Have you wondered whether miracles, signs, and wonders (MSW) still happen today? Some say they happen all around us all the time. Others deny their existence completely and say there are no real MSW. What are you to think? How are you to respond when the subject comes up?
Here’s Where They’re At
When you discuss MSW with your adult children or co-workers, you might hear statements like these.
“There is no such thing as miracles. There are scientific causes for things and when we can’t explain them it’s because we don’t understand the science yet.”
“All television faith healers are phoney—just manipulating people for their money!”
“Most healing is psychosomatic and the power of positive thinking.”
“Any supposed MSW always take place in a way that is unverifiable.”
“I see everything in life as MSW including life itself.”
“MSW are for all Christians today. Name it and claim it!”
Here’s Where You’re At
Your beliefs about MSW may be captured by one of the following statements.
You believe all we need to know for salvation and godliness has been given in Scripture. We don’t need MSW to verify the authority of Scripture because Scripture itself is a record of that authentication. Therefore, you believe MSW ceased with the apostolic age and close of the canon of Scripture and any so-called manifestation today is either demonic or counterfeit.
You believe much of the confusion surrounding MSW stems from mislabelling. Words like “apostle,” “prophecy,” “miracles,” and “revelation” are defined and used differently from Scripture. A word of prophecy, knowledge, or revelation in one context is labelled and applied differently in another. People call things miracles even though they do not fit the biblical criteria of miracle as a suspension of natural law to fulfil God’s purposes.
You believe God still does MSW today but you don’t think people in our churches today have such gifts.
Here’s Where Scripture’s At
MSW served to validate Jesus’ and the apostles’ authority, ministry, and Gospel message showing God was doing a new and unique thing (Acts 2:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). They were not intended to be a regular part of church ministry or evangelism. Jesus’ miracles were a sign the kingdom of God had come (Luke 11:14-23; Matthew 12:28) and revealed His deity (Matthew 14:33).
God does whatever He pleases, and that may include MSW (Psalm 115:3).
There can be counterfeit MSW (Exodus 7:22; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Therefore, claims for miracles and healings must be verified (John 9). You can tell false messengers by their fruit (Matthew 7:16, 20) and their teaching (1 John 4:2-6).
What ultimately matters is not the ability to prophecy, drive out demons, and perform miracles but whether one is doing God’s will (Matthew 7:22-23).
Where to Go From Here
Honour the uniqueness of Jesus’ and the apostle’s ministry and that revelatory moment in history. God is still sovereign and may choose to pour out His Spirit in revival and evangelism accompanied by MSW. He can and does heal miraculously today. Open your mind to the possibility of God working in new ways, but be discerning.
Do not believe everything you hear or read. Like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, compare what you hear with Scripture. Discern between the true and false by testing the fruit of the messengers. A true work of the Spirit results in a deeper love for Christ, His Word, and His people and a greater hatred for sin.
Have people define what they mean when they use words like “miracle,” “word of knowledge,” “prophecy,” and “revelation.” And don’t expect someone else’s experience to be the same for your Christian experience.
There is nothing wrong with seeking MSW for the purposes for which God gives them. But avoid the two extremes of seeing everything and seeing nothing as MSW.
Pursue growth and obedience to the Word instead of MSW (Matthew 12:39). Do not erroneously focus on MSW instead of the power of the Gospel. The Gospel, not MSW, is what saves.
Even if you don't frequently see extraordinary miraculous events, God is providentially active in the regular and natural processes you see every day. He is miraculously calling people to himself and He is active in miraculous ways among people around the world we don't know.