There is a tug-of-war that goes on between different camps within Christianity. The two opposed camps that I want to look at in this article are those that believe that miracles and healings are for today and there are those that say that miracles and healings were only for the early church. The biggest problem that comes out of this is the fact that most of those that believe miracles and healings are for today have an unhealthy infatuation with it and it is at the forefront of their teachings. Then on the other hand are those that say that miracles and healings were only for the early church, so they fight those that are infatuated with it, and shunning is the result of it.
Now let’s look at the fact that there were two distinct things that were prevalent during the early spread of Christianity to ensure that it took root. Yes, there were miracles/healings, but at the same time there was an awesome ‘fear of God’. Following is an example of each, both from the early chapters of the Book of Acts:
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:1-10 ESV)
Immediately she (Sapphira) fell down at his (Peter’s) feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband (Ananias). And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:10-11 ESV)
“You can’t have the best of both worlds” is a popular saying we hear in the English language. I would like to apply this to what I have observed during my 42 years of diligently seeking answers to the tug-of-war dilemma I have brought to light.
I want to get straight to the point. Make no mistake that miracles and healings are still available today according to Scripture. I am a recipient and I can testify to that fact. But when I look around I see the charismatic circles, with their new age teachings and strange manifestations, make a mockery of it. They want to claim the healings and the miracles of the early church, but they will totally bypass the ‘fear of God’ and what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. I compare this to wanting the best of both worlds.
Even though miracles and healings take place today, we do not see a prevalence of them simply because we do not want to see the ‘fear of God‘ manifested like it was in the early church. You can’t have the best of both worlds. You can’t have the one without the other.
My heart cries out because most of the charismatic world I see, actually promotes an atmosphere that erases the ‘fear of the Lord’. I have listened as they put a microphone in front of charismatic ministers and worship leaders, giving them a platform for deception, and they brag about Jesus physically appearing to them as if it was common place. When I read scripture, I know that Jesus will not be physically stepping foot upon this Earth until the time of His second coming. I also know from Scripture that His best friend while on this Earth, who was the Apostle John, explained how it was when Jesus appeared to him in his spirit:
It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:10, 17 NLT)
Notice how John emphasizes the point, that even in the spirit, “he fell at Jesus’ feet as if he were dead!”
Let’s never forget the fact that the greatest miracle is also the only miracle that lasts for eternity, and that is—>when a soul comes to salvation. It is the very heart of the ‘Great Commission’. Study the Hebrides Revival of the early 1950’s. Not one physical miracle or healing was recorded, but many souls and families were transformed for eternity. Read the following comment from the minister who was summoned in the midst of the revival:
“When God stepped down, suddenly, men and women all over the parish were gripped by the fear of God.” (Duncan Campbell recapping the start of the Hebrides Revival)
There is a famine in our land and it is the ‘Fear of God’ (reverence and awe) we are lacking. I have a previous article I wrote which centers on this fear we must have of God:
I will leave you with the advice that the one criminal being crucified next to Jesus said to the other criminal being crucified on the other side of Jesus, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? (Luke 23:40 NLT)