What about the miracles done by charismatic ministers?

The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were restricted to the era of the apostles. These gifts were given specifically for the confirmation of the the apostles as God’s messengers of His gospel. The miracles recorded in the New Testament were the Divine certification that Jesus is the promised Savior. Since that purpose has been accomplished the miraculous gifts are no longer in operation. Certain preachers claim to be able to perform miracles. Some evangelists and televangelists have ministries of healing. Others claim to be able to a variety of miracles. If there are no miraculous gifts today how do these individuals perform such feats?

The miraculous gifts were those spiritual gifts given to men enabling them to perform miracles as a regular and frequent part of their ministry. Mmiraculous gifting by its very nature requires the regular performance of miracles. If a miracle happened through the prayers of a person that does not mean the person has the gift of miracles. “Miraculous gifts” is not a reference to God’s healing of the sick, sunsets, the birth of babies or answered prayer. God still miraculously intervenes in the affairs of the world but He no longer gifts men to perform miracles.

Many of the healings performed by faith healers are of an entirely different quality than the healings of the Bible. The miraculous healings in the Bible included restoring the paralyzed to full strength and mobility, giving the blind normal vision, and healing completely those with gruesome or painful diseases like leprosy and epilepsy. Many modern day examples of healings claim to heal from pain, general ailments (as in, “I feel like I’m dying”), cancer and other vague or internal sicknesses. The claims of these kind of healings have been investigated and found to be temporary, untestable or just plain frauds.

A minority of those who claim to have the gift of healings have made Biblical-level claims to have the ability to raise the dead and heal the lame. Investigations into the claims of these ministries have authenticated none of the miracles and proven many to be be untrue. The reality of modern day miracle workers is no sound evidence has ever been given that proves their claims. The Biblical accounts of healing are of ailments with profound, visible physical effects which provide cases of clear, unmistakable and undisputable healings of people. Even the fiercest opponents of Jesus and the apostles could not deny the miracles they performed.

Possibly the most despicable teaching of many so-called miracle workers is any failures to heal is blamed on the sick person. If a person is not healed, then he did not have enough faith. Jesus and the apostles never blamed a misfired miracle on the one in need. The Bible does not teach that healing is dependent on the faith of the one being healed. The closest hint to this is found in Mark 9 where Jesus tells the father of a demon possessed child, “If thou believest, all things are possible.” The father responds, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” The father knew his faith was mixed with doubt. His faith was not full and complete, yet Jesus healed fully and completely. The same story recounts an earlier failure to heal the afflicted child. Jesus gives a rebuke for lack of faith, but the rebuke is not directed to the father or the child. The rebuke is directed to His disciples. The disciples were responsible for the failure to heal, not the ones seeking healing. Faith healers have no business blaming their failures upon their victims.

Like prophecies, tongues and Divine revelation the other miraculous gifts faded out with the apostles. The claims of modern day miracle workers are a poor imitation of the glorious power of God displayed through His apostles and prophets. Their healings are often nothing more than the effects of emotional manipulation that causes a person to briefly feel better without accomplishing any actual healing. At times they are willful frauds preying upon the desperation of hurting people.

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Does the Holy Spirit live inside Christian’s today?

The relationship of the Holy Spirit to believers today is a vitally important challenging doctrine to understand. The relationship of the Spirit with the believer gives comfort (John 14:16) and understanding (John 14:26) to the Christian.

A previous article stated that the Holy Spirit resides within each believer. The indwelling of the Spirit is the personal presence of God the Spirit within the saved person. The indwelling of the Spirit is more than a symbolic declaration of the Christian’s newfound closeness with God. The Holy Spirit actually takes up residence within the Christian.

Why do Christian’s believe this? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is repeatedly affirmed in the New Testament. Jesus promsied the disciples that after His death and resurrection He would send them the Holy Spirit who “shall be in you”. (John 14:17) This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the 120 disciples were “all filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:4) That same day Peter told the Jews that God would give the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe. (Acts 2:38-39)

The possession of the Holy Spirit immediately became the hallmark of genuine Christianity. The presence of the Holy Spirit is so crucial to the Christian life that Romans 8:9 says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” The presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the person is confirmation of the individual’s salvation. Those who do not have the Holy Spirit are not saved.

The indwelling of the Spirit is also taught in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 says the same thing, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you.” 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” 1 John 3:24 says, “And hereby we know that (Christ) abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” The New Testament states repeatedly that God the Father and God the Son gave the Holy Spirit who takes up residence within the body of the believer.

This presence of the Holy Spirit is a major part of what makes the New Testament Christian different from an Old Testament believer. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus keeps His promise to abide in in His disciples and to never leave nor forsake them. At salvation the believer is given the Spirit. The Christian does not need to get the Spirit again, nor to get more of the Spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Christian who seals and secures his salvation.

Did the Holy Spirit Indwell Old Testament Saints?

New Testament Christianity teaches that the Holy Spirit resides within every saved person. At the moment of salvation God the Spirit takes up residence within the believer’s spiritual part of his being. What about the believers in the Old Testament. Did the Holy Spirit reside within them?

The Bible’s teaching about the Holy Spirit takes place primarily through the stories of the people of God. Few sections are specifically intended to teach about the Holy Spirit. The majority of those teaching passages are found in the New Testament. By observing how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of specific people an understanding can be developed of the Holy Spirit’s Old Testament ministry.

The Holy Spirit was actively at work in the world before the coming of Jesus. The Old Testament describes various instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon individuals. The Holy Spirit came upon people to enable them to prophecy. (Numbers 24:2) Sometimes this “coming upon” happened at the beginning of their ministry like Othniel in Judges 3:10. Sometimes, like Samson, the Spirit came upon the person multiple times throughout their ministry. The Holy Spirit filled individuals like Bezaleel to perform a specific task. Very rarely does the Old Testament describe the Holy Spirit as “in” a person. Pagan kings said of Joseph and Daniel that the Spirit was in them. God told Moses that Joshua was, “a man in whom is the spirit.” (Numbers 27:18) Aside from these few references the Old Testament gives no indication that every believer possessed the Holy Spirit or was uniquely empowered by the Holy Spirit. The active working of the Holy Spirit was not the normal experience for Old Testament believers.

The Old Testament also presents the possibility of the Holy Spirit being removed from a person. This is the tragic case of Samson and Saul because of their sin. When David repented of his adultery and murder he prayed that God would not take His Holy Spirit from David. (Psalm 51:11) Those who knew the presence of the Holy Spirit were not assured of His continued working in them.

Jesus sums up the difference between the Holy Spirit’s ministry. In preparing the disciples for His departure Jesus promised to give them His Holy Spirit. He tells them the Holy Spirit was currently with them (Old Testament work of the Spirit) and in the future would be in them (New Testament work of the Spirit). (John 14:17) The Holy Spirit did indwell some believers before Pentecost, but that was not His usual ministry. The Holy Spirit empowered Old Testament saints without taking up residence within them. The Holy Spirit was with Old Testament saints. The Holy Spirit now resides within every child of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer is a unique thing that began at the day of Pentecost.