The Meaning of Faith in Jesus Christ: Acts 3:16-18
“16) And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. 17) “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18) But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” Acts‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬-‭18‬
Peter continued to make His Message about Jesus Christ. He pointed out that the healing done to the lame beggar was through faith in the name of Jesus Christ. It was not Peter or John who performed the healing, rather it was Jesus Christ.
Peter then forces the issue about the person, work and identity of Jesus Christ. In verses 14 and 15, Peter called Him “the Holy and Righteous One” and “the Prince of Life.” He then pressed the point that Jesus is “the Christ” and that His suffering fulfilled the words of all the prophets.
Peter was preaching to the very crowd that had disowned Jesus as Messiah and pressed for His crucifixion. He came to His own, but they rejected Him. (See John 1:10-15)
Peter presses an important point; though they acted in ignorance, God was at work through them. We must go back over and over again to Acts 2:22-24. Their actions did not put an end to Jesus Christ. Death did not stop Him. The grave could not keep Him. God raised Him from the dead. Gods plan was fulfilled despite human ignorance.
This sign of healing performed through faith in the name of Jesus Christ proved Jesus Christ is still alive and that He is still doing signs and wonders because He is God! But let’s make a greater connection.
The argument that John made in John 1:1-18 was far greater than the ability of Jesus to perform signs and wonders such as healing people. John pointed out that Jesus Christ is the Creator. Yes, He is Healer and miracle worker, but that is because He is Creator God! The sign performed on the beggar proved that Jesus Christ is alive and still in His office.
Peter stresses that death on the cross did not end Him, rather His suffering and resurrection validated everything the Old Testament prophets said about Him. Peter’s message was not about healing or the Holy Spirit, rather it was about Jesus Christ who is the Savior of mankind.
The healing opened the door to preach the gospel about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Peter used it as tangible proof that Jesus is alive and that He has a far greater plan than just healing people. He came to redeem humanity from the curse of the fall and reconcile them to God!
I want to make a point that must not be missed. Peter was not saying; “have faith in Jesus so that He might physically heal you!” Rather he was saying “have faith in Jesus Christ so that He might eternally save you!” The healing merely served as evidence that Jesus was alive and had stepped into His Greater office of Savior of the world!
Let me emphasize, the gospel does not say, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be healed!” It says; “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” (John 3:16-17; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 4:12; Acts 5:31-32; Acts 10:42-43; Acts 9:35-37; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 6:22-23; Romans 10:8-10… we could go on and on with many more passages.)
What is my point? There is no doctrine of universal healing taught in the Bible, but it does present a gospel of universal salvation to all who put faith in Jesus Christ! Peter was preaching the gospel of salvation and not a message of healing.
Do I believe God still does miracles today and heals people? Yes! Do I believe the gospel in about physical healing? No! The gospel is about the work of Jesus Christ on the cross to redeem sinful humanity and open the door for eternal salvation.
Peter and John used the healing of the lame beggar to preach the gospel of salvation. They did not use it to start a healing service. Please understand that physical healing is temporal, but salvation is eternal. They are not synonymous.
The angels in heaven do not celebrate when someone gets healed, but they celebrate every lost sinner that gets saved. (See Luke 15:7 & 10) Do not obscure the gospel through an obsession with physical healing.
Peter, John and the early church focused on preaching the gospel and in the process watched God perform signs and wonders to validate the message. (See Hebrews 2:1-4) Healing is optional, but salvation is mandatory!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global