Q. I believe that a person full of faith can be healed, if it is God ‘s will. But I don’t understand the importance of the oil mentioned in James 5:14-15. I see false teachers on TV selling oil napkins and promising healing. Is anointing with oil still in practice? And isn’t God glorified when a Godly old saint is called home to be with Him?
A. The only time Jesus was ever asked if He was willing to heal someone He answered, “I am willing” (Matt. 8:1-3, Mark 1:39-41, Luke 5:11-13) and healed the person. He is never unwilling, and He has never said, “It’s not my time for healing” nor does He strike us with illness to discipline us or strengthen our faith. These are man made doctrines that contradict everything He died for. In their original form, the words of Isaiah 53:4-5 clearly describe both our physical and spiritual healing as results of the Lord’s suffering and death.
Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. From the Book of Exodus forward, anointing a person with oil has symbolized setting that person apart as holy to the Lord (Exodus 30:22-33) and it’s still in practice. The fact that false teachers profit from the misuse of Biblical principles like this does not diminish their importance in our spiritual life.
The promise of healing doesn’t mean we can live forever in our sin infested bodies. The Lord has established a 70 year lifespan for humanity (Psalm 90:10). Anything beyond that is a gift from Him. But since this world is an evil place (1 John 5:19) where accidents and illnesses happen without warning or cause, where we’ve poisoned the air we breathe and the food we eat, and where the average person takes many more actions each day that will shorten his or her life than those that will preserve it, some don’t make it that far. You can’t blame God for that, and these aren’t secret things. They are well known to all who take the time to study.