Miraculous Gifts (Part Eight, Conclusion)
by Tom Edwards

Christians Are to be “Filled With the Holy Spirit”
Although miraculous gifts cannot be passed on today because there are no more apostles to do so, and even though no one else is being baptized in the Holy Spirit, this does not mean that the Christian cannot be “filled with the Spirit.” Actually, he must be; for God demands it of each of His children.

By comparing Ephesians 5:18,19 with Colossians 3:16, an interesting observation can be made as to how one is to be filled with the Spirit. The former passage states, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” Notice the contents: one is to be filled with the Spirit and given over to the singing of spiritual songs. Colossians 3:17 is a parallel passage; it reads: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Whereas in Ephesians we read to “be filled with the Spirit,” Colossians declares to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you….” This means that being filled with the Spirit is obtained by allowing God’s word to abide in us.

We have seen in a previous lesson of the Corinthian church and that, though they were miraculously endowed with the Spirit of God and abounded in miraculous gifts, they certainly did not have God’s word dwelling in them the way they should have. For if they had, there would have been no need for Paul to rebuke them for the numerous things which he did.

We Are Led by the Word, Not Miraculously
No one today is miraculously endowed with the Spirit the same way many of the early Christians were. They needed that type of guidance then because they did not have the complete revelation of God’s word, but today we can simply turn to the New Testament and learn those Divine truths which God would have us to know.      

If you could gather a dozen men who all claimed to be led miraculously by the Holy Spirit and began asking them questions concerning doctrinal matters of the Bible, you would probably soon see how widely they differ in their beliefs.

How could all of these men be led by the Spirit, but at the same time be teaching conflicting doctrines? God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).

The trouble we are having in this age is that many sincere people have been led to believe that simply because God never changes, His ways in dealing with mankind also do not change; and since He gave miraculous gifts then, He must also do the same today. This is not so. There were many different actions which God demanded of His people during the Mosaical Age which would be wrong if we were to do the same today. We are not to stone to death adulterers or disobedient children who refuse to repent. And just because Noah constructed an ark does not mean that we are to do likewise. We need to rightly divide the word of truth and see what applies to us and what does not.

Many people, it would seem, rely on their feelings rather than on what God’s word actually says. There is a vast number today who, though they claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, are only being led by their own inclinations. I believe the majority of them mean well, but they are deceiving themselves and others.      

Where is the Evidence for Miracles Today?
If miraculous gifts were for our time then surely we would see evidence of it. During the days of Jesus and His apostles, even the enemies of God could not deny the fact that great signs were being performed among them as they observed for themselves the wonderful miracles of God. How many do you know of who have actually been raised from the dead? I am not talking about clinical death, in which the person’s heart stops for a few minutes, but someone who has been dead for several days. Perhaps, on some remote island a claim or two has been made, but how much stock would you put in that?      

Paul’s miracles served as his credentials (2 Cor. 12:12). He could prove to the people that what he taught was of God, but what about the so-called faith healers today?

I believe that God is all powerful and certainly can do, even today, all the miracles of the Bible and more, if He had chose to, but I also see within His word that this is not the way He is dealing with mankind in this age. Every time a person is healed today it is because of the Lord, but there is a vast difference between God’s divine healing and His miraculous healing.                

The Danger of Deception
Filed away in my office is an article entitled, “Killed By His Father’s Religion.” It is a true story about a young boy who was a diabetic and on insulin for approximately five years. His father had taken him to a so-called faith healer who prayed for him and told the father to take his son off the medication. He did so, and a short time later his boy died.  The tragedy is that this boy died because his father lacked Bible knowledge.

I am sure you have heard about the snake handlers who hold these venomous creatures to show their great faith in God, but what they are really showing is their lack of understanding about God’s word; and because of this lack of knowledge, sickness and death often follow.

How the Holy Spirit Operates Today

Ephesians 6:17 shows how the Spirit is working in our time: He is using an instrument — “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Spirit is working today, but through the written revelation of God’s word and not by some direct and miraculous operation.       

There are numerous Bible passages that serve to show this relationship between God’s word and the Holy Spirit. Whereas one passage proclaims of the Holy Spirit doing a certain thing, often another verse attributes the same work to the word of God. The following are such passages that verify this:

1. Convicted

  • Jn. 16:7,8 (Holy Spirit)
  • Acts 2:38 (word of God); 2 Cor. 7:8-11 (Paul’s letter produced a godly sorrow).

2. Begotten

  • Jn. 3:5 (Holy Spirit)
  • James 1:21 (word of God)

3. Born

  • Jn. 3:5 (Holy Spirit)
  • 1 Pet. 1:23 (word of God)

4. Washed

  • 1 Cor. 6:11 (Holy Spirit)
  • Eph. 5:26 (word of God)

5. Sanctified

  • 1 Cor. 6:11 (Holy Spirit)
  • Jn. 17:17 (word of God)

6. Justified

  • 1 Cor. 6:11 (Holy Spirit)
  • Rom. 5:1; 10:17 (word of God)

7. Saved

  • Titus 3:5 (Holy Spirit)
  • James 1:21; Rom. 1:16 (word of God)

Are all of these passages contradictions? If the Holy Spirit convicts, begottens, causes one to be born again, washes, sanctifies, justifies, and saves, who needs the word? Since we know that the Bible does not contain contradictions, the only explanation is that the Spirit works through the word, just as Ephesians 6:17 explicitly shows.

Yes, God is working today through His written revelation. This is why it is so important for all mankind to hear the gospel, believe it, and respond to it through obedience. God’s perfect word has been delivered to man so that he can be freed from the bondage of sin and learn of the way that leads to everlasting life.

By the miracles, God’s word has been given and confirmed; now it is up to man to act upon that message that he might be saved and grow thereby.

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