MIRACULOUS DIVINE HEALING
by Wayne S. Walker
There is no doubt that Jesus healed people miraculously (Matthew 10:1), as did other inspired men of the first century. However, we do not have nor need healing of a miraculous nature today for three reasons.
I. Its purpose was fulfilled
A. The purpose of Jesus’s miracles was to produce faith (John 3:2, 4:53, 5:36, 10:37-38). How is faith produced today? By the wrotten word (John 20:30-31, Romans 10:17; see also John 17:11-20).
B. The purpose of the apostles’ miracles was to reveal and confirm the world (Mark 16:17-20, Acts 2:43, 1 Corinthians 2:1-6, 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, Ephesians 3:3-5, Hebrews 2:1-4). Since the word has already been confirmed, there is no need for further confirmation (Galatians 3:15).
C. The purpose of miracles inthe early church was for edification and teaching before the New Testament was finished (1 Corinthians 12:7-12; 14:1-4, 22-26). But today we have the completed scriptures for teaching and edification (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
D. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 affirms that when the perfect revelation came (James 1:25), the "in-part" methods of revelation would pass away.
II. The means by which it was obtained passed away
A. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit directly to the apostles (Acts 1:2-8, 26; 2:1-14; cf. John chapters 14-16). It was also given to Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48, 11:13-18), but offered to no one else.
B. In every other case, all supernatural gifts came through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, not by prayer or direct bestowal from Christ (Acts 6:5-8, 8:14-18, 19:6; Romans 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:6).
C. Since we do not have living apostles today (Acts 1:21-22, 1 Corinthians 15:8), whatever measure of the Holy Sprit we have comes by faith, not miracle (Galatians 3:2, Ephesians 1:13).
D. The evidence of the Spirit in our lives today is not miraculous activity, but the qualities and characteristics that the Spirit teaches us in the word to have (Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 5:18-21; cf. Colossians 3:16).
III. The nature of New Testament miracles is not and cannot be duplicated today
A. They were distinctive and identifiable. People could see and tell they were not by natural means (Acts 8:6-12, 19:11-17).
B. They were plainly visible and testable, not internal, emotional, or psychosomatic. Nor were they done in far away places and simply reported (John 9:1, 6, 7).
C. They were undeniable, not subject to debate. Enemies opposed them but had to admit their existence (Matthew 12:22-32; Acts 2:22-23, 4:16, 14:9-12).
D. They were complete, not partial. No one was ever told to come back for futher healing (John 5:5-9).
E. They were immediate and instantaneous, not gradual. Niraculous healing never took place over a period of time (Acts 3:7-8).
F. They were universal. All manner of diseases were cured and everyone who came was healed (Matthew 4:23-25, 12:15; Acts 5:16).
We believe that God answers prayers and that He works today through His providence to heal the sick (James 5:13-15). But there are no miracles today as in the Bible. (—originally written for the bulletin of the church of Christ in Medina, OH, and reprinted in Torch; May, 1981; Vol. XVI, No. 5; pp. 13-15)