I believe God can and does heal people and do miracles today. God is awesome, He is good and He is omnipotent! He can do whatever He wants, when He wants to! However, the fact remains that there is very little concrete proof of miracles ever actually happening to regular Christians since the passing of the apostles in the New Testament. I see a lot of product for sale that will teach us how to get healed and I have felt a lot of guilt associated with why I don’t get healed or see others healed. (See “The Ministry of Healing and the Business of Miracles.”)
This leads me to ask, “Is it possible to be a Bible-believing Christian and not believe that God MUST heal me or perform a miracle if I meet a certain set of criteria and pray in a certain manner?” Like if I understand the 30 reasons why some preacher says we don’t get healed and I somehow manage to meet all of his 30 reasons why we do get healed, does God HAVE TO heal me?
Following are two teachings from www.gotquestions.org. These teachings seem reasonable to me. Now some of you will say, “NO! YOU HAVE TO READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELF AND SEE WHAT IT SAYS TO YOU!” Ok, so why consider any teaching then? Many people would not be able to understand most of the bible without their concordances and various study notes. Here are the two studies, one on Healing and one on Signs & Wonders:
Study 1) WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HEALING?
Answer: Isaiah 53:5, which is then quoted again in 1 Peter 2:24, is a key verse on healing that is often misunderstood and misapplied. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The word translated “healed” can mean either spiritual or physical healing. However, the contexts of Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2 make it clear that it is speaking of spiritual healing. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” The verse is talking about sin and righteousness, not sickness and disease. Therefore, being “healed” is speaking of being forgiven and saved, not physically healed.
The Bible does not specifically link physical healing with spiritual healing. Oftentimes people are physically healed when they place their faith in Christ – but this is not always the case. Sometimes it is God’s will to heal and sometimes it is not. The Apostle John gives us the proper perspective: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15). God still performs miracles. God still heals people. Sickness, disease, pain, and death are still realities in this world. Unless the Lord returns in the next 50 years or so, almost everyone who is alive today will die, and the vast majority of them (Christians included) will die as the result of a physical problem (disease, sickness, injury). It is not always God’s will to heal us physically.
Ultimately, our full physical healing awaits us in Heaven. In Heaven, there will be no more pain, sickness, disease, suffering, or death (Revelation chapter 21). We all need to be less preoccupied with our physical condition in this world, and be a little more preoccupied with our spiritual condition (Romans 12:1-2). Then, we can focus our hearts on heaven and when we will no longer have to deal with physical problems, Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Study 2) ARE THE MIRACULOUS GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT FOR TODAY?
Answer: It would be foolish and unbiblical to claim that God does not heal people, speak to people, and perform miraculous signs and wonders today. The question is whether the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, described primarily in 1 Corinthians, are still active in the church today. This is also not a question of “can” the Holy Spirit give someone a miraculous gift but “does” the Holy Spirit still dispense the miraculous gifts today. Above all else, we entirely recognize that the Holy Spirit is free to dispense gifts according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
In the book of Acts and the Epistles, the apostles perform the vast majority of miracles along with their close associates. 2 Corinthians 12:12 gives us the reason why, “The things that mark an apostle — signs, wonders and miracles — were done among you with great perseverance.” If every believer in Christ was equipped with the ability to perform signs, wonders, and miracles – signs, wonders, and miracles could in no way be the identifying marks of an apostle. Acts 2:22 tells us that Jesus was “accredited” by “miracles, wonders, and signs.” Similarly were the apostles “marked” as genuine messengers from God by the miracles they performed. Acts 14:3 describes the Gospel message being “confirmed” by the miracles Paul and Barnabas performed.
1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 deal primarily with the subject of the gifts of the Spirit. It seems from that text that “ordinary” Christians were sometimes given miraculous gifts (12:8-10; 28-30). We are not told how commonplace this was. From what we learned above, that the apostles were “marked” by signs and wonders, it would seem that miraculous gifts being given to “ordinary” Christians was the exception, not the rule. Outside of the apostles and their close associates, the New Testament nowhere specifically describes individuals exercising the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.
It is also important to realize that the early church did not have the completed Bible, as we do today (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, the gifts of prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, etc. were necessary in order for the early Christians to know what God would have them to do. The gift of prophecy enabled believers to communicate new truth and revelation from God. Now that God’s revelation is complete in the Bible, the “revelatory” gifts are no longer needed, at least not in the same capacity as they were in the New Testament.
God miraculously heals people every day. God still speaks to us today, whether in an audible voice, whether in our minds, or whether through impressions and feelings. God still does amazing miracles, signs, and wonders – and sometimes performs those miracles through a Christian. However, what were just described are not necessarily the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. The primary purpose of the miraculous gifts was to prove that the Gospel was true and that the apostles were truly God’s messengers. The Bible does not say outright that the miraculous gifts have ceased, but it does lay the foundation for why they might no longer be necessary.
What have I learned from these studies?
I think we can all stop feeling guilty or faithless if we are not receiving healing or seeing many miracles, signs or wonders. We are born of original sin and the wages of sin is death. It is appointed unto man to die once. Here are my ideas on the subject of miraculous healings. They are pretty simple:
Reasons why we get healed:
- It is God’s will at this time
- We have prayed in His will.
Reasons why we don’t get healed:
- It is not God’s will at this time.
- We stopped praying.
That’s about it. Many people can’t accept this simple truth and feel they must claim things they didn’t get yet. If it is God’s will that my back pain stops, my back pain will stop. But when it stops, I am not going to write a book about it and sell it to you (unless of course I can explain the healing by some physical treatment that I devised.) If I receive a miraculous healing I will tell you about it for free. You can write it down and share it with others for free or you can record me giving testimony, make copies and give them away for free. The Word of God through testimony should be free. And I will continue to ask God that you be healed as well!
On the subject of signs and wonders, there seems to be a growing tide of more and more outrageously miraculous claims being made within the body of Christ these days. Each new wave has a crest just a little higher than the last. If ABC ministries say they had gold dust appearing in the pages of a few bibles at their meeting, then XYZ ministries will claim they had gold dust mixed in oil dripping from all their bibles. Dare I say that there is some kind of one-up-man-ship going on? There is a movement of people who now believe it is God’s will for them to just be in a stoned state or drunken state during their worship time, just soaking in the glory cloud of holy smoke. (Google John Crowder) What is next, a movement of holy sexual orgies to show that God is a God of love?
I believe that we, as the body of Christ must continue to pray for and expect to receive healings and see miracles. We should expect to see signs and wonders and we must give glory to God for them when we get or see them. I do not believe that if we receive a miracle that we’re supposed to build a business trying to sell miracles to others. I also believe that if we are going to claim a miracle, we’d better be able to back our claims with proof…otherwise, what is the point? Telling people stories that are hard for them to believe and not providing proof that the stories are true only causes them to doubt God, which is a sin. If we cause someone to sin by doubting the awesome saving power of Jesus Christ it would be better for us to have millstones around tied around our necks and be thrown into the ocean! That is the Word of God (Matthew, Mark & Luke.)