteous person wields incredible power and the promise is that we, though we have like passions as Elijah can demonstrate the same fervency in faith and prayer and enjoy the same miracle results as he did. Jesus became a curse that the curse of sin and of sickness may be broken from us but the result is according to the individual's faith.
I believe what Tim said for the most part. But, there is always a but. First Corinthians 11:27-34 Many of the Corinthian believers were living in fornication and coming to communion drunk Paul said many were sick among them because they were not judging themselves. He said some have even died. Not that they had lost their salvation, but God does judge His own people. He chastens those He loves as a father chastens his children. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. So, sometimes we are chastened by the Lord by sickness and even death. First Corinthians 5:5. But, as Tim said, most times it is just that we live in a fallen world and sickness and disease are part of the curse on the whole world. Just like weeds and trials and tribulation that we all go through for Gods own purpose. But, if it is because of sin, He will not be angry with us forever. He still has a soft heart towards His own children. But whom the Lord loveth, he chastens. At least you know if He is chastening you, you are one of His. He does not chasten unbelievers.
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