The Difference Between Healing and Wholeness

“And He said to him, ‘Rise and go. Your faith has made you whole.’” Luke 17:19

There’s a great difference in biblical terms between being healed and being made whole. The statement above is Jesus’ final words to the one leper who returned to thank Him for being healed. You recall ten were healed, but only this “foreigner” (v. 18) came back to express his gratitude. Jesus then drew the distinction. He noted in verse 17 that ten had been healed (from which we get the English word catharsis). Only this man was “made whole.”

The word can be translated as “saved,” as in Christian salvation, but that is not what Jesus meant here. The basic meaning of the word is to be delivered or rescued. Yes, it can refer to being rescued from spiritual death, but in this passage we are definitely to understand the contrast between healing and being made whole. The leper had taken another step beyond healing.

Let’s look at it this way. Healing happens to many people, in fact most people, not merely in the physical sense of surviving a disease, but in the spiritual sense of benefitting from God’s manifold grace. Thus all ten lepers enjoyed the benefit of being free of a disease. So all of us enjoy a certain default grace from God. That is His nature. He “graces” us all.

But do even 10% of us make the connection between healing and wholeness? Probably not. Most people take for granted the healing that comes in an infinite variety of ways, and fail to take the next step of genuine gratitude and devotion to God. Many are healed, few are made whole. Actually, the chief purpose of GraceWaves is to alert you to God’s grace so that you can move toward wholeness. Very few people are aware. I want you to be one of them.

So, what about you? Are you healed? Or made whole? Better yet, how can you make the transition?

First, wholeness means a deeper commitment to God, a more constant awareness of the indwelling Christ. “Every good gift comes from above, from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Stop attributing blessings to your own skill or good fortune. You are deeply loved by a heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts to you. He has. Be devoted to Him.

Second, begin seeing yourself as the leper. What I mean here, is that sometimes your inability to draw close to God results from not recognizing your need for healing. Think about it this way: who are your biblical role models? Most might choose John, or Paul, even Peter. But they choose these characters in their redeemed best. It’s far better to relate to their weakness and need, not just to their triumph.

Recently, someone close to me said she had a new role model, Mary Magdalene. She told me that Mary had seven demons and may have even been a prostitute, but became extraordinarily close to Jesus. She identified with Mary’s struggle, her need for grace, and identified with that same need. That dawning realization brought her closer to Jesus. That’s being made whole.

We do far better to see ourselves in Mary, or in the prodigal, or even Paul with his thorn, rather than imagining ourselves to be great spiritual giants. You are not, and the sooner you realize a basic and enduring need for grace, the closer you move to wholeness. Trust me, God loves that attitude. That is why Jesus “ate with sinners” and why they felt so comfortable around Him. Mary’s tender gratitude brought her so close to Jesus that she was the last one at the cross, the first one to the tomb, the first to see Him raised, the first to proclaim the resurrection. It all started with a healing (seven demons exorcised) and quickly moved toward wholeness (an enduring devotion to Christ).

So every time you feel a special moment of grace in your life, turn back to Jesus. Thank Him for the healing, limp a little closer, and grow in your devotion to Him. Let “the things of this world” dim a bit more. And hear Him say “you are made whole.”


Dr. Terry Ellis

  1. Mad Sarah I decree upon your life that may God unleash financial breakthrough. Receive the anointing to be a financial bulldozer

  2. Sometimes ten persons receive forgiveness at an event but only one returns to serve Christ fully.

  3. Thank You Jesus for healing us and making us whole. Hallejuah

  4. I have often thought about the difference in being healed v being made whole. I knew something more was given to the leper that returned and was thankful for what Jesus had done for him. I believe that the disease will never return to the thankful leper but the other nine, because of their lack of gratitude and their lack of recognition of the great grace given to them by Jesus, their disease might soon come back as soon as symptoms reappear doubt will take over. The one leper had something to hold on to and that was his faith, not only in his healing but his faith in Jesus


  6. @ great David very clear and distinct

  7. Please I need to learn more about being mead whole in the sprit & what it means.
    Thank you
    God bless you

    • Sin (leprosy) keeps us away from God but as we realized that He's the only one that can heal (forgive us) and we go to Him He does. After He does if we are grateful for what He has done and decide to return to give Him thanks (serve Him) He'll make us whole. Thus restoring all that sin had stolen.

  8. My question is how do you start the healing when you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Where is a good starting point. At time I do believe I've lost faith, not faith in HIM, just in general that this is my life.

  9. Thank you so much My Pastor talked about being made whole and then you came and broke it down because God needed me to truly get it To God be the Glory!

  10. Being made whole I understand that it is restoration of what you have lost.
    Everything in your life.
    Healing is only where I needed healing to but still having no job, nothing
    But we have been made whole by Jesus

    If all this Christians who are looking for some sort of deliverances and prophecies about their health can understand wholeness they'll never ever suffer

  11. Powerful message, its indicated that, what we need most it to be made whole in Christ Jesue.
    God bless you.
    Please you said "all of us are enjoying a certain default of grace", please does it mean we have some varieties of grace as believers?

  12. I agree that wholeness is much more than healing alone. We been fully restored and mad perfect. That includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. What an AWESOME Heavenly Daddy to make such Loving Provision available for us!

  13. thank you

  14. I like what is written, but the Holy Spirit gave me a different Revelation this morning. The lepers were healed in their bodies bc they had the faith to go to the Master and follow his command. As they walked by faith, they were healed of the disease in the process. The one that came back to say thank you after he realized he was healed was made whole… Here's the Revelation: being healed in the body means the disease is gone from the body; being made whole means not only the body is healed, but the mind is also healed. There's a peace of mind and a freedom when a person is made whole. Therefore, if an ache happens where that sickness once resided, a healed person may wonder if the disease will return, but a whole person will not even go there in their minds bc the mind, the body, and the soul have been made whole. That peace is attained by showing gratitude and saying thank you…bc it takes another level of faith to realize he didn't have to do it, but bc he did, I thank him.

    • Being made whole I understand that it is restoration of what you have lost.
      Everything in your life.
      Healing only on what I needed healing to but still having no job, nothing
      But we have been made whole by Jesus

  15. Thanks so much for this insight!!! I've been meditating on wholeness because as I lay here, upon reading this article, I whispered to myself and God that He is not only going to heal me; but make me Whole. This is a confirmation to me and makes me want to cry out even the more.?????? So thanks be to God for this read here in my bed at 2am. God Bless You and may He continuously do so.??

  16. So insightful. Thank you sir. Remain blessed.

  17. Thanks for that divine insight. I have been meditating on healing and wholeness

  18. God bless you sir . may you 4ever dwell in light of his word.

  19. Yesterday, for most of the day, the topic of the ten lepers kept coming up in my mind. Today at 04:03 am, after reading Luke 17:11-19, I noticed that all ten men were " cleased " / " healed "( as meaning the same), I noted that Jesus Christ pronounced the 1 who was already cleased/healed person " made well ". I was motivated to google the difference between " çleansed, healed & well". This is when I came across enlightenment from reading your article. I now understand that being cleansed and healed mean the same and that on a deeper meaning, wellness and wholeness mean the same, on a lot deeper level of being than the other two. This is great ! God bless you.

  20. Interesting – I had thought the thankful leper whom Jesus "made whole" not only received the healing of leprosy but also had his body restored with the parts destroyed by leprosy and re-
    ceived spiritual healing as well.

    • I totally agreed with this statement. When you are heal because the sickness sometimes damages parts of your body, when you are made whole there is total restoration of all that was damaged.

  21. I gained some good insights into wholeness.

  22. Best in Spirit answer yet thank you.

  23. I had to praise God after reading this!

  24. H awesome thank you for hearing from God and allowing us to hear Him as well. May God bless you

  25. Actually I must say am blessed…. Cos u just answered the question that has been troubling my mind.. Tanks.. Would love to receive more insight on spiritual matter that we have not been given clarity

  26. thanks for posting this!! It has blessed me so!

  27. God bless you man of God for wonderful wisdom and knowledge.please as for me us my Email to post many spiritual lessons.From zambia

  28. Thank you this lesson on wholeness, for a week I have had this on my mind. I woke up this morning with it even heavier on my mind. I sat up in the bed, grab my phone and type in what does being home mean biblically, and it brought me to a page with some meaning, I clicked on your site and received a blessing . your break down of being whole took me even deeper. Thank you blessings to you. God is moving amen

  29. i am real bless this morning in Jesus name Amen!

  30. Thank you for throwing more light on this portion of the scripture! May every blessing we receive from God bring us closer to Him in Jesus name!