The gift of healing was given by God on occasion in the Bible as a demonstration of his power to perform miracles. But can miracles come from a bad source? In the book of Exodus, the priests of Egypt were able to perform miracles similar to those performed through Moses and Aaron. (Ex 7:8-12) In Deuteronomy, God’s people were warned about those who practice divination and sorcery. (Dt 18:10-12)
“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Mt 24:24) The Bible warns that there will be false Christians who will perform miracles.
Are the healers obedient?
The Bible also warns about those with charismatic gifts, but are not obedient to God. (Mt 7:15-23) But how do we know if they are obedient? Obedient Christians can be recognized by having the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23) Like Jesus, they not be of the world. (Jn 17:16) They will not practice sins such as immorality. (1 Th 4:3-8) And they will not take part in wars. (Isa 2:4)
How are real Christians identified?
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn 13:35) Jesus said that his followers could be recognized of they have love.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) True Christians can also be recognized by their witnessing.
“And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Cor 12:28-30) It is rarely by miracles that real Christians are recognized.
Why did some early Christians do miracles?
God confirmed the Christian faith with miracles and healing, which were God’s authentication of the Christian faith God used miracles to demonstrate the authority of the savior, as well as to certify the ministries of the apostles and Stephen, since the church was in its foundational stage. (Heb 2:3-4) The Word of God is now verified by internal testimony of Holy Spirit, so it seems there is no further need for spectacular acts of verification.
Immediate and complete healing on the spot
Below are a few examples from the book of Acts in which healings were immediate:
- Acts 3:7-8 – “Instantly” healed and strengthened
- Acts 5:16 – 100% success rate – “all… were healed”
- Acts 9:18 – Instantly could see – “immediately”
- Acts 9:34 – Aeneas instantly healed – “immediately” could walk
- Acts 19:12 – Healed on the spot, did not have to “go home and get better”
While the Bible says there have been healings by God, it does not say that all people who claim to heal are from God. Some unbelievers have been able to perform miracles and signs, and the Bible warns about those with charismatic gifts, but are not obedient. Miracles were performed by some early Christians to demonstrate God’s approval, but this may no longer be necessary in our current day. So when a modern Christian claims to be able to perform miracles of healing, it may be wise for others to be skeptical.