Monday, June 23, 2008

A Statement on Miracles

The following is a statement on miracles that is in keeping with my biblical understanding of them and their present day application to the Christian life. I post this in order to encourage any and all who are praying for miracles to firmly trust in the Sovereign God who grants them according to His will. My thanks to my Associate Pastor, Scott Hatton as we developed this statement together.

A Theological Statement On Miracles In Keeping with the Statement of Faith of Clearwater Community Church

As a church, we strongly affirm that God in His infinite wisdom and limitless power can and does act in ways that we would consider “miracles.” God is entirely sovereign over all of His creation, and can choose to work in ways that are beyond our finite understanding. In many cases, these miracles may be in response to the specific prayers of His people, yet they are always in accordance with His sovereign plans. The granting of a miracle is not simply dependent upon the faith of the petitioner, but primarily dependent upon God’s sovereignty and good pleasure in enacting His will.

We affirm, as well, that salvation by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) is a miracle in and of itself. It is a miracle that God would choose to save and redeem sinful men and women, reconcile Himself to them, and grant them eternal life. The saving work of Jesus Christ at the cross is the ultimate example of God’s wisdom, love, holiness, and power working together for His glory and our good.

Furthermore, God acts in ways that are consistent with His character and will as revealed in the Scriptures. We acknowledge that the Bible alone is sufficient to teach us all we need to know about salvation and about how to live the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our experience can never be a sure guide for the truth, whereas Scripture is always a clear guide for the truth and it should serve as the lens through which all experience should be interpreted.

We also acknowledge, specifically with regard to miracles of healing, that Jesus made healing – both physical and spiritual – an important element in his earthly ministry (Matthew 9:35; Luke 4:40). This use of divine power was one of the ways that our Lord expressed the love and compassion of God while at the same time substantiating Him as the Promised Messiah who had power over creation. Furthermore, the Scriptures record that the Apostles were uniquely gifted with the ability to heal (Acts 5:15, 19:12) as well. These miraculous signs occurred to glorify God and to affirm both the messengers and the message of the embryonic Christian faith. According to the New Testament itself, these sign gifts of healing and raising the dead were seemingly restricted to this particular apostolic era and were gifts that Christ himself delineated to His apostles (2 Corinthians12:12).

Yet the New Testament also gives evidence that believers are to pray for those who are sick and ailing (Galatians 6:2; James 5:13-14). It is evident that God chooses to use the prayers of His people as part of the means through which He may bring healing when it is His will to do so (James 5:16) Equally evident, however, are those instances where God did not grant a miracle of healing (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; James 1:2-4; Psalm 119:71) and these instances, too, serve God’s good purpose, and there is no indication that miraculous healing was withheld due to a lack of faith.

Christians are to have faith in God, and seek to be ever increasing in faith (Hebrews 11:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:3). There is no contradiction whatsoever in placing our entire faith and hope in God Almighty, entrusting Him with our very souls, and still praying for Him to heal. God desires that we come to Him with our burdens, and that we also seek to bear the burdens of others. God, in his goodness and sovereign will may choose to answer such prayer with miraculous healing, or He may not. In either case, the weight of emphasis must always fall on God’s sovereign will, not the quantity or quality of the faith behind the prayer.

We ought to pray for greater faith, as we ought to pray for the physical and spiritual healing of ourselves and others; but more significantly we ought live and pray for the will of God to be done. The Christian woman or man ought to seek to conform her or his will to will of God; not the inverse.

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