The Bible is full of examples where God worked wonders on behalf of His people, when they sought Him in prayer. I believe these recorded events are put in scripture to encourage us and stimulate our faith. I have often wondered, what would the Bible be like if all the miracles were taken out? Turns out one of our founding forefathers Thomas Jefferson did just that! He erased all the miracles from scripture. The age of enlightenment exalted human reasoning to such a degree that if something couldn’t be understood or explained it was rejected. When we encounter the miracles of scripture, this is what gives the Bible its true spark.
I am personally troubled by two things. I am on the one hand very discouraged at those who work in false miracles in the church. I think it brings a reproach on Gods name, attributing false works to the Holy Spirit that aren’t His work at all. But on the other hand i am concerned by some of the response to these false claims. The cessationist takes a position that is often misunderstood, and i think they don’t do a very good at explaining their position. The ones i have met and interacted with will tell you they believe God can still do miracles in answer to prayer, but the gift of the working of miracles as it operated through the Apostles and their companions has now ceased. This is a splitting of hairs that often leads to confusion to those outside the cessationist pail.
In reality, there is nowhere in the Bible that proclaims clearly miracles have ceased. The one that is often referred to in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 CSB is taken out of context,
“Love never ends. But as for prophecies they will come to an end, as for tongues, they will cease, as for knowledge it will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, i thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, when I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see only a reflection ( lit, we see indirectly) as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
The perfect and the face to face to face is talking about seeing Jesus face to face and not the completed bible. It is true that knowledge hasn’t been done away with yet. For now we need our doctrines, we need our theological systematics to aid us and guide us in our own understanding of God so we don’t get off track. But when Jesus comes and we see Him as He is in all His fullness, we will leave this partial knowledge behind. Prophecy will cease because the fulfiller of them has arrived. There will be no arminianists or Calvinists there. All that will cease. I think we can all agree, God can work miracles. The question is will He?
Those who guarantee miracles are wrong, because there have been many who have had faith that didn’t get their miracle. On the other hand those who claim miracles have ceased are wrong also, and have put themselves in a spiritual cul-de-sac that’s difficult to find your way out of once you enter. If I can’t freely ask God for a miracle without demanding them I’m wrong, and I’ve allowed cessationist thoughts to limit God and limit my prayer petitions. Please don’t do that! The greatest miracle is people being born again and changed within. If i never see another miracle i will still believe in a God who is able to perform them. On the one hand I’m not going to seek them or prioritize them, But i will pray for those who need one. More on this in part 2 as this is a big topic.