“Bodily Healing and the Atonement” by TJ McCrossan

HealingI’ve just finished reading Bodily Healing and the Atonement by TJ McCrossan. This 80 year old classic (since reprinted) is a welcome antidote to any uncertainty you may have regarding God’s will for healing. The main takeaway of this book is that “Christ bore our sicknesses in the very same way that He bore our sins” (p.12).

Many sincere believers struggle to see healing because of false teaching. They’ve been told that it’s not God’s will to heal everyone, or that God wants them sick to teach them character, or that God used to heal people but He doesn’t anymore. Through an in-depth study of scripture, TJ McCrossan demolishes all of these misconceptions. He writes that sickness is ultimately the devil’s work. (We have sickness and death on account of sin (Rms 5:12), but it was Satan who led our first parents to disobey God. Thus Satan is the originator and propagator of sickness.) McCrossan notes that Jesus rebuked sickness in the same way that He rebuked evil spirits – harshly and with authority. Sickness is not something we should learn to live with, but something we need to learn how to eliminate through faith in Christ.

Jesus healed the sick (Mt 4:23), He commanded His disciples to heal the sick (Mt 10:8), and He said that we would heal the sick (Mk 16:18). So why are we unsure about His will for the sick? His will is that we heal them!

Probably my favorite part of the book was the section on God’s will versus our will. Many believers pray with the proviso if it be Thy will. As McCrossan explains, this is faithless, irresponsible praying. It is giving voice to doubt and abdicating our God-given mandate to heal the sick. The Bible is full of promises and instructions regarding healing. We have no excuse for imitating the father in Mark 9:22 who asked Jesus, “if you can do anything…” If you can?! Of course He can – He’s God! He can heal and He wants to heal. The real question is not “God, can you?” but “do you believe?”

Jesus died for all sinners but not all are saved. Why not? Because of unbelief in the goodness of God. Similarly, Jesus died that all might be healed, but not all are healed? According to TJ MCrossan, it’s the same reason:

“Every saint has a blood-bought right to be healed, but thousands do not know that they must exercise the very same appropriating faith in the bruised body of Christ for their healing as they formerly exercised in His shed blood for their salvation.” (p.64)

On the whole I am greatly inspired by Bodily Healing and the Atonement, but I sense there is a danger that some readers might trip up if they are not already acquainted with the gospel of God’s grace. For instance, the author lists a number of conditions for being healed. The first requirement is “keeping all of God’s commands and doing only what was right in His sight” (p.64). This comes from 1 Jn 3:22; God answered John’s prayers because John kept God’s commandments. But what the author neglects to mention is that the commandments John is referring to are not the commandments of the Old Testament. John is saying we must believe in Jesus Christ (see 1 Jn 3:23). If you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re going to have a hard time receiving the healing that He provided for you at the cross.

We are not healed on the basis of our law-keeping, but on account of God’s grace revealed to us through Christ. Yet God’s grace will be of no effect to you unless you respond positively in faith (Eph 2:8). The gospel of Christ reveals the power of God for salvation – forgiveness, healing, deliverance – for everyone who believes (Rms 1:16), and ultimately this is the message of Bodily Healing. If you are battling with long term illness or know someone who is, get them a copy of this book. Then go heal them.

Postscript: If you aren’t able to get a hold of Bodily Healing and the Atonement, but want to know more about God’s will for healing, read this helpful article by Andrew Wommack.

Related posts:
- Exodus 4:11
- Jesus’ Medicine: Tastes like Ribena
- see all E2R’s book reviews here


  1. Sounds like a great book… The account from Mark 9 & Matthew 17 with the lunatic boy and his father PROVES it is still God’s will to heal even when His accredited representatives fail to affect healing. The disciples failed because of their unbelief and Jesus still healed the boy. I love this statement: “Sickness is not something we should learn to live with, but something we need to learn how to eliminate through faith in Christ.”

    Sadly, we have been taught that sickness is a “normal” part of life and to be expected. Well, I say to anyone who believes this, “If sickness is normal, then don’t go to the doctor to become ‘abnormal’.”

  2. Yes it is a great book, especially because he goes into great depth in the Hebrew and Greek to bring out the true meaning of the Scriptures. There are also things I don’t agree with in the book, especially the part about believers not raising the dead, and anything that would put barriers on healing – all barriers to healing come from the devil, plain and simple.

  3. Steve Scrim says:

    Encouraging article cuz.

    The great mysteries of the cross are being revealed to God’s sons and daughters so we can take the Kingdom by force.

    The cross has brought us into Heaven on Earth in our lives, now. Forgiveness, Healing and Freedom from Sin. This same great truth about healing coming through the cross just as forgiveness comes through the cross also corresponds to walking in freedom from sin. We can only walk in forgivenss, healing and holiness through God’s grace received through faith.

    The Church is learning to receive the fullness of salvation. What eternal riches are waiting for us to be received by Faith, now! Lord open our eyes to see the fullness of who we are, what we have and the face to face intimacy we have, all in You.

    I love this great salvation

  4. Charles Ortiz says:

    In June of 1986, the doctors confirmed that I was healed of stage (4), metastasized, (terminal cancer), in which the the doctors had previously in February of 1986. given me approximately (3) weeks to live.
    An important factor in being able to claim, and believe for my healing was having my understanding of the Word of God with regard to Jesus having died to heal my sicknesses, as well as the forgiveness of my sins through studying this book – Bodily healing and the atonement, and applying the principles learned in meditating on healing scriptures in the bible! I give all the glory to God for this blessing!

    • Jan Gale says:

      Why is a 7 year old dying in a hospice right now of this diabolical disease in one of the worst ways imaginable? Would like to understand more as have seen miracles myself.

  5. What a great, gentle write-up about a what sounds like a great book. There is so much misunderstanding around about healing and whole theologies created as to why God doesn’t heal, it is great to find a book which explains how and why healing is included in the atonement and the knock-on effects of that.

    I’m going to track this book down. Thanks for posting your review.
    Kind regards, Mike

  6. My question is about healing and the “atonement” salvation/healing combo meal. I have been a Christian for 40 years, a pastor, seminary grad, Bible teacher, and current author and conference speaker so my question is in no way flip or shallow. I understand the the dynamics as I also attended Rhema Bible Training Center in the mid 80’s. My problem is that this has never played out consistently anywhere by anyone that I know of. For instance, When Kenneth Hagin Jr. taught a class on Evangelism in 1985, a student asked him about wearing glasses and he was shut down publicly and publicly called “dumb” for asking (I was there).

    If people believe for salvation and are totally “saved,” why is it so difficult for people to live totally healed? Why doesn’t healing carry the same results as salvation does to the human spirit? At best it’s spotty and at worst, people die. It appears to me if I am honest about it that healing is far more random than anything else. Is there a way to explain without simply telling people they are failing to believe properly?

    That just does not sit right with me, nor does it explain anything in regards to the ease of salvation when they are supposedly coming in the very same box. If this is true, believing for one should cover the other as logic would dictate. Anyway … those are my thoughts and questions. Thanks!

    • Why isn’t everyone healed? Steven, that’s a fair question. I think the only answer is, “I don’t know.” I don’t know why some people I pray for get immediately healed and others don’t seem to manifest any healing. This question puzzles every Christian – except those who don’t heal anyone! I agree, it’s a bad idea to tell a sick person they are failing to believe properly. What about Lazarus? He didn’t believe at all!

      That said, I don’t think it’s random either. I think there are truths we have not learned to walk in yet. How do I know? Because Jesus never had this problem. Every one who came to him for healing was healed, without exception. Some were healed according to their faith; others according to his. But we’re still learning. Perhaps others will have some insights to add here.

      And why do we believe in total salvation but don’t experience total healing? I have written about that in this post.

      • Michael says:

        Paul, I agree with your post, but would like to add that in Acts 5 the apostles are recorded as healing everyone who came to them. Suggesting, to me anyway, that this is the norm.

        Kind regards,


      • I also believe that today’s church is guilty in this respect. There is really hardly any congregation left that professes Biblical healing faith. The nonsense about God making you sick is absolutely universal, on the other hand.

        How can we expect people to have life-changing faith if the nurturing environment is practically gone?

        How many Christians do we all personally know who know, for example, that they are not supposed to PRAY for healing, but HEAL? In my life, I’m the only one that I know.

  7. I have visited multiple times with a healing minister named Roger Sapp. He maintains that in the numerous cases where healing didn’t occur (not necessarily in his ministry, but period) and he’s had the chance to talk at length with the still ill person, he’s found that they inevitably acknowledge significant doubts (prior to the prayer) about Christ wanting to heal.

    It does seem, fair or not, that adamant faith is necessary, at least as a basic rule. We think how the apostles failed to heal the demoniac despite being around Jesus 24-7 for three years! Rather than Him tell them it’s OK and that the person wasn’t meant to be healed, He lambasted them for their doubts. He then proceeded to heal the boy, as Paul noted earlier.

    The apostles afterward asked Christ why they couldn’t get rid of the evil spirit, and Jesus said it was due to their doubting. We know the Bible also states that without faith it’s impossible to please God.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve experienced some healing instances in my own life by adamantly claiming scriptures (Isaiah 53:4-5 and Matt 8:17, for instance). I also recognize that Jesus, upon proclaiming the good news of His kingdom, always told the apostles to heal the sick and cast out evil spirits–those went hand in hand. We know that His kingdom wasn’t meant to vanish simply after the apostles died. I’m realizing more and more upon thinking on it that indeed believers are commanded to heal. How tough that can be when you’ve been brought up disbelieving such all your life!

    • Bert your answer may lie with the woman the disciples asked Jesus to send away , the dog that Eben eats the scraps that fall from the table, she had faith that Jesus wanted to heal her but the disciples did not. I believe this is the reason why they could not heal all. Judgment !!

      • Chris, you may be onto something, at least in certain circumstances! Judgment can indeed take away the need to come to Him thru expectation due to His grace, not because of our worthiness. Thanks

  8. I did have similar encounters also and don’t have all the answers as well. But would like to share what my own walk with my Lord has taught me.
    I used to believe that the Lord’s will to heal is dependent on the physical manifestation of the healing. But now I believe that His will for us to be healthy and whole remains the same whether in the physical realm, the healing manifested or not. This is because man in our fallen state judge things via our physical senses, but God does not.
    One good, similar example is the gift of righteousness. Our behavior is not perfect, but we still believe that God sees us righteous before Him forever in Christ. The more we believe that and rest (faith is a rest) in His finish work, we are unconsciously transformed.
    I believe it is the same for healing, resting in His finished work, keeping His peace in our hearts, letting go of our fears and worries into His hand.
    Btw, I’m myopic and is believing that by His stripes I’m already healed! Amen!

    • Thanks for that, John.

    • Great John total healing is only received in total faith, believing in the unseen.

      • @ Chris -but upon whose “total faith” is healing dependent? eg if we are talking about a child who is terminally ill which is the situation I have been in? Over the past 40 years, I have been involved and also at the edges of faith and prayer for terminally ill people where we have been absolutely convinced that God was going to heal… and yet 90% still died. I don’t know what to believe anymore about healing, and I have trouble with believing that the power of God is dependent upon something that we must do (eg summon up enough faith to reach the required level) or it won’t be released? That doesn’t sound like grace in action to me. I also have trouble reconciling illness with ageing. Everyday my body reaps the consequences of sin in creation as my brain cells die off as I age. Aren’t sickness and ageing physical manifestations of the consequences of sin i.e. ageing is just the slow process of death in action? Should we also pray and believe not to age? (lol).

    • John, on one level I love what you are saying here that it IS God’s will for us to be healed; on another level though, someone saying repeatedly that “by his stripes, I am healed” and claiming a healing despite obviously getting sicker and sicker and then dying, well it leaves those of us who are left behind feel rather perplexed *understatement*. It also can make it hard to try and explain the kind of reasoning you are putting forward here to medical staff – they pretty much just think you are nutty, lol. So, I am left declaring that it is 100% God’s will for us to be healed and sickness is from the pit, and I trust that God is totally able to release his power and do so in the blink of an eye. Does he heal the terminally ill? Not often in NZ it would seem. Why not? I don’t know, and it’s probably the hardest thing for me to reconcile in my faith. I do ponder as to whether it is in the same camp as someone dying unexpectedly early in an accident, or natural disaster? Just part of living in this world.

      • Ripeka123, thank you for a well, and kindly, stated question. There is a big difference between a question and a challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to tell; your was clearly a question.

        I recently visited a church of kind loving people where the pastor taught the same message. In that congregation was a lady I greatly admire. She lovingly works with the mentally challenged and orphaned. Her love for them and God (as much as I can tell) shows through the darkness. She is afflicted with MS; and prays with belief.

        The question that begs to be answered is; does she not believe enough? I don’t think the lack of healing because of her disbelief (which is not evident); because if that were true the healing would depend on her righteousness, not His. Recently; out family experienced a great health issue with our grandchildren; there were so many prayers lifted up. God chose to heal them abundantly. Yet I’ve cried with others who did not experience similar healing.

        For me; I believe in praying that His Will be done. For I believe that God only brings love, not sickness; yet He has a plan where He has allowed evil to reign; He defeated satan at the cross; so these events may look like satan is winning; especially to the unbeliever. But I don’t trust in what I experience; I don’t trust in what man says. But I choose to trust in the one whom I saw resist satans temptation. I trust in the One who emptied Himself for me. I KNOW that by His stripes my soul was healed. I know that provided the lady, mentioned above, truly believes (no one but the Father knows the heart) those healing stripes were suffered for her as well.

        These are questions not to be thought of as challenges; rather reflections needing clarifications. Thanks again.

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