Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Miracles Among the Masses: Faith

If authority isn't the telling issue in the manifesting of miracles, what is? To say, "faith," as if that alone was it would be inaccurate, although faith is very important in the scheme of things. There are recorded incidents of God producing miracles when no faith was present nor was any ensuing. God, of course, can do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, with whom and to whom he wants; but he doesn't act purposelessly in the manifesting miracles. It seems to me, what could be called ministering miracles, occur at the nexus of three things: 1) faith in the doer, 2) faith in the receiver, and 3) the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Though God is the ultimate performer of the miraculous, if the human agent does not have faith, the likelihood is that the miraculous will not occur. The faith necessary is the kind that has no doubts concerning the thing about to be done: doubt is the underminer of divine intervention. I think that is a hard thing for humans in general to produce, thankfully for God's glory, there is a gracious enablement that can accompany the need for the miracle. That is not to say that we do not have power over our own belief, so if we slough off counting on God to bail us out of our unbelief, we're likely to face disappointment.

If the receiver does not have some measure of faith, the likelihood of a miracle is next to nothing. God occasionally intervenes despite the unbelief of a receiver rather than in conjunction with his or her faith, but generally, that will not be the case. Today, the receiver is often saddled with the entire burden of failure in the effort to produce the miraculous, but I don't think that represents the total picture of what is going on. Regardless, it cannot be denied that Jesus clearly taught miraculous ministry is received according to one's faith.

The Spirit does as he wills and doesn't do as doesn't will. If the Holy Spirit does not have a mind to do a thing, it just ain't gettin' done! We can exercise some will in relation to the Spirit's will insofar as we go along with what he enables (like in tongues), but his doing is still absolutely necessary to anything miraculous. The only means we have of influencing the impetus of the Spirit is prayer, but the Spirit must be present to do whatever if whatever is to be done.

So, when faith in the doer is contemporaneous with faith in the receiver and the Spirit's willing, a miracle occurs.

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