Thursday, June 28, 2012

Must one have faith to be healed? - The place of Miracles Today -By Kennedy Owiti.

Today there are many churches that preach the existence of instant healing and other miraculous signs and wonders. There are billboards that announce, every so often that a healing crusade will be held in this or that place. People are invited to bring their sick that these may be prayed for and healed. Indeed even the sick themselves are asked to attend that they may be prayed for to receive such healing.  The question one asks then is, do these healings really take place? Do miracles proclaimed in the name of Jesus still happen? And if they don’t, is it because the people being prayed for, the sick and crippled, do not have sufficient faith or at all, that they then cannot get the healing they desire?
The word of God is replete with instances of great miraculous signs and wonders right from the times of the Old Testament. In the book of Exodus, the great miraculous signs and wonders that preceded the exodus are told. The burning bush (Exodus 3) and the plagues that hit Egypt (Exodus 8-10) have never been repeated elsewhere! These were miracles performed by the Almighty God Himself! The Bible records various other miracles that He did. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ also performed many miracles, signs and wonders. He healed the sick of various categories: getting the lame and crippled to walk (Luke 5:17-26), the blind to have sight (John 9:1-12), the deaf to have the ability to hear, the mute to speak, (Mark 7:31-37) the demon possessed to be free of demons (Luke 4:31-36). He walked on water (Mark 6:45-52), He fed five thousand people from just five loaves of bread and two fishes. (Mark 6:30-44) and caused the dead to rise only from their death beds? (Luke 7:11-17) Nay, from their graves too! Lazarus was a rotting corpse when the savior called him back to life (John 11:38-44).  These are just a few of the ones He did and the Bible records many more.
In Acts of the Apostles, the twelve were filled with the Holy Spirit and they themselves performed great miracles, signs and wonders (Acts 2:43) in the name of our Savior as the Spirit of God enabled them including healing the crippled beggar (Acts 3:1-10). The statement in Acts 5:12-16 clearly has the implication that the miracles, signs and wonders were performed as a means of getting the people to believe, more so as the Church of Christ was just being born. These were a people who were hearing of the gospel of grace for the first time. They were learning for the  very first time about the possibility of being right with God on account of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as opposed to being cleansed of sin on account of the offerings made by the high priests as was the custom and as had been the practice since Moses. But again the miracles were not just confined to healing the sick! The miraculous escape of Peter recorded in Acts 12 and even the earlier one recorded in Acts 5:17-26 also happened! There were recorded witnesses to these things. The people healed were often well known to the people in their various towns and villages.
Later,  we read (Hebrews 1:1-2) that the time for these miracles, visions, signs and wonders had ended and that now God only speaks to men through the Son who John explains is the very statement of the will of God (John 1:1-5), the Word of God Himself, which word has been written down to and for us in the name of a Bible. Salvation itself, which the Word of God equates with the raising of a dead person or soul back to life, is a miracle that continues to occur to this very day but all the other miracles signs and wonders no longer happen. We all live in this world; we know our neighbors and the people who live in and around our towns. Among these people are the sick, the blind the crippled, the deaf and mute, those with mental problems who for all intents and purposes are demon possessed. These people have variously been taken to the crusades where the so called faith healers have promised miraculous healings but these never come to pass. Indeed these purported miracle workers are devoid claims of any other signs and wonders except to allege the power to heal those who are sick! Why, for example, has none walked on water? Why has none walked into a morgue and in the name of the risen Christ, raised the dead back to life? How is it that we cannot find one ordinary man who from birth was blind but can now see? The healing which our Christ performed at the pool called Bethesda is remarkable. The modern equivalent to that pool is a medical ward in a modern 21st century hospital! This was a place where the sick congregated in their numbers that they may get healing. Christ went to that hospital and thereat healed a man well known to his neighbors! How come we have not had any of the so called miracle workers walk into any hospital and heal those that are sick there? Why have they not walked, driven, or flown to the northern parts of Kenya during those moments of biting famine and there preach the word of God and then miraculously feed the hundreds there with a few loaves of bread and fishes?
It is precisely because the time for miracles, signs and wonders is no more! We have the Word! We have the Son. We must believe only the Son that we may be saved.  We must not allow ourselves to be cheated that any other miracles other that the great miracle of a God willing to and indeed dying for us, will ever happen. What other miracle do we need? Surely none! For even the angles of God are baffled at this miraculous and wonderful plan of God,  where the person who has been wronged is the one who gives up himself as an atonement for the sins of the wrong doer!
No! The time for miracle, signs and wonders is over. And let no one say to you, after a failed attempt at healing you miraculously, that it is because you have little or no faith and so you have not received your miracle! For this is often the fallback reason after failure! Why, when Jesus fed the five thousand He did not first require that they exhibit any specific amount of faith! When he turned water into wine he did not ask the host to have any specific type of faith. It is His mother who told the people there to do as they were told but have we not also been told, by the scripture, the Word of God, the Son, what to do? Yes, we have been advised to have faith and to pray.  We have been told to call our pastors and elders to pray for and with us when we are sick (James 5:13-16) and that such prayers, if offered in faith, will make the sick person well.
Brethren let us all then have faith in the Word, the Son, and our Christ through whom our God now speaks to us. Let us heed his voice and be obedient to Him. In this I do not limit the power of God to do anything, even miraculous, in our midst. Yet we must, as people get wiser through the reading of God’s word and the clear preaching thereof not be led astray or be discouraged that we are not of sufficient faith as no miracles are happening among us.
Kennedy Owiti fellowships at Grace Baptist Church-Kisumu