There was a time in my life when I believed that being healed of my poor eyesight would convince skeptics that God really existed. Now I know better.
Pastor Steve Wells, of South Main Baptist Church, preached recently on Luke chapter sixteen in regard to miracles verses the plain scriptures. In Christ’s parable, the rich man asked Moses to send Lazarus back to his brothers so that they wouldn’t end up in hell. This is what he replied in Luke 16:31. “And he said to him, ‘If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead.'”
This happened when Christ raised his friend, Lazarus, from being dead for four days. Instead of surrendering their lives to Jesus, the Pharisees sought to kill him. Even most of the average people followed Christ until he was arrested. Many citizens of Judea and Gallalee marveled at the miracles but few took the next steps of repentance and discipleship.
Even in the Old Testament, we can see this pattern of miracles not impacting the lives of those who God led. After seeing the waters of the Red Sea part and then slam together after they crossed, the Israelites quickly turned back to worshipping idols. Moses had been on the mountain for forty days and the people became impatient. Neither did the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night make a permanent change in the hearts of those former slaves. Only Joshua and Caleb were left of those people because they believed fully in God.
The whole history of the Israelites followed a repeating pattern of falling away from the Lord during the good times and calling on him when he let them suffer the consequences of their unbelief. Even in Christianity, people tend to depend on their own works rather than placing their trust solely in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Some churches figure they must accommodate the culture with plays and modern songs in the worship service. This draws those who want to be entertained but it doesn’t bring anybody to a true understanding of their need for Jesus to be their Lord. Neither does supposed faith healer miracles save people. Those folks just come for what they can get, as the crowd in John chapter six did.
Faith healers also put on a great show but no real miracles happen. As The Fifth Estatereported, Benny Hinn and others won’t let truly disabled seekers of healing on stage. As Hank Hanegraaff of The Christian Research Institute often said, these people use slight of hand and autosuggestion to convince people that their tumors or back aches are healed. Nobody has ever regrown limbs or raised people from the dead.
I wrote about my experience at a charismatic house church in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. The elders believed that if I worked up enough faith, God would heal my eyes. I wanted to have 20/20 sight so desperately that I stayed with that pseudo-church for fifteen years. Now I understand how the heavenly Father led me to the proper understanding of his Word and character. Like a good father, he wouldn’t let me be snared by the idea that God could be manipulated to fork over the miracles by us puny humans if he healed my eyes.