Signs and wonders: your faith has made you well

Who would not want a sign from heaven that is as clear as day. People’s thinking has always been somewhat simplistic in this respect. Paul already referred to this, saying that Jews requested signs. What about us today?

Things are not as simple as people think. Let us take a look into the Bible. The New Testament uses three different Greek words for miracles: dynamis, ergo, and semeion. Miracles in the language of the New Testament are signs for the effectiveness of the gospel. Miracles are never an end to themselves.

Jesus used signs and miracles to demonstrate that He is the Son of God and the Saviour who can give eternal life. He demonstrated His power over the elements, He raised the dead, cast out demons, and healed the sick. All this was done to show that He had come to free people of their sins who believed in Him. He did not heal all people who were sick, and He did not bring all the dead back to life. He wanted to draw attention to His mission and to His message. Here is one example of many: Paul begged the Lord three times to take the thorn in His flesh away, but Jesus said to Him, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Do not base your faith on miracles

It is important that we understand that the miracles in the New Testament must always be seen in their context. They always relate to the preaching of the gospel. Jesus did not think much of those who believed in Him only because of His miracles: “Many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men” (John 2: 23–24). Eventually, only those who believed in Him as the Son of God stayed with Him right to the end. They did not believe in Him because of His miracles, but because of His teaching.

There must be faith in Jesus Christ before we can experience a miracle. Peter had to leave the boat before He could walk on the water. The Roman centurion had to ask Jesus for help before His servant could be healed. It is contrary to the teaching of the gospel to demand signs of God before one is willing to believe. Jesus healed the sick by the power of their own faith: “Your faith has saved you.”

And today? We do not need miracles today in order to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11: 1). The objective of the miracles of Jesus and the Apostles was to demonstrate the power of God and not the power of a human being. The point was the proclamation of the gospel.

The danger of believing in miracles

Unbridled belief in miracles has its risks. It is the same as tempting God. The Lord was very clear about this: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” We can ask Him for help in our prayers, but we cannot force God to fulfil our petitions and wishes. Let us rather praise the name of Jesus, be modest and humble, and trust God and say: “Your will be done.”

The theories that result from this are: we do not have the right to ask God for a miracle; we do not have a reason to ask God for a miracle. Certainly, God works miracles today, but He does them when He wants, to whom He wants, and how He wants.

Photo: simonalvinge - Fotolia

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Peter Johanning
Doctrinal instruction