Do Miracles Produce Faith?
To better understand the question, Do Miracles Produce Faith? we need to know what faith is. According to the bible faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Hebrews 11:1 In verse 3 it says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear".
Many churches of today ask the question, "Have you received your miracle today?" If you did receive one, would your faith be strengthened or weakened?
What should be the focus of our faith? Should the focus be on the next miracle or should the focus be on God Himself?
According to the Associated Press this occurred on July 3rd of the year 2003: A preacher (a guest evangelist in an Ohio church) was asking God for a sign while a thunderstorm approached. Lightning struck the steeple, traveled through the microphone, blew out the sound system and enveloped the preacher, who was not hurt.
Services continued for twenty minutes until someone realized that the steeple of the church was on fire which ended the services as the church was evacuated. Was this preacher being biblical when asking God for a sign? The answer is no. I think it much more likely that God was disciplining the pastor for having the gall to ask for a sign.
What did Jesus say about those who ask for signs or miracles? Matthew 12:39 An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas (Jonah) Jesus is saying that as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of death (the fish that swallowed Jonah) so He would spend three days and three nights in the belly of death. This was the only sign that would be given.
Our faith focus is to be on the cross and what Jesus accomplishedfor us by sacrificing Himself on that cross. He bore our sin penalty so we would not have to pay that debt. This is the greatest miracle of all. We are transformed from spiritually dead people into people alive in the spirit and are granted eternal life. What need is there for any other miracles?
Do miracles produce faith? No. According to the bible, how do we grow in or acquire faith? Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God How is hearing the word of God connected to miracles? The only connection would be when a person responds in faith by believing what the word says. The Bible teaches that faith is achieved by reading your bible and hearing the word preached. Any preacher who is asking God for a sign needs to read his Bible, because he obviously doesn't know it very well.
Let's look at some biblical examples that clearly show that miracles did not produce faith. Going back to the day of Moses when he was standing on the edge of the Red Sea with somewhere between two and three million Israelites needing to cross with the Egyptian army on their heels with every intention of slaughtering the people of Moses, what had God done prior to this moment?
God had sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians with the last two plagues being especially severe with total darkness upon the land and the deaths of the Egyptian first born. When the Israelites were standing by the Red Sea with an army intent on destroying them on the way, did they cry out, "Jehovah will save us. We've seen what he can do. The Egyptians should have stayed at home! Have they so soon forgotten the miracles God can perform?"
No...this was their reaction: And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, has thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore has thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. Did God's plagues produce faith? No. The Israelites were scared to death and had no faith at all. In fact, they were sure they were about to die.
It is quite some feat to part a body of water wide enough so a couple of million people can get across it before a horde of blood thirsty soldiers can get there. See MOSES for just how miraculous this feat was.
As you read the book of Exodus, you later learn that when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to receive the ten commandments, his people grew restless and began to say that God had abandoned them. They needed a God they could see. Remember, true faith is "the evidence of things not seen". Since the Israelites could not see God, they decided to build one.
When Moses came down from the Mt. Sinai with the ten commandments chiseled by God onto tablets, he saw the golden calf his people had built. Moses got so angry that he smashed the tablet containing the ten commandments on the ground. Later, he had to personally carve the ten commandments himself.
Later on in the Exodus story, twelve spies were sent to scout out the land of Canaan. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back stating with God behind them, they could conquer the land. Ten spies came back crying there were giants in the land so the Israelites would have no chance for victory. The people believed the negative report of the ten unbelieving spies. Those people and the ten spies never saw the promised land. Their lack of faith kept them out.
They had no excuse. They had seen miracle after miracle including the parting of the Red Sea yet they did not believe God could give them victory in the promised land.
In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we read 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' 25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' 27 Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
Abraham told the rich man if people would not believe the word of God (the law and the prophets) then they would not believe even if a miracle such as one rising from the dead occurred. Abraham confirmed it was the word of God that produced faith and not miracles.
Supernatural events as recorded in the Bible seldom produced faith yet the word today states that if you want them to have faith in Christ then show them a miracle. The bible warns us that one pretending to be Christ will come upon the world scene. 2 Thess. 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders If you are putting your faith in signs, like the preacher in Ohio seemed to be doing, then you have no faith. Your faith is only good until the next miracle. There will come a very evil man upon the world scene who will perform one miracle after another and deceive the world into believing he is God. Miracles will have deceived the world into accepting an impostor. So we know in advance what will be the fruit of miracles.
Remember true faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Copyright 2011 by Gary Goodworth
Oprah, Miracles, and The New Earth Read how Oprah is leading people away from faith in this critique.
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