“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.

    • Tam Bernard says:

      In order to come to any conclusion about healing or any other benefit of Calvary, we must contemplate what is preached in churches today. Is Jesus the focal point of the preaching? Does the preacher point to the unveiling of Jesus in every book of the Bible, including the OT? If you are sitting under a mixed message (Law and Grace) you are not hearing the truth about Jesus. Many of us who have been delivered from the mixed message are free and the manifestation of the benefits of Calvary are evident in our lives and our family’s lives. When we pray for someone, we don’t know what they have been exposed to. That is between them and God. Our responsibility is to pray, that’s it. We don’t have to meditate on when or why they are or are not healed. Because someone is miraculously healed is not a reflection of your spirituality and relationship with God, nor is it when someone is not healed miraculously. We are told to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover–that is God’s business, not ours. When we do what we are led to do, the rest will be taken care of by our Heavenly Father.
      What I have not heard mentioned in most of these posts is that man was created with a free will. Man/Woman may choose to reject healing (whether they express it or not) either because they don’t understand the message of Grace or there is something in their soul that cause them to believe that they are unworthy because of sin in their lives, etc. Basically, that is a lie, but you can lay hands on them for hours, pray long prayers and nothing will happen. If you recall, ALL were healed WHO CAME TO JESUS, when he walked on the earth. They were confident that His healing power would deliver them from their sickness. They came with a confident expectation of His power to heal them. The same should hold true today for those who seek healing.

      Unfortunately that is not always the case. We have all seen this occur. Someone dying from a terminal illness who seems to want to live but after being prayed for still succumbs to God’s enemy, death. In the past I have been there many times and the guilt from not being successful in my attempt to lead them to healing was overwhelming. It wasn’t until I heard the message of Grace that I was released from this condemnation. The fact that we don’t “succeed” each time should not be a question to us, that would mean that it was something we didn’t do. It is not about us, nor has it ever been about us, it is always about Him, our Lord Jesus and what He did.

      We don’t know why everyone is not healed and it should not matter, we must continue to trust God and realize that we are the healed according to His finished work on the Cross! Bless you all!

  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.

  9. Tam Bernard says:

    Healing is for all. Jesus healed all who came to Him when he walked the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in the believer is from where the healing Power comes. People knew that they merely had to touch the hem of His garment and they would be healed–virtue flowed from Him. The Apostle Paul’s handkerchief was used to touch an afflicted person who experienced miraculous healing. What did the Apostle Paul have that we as believers do not–can we operate in that gift? I believe so, laying on of hands is something that should be practiced routinely when there are any sick among us. Non-believers seem to benefit more from having hands laid on them and miraculous instantaneous manifestations of healing are evident.

    Believers are to rest in the Finished Work of our Lord Jesus and as we continue to be convinced of His unfathomable Love for us, by the washing of the Word, power is increased. We, in our own power can heal no one. It is only the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and going forth that will cause healing to commence. Our Father, Abba, wants us to be in health, even as our soul prospers. Sickness and disease is not our portion. When we leave this earth it should not be by disease, we simply close our eyes and give up the ghost, so to speak. Believers should look forward to the Rapture, not death. Death is an enemy of God, an enemy Jesus defeated at the Cross. Death will be the final footstool that will be defeated when we are given our glorified bodies and taken to Heaven with our Bridegroom, Jesus. It is only when we truly partake of the Rest of the Finished Work of our Lord Jesus that we can begin to enjoy the benefits Jesus purchased for us at the Cross. When we begin to strive…did I quote the right scriptures? did I say them enough? did the person for whom I am praying understand me? etc. It has absolutely nothing to do with us, it is all about Him and what He has already done on Calvary. We are directed to pray for the sick and they shall be healed period. We are God’s delivery boys/girls — delivering the power of the Holy Spirit to those who are in need of physical healing.

    Condemnation comes on us when we believe that there is something we must do to effect healing on ourselves or another. Trying to conjure up enough faith by stressing over it is the enemy’s tool to erode your belief system. When the enemy erodes your belief system you become easy prey. The destruction he has planned for you will be a cake walk.

    Rest, my brothers and sisters in what Christ did for us at the Cross, concentrate on what Jesus did — he suffered and died to take our punishment and our diseases. Take your eyes off your condition, and simply rest in the Spirit–healing will manifest. It is a promise and God is not a man that He should lie. Shalom!

    • Great reply, Tam. Thank you for this reminder.
      One of the things I see and hear in discussion with fellow believers is a ton of rationale as to why something didn’t happen. That’s probably why non-believers often seem to be easier to see healed than believers–the non-believers don’t have all of that internal “junk” from the traditions of men.

      • Tam Bernard says:

        Bert, it seems that man’s pride and self righteousness always want to add something to what Christ did for us at the Cross. The message of the Cross is very simple, all we are to do is believe in what our lovely Lord Jesus did for us and Rest. We are the Righteousness of God in Christ and all the benefits Jesus’ sacrifice released to us come effortlessly. Let those who have ears, hear. Shalom!

    • How do you develop these “ears to hear”? I am so sick. I am suffering so much. I can barely stand it anymore. I have no one to heal me in this condition. I try to listen to these messages but the pain is so daunting and so tormenting in my body – the numerous doctors don’t even give hope or pain medication that helps, except addictive ones which I’ve refused. My children see me cry. My husband is a praying man but at wits end. Prophets have said, God hears your prayers over someone sick in your life. But no relief. I have no peace anymore and cry out for death now. And I fear it will be by my own hand soon cause I cant take this pain anymore… mysterious illnesses, no diagnoses, just pain all over, lost my bladder/urethra too to pain/spasms/great pain that is too much for me. I have no strength to fight anymore and you say rest in Him… How in my state am I supposed to do that? I wish there were those in the body of Christ who could heal. Please help me.

      • Tam Bernard says:

        Dearest Stephanie,
        Bless you dear one for the suffering that you are enduring. I have just one question…are you partaking of the Holy Communion. Jesus took your disease at the Cross, of which I am sure you are aware. No one can heal you of this condition, yes a minister, pastor, care leader, friend, etc. can lay hands on you, but the healing power is from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that lives in you when you first believed.

        Your situation is critical and requires concentrated immersion in the healing words of the Lord. Joseph Prince has excellent audios that you can pop into your audio device and then just lay down and listen to them, over and over again. Your heart will eventually be established in Grace and your mind will be renewed. When you partake of the Holy Communion see your sickness and disease on the Body of our Lord Jesus and know that He took your disease to the Cross. Take Communion as often as you need to proclaim this truth. When you experience pain, speak out “I am the Righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, who is my Healer”. Ask your family to support you in this, and if they won’t — don’t listen to any negative reports from them or your physicians. The Doctors and your family members are telling you what they see, God’s Word is telling you the truth about your situation. Rest in the knowledge that what God has promised He will deliver. Don’t meditate on the bad news of your illness, rather meditate on the healing Words of our Lord Jesus. Abba God is our Father and He has already handled your disease at the Cross on the Body of His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus. Please check out this link, it is very powerful. It also contains the words you may wish to use as a guideline to partake of the bread and wine/grape juice.

        Do not allow the enemy to place you under any condemnation because you are still suffering and don’t seem to receive your healing. He is the enemy and will do anything to distract you from the Truth of God’s Word and His Wonderful Provision for His children. If you pray in tongues, continue to do that whenever you have the strength. We don’t have to beg God for healing because it is already ours, we gained it through our lovely Lord Jesus whose Finished Work at the Cross has delivered us from the law of sin and death. Bless you with many blessings, may you receive a fresh revelation of the Love of Jesus who heals the sick and sets the captives free. Shalom dear sister.

  10. Great article, and I def want to get my hands on this book. I found the comments interesting, I would like to add that one day I was stuck in traffic and I was watching the people crossing the road, thinking: “I wonder what hurt, sickness or bondage they are carrying, we all have something that saddens us” Then I asked God: “How can we go and heal like Jesus did, look at the need around us Lord” and I then envisioned seeing Jesus just passing each person and without asking questions, touching each person’s shoulder as they were passing. Then a soft voice answered me: “Just have the love of Jesus”…. I was (1) shocked that I received an answer, and (2) surprised that the answer was so short and to the point. There was no rules or regulations mentioned like: “First forgive others, stop sinning, build your faith” NO, it was just LOVE (compassion)….

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